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Monday, October 24, 2005

Costume Workshop

Last Saturday we had a costume-making workshop in anticipation of next Saturday's Bat Parade. There is now glitter throughout the museum, which makes our days all the more festive.

Here's a link to all the Dracula-fest events. Be sure to check out the pictures of last year's parade--you'll get a sense of the incredible puppets Spiral Q has made for the event.

...a few more pictures follow--lots of really great bat-kids! Posted by Picasa

Great Glittery Bats, Robin!

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More pics from the Costume Workshop

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Pictures from the Costume Making Workshop this past Saturday! Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Last Favour

Teresa Jaynes' new book, The Last Favour, is finally done! It is the product of a collaboration between the Rosenbach, the Borowsky Center at the University of the Arts, and Teresa herself. It began as an installation at the Rosenbach called Red Maids that Teresa did at the Rosenbach back in 2000 as part of an exhibition called "Bang: Contemporary Artists Collide with the Collections." [Rosenbach members and Teresa Jaynes' fans will remember that the installation included hundreds of red skirts that hung from the ceiling of Philip Rosenbach's bathroom.] As the installation was coming down, a number of people thought it would make a great book--njot a catalog, per se, but a book based on it. Five years later, it's here--in a limited, numbered, signed edition that starts at $25. There are pictures of the skirts. There is also a picture of the Rosenbach's favorite poster girl, Meaty--who was discovered in our collection by the much-missed erstwhile library assistant Najia Khan during the course of the big move a few years back. We'll also have the book for sale on our web site, but for now, if you want a copy, call the museum and ask to talk to the shop. (215-732-1600), or just email . Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dylan Thomas Tablecloth

The Rosenbach's contribution to Philadelphia's 215 Festival this year was a special tour called "What Would Dylan Thomas Do?" ...if the joke of the title was ever funny (doubtful), it was funny back in the days of the What Would Jesus Do bracelet. But the people who came for the tours didn't really care about the lame title, and we had a good time anyway.

I started the tour with a strange artifact from our collection--the "Dylan Thomas Tablecloth." First, the tablecloth is not a tablecloth, but rather the photograph of a tablecloth. There are many doodles and sinister-looking stains on the photographed tablecloth, including an unmistakable doodle of Dylan Thomas. Other doodles in the photograph resemble ones that have been attributed to him elsewhere. The photograph was purchased in 1971 and last displayed at the Rosenbach in 1991. We believe that it is a tablecloth that Thomas used, sat at, and drew upon... though we don't know exactly when. Doubtless, there is more information buried in our files, but until it is unearthed, the object provokes more questions than it answers.

The Rosenbach has a small, but choice collection of Thomas materials, including a manuscript of "Fern Hill," many signed first editions, and a manuscript of "Under Milk Wood." There's a long story related to it that's worth a full telling, but basically, Thomas lost the ms in London in the midst of a drinking binge, and later told a friend (who had rescued Thomas by providing another typed version of the play) that if he (the friend, Douglas Cleverdon) could find it, he could keep it.

But the final item on the tour was the copy of Thomas's autopsy and related notes, compiled by a scholar working in the 1960's. This article from the Manchester Guardian gives some sense of the controversies that have ranged about Thomas's death--and the files at the Rosenbach speak to the exact controversies that are mentioned. And yes, Thomas had no alcohol nor morphine in his blood at the time of his death. And the phrase "alcoholic insult to the brain" appears nowhere...

Oh, and also--a recent post on Thomas at referred to this page at that takes you to free audio downloads of Thomas reading (provided you wade through some advertising). Boingboing (which is a great source for odd internet detritus) also mentions the 215!