Powder Box Girls

The Powderbox Girls are readymades by Mimi Berlin, 2016. Mixed media with found and collectable objects, which (like Mimi Berlin’s Random Stories) are treasured in plastic cubes. In some of the cubes all the items have been left untouched entirely; no glue or other adhesives that can damage items (such as the collectable compact powder boxes or the halfdolls). All the boxes are sealed with a gold filled seal, if you break the seal, and open the box, the sculpturettes inside will fall apart. The ‘Powder Box Girls’ are part of Mimi Berlin’s ‘Fuck Flat’ series.

The Story:
The ‘Powder Box Girls’ stand tall in their windows; flaunting bodyparts like there’s no tomorrow. Shamelessly they try to haul anyone who passes them by into their tiny rooms. Shine and glitter is all that matters in these shopwindows.
Yes, you guessed right, these girls are for sale; they work the red-light district by night.
And by night only; they are different from the other ‘scarlet women’. You must know that these girls of pleasure have dayjobs as well. Working during the day is very important to them, without these jobs they couldn’t work as prostitutes. For them society is turned upside-down. The ‘Powder Box Girls’ feel they’re going to miss out on a very big slice of life if they haven’t at least spent 5 years taking care of an other person’s sexual needs, for money. Needless to say, the Powder Box Girls (and their believes) are a just a small group of sex-workers. They fit neatly into one “building”; The ‘Fuck Flat’.

Gorgeous Librarian, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, 1920s porcelain halfdoll, Dutch pocket dictionary, 1st pressing/Meulenhoff ca 1950) 9 x 9 cm. All items have been left untouched, no glue or any other permanent adhesives have been used. If you open the gold filled seal this sculpturette will fall apart.powderboxgirls_mimiberlin-0004Her Story: This is Delia, she suffers from severe memory loss. Her daytime job as a librarian can be done easily; she just looks up everything she needs to know, again and again. Her speciality at night is bondage. This gorgeous librarian likes to experiment with plastic elastics, the ones she gets from the mailman. Delia thinks it’s a more friendly way to tie people down; that is not the case of course. She knows that, but she forgets. It’s never a valuable lesson for Delia when one of her clients turns blue, but they keep coming back for more.

Pinky Palace, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, Avon compact powder box, 1980s candle holder marked Arzberg, sponge, celluloid toothing rings, elastic hairband, plastic and perspex) 9 x 9 cm. All items have been left untouched, no glue or any other permanent adhesives have been used. if you open the gold filled seal this sculpturette will fall apart.
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Her story: this is Joan, by day she is an interior designer, her favorite style is Hollywood Regency. Her nighttime workplace is decorated to the max, the color scheme of her window completes her physique so well that everybody just stares and admires the beauty of it all. No customer has ever seen her room from the inside. Joan doesn’t mind, she knows her window is only a facade, her tiny work room is just as plain as any other room in ‘The Fuck Flat’

Meeting Point, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, Miniaturfigur Preiser, made in Germany /  Fake Chanel ‘CC’ pocket mirror / ‘Auto-coat’ glass window sign from De Bonneterie, Amsterdam. A genuine Chanel button.) 13 x 13 cm. All collectable items have been left untouched, no glue or any other permanent adhesives have been used. If you open the gold filled seal this sculpturette will fall apart.
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Her story: This is Jean, she is a shop-a-colic, by day and by night. She mostly finds her customers at the Shopping Mall near the “Meeting Point”, often she is almost by herself, but when she finds a client she takes him, or her, to the back alley for a quicky. And yes, that is specialty!

Mom Maria, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, 1920s porcelain halfdoll, marked ‘foreign’. Compact powder box ‘Vogue’ 1970s, petit trinketbox with portrait of a boy, latex, oversized pin.) 10 x 10 cm. All items have been left untouched, no glue or any other permanent adhesives have been used. If you open the gold filled seal this sculpturette will fall apart.
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Her story: This is Maria, she is a secluded person and does her job at night in an anonymous way; she covers her face with latex. Maria was a stay-at-home mom by day, but her son just died. She is still in mourning so she visits his grave most of the time, Actually, she visits every day and brings flowers.

Sleeping Beauty, 2016, mixed media (1950s ceramics, celluloid mirror, perspex, elastic hairband, plasic, led lamp) 20 x 13 cm. All items have been left untouched, no glue or any other permanent adhesives have been used. mimiberlin_statuettes-9450

Her story: This is Ulli, she is the sleeping beauty and she’s the odd one out; Ulli doesn’t have her own cube. This girl suffers from narcolepsy so it’s impossible for Ulli to have a dayjob, that’s why she is the only Powderbox Girl who “works” by day and by night. Customers try to wake her up by kissing her, by pulling the elastic or any other way they fancy. It seems like this girl knows no pain. The mirror ensures that she’s still breathing.

