Richards RING II

Why do we need to have the old stories retold, revamped and rearranged?
Simple: as long as we‘re alive there will be new options in life, love and laughter to be examined, suffered through and applied to our daily grind.

My assistant Richard is a relentless force, urging me to tell, retell and relive a classic: Wagner‘s THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG.

Act I:

My assistant Richard may here be seen with his amour Marietta. While in semi-lockdown with the great Helen Bickers - creator of sets, costumes and lighting used in Richards RING - we uncovered new options of interpreting, enjoying and visualising love, languor and lewdness in Wagnerian relationships.
Richard may here be seen with his amour Marietta. While in semi-lockdown with the great Helen Bickers – creator of sets, costumes and lighting used in Richards RING – we uncovered new options of interpreting, enjoying and visualising love, languor and lewdness in Wagnerian relationships.

Richard‘s take on the scene above: „When Siegmund first laid eyes on Sieglinde all his anguish disappeared! The nightmare of his reality dissolved in the eyes of this pure, suffering maiden. Before mere words could break the spell, he knew their union blessed by all creation.“

Our set chooses green silk to salute all couples who ever belted, loved and killed in Bayreuththe ultimate GREEN HILL!

Act II:

Marietta here portrays many facets of WOMAN ETERNAL:
Brünnhilde, the beloved daughter of Wotan, living to obey….
+ ALL Valkyries, ready to kill or clean at daddy Wotan‘s command,
+ SIEGLINDE, the wounded, waiting, hormonally unstable earthly waif.

Richard as young Wotan: „When I look at my Brünnhilde, I salute the beauty, athletic prowess and divinity of all women in my universe!“
Richard as Siegmund: „THIS is the sister my heart and loins have been incomplete with!“
And as Hagen: „This ex-godly mere woman will surely be of some use to realise my evil plans, (evil laughter:) HOI HO!“

The breastplate of this costume design is a salute to the art of creating practical, inspiring items of clothing for the big opera stage. Attention to detail: how many pasties does Marietta‘s costume have? The spear alone should have a novel devoted to it!

Act III:

Richard may here be seen portraying a young Wotan who still hasn‘t sacrificed an eye for the favours of the sultry Fricka. Elements of his costume clearly point toward his to-be-created relations Siegmund and Siegfried. Artistic freedom: Wotan is already wearing a ring. Every child knows that the ring will only be forged MUCH later in the actual story.

You may ask yourself why I choose to blog about the Wagnerian take on mythology in these times. BIG THEME…please read „WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES“ by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and get back to me.

Act IV:

As grand finale: Richard and Marietta remind us to enjoy what we have right under our noses. Even if you don‘t have a garden, step out onto the balcony,
or open a window, and

If you find what I wrote above confusing, GREAT! With Richard‘s help I want to unveil tiny, appetising portions of Richard Wagner‘s DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN to any reader prepared to remove mindcuffs of mediocrity.

I like summing up the story of Wagner‘s ca. 15 hour RING as follows: „Whosoever steals the gold in the river Rhine from the Rhine maidens and makes himself a ring out of it will be ordained master of the universe.“

The RING thus deals with two timeless issues: politics…..and jewellery, HO JO TO HO!

Suggested listening: the ride of the Valkyries

Copyright for all costumes, sets and designs: Helen Bickers
Patrons: Emiro von Berejesa, Tango, Lussys von Scajuka

Richards RING I

Cancellations, an uncertain future and the creativity born of isolation have turned my assistant, Richard into a romping tyrant! As his beloved Bayreuth Festival has been cancelled he has started designing his own sets, musical version and costumes for future productions of DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN.

Delusions of grandeur has him turning our 2-woman, 3-dog household upside down with impatient demands for immediate results. We have scurried to around to produce a first storyboard of Richard’s expectations.

Richard may here be seen giving his interpretation of Main Man WOTAN

Although his concept is primarily intended for a full-scale RING production, he admits that, because of his masterly use of lighting, texture and composition lesser stage directors may be tempted to adopt his genius for their genre. LIVE AND LET LIVE!

Fully aware that his concept might end up costing several arms and legs, he is already thinking of ways to cut cost. Practical example: instead of 3 Rhinemaidens at the beginning of DAS RHEINGOLD, he has rearranged music and text so that ONE buxom female singer of a countertenor with frightening range may replace the more expensive trio.

