Thursday, December 01, 2011

Speakeasy Dollhouse: Tickets Are Now On Sale For The 2012 Season

Speakeasy Dollhouse
The Speakeasy Is Our Dollhouse and The Actors Are Our Dolls

Buy Tickets Now

A true tale of bootlegging, mafia, infidelity, and murder set in Prohibition-era New York City. The speakeasy is our dollhouse and the actors are our dolls.

"My grandparents, the Spanos, came to this country from Italy during the Roaring Twenties. They opened two speakeasies in the Bronx: one masquerading as a bakery, and the other one a secret nightclub. Shortly after Prohibition ended, my grandfather was shot and killed on the street in Manhattan. My grandmother was pregnant with my mother at the time, and upon hearing the news of the murder, she went into a coma. When her husband's coffin was dropped on the way up the narrow stairs of their apartment building, my grandmother woke up -- and went into labor. On the same day, my mother was born in one room of the small Bronx apartment while her father's body was laid out in a coffin in another.

Nobody still living in my family knows why my grandfather was shot. Nothing was known about the killer, his motive, or a trial. My grandmother took these secrets to her grave. And so, over the past two years, I have been researching this complicated mystery." - Cynthia von Buhler

To better explore her grandfather's murder and events leading up to it, Von Buhler has created an elaborate speakeasy dollhouse set in her art studio. There is a plush secret nightclub, a bakery, a pre-war apartment, a bootlegging bathroom, and a morgue. These sets contains minute and authentic crime scene details that can be examined from every angle.

To take it one step further, the artist has now created an immersive theatrical experience to go along with the sets and her own investigation. The play stages these events in a historic Lower East Side speakeasy set up to mirror the dollhouse sets. The actors aren't visually distinguished from the audience, so both become players in the life-sized speakeasy dollhouse.

Was Frank Spano guilty, or did his fatal trouble arise because he was innocent? Did he have a connection to the infamous mobster Dutch Schultz? Who was the man who committed the murder, and what became of him and his family? And just how corrupt was the government? Von Buhler (The Time Traveling Revealer of Truth) is the lone audience member, watching the interactions as fodder for her work. Revelations and observations will be used in the Speakeasy Dollhouse graphic novel series she is working on in conjunction with the play. Dress the part, and you become part of the family - and book!

Expect to witness a murder, a birth, and many things in between, all while sipping cocktails from teacups and enjoying cannolis fresh from the Spanos' Bakery. Mingle with flapper floozies, infamous mobsters, corrupt magistrates, and questionable cops. Live prohibition-era music by The Howard Fishman Quartet. From decor to music to characters, it's a mind-blowing trip back in time.

A documentary on Speakeasy Dollhouse is in the works. Find out more about it HERE.

The Discovery Channel have been filming and interviewing Cynthia about her play for their show Oddities.

Gothamist interview with Cynthia von Buhler.

Read reviews of the show HERE and HERE.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Cynthia von Buhler will be a judge at Literary Death Match in Boston on November 17th!

Click to order discounted advance tickets now!

We’re already quivering with excitement thinking about our return to Boston this fall — this time at OBERON, especially since we’re planning on a show that’s even more delightful, amazing, and enthralling than Bostonians have ever seen us before.

Our panel of spectacular judges will include the tantalizingly insightful Ron Currie Jr. (author of God is Dead and Everything Matters!), the internationally renowned artist/illustrator/performer/children’s book author Cynthia von Buhler, and the enchanting comic artist Liz Prince (author of Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed?).

Together, they’ll pass judgment over a crew of bold and fearless scribes, including Senior Editor for AGNI and The Believer contributor Billy Giraldi, the articulately astounding Courtney Maum (author of the short story collection Small Things in Big Places), the utterly brilliant Matthew Salesses (Fiction Editor and columnist for the GoodMen Project, and author of the forthcoming novella The Last Repatriate), and the dazzling novelist Sarah Braunstein (author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children).

Hosted by LDM creator Todd Zuniga & Kirsten Sims.