Stripper Pole, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, 1920/30s etched glass, porcelain legs marked “Deutschland”, 1960s metal compact powder box) 9 x 9 cm.powderboxgirls_mimiberlin-0012
Her Story: This is Sella, aka ‘La Giraffa’
Sella is a top fashion model by day. At night Sella works as a striptease dancer, specialized in spinning the dancing pole. From the day she was born on, Sella was most known for her remarkable legs; they were so long that they earned her the nickname ‘La Giraffa”

Lady Dice, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, 1920s/1930s porcelain halfdoll, $1 bill, 1950s compact powder box) 9 x 9 cm.
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Her story: Lady Dice, but her name is Tina, by day she earns her living with gambling; hence the nickname ‘Dice’. Tina is popular, she gets the most tips. She thinks it’s a blessing, but it’s not. Yes you guessed right: Tina’s Tips are being swallowed at the crap table every day. Tina compromises her position behind her window at night; nobody knows for sure if she will be present, up till now she missed 7 shifts.

Vanity, 2016, Mixed media (plastic, 1920/30s etched glass, porcelain halfdoll, 1950s metal compact powder box) 9 x 9 cm.
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Her story: This is Loulou, she is from Germany. Her day job is taking care of children at the daycare center in the local gym. Loulou is one of 6 sisters, so during the night she likes to just take care of herself. The customers she attracts are the ones who like to watch

Debby, 2016, Mixed media (plastic cube, 1940s/50s porcelain Dutch souvenir wooden shoe, fur, anodised aluminium, 1960s metal powderbox, biscuit porcelain) 9 x 9 cm.

Her Story: This is ‘Debby’, she was born in the smallest village in The Netherlands. During the daytime she is an estheticienne. At night, next to having plain sex for cash, she takes care of her colleauges by tyding up their hair. Debby likes to shave eyebrows off, cut long hair short and she loves pushing haircoloration to it’s limits.

Dancing Queen, 2017, Mixed media (plastic cube, plastic, glass, paper, 1960s brass enameled powderbox-“mascot cream powder” ) 9 x 9 cm.

Her Story: This is Gloria she is a retired Marathon Dancer. She once was the, record-holding, queen of so-called ‘dance marathons’. Gloria quit these endurance movement contests after her partner Homer danced himself to death (after they danced for 98 hours non-stop). In her heyday Gloria always repaired her own, danced-down shoes: that’s how she learned the basics of shoecrafting. The dayjob of this retired, prizewinning dancer is shoe designer. At night she still dances for money (faking the endurance part of the marathons ofcourse) and at the same time she promotes her designs. You know: sex sells.  Most of her clients are sadistic men and women with a fetish for shoes.

 

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Rabbit a.12 and Rabbit a.16

-Rabbit a.16, 2014. (Mixed media: ceramic/Small and brown faux pearls/Large sweet water pearls/Pink Jade) ø 9 x 14,5 cm.
-Rabbit a.12, 2014. (Mixed media: 1970s porcelain signed Goebel/ Small faux pearls/Large sweet water pearls/Marble) 6,5 x 6,5 x 11 cm.

The Story:
These two species; Rabbit a.12 and Rabbit a.16 are created for the same purpose: pioneering digital hearing enhancement technology (DHET). Rabbits are extremely suitable for DHET because of their largest feature: the ears. By blocking the eyes and mouth they won’t see no evil and speak no evil, but they can hear evil extremely well. And that’s where they come in handy. The species is created to double as a propaganda and gossip detectors, next to being cute. Rabbit a.12, on the right, is stuck in an experimental phase: the pearly smile allows making sounds. Rabbit a.16, the last try-out in line, is the most efficient one, but not yet cute enough.

Titty Trapeze: The Story.

Titty Trapeze by Mimi Berlin

Titty Trapeze: The Story.

Titty Trapeze, Nude Trapeze Artist; (née Mary Wilson, 1905 Chesterton, UK-1982, Las Vegas, USA)

Titty Trapeze, the act, was actually the work of two people: Mary and Bob Wilson. This couple designed the act Titty Trapeze to cater their own fetishes, taking it to the extreme in public. Mary was born in an astronomical family(1) she inherited the love for being a star high up in the sky. Mr Wilson had very dominant tendencies(2), which were also rooted in his youth. Needless to say; this circus act was actually rated triple X, but only if you paid attention to the details.

