The House for Halloween in New Orleans

Halloween is the most magical time of the year to be in New Orleans. By late October, the weather is finally feeling brisk, houses are decorated spectacularly with skeletons and cobwebs, and an enchanting mood sets over the city. Everything feels just a little more dreamlike.

For a few years, I spent my Halloweens visiting a group of friends in New Orleans in their magnificent Victorian-style home on St. Charles Avenue. The house was lavender-colored with huge ceilings, dazzling chandeliers, black wrought-iron lined balconies, and a ghost who, on occasion, left kisses on the downstairs hallway mirror. It was in this larger-than-life house that some of my favorite memories were made, dancing barefoot throughout the night in the hazy smoke of the fog machine to some of our favorite psychedelic songs.

The photos featured here offer a glance into these tumultuous evenings of Southern revelry. I created these photographs by employing a nearly automatic process, which lends itself well to some of the Surrealist imagery to come from it. These images are my memories, bottled and sitting on a shelf for whenever I wish to feel them again. Today I’d like to share them with you so that you too may experience the haunting beauty of those Halloween nights.

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My best friend Rachel Guasp has also created an artful video compilation of one of these nights. It captures the mood beautifully.

You can find more of Rachel's video work on her Vimeo.

Lastly, is a playlist from one those spooky evenings below. I hope you enjoyed a peek into some of my favorite memories. I'm looking forward to making more this year, but this time in San Francisco. 

Until next time!
–Brittany B.

Très Classique! 

Last weekend I took some event photos for Boom! Boom! Burlesque's show Très Classique! Although the fast pace of the event made it challenging to photograph, I had a great time. Here are a few of my favorites:

Naughty Lola

Naughty Lola

Roxie Le Rouge

Roxie Le Rouge

I almost never delve into black and white with my photography, but the classic theme of this show gave me the perfect reason to try it. I loved capturing the energy of the these phenomenal performers! 

Femme Puissance

At the beginning of this year, Nicole Touchet of Galerie Touchet approached me about organizing an event in Lafayette to stand in solidarity with the Women's March on January 21st. Our shared goal turned into creating an artistic happening where we could bring awareness to issues we care about while creating a comfortable place for local artists and activists to come together and express our views through art-making. Almost immediately, our new artist-activism group Femme Puissance was named, and we had the concept for our first event on January 21st: Painting Panties for Protection

During the event, Lafayette artists and activists joined together to organize in solidarity with the Women’s March on D.C. by creating protest posters and painting on over-sized undergarments to draw attention to women’s issues. Drawing on the concepts of Dadaism, we aimed to use absurdity and humor to parallel the illogical nature of America’s current charged sociopolitical climate. Whose to say you can't have humor in activism?

The event turned out to be a great success! During the first half of the event, we opened up Gallery 333 to artists and activists to join us in painting the pieces and protest signs as we live-streamed the speakers from the Women's March on D.C. Since it turned out to be a beautiful day, we decided to have some fun and close the event by walking down along the sidewalk to Parc San Souci of Downtown Lafayette to the "Y Lafayette" sculpture to hang up our panties and take some photos together. Along the way, we cheered and chanted "My Body, My Rules" and "Women's Rights are Human Rights". 

Here are some photos from the event courtesy of Olivia Perillo:

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Nicole Touchet and me!

Nicole Touchet and me!

The rest of Olivia's photos from the event can be seen on her Flickr here.

Today we hosted our second day of action as Femme Puissance. We got a group of concerned constituents together and wrote letters to our representatives. Nicole and I also designed a postcard we will be printing soon and giving to people who would like to write their representatives in the future.

Femme Puissance has been a great way to connect with people through activism and artistry so far in Lafayette. Here's to more connectivity to come! <3

Mermaiding

I've recently been modeling for my close friend Kara Doney's senior thesis project. I've been having a great time modeling, and I've gotten better at swimming in the process (although I still haven't figured out how not to get water up my nose). Here are a few outtakes she's given me to share:

Kara Doney Photography

Kara Doney Photography

In between shoots for her thesis project, we have also been trying out my GoPro underwater and having some fun with some more playful underwater shoots. Here's one of the first videos we took using my GoPro:

We had a great time getting silly with these photos:

With every shoot, I'm getting more and more comfortable in the water. For this one, I learned that in order to sink down to the bottom, I had to blow out my breath before going under. The biggest thing is not to panic while you're down there.

By the way, here's what the magazine looked like by the time we were done with it:

 

For Kara's last shoot, I went along to watch even though I wasn't modeling. While observing, I used my GoPro to catch some behind the scenes footage. Naughty Lola is modeling in the video below. She's a total pro:

Mardi Gras & A Fabulous February

February is always an exciting month for me. Not only is it usually a short month, but February also includes Mardi Gras festivities, Valentine's day, my birthday, and Jacob's birthday. This year it got even busier with a five-day visit from my best friend,  an artist feature at the Rhum Room, two New Orleans trips, the Courir de Mardi Gras, my first artist talk at Galerie Touchet, a solo show at The Lounge Gallery, underwater modeling, and a busy Art Walk at Gallery 333. And this month isn't even over yet! It's been an amazing month so far, and this is the first time I feel like I really celebrated Mardi Gras thoroughly and did a little bit of everything. I never want to cut the festivities short again!

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During Rachel's visit, one of her friends, Araña, also flew in to Louisiana to visit and tour Louisiana for the first time. While they were both here, I felt like it was my duty to give him the full Louisiana experience. We started his visit off my picking him up from the airport in New Orleans. That day we parked in the Garden District at a friend's house and took the street car down Saint Charles and into the French Quarter. While walking the French Quarter we stumbled upon a small gallery with art work from Dr. Suess. We also caught all of our very first New Orleans parade, Muses, and I even caught a shoe! We made one more New Orleans trip the next week to drop Araña off at the airport. On our second visit, we visited more galleries on Royal Street, caught some amusing sights on Bourbon Street, stumbled upon a firework show, and saw a shooting star on the ride home. 

During the rest of their stay in Lafayette, we went to Vermillionville, ate crawfish, a lot of king cake (we made sure Arana got the baby), and poyboys, cooked gumbo, visited the Horse Farm during the Farmer's Market, danced for beads at parades, and generally had a fun time with friends making the most of Lafayette, Louisiana. 

On Mardi Gras day, Terez and I woke up extra early to get in costume and drive to Savoy, Louisiana, for the Faquetique Courir de Mardi Gras. This was our first time to the Cajun/country Mardi Gras, but after our experiences it will not be our last. So many of our friends were there for the first time as well. The whole day I knew I was surrounded by familiar faces from Lafayette, even if I couldn't tell from the masks hiding everyone's identities. Eventually we found all our good friends and had a great time together from the initiation to begging for charity to watching riders climb one another to capture a chicken from the top of a greased pole. The courir felt like a silly, but still spiritual pilgrimage filled with dancing, whiskey showers, mud fights, and revelry. Even a writer from GQ came down to record the experience. We are already planning our costumes for next year! You can see the rest of my film photos from the courir here.