Where: OBERON, 2 Arrow Street, Harvard Square, Boston (map)
When: Doors at 7, Show at 8:15 (sharp); afterdrinks after.
Cost: $10 preorder; $15 on the door.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Evelyn Evelyn Reading at Cousin Corrine's Live Comix Block

Cynthia Von Buhler is staging an Evelyn Evelyn, A Tragic Tale in Two Tomes reading with live sound effects and a slide show at Cousin Corrine's Live Comix Block. She will sign books afterwards.

Evelyn Evelyn, A Tragic Tale in Two Tomes was written by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley and was illustrated by Cynthia. The afterword was written by Neil Gaiman.

Book Court, 163 Court St. Brooklyn, Thurs Oct 20th @7PM.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Oddities: Speakeasy Dollhouse Featured On The Discovery Channel

Hi Friends & Supporters,

Speakeasy Dollhouse is going to be featured on the Discovery Channel show Oddities. They filmed my visit to the Obscura store yesterday. I was interviewed about the project and I spoke with the owners of the coolest little antique store in the Lower East Side (NYC). I showed them some of my handmade dolls and sets and told them all about the story and play. They loved it and want to help out. The owners of the store (and stars of the show) are going to get many of the more obscure props for the play. They are searching for items like a coroner's gurney, coroners tools, religious art, and all sorts of Prohibition-era props. All of this will be filmed as an episode of Oddities which will air in early 2012. There's even a chance that they might come and shoot during the play!

I'm working like mad on the book and play. It is going to be magical.

Keep spreading the word.

Cheers, Cynthia
"Most of my friends’ bedroom walls are covered with posters of David Cassidy or horses. Mine are covered with pictures from art books."

Friday, September 09, 2011

Gothamist Interviews Cynthia von Buhler About Speakeasy Dollhouse

From Gothamist:
Cynthia Von Buhler Tells Us About Recreating Her Grandfather's Murder In The Bronx

"Artist Cynthia von Buhler has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a project she's already been working on for years, and is a lifetime in the making.

To sum it up, her grandfather was murdered in Manhattan before she was born, and to figure out why, she created a miniature version of all the places that played key roles during her family's life at that time. These are based off "Nutshell Studies—dollhouses that students could examine from every angle... complete with minute and authentic crime scene details" which have been used to "challenge detectives and strengthen their ability to read evidence."

Her Speakeasy Dollhouse project also consists of a gorgeous book, and an immersive play, along with the handmade dolls and sets. We highly recommend you fund it so you can participate in the completed project! Below, von Buhler tells us more..."

Click HERE to read the full interview.

Enjoy a few pages from the book below.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Speakeasy Dollhouse

Speakeasy Dollhouse is a biographical tale of murder, bootlegging, mafia, and intrigue, set in New York City and explored through a graphic novel and live performances.

This is a true story about my grandfather who, during prohibition, along with my grandmother, bootlegged liquor and owned two speakeasies in New York City. He was shot and killed in 1935, but nobody in my family ever found out why. I'm uncovering the facts and telling the story in two ways: First, a graphic novel with photographs of miniature dolls and sets that I've created to visualize and convey the story, and second, in an immersive play through which the events unfold in real life. You can help me solve this mystery by pre-ordering the book or by purchasing tickets to the play through Kickstarter. - Cynthia von Buhler (née Carrozza)

In 1922, my grandfather was given a free trip to America because he was a brave soldier in Italy.He ran an ice delivery business in the Bronx and someone owed him money. He needed the money because he had four children and his wife was pregnant. So he grabbed his coat and went to collect the debt. He took his twelve-year-old son, Dominick, with him. They unlocked the door and let him into the apartment.
But before he could finish taking off his coat, he was shot. He couldn’t defend himself because his arms were stuck in his sleeves. He died.When Grandma found out, she fell down and went into a long sleep. Two days later, Grandpa’s coffin was being carried into their apartment when the man who carried it tripped and fell, and dropped the coffin right on the ground! My mother says that Grandpa’s ghost tripped him.The sound of the coffin hitting the floor woke Grandma up. Her baby started to come out. In the living room, my grandfather’s body was laid out in his coffin, and in the bedroom next to it my mother was born.
For more information click HERE to watch a video about the project.
Thank you to Howard Fishman, Amanda Palmer and Kim Boekbinder for donating downloads of their prohibition-era songs to my Kickstarter project.
Howard Fishman by Anne Vellis. Amanda Palmer by Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez. Kim Boekbinder by Heike_Schneider-Matzigkeit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Evelyn Evelyn: A Tragic Tale in Two Tomes Has Been Printed!