Before creating his concept Richard studied the original score and designs. He takes it for granted that other, lesser directors also do so before verbalizing their incompetence…..After his 21 years working the opera scene, this opinion has been cause of great mirth and wonderment.

Richard insisted our dogs were involved in casting options. Doodlebug may here be seen pretending to be the giants Fasolt & Fafner who built Wotan Valhalla.

So let us leave the excessive speculation to those who prefer to work in a bubble of toxic pretense and present the visible results of our humble efforts to make Richards dream a reality.

If Richard reads about a horse in the libretto, he’ll expect to SEE an actual horse AND will assume the singer allowed to mount the feisty animal would be the star of any professional rodeo.
Masterly lighting expected at all times. If singers on stage are expected to wear spectacular clothing, Richard wants the paying audience to appreciate that side of his genius as well.
Costume designs for females should enhance the femininity of the wearer. “DEATH TO NEUTRALITY!” – Richard
The importance of body angles when two characters meet on an opera stage illustrated touchingly by proud Richard and shy warrior Marietta.
As barren, clinical sets have been overused to the point of spontaneous euthanasia, Richard is zealously experimenting with allowing the stage to breathe, invite and develop the story being told to an audience – as it was meant to.
Marietta may here be seen as a proud Brünnhilde defending her horse against Wotan. She trained very hard to be able to take part in our flying scenes AND went to a professional sportswear shop for the right underwear. LADIES & GENTLEMEN: please research appropriate personal underwear before daring to take part in one of Richard’s spectacles!
Spectacular, slow dying is often on the opera menu.

Richard still stubbornly refuses to call operas “music theatre”. He maintains that composers and librettists of his favourite operas have been dead for such a long time that he WILL not be part of the hordes of charlatans immorally dance on the graves of the Great. This approach might be the only evidence that Richard harbours SOME humility in his furry chest.

Sets, lighting & costumes seen above were created, under the firm guiding hand of Richard, by Madame Helen Bickers.

Copyright: Emiro von Berejesa

Monkey business I survived

Dear Reader,

I have had the most fascinating 2 weeks of ups and downs: from fulfilling professional behavior in glamorous surroundings right down to the snake pits of monkey business at its worst.

For me it covers the full spectrum of small, seemingly innocent moments of untruths, backhandedness, non-creative backstabbing and those insults born from ignorance and ineffectiveness.

Endured in small portions monkey business can have a stimulating effect on one’s sense of humor and tolerance; BUT…..if one is subjected to the monkey family for too long, one becomes drained of the energy to even consider suicide, let alone actively fighting the monkeys to claw one’s way back to joyful reality.

My recommended antidote for being buried under mountains of mocking monkeys: visualize the little monsters! The enemies we can identify are more easily faced, analysed and permanently removed from our centre of well-being.

Reminder of what we often see in Facebook posts and on T-shirts: „DON’T LET YOUR ENEMIES (for the purpose of this blog: MONKEYS)  LIVE IN YOUR MIND – THEY ARE NOT PAYING RENT!“ Monkeys are bad tenants if left to frequent your head-space, and if not exorcised in time will leave you barren of any hope for your future.

As visual aid to our weekly exorcism of monkeys, I offer you a selection of actually wearable monkeys found by my brave friend Helen.

FIND YOUR MONKEY: it is your choice whether you WEAR it or BURN it.

I really don’t see the charm of monkeys, they are too much like animals too enjoy as people and too much like people to enjoy as animals.

But other people do.


1890 orangutan:
Triple monkey cameo earrings

Double victorian monkey bars, Tiffany 1900, with diamonds!

THIS monkey comes with a garnet fez

Animal monkey musician:

Reenacting that famous scene from 2001 with a freshwater pearl

Carved amethyst and rock crystal art deco chimpanzee, thinking hard about something:

David Webb’s monkey is also cogitating


Diamond ass modern monkey:




Diamond spats:


Modern emerald monkeys:


Marc Alary does a lot of oddly robot-like monkeys. Here with briolet citrine banana:





Weil ich gerade vom Arbeitgeber gekündigt worden bin finde ich die Zeit, die wichtige Fragen des Lebens anzusprechen.
As my employer just fired me, I am making time to address important issues of life.

Als Deutsche fragt man sich zur Zeit: was soll es mit diesem „HALLOWEEN“? Wir feiern doch den REFORMATIONSTAG!
The current burning issue in many german minds: Why are we making a fuss about this „HALLOWEEN“? Surely we should be preparing for the DAY OF REFORMATION!

