Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Aether Salon: Exhibitionism!

Sunday's Aether Salon in Babbage Palisade bore the title of Exhibitionism! The speakers were Miss Breezy Carver and Mr. Aeolus Cleanslate, and the topic was the series of World Fairs held in the second half of the nineteenth century. As always, the Salon attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Miss Carver opened with a discussion of the Chicago World Fair of 1893, the famous "White City." The Fair, which was designed to show off Chicago as a world-class city - in contrast to what those in the eastern U.S. thought, not to mention those in Europe - took untold hours of planning and building, and opening on time was a close thing. Still, most thought the Fair a huge success, displaying cutting edge architecture and technology, including the first Ferris Wheel. At the same time, the Fair attracted predators, including a man calling himself "H.H. Holmes," who was later called America's first serial killer. Holmes moved from a life of fraud and bigamy to wholesale murder, often preying on young women who had come to Chicago for the Fair and took rooms at Holmes' boarding house. Below, Miss Carver and Mr. Cleanslate.

Below, Miss Viv Trafalgar introduces the speakers and kept what semblance of order is possible.

Miss Beq Janus and I have front-row seats for Miss Carver's presentation, which turned out to give us more of an eyeful than expected...

Miss Carver's talk was interrupted by the arrival of Miss Ahnyanka Delphin, of the New Champagne Rooms, who danced the hootchy-cootchy in imitation of "Little Egypt," a Syrian dancer who introduced belly dancing to the States. Miss Delphin diverted the attention of the men in the audience with her scandalous attire. Meanwhile, Capt. Red Llewellyn also scandalized the audience while seated on a nearby settee, looking lovely while doing so.

Mr. Cleanslate illustrated his talk with a new-fangled device he called a "kinoscope," which displayed pictures. He discussed the various World's Fairs of the 19th century, including those in London (1851), Philadelphia (1876), Paris (1889), Chicago (1893), and Paris again (1900).

As Mr. Cleanslate explained, with Prince Albert's help, the London fair, held in Regent's Park, was a huge success, featuring the famed Crystal Palace. The fair, showcasing British industrial technology, helped assuage fears of technology. The Philadelphia fair, held on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was designed to show the country's post-Civil War recovery, as well as The U.S.'s prominent place in the world. The fair featured the hand and torch from the Statue of Liberty, and tours of it funded the completion of the statue.

Alas, other obligations called me from the discussion at that point, so I did not hear the finale of his presentation, nor the question and answer session that followed. Nonetheless, I can confidently say that the Salon has maintained its well-deserved reputation for booking speakers of the highest quality.


Viv Trafalgar said...

Our Sincerest thanks Ms. Jameson! We thought the Salon speakers quite brilliant as well! And the audience, of course - which wouldn't be the same without you.

With admiration,
Viv & Sera

Mako Magellan said...

I'm sorry I missed this; it looks interesting. There are a couple of points I'd like to make. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held in Hyde Park, not Regent's Park. I am very sure of that. The other point is that I think applying the term 'World's Fair' to this exhibition is a bit of historical revisionism, as the term, which became part of the name of several subsequent expositions, was not in use at that point. I am fairly sure of this.

Rhianon Jameson said...

The gratitute is mine, Miss Trafalgar, for taking the time to organize the Salons. I try to make each of them, though I confess I have not been entirely successful on that score.

My recollection is the same as yours, Mr. Magellan, that the term 'World's Fair' was indeed a later appellation. Mr. Cleanslate made that distinction, and I omitted it for the sake of brevity. As for Regent's Park versus Hyde Park - hey, they're close to one another, aren't they? :) (You are indeed correct that it was Hyde Park. Though I did not doubt the maker of the Crystal Palace.)

Breezy Carver said...

Miss Rhianon You are most Kind
Thank You for making the time to attend and I am quite touched and pleased you enjoyed it ..
I did run out of time (*grins* I even had to let evil Dr Holmes sort of go thank Heaven for Miss Ordinal knowing she was on the watch was a great comfort*grins*) as I wanted to get to the ahh my rather special and delightful dynamic ladies of the Midway and the dear Salon clock was ticking grins ..
personal note
I did go and graduated from Bradley University in the 80s and being an east coast gal, The Great White City was
of Interest to me then alas, I was also a young busy college student I just did not have the time nor was the Internet highway in full swing in depth at the time . I was an ACJ/SOC major and to find material on HH Holmes in the early 80s in Chicago was no easy task.It was not a topic of interest it is today .
It seemed to come to life in the 90s and this decade with a whole new light and interest .
With several Movies and TV programs and A few very good books.
As for the worlds Fair mention (( I do agree with the gentleman and in my conclusion I did mention how it has evolved through the years to be called The Great Chigaco Worlds Fair ))
but rather then post that (grins)
here is a good brief explanation below :)
From Wikipedia,
Chicago during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.The World's Columbian Exposition — also known as The Chicago World's Fair — was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. Chicago bested New York City, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis, Missouri, for the honor of hosting the fair. The fair had a profound effect on architecture, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism. The Chicago Columbian Exposition was, in large part, designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. It was the prototype of what Burnham and his colleagues thought a city should be. It was designed to follow Beaux Arts principles of design, namely, European Classical Architecture principles based on symmetry and balance.
The exposition covered more than 600 acres (2.4 km2), featuring nearly 200 new buildings of classical architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from around the world. Over 27 million people (equivalent to about half the U.S. population) attended the exposition during its six-month run. Its scale and grandeur far exceeded the other world fairs, and it became a symbol of the emerging American Exceptionalism, much in the same way that the Great Exhibition became a symbol of the Victorian era United Kingdom.'s_Columbian_Exposition
and here are a lovely batch of photos From
World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago
Photographs from Shepp's World's Fair Photographed, Chicago and Philadelphia, 1893, and from Glimpses of the World's Fair Through a Camera, Chicago, 1893.