the pugilist poet

Arthur Cravan (born Fabian Avenarius Lloyd on May 22, 1887) was known as a pugilist, a poet and a larger-than-life character.

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“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

Love, Hermann

Hermann Schmidt took the time to scribble his will on a wall beside his bed just before he died.

Herman Munster tattoo found here

“Yesterday, the 18 inch square section of pink painted wall was cut out and filed for probate in Philadelphia. Schmidt, a 49 year old German immigrant, left his $12,000 estate to his belly dancer fiancee, Genevieve Decker.

NOT this Genevieve found here

His last scribbled words were: “Genevieve, you take care of all my belongings. This gives you the authority. Love, Hermann.”

An earlier message gave the name and address of his doctor but it was too late for it to be of any use. Schmidt, a glass polisher, was already dead when police broke into his modest, two storey home.

NOT this modest two story home found here

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 7:37 am  Comments (49)  
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happy new year

Happy New Year from the nurse and her two beautiful boys

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 9:56 pm  Comments (55)  
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make parties gay

Back in the 18th century, gentlemen advertised for love in the Maryland Gazette

“Wanted, a young woman who is between 15 and 22, who can take care of a single man’s linens and otherwise attend to him, in case of indisposition, to make tea and occasionally amuse him with a tete a tete. As a very genteel salary will be given, ’tis expected that the lady will be likely as to person, and cheerful in her temper; such a one will not be offended at this manner of address.

“The advertiser is serious, and in earnest. He hopes an idle curiosity will not lead anyone to be impertinent. A letter directed to D.M.L to be left at the printing office will be duly attended to. The utmost honour and secrecy may be depended upon.”

Here’s one from the Daily Advertiser

“Wanted by a young gentleman, a lady of 18 to 25 years old, well bred and with a fortune of not less than £5,000; sound in wind and limb, 5’4″ without shoes; not fat but not too thin;

sweet breath and good teeth; without conceit or affectation; not too chatty and not quarrelsome, but yet with character to pay back a score; generous; not over fashionable; the sort of person who can make parties gay; who can keep her husband’s secrets so he can open his heart to her without restraint, and can with a light heart reduce the budget if necessity requires.”

In 1795 a Bristol paper carried this poetic advertisement

A gentleman needs a companion to journey with him towards matrimony; his intention is to depart as swiftly as possible, to leave the main roads and highways and to stroll in the paths in the woods of love.

His fellow traveller must be healthy, not too fat because that would make the journey troublesome, and to while away the hours of the marriage state, the chattier the better.”

Published in: on December 5, 2009 at 7:23 am  Comments (36)  
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