Titty Trapeze was a semi-nude trapeze act, for which Bob Wilson designed two special nipple piercings (they were the size of bracelets) for his wife Mary. Dangling from these hoops was a metal chain, which was draped to Mrs Wilson’s backside to mimic a swing. A sack was placed over her head, so she appeared to be headless. (but was in fact anonymous) Furthermore; her arms were blackened by make-up, emphasizing the ‘free floating effect’. Mrs Wilson swung just above the heads of the (standing) audience so they could almost touch her toes.

Needless to say Mary’s Mama’s dropped to her knees at the early age of 25. But by this time the couple had already turned their backs to the Circus and took on performing a less physically demanding act: Salomé. The dance performance Salomé was already a very popular act in the 1910s.(3) The Wilson’s modernized it a bit: Mary danced, fully clothed, with Bob’s head in her hands. (it was his turn to wear a black sack as costume; it was pulled over his body leaving only his head visible to the audience) The Salomé routine was a succes, revived by the Wilson’s and re-gaining it’s popularity at many Vaudeville and Strip shows(4). Performing this act well into the 1970s; they lived happily ever after and died on the same day in the middle of the Nevada desert, during a storm.

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Titty Trapeze is part of the History of Circus Legends a series of unique figurines handmade by Mimi Berlin.
Mimi Berlin, 2013. Titty Trapeze, (1970s ceramics, 1920s mother of pearl, resin & metal, beads in sweet water pearl and copper) 14,5 x 8 cm.

Titty Trapeze: The Story is written by Mimi Berlin. Loosely based on the life of Bob and Ethel Granger and other unbelievable historical accurate events and people.

(Image: Titty Trapeze in Action. Titty Trapeze at work; watch her move high above the ground…..gif by Appdikted.)

Notes:
(1)The Grangers of Peterborough – an astronomical family Authors: Atwell, R. Journal: Journal of the British Astronomical Association, vol.100, no.5, p.214-217 Bibliographic Code: 1990 JBAA..100..214A (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1990JBAA..100..214A)
(2)http://www.ethelgranger.com|
(3)Blue Vaudeville: Sex, Morals and the Mass Marketing of Amusement, 1895–1915 By Andrew L. Erdman (published by McFarland). Page 108 (https://books.google.nl/books?id=b_VTCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA108&lpg=PA108&dq=salome+strip+act&source=bl&ots=zYnNVcTiQm&sig=1o_XlcZ920e-v_fKXQdIbciy-A0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjN2P_XzdfVAhWLKFAKHS0oBFEQ6AEITDAG#v=onepage&q=salome%20strip%20act&f=false)|
(4)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lili_St._Cyr

 

 

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Mounted Lady Trumpeteer

Mounted Lady Trumpeteer (neé Darlene D’amour, 1918, Nice- 1938.)

The taxidermy of Darlene D’amour was found in a tiny museum, or cabinet of wonders if you will. She was placed in a vitrine including, amongst other oddities, a model steam boat in Amsterdam. (1) After years of researching her story came to life.

Darlene D’amour was a member of the European musical act Bubblé Jeunesse D’oree (bubbles golden youth), managed by O.Bartik (2) This was really an astonishing act: Three women playing the trumpet under water wearing mini dresses. They were set in a huge aquarium filled with brass flowers and golden glitter. This act was an expensive one, and thus didn’t become as populair as it should have been.

At some point Darlene, allegedly, unfortunately cut her ankle at one of the brass leaves and lost her foot(3) and she bled to death in the water tank.
The underwater act was obviously cursed and the aquarium was too large for 2 people; the act vanished. (yes, it literally bled to death, duh.)

Mister Bartik did continue showing the taxidermy of Darlene D’amour’s body and named her the
‘Mounted Lady Trumpeteer’. Believe it or not but he sold her foot, including golden shoe to a “harem keeper”. The foot of Darlene Love ended up in a whorehouse named ‘The Harem’, where it was placed in the middle of the main room to set an example for women who were thinking of escaping. The horror of it all!

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Mimi Berlin, 2013. History of Circus Legends. Lady Trompeteer. ( 1920s ceramic, plastic, copper, glass, cello-tape, rubber, water) ø7.5/4.5 x 27 cm,

The Mounted Lady Trumpeteer is part of the History of Circus Legends a series of unique figurines handmade by Mimi Berlin.

Mimi Berlin, 2013. Mounted Lady Trumpeteer, Mixed Media ( 1920s ceramic, plastic, copper, glass, cello-tape, rubber, water) ø7.5/4.5 x 27 cm,

Mounted Lady Trumpeteer: The Story is written by Mimi Berlin. Very loosely based on an advertisement in Billboard magazine 1906, on musician Darlene Wright, and on the private collection of Freundin T.