It's printed! You won't be able to get one in your greedy little hands until October. You can sneak peek a few pages and read Neil Gaiman's afterword HERE on Amazon. Pre-order it on Amazon now. It might sell out of its first pressing quickly.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Hotel Chelsea - The End of an Era

The Hotel Chelsea is closing. Here's an article in The New York Times about it.

I've been staying there this year while I look for an apartment. I even threw a fabulous party there back in March. Yao Xiao immortalized the party with her drawing (see below). The party was held in the large one bedroom, room 103, where Sid and Nancy once infamously stayed - and Nancy died. Here's a picture of Liz and Katelan at the party. Katelan wrote a blog post about it. I've also had a few slumber parties there. Here's a video from one.

If any of my friends had additional pictures from this party send them along and I'll post them.

To read my initial post about the party click HERE.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Cynthia von Buhler Font - Let's Celebrate 5,000!

AS PROMISED: To download the font CLICK HERE and download away. Feel free to take my songs and vintage tv ads that are in there too. Cheers!


I love antique-looking fonts. It's hard to find a perfect one, so I drew my own for the book Evelyn Evelyn, A Tragic Tale in Two Tomes. It was turned into a font by Dark Horse Comics. I am offering it for free to all of my followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook. I'm only two dozen fans away from 2,000 followers on Twitter and 3,000 friends on Facebook. Let's celebrate 5,000!

If you follow me on twitter retweet this tweet:

Please RT: My next 23 followers (& all current followers) will be given the @CynthVonBuhler font used for @EvelynEvelyn.

If you friend me on Facebook share this link: I'm 27 friends away from 3,000 on Facebook. When I reach 3,000 friends I will give it to all of my friends. I do not have a fan page on Facebook yet. I'm waiting until I reach the capacity of friends you can have (5,000) and then I will start one.

This is a limited offer. Soon the font will only be available for sale. If you use the font in a publication you do not need to pay me a fee, but you do need to give me credit as the creator. --Cheers, Cynthia von Buhler

Life. Death. Repeat. A Cynthia von Buhler Interview

Cynthia von Buhler chatting with author Neil Gaiman.

Bryan Reesman interviewed me for his popular blog Attention Deficit Delerium.

Some artists are difficult to pigeonhole, and that’s a great thing.
I have known Cynthia von Buhler for fifteen years, from her earlier performance art days with the female dominant, fetish-oriented group Women Of Sodom and her beguiling, edgy and romantically inspired painting to her expanding career path as both a graphic novel artist and children’s book author and illustrator. While she certainly possesses a very distinct style, Cynthia is not that easy to categorize. She has worked in the visual arts and music. That diversity also extends into her life — she occasionally hosts really fun parties populated by a wide variety of equally eclectic people. Her recent summer bash at her woodland compound in Connecticut featured a live play that was an improvised mash-up of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang performed outdoors near midnight. She played Snow White. No matter what she works on, Cynthia brings her own unique perspective into the project, and she likes to challenge people’s perceptions and expectations.

Cynthia von Buhler drawing a page from Evelyn Evelyn: A Tragic Tale in Two Tomes. Photograph by Seth Kushner.

