Arthur Cravan (born Fabian Avenarius Lloyd on May 22, 1887) was known as a pugilist, a poet and a larger-than-life character.
image found here
“Cravan was born and educated in Lausanne, Switzerland, then at an English military academy from which he was expelled after spanking a teacher.
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He set out to promote himself as an eccentric and an art critic, though his interest was showing off a striking personal style rather than discussing art. To a degree, Cravan was a charlatan as well as a genius. He staged spectacles and stunts with himself at the centre, pulling down his pants in public and once acting on the front of a line of carts where he paraded his skills as a boxer and singer.
After the First World War began, Cravan left Paris to avoid being drafted into military service. On a stopover in the Canary Islands a boxing match was arranged between Cravan and the reigning world champion, Jack Johnson, to raise money for Cravan’s passage to the United States. Posters for the match touted him as “European champion.” Johnson, who didn’t know who he was, knocked Cravan out solidly, noting in his autobiography that Cravan must have been out of training.
Jack Johnson found here
His style involved continuous re-invention of his public persona, and outrageous statements and boasts. As the nephew of Oscar Wilde (his father’s sister, Constance Mary Lloyd, was married to Wilde) he even produced hoaxes—documents and poems—and then signed them “Oscar Wilde”. In 1913 he published an article claiming that his uncle was still alive and had visited him in Paris. The New York Times published the rumor, even though Cravan and Wilde never met.
On the page and in person, Cravan paraded himself as “the poet with the shortest haircut in the world.” Penniless most of the time, he drank in dive sports bars in the Bronx and slept rough in Central Park. Marcel Duchamp invited Cravan to a conference at Grand Central Palace. His lecture caused a sensation: drunk and undressing, he cussed out an audience who called the cops, shocking the Greenwich Village avant-garde.
Marcel Duchamp found here
It was in New York that he fell in love with the poet Mina Loy. They moved to Mexico together and married in 1918. The couple planned a trip to Argentina but did not have enough money for both of them to book passage on the same vessel. Loy took the trip on a regular ship and Cravan set out alone on a sailboat. He never arrived in Argentina and it is presumed that he died, aged 31, in a storm at sea. Mina gave birth to their daughter, Fabienne, in April. She spent a year searching for him, and decades fantasizing his return. Although theories abound, the mystery of his disappearance has never been solved.
Mina Loy found here
….. I’m leavin’ today.
Yes, my much anticipated trip to New York starts today. Daisyfae and I will be hanging out in the Big Apple for a week or so, hoping to catch up with unbearablebanishment, alonewithcats, shrinkrap and renalfailure whilst eating and drinking our way around Manhattan.
There may be an occasional joint blog post like we the one in Seville in 2008
or the one we did in Lesbos in 2010 with the lovely Dolce
Then it’s on to Chicago – a city I’ve never been to before. Hopefully that’s when we’ll catch up with Rassles. If you’ve got any tips on things we really should see or do while there, leave them in the comments. See you all soon.
George Hazeltine, a rich American who died at the age of 86, spent his last days in a Los Angeles hospital, where he became very attached to two of his nurses, Lillian Pelkey and Madeleine Higgins. So he announced his intention of making a new will, in order to leave $10,000 to each of them. The two nurses protested against this proposal, but agreed to humour the old man.
Since there was no writing paper available, Nurse Pelkey wrote the will on her underwear, which Mr Hazeltine signed, the Misses Pelkey and Higgins acting as witnesses. This resulted in them both being barred from receiving their legacies, but neither of them wished to do so in any case. The will was however, admitted to probate and a great niece who was also a beneficiary and under no disqualification, inherited the estate under its terms.
Lingerie also featured in the will of Ellen Collins of Philadelphia in 1932: “I bequeath my white flannel embroidered petticoat to Mr Albert Cummings.”Tragically, Mr Cummings died before his intending benefactress who presumably had some reason to believe he coveted her petticoat.
This will be my last post for a little while. I’m flying off to the south of France to meet up with Queenwilly and The King for a week or so, then on to Greece where Daisyfae and Dolce await. We three girls are going to scare the pants off Athens then head over to the Isle of Lesbos to laze about eating Greek salads and drinking retsina…… here’s to foie gras, truffles, mah jongg, blue skies, sandy beaches and good friends…. see you all soon…. xx
There are two things about nursemyra that not all readers know:
1. Often when I travel I encounter air disasters. I have been in a plane that dropped 30,000 feet out of the sky and had to make an emergency landing. I was in Novia Scotia when Swissair Flight 111 went down killing all 229 people on board. And I was standing on the corner of Canal and Greene Streets looking up as a plane crashed into the first Tower on the morning of 11 September 2001.
2. It only takes 2.2 drinks to get me rip roaring drunk. Most people have never seen me drink more than 1.1
photo taken by nursemyra
So here I am in sunny Singapore taking in all the sights and relaxing with a cocktail every evening. Yesterday was National Singapore Day and to avoid the crowds I visited the very charming Museum of Toys and had a relaxing meal of sliced chicken feet salad. Delicious – you should try it! The MoT has a cocktail bar above it on the top floor so after dinner I wandered back there for a margarita. You now that story, probably apocryphal, about the old fashioned champagne glass being modelled on Marie Antoinette’s perfect breast? The barman at Mr Punch serves margaritas in one modelled after Jayne Mansfield
After 30 minutes of solid sipping I’m only halfway through it and feeling totally plastered. It was at this point that an F16 flew straight over the top of Mr Punch’s bar and nursemyra took a dive under the table. Look, it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities that terrorists should decide to attack a Toy Museum, especially one with an air disaster-prone drunk nursemyra in it. But if it’s any consolation to the rest of Australia, I told the barman who helped me up that I was from New Zealand…..