Notes:
(1) This statuette is part of the private collection of Freundin T. since 2013.
(2) The Billboard, 22 September,1906. http://www.circushistory.org/Pdf/Billboard22Sep1906.pdf
(3) The Foor of Darlene Love, History of circus Legends by Mimi Berlin, 2013.

Dinky the Head Balancer

The story of Dinky, Headbalancer.
(neé ? a Deaf Albino Rabbit)

Dinky was a pet bunny owned by The LaMothe Trio, circus performers and brothers with a head and hand balancing act.(1) Dinky was born an albino and was deaf to both ears. The brothers didn’t eat him like they usually did with animals, no, nothing but good fortune came to Dinky througout his life!
The LaMothe brothers concealed his dissability, or rather made the most out of it, by covering Dinky’s ears with pink jars (matching his red eyes). These jars enabled Dinky to stand on his ears for hours. This was the way he made himself useful; balancing upside down during the entire, ten minute, act of the LaMonte Trio. This unknown but legendary rabbit was almost a mini sideshow by himself.

(1)Billboard 22 September, 1906

La Jeune Marletta

The sad story of La Jeune Marletta, Ice Skater  (Born a nameless orphan, Chicago, USA. 19??/1915 )
©Mimi Berlin, La Jeune Marletta, Ice Skater. 2013. 1920s glass, 1970s ceramic and plastic, water. 6.5 x 11 cm.

La Marletta was adopted by Bernhard Salchow (Father of Ulrich Salchow, the inventor of the jump bearing his name (1)) He adopted the little child, after immigrating to the United States from Sweden, leaving his blood related family behind, in 1910. Mr Salchow started training La Marletta (then believed to be approximately four years of age) immediately after he found her. This fierce ice skating trainer taught her to do a Grande Jetez followed by a Salchow with an extra 3/4 rotation. She performed this jump-set many times at  various Vaudeville shows in the group act; Gisele on Ice, directed by Mr Salchow himself. She was the first female performer to execute the Salchow jump, a fact often mistakenly credited to Theresa Weld, who performed it at the 1920 Summer Olympics.

Doom came upon her at the young age of five years (or one year after she had been adopted). During her performance of Gisele on Ice her partner failed to catch her after her perfectly executed jump set. She crashed to the ground, as she lay still on the ice the entire corps de ballet went on with the show, and skated over her petite body. Marletta’s spine was badly bruised, her neck was fiercly dislocated and her upper teeth moved back and forth, her feet were cut of at her ankles. She was hospitalized for 12 months but never recovered, La Jeune Marletta died (presumably) at the age of six years.

To preserve her delicate, broken body she is kept in water, to remain a memory frozen in time.
(1-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulrich_Salchow)

La Jeune Marletta is part of the History of Circus Legends. View the complete series History of Circus Legends HERE

Clements the Contorsionist

The story of Clements the Contorsionist.
(neé Clements de Marlo 1902-1993, Bremen)

From the 1910s through the 1930s this celebrated contorsionist performed his magic at circus and vaudeville circuits around the world. He is credited by circus historians as creating several new contortion (or bending) acts. The most populair being “Frog’s Paradise”(1) which Clements created in 1911.

Was he a man without any bones? No, he inherited his talent. Mr de Marlo’s vertebrae didn’t scrape together, so the muscles and ligaments in his spine allowed the vertebrae to stretch lots and lots of inches apart. On top of that Clements started training his unusual body at the correct age of four years old. Mr de Marlo’s was also a stuntman in silent films for the actor John Barrymore, doubling for acrobatic shots and fencing.(2)

(1)Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010 (2)New York Times, June 4, 1993

Contorsionist, 2013, Mixed media (1990s/1980s ceramic, bakelite) 7 x 8.5 cm.

Dolly the Well Done Lamb

The predictive story of Dolly (taxidermy, replica)

After World War I ended, there were lots of dressed up (sheep) sculptures(1) to be found at the sideshows. They were created to remember the Dolly Sisters after they moved from the USA to France. The Dolly Sisters were very populair twins, socialités, dancers and singers at the Ziegfeld Follies, the seductive glamour they brought on stage abroad was highly missed in the US of A. Hence the creation of numerous well done embellished dressed up sheep. These taxidermies or statuettes were often covered in faux pearls.(2) to copy the sisters original outfits, designed by a.o. Paul Poiret.

note: the choice for faux pearls is clear: these beads were at the height of fashion in those days. On the other hand why they used sheep remains a mystery.

(1)Bonhams Auctioneers, Demetre Chiparus, lot #78, 2012 (2)Mimi Berlin’s Evolutionairy Extravaganza.

Lamb, 2013. Mixed media (1970s porcelain, signed Goebel W Germany 43, 1950s/1960s/1980s beads & gold filled metal, 1980s