Cynthia’s work has run the gamut of extremes, from two feline-friendly children’s books (The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside and But Who Will Bell The Cats?) to colorful, striking paintings with unusual mixed media elements (such as fruit, a half-melted candle, even a syringe) to a vending machine display called Cynth-O-Matic, which dispensed packaged samples of her body hair and various fluids. (Seriously.) Some of Cynthia’s recent and upcoming projects include illustrating the Evelyn Evelyn graphic novel A Tragic Tale In Two Tomes, a children’s chapter book and a graphic novel about her grandparents.
Read the interview HERE.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kali Goddess

My Kali goddess painting which was commissioned by US News & World report has been used again. This time it is the cover of a new poetry magazine called A Gathering of the Tribes.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

There's A Melancholy Mermaid Swimming In My Lake

Mermaid swimming, film and song remix by Cynthia von Buhler. I needed music for my mermaid tail swimming collage and this song by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley seemed perfect. I illustrated the forthcoming graphic novel written by them titled Evelyn Evelyn, A Tragic Tale in Two Tomes. The book will be released in October by Dark Horse Comics. Pre-order the book on Amazon now. More info on the book and this music can be found here: Note 1: This song remix was not authorized by my friends Amanda & Jason, but I don't think they'll mind. Note 2: This was shot on an iPhone (thank you Alex Farhang) and was manipulated into a film in iMovie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sleep Forever

Snow White has fainted. Her sidekick Squirrelly and The Huntsman look on.

I held my third annual Fur Gnarl summer party at my country estate this past weekend. I staged "Sleep Forever," an immersive theater mashup of Snow White & The Seven Dwarves and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was an homage to the wonderful "Sleep No More." Ours was more of a clusterfuck, but we all had a blast. I plan to stage another immersive theater presentation soon. The next one will be open to the public. I'm attaching some photos below. I'll add a few more when the rest of the photographers send their images in. All photos are by Paul Weiner unless noted otherwise.

Cynthia von Buhler as Snow White
Katelan Foisy as The Queen
Rachel Boyadjis as The Prince
E. Stephen Fredericks as The Children Catcher
Katrina Galore as Truly Scrumptious
Scott Dakota as The Huntsman
Toot Sweet as Chiity Chitty Bang Bang
Walter Sickert as Baron Bomburst
Edrie as Baroness Bomburst
Julie Fotheringham as Creepy (Dwarf 2)
Dalya as Curvy (Dwarf 4)
Justin Moore as Drunky (Dwarf 3)
Joshua Fouts as Twitchy (Dwarf 5)
The Ninja House as Dwarf Cottage
Christina D'Alessandro as Squirrelly
Jeff Newelt as Caractacus Potts
Shahriar Shadab as Jeremy Potts
Sarah Coombs as Jeremiah Potts

Jeremiah and Jeremy Potts and The Prince's Horse.

The Prince's Horse, The Prince, The Huntsman.
The Prince.

The Prince and The Evil Queen Fight.

Snow White and Squirrelly in the Dwarf Cottage.

Drunky and The Horse.
Celebration when The Children Catcher is trapped.

Snow White douses The Children Catcher in beer.

The Huntsman.

Truly Scrumptious.

The Prince.
Truly Scrumptious.

The Potts family.

The Potts family with Truly Scrumptious.

The Prince's Horse.



The masks hung on the dock nest. Photograph by Walter Sickert.

Other Performers at The Fur Gnarl

My husband Russell Farhang (of The Howard Fishman Quartet and many other bands).

My ex-husband Adam von Buhler (of Anarchy Club, Map & Key, formerly of Splashdown).

A new band named My Husband and My Ex-husband. Singing is the amazingly talented Keith from Anarchy Club and formerly of C-60.

The lovely Kim Boekbinder.

My assistant/Princess/Prince Rachel Boyadijs also happens to be a talented poet and singer. Here she play the uke for Foley as he sings a gorgeous Irish tune.

The wonderful Walter Sickert and The Army of Toys

Once again, the wonderful Walter Sickert and The Army of Toys

Other artistic displays:

Terra Fredricks beautiful projection on the Great Room ceiling.
Al Gori's Homespun Merry-Go-Round. This follows me everywhere. Al, make sure that it is at my funeral one day!

Al Gori's Homespun Merry-Go-Round.
Al Gori's Homespun Merry-Go-Round.

A work-in-progress from my art studio.

A work-in-progress from my art studio.

My messy art studio.

Additional photographs of the party by the lovely and talented Kate Black can be found HERE.

For additional photographs and commentary from the fashion designer extraordinaire Kambriel click HERE.

For a slideshow of the whole party, performers, and guests (photographed by Paul Weiner) click HERE.