Religiöse und kulturelle Unterschiede/Anregungen beiseite! Meine Variante heißt: Reformationstag im Herzen und äusserlich üppig mit HALLOWEEN Gedöns geschmückt.
Allowing myself to set religious and cultural differences and stimulation aside, I offer you my solution: keep the DAY OF REFORMATION in your heart while draping any and all bits of HALLOWEEN decoration you can find over your person and your environment.

Fürs Ausleben meiner Variante vom reformierenden Halloween, teile ich Schmuck-Optionen die eine Freundin mir zugeflüstert hat.
As a practical suggestion of how you could partake of my variation of „reforming HALLOWEEN“, I’d like to share some jewelry suggestions I received from a friend with you. 


Bats, owl and grotesqueries!

Art nouveau loved the dark side and it’s Halloween so let’s dig it!



1905 vesta case with Bat Nude:
She’s a New Jersey girl made by the Unger Brothers

Lalique in 1898 had made her somewhat more flightworthy cousin

This gorgeous little monster is from 1900, no idea who made it


No need to waste a good mold, let’s rework Creepy Catfrog with a ginko leaf on his derrière:


Richard Mullen abstracted the bat:


Lalique moonstones, bats & snake watch


A sorceress, bat, owl and the poppies someone was smoking to dream this thing up:


Japonisme fad clumsily married the the Creatures of the Night aesthetic, a real artifact of what was “with it” that year:

A ruby, diamond, and leather evening bag of 1905 (notice the pinecone motif frame. Do European owls roost exclusively in conifers?

Carved aquamarine owl is not creepy but mightily pissed off about something

And finally the perfect flower vase for the well-appointed guest bedroom with original catalogue description:







As the fairytale below is in German today, I’d like to share a catchphrase NOBODY should live without, with my English readers:


-I’m too old, beautiful and talented to show any reaction to your shenanigans /
-Surely you’re too old, beautiful and talented to wear that horrible dress /
-If I hadn’t been this old, beautiful and talented I would have resisted being the shoes.




Danke, Sofia Pavone!


(Scroll down for the English version)

Im Hause der Göttin Fricka herrscht gerade ungewohnte Freudenstimmung. Sei es einfach gesagt, daß die liebe Tante Fricka keine lebenden Freunde hat und gerade die endgültige Trennung von ihrem vierten Ehemann plant. Ehemann 1-3 liegen unter der Esche im Vorhof begraben.

Überschwängliche Freude erstrahlt um die Widdergehege: eine 13-jährige Wiedermutter hat nämlich gerade vor einer Stunde zwei unternehmungslustige Wiederlämmer zur Welt gebracht. Das Personal freut sich besonders über diesen Geburt, weil das Ereignis vielleicht die berüchtigte schlechte Laune der Herrin beschwichtigen könnte.

Madame Fricka hat sich nämlich zum Scheidungsfest 2 junge Widder gewünscht.

So werden die frischgeborene Widderlämmer Fricka präsentiert.
Während das Personal Fricka hoffnungsvoll anschaut, verhärtet ihr Lächeln allmählich zum Gruselkabinett eines Völkermordes.

Ihre Freudenzerstampfungskampagne wird in der Überlieferung noch viele Alpträume auslösen:
-der Widderhirt wird auf der Stelle geköpft,
-die Widderlämmer bekommen die Namen GEH-WEG und HAU-AB!

Wir wissen was passieren wird: Fricka wird den Lämmern ihr ganzes Leben lang nur Sauerkraut und Galle als Nahrung geben um aufs Sichere zu gehen dass zwei einst niedliche Widderlämmer leibhaftige Boshaftigkeit versprühen wo immer sie hingehen.

Was Fricka nicht weisst:
Die alte Wiedermutter ist befreundet mit dem Nachbarsnest giftige Würgeschlangen und hat die bissige Schlangenfamilie schon für morgen um 14:30 eingeladen in Frickas Schlafgemach.


FRICKAS GOATS-a small portion of the legend

The mansion of the goddess Fricka is in an unusually joyous mood. Let it simply be said that the dear aunt Fricka has no living friends and is now planning the divorce party from husband number 4. Husbands 1-3 are buried under the sad ash tree in the front yard.

Exuberant joy reigns in the goat enclosure: a 13 year old mother goat gave birth to two enterprising kids about an hour ago. The staff rejoices about this birth, as they hope that this event might appease the notorious bad temper of their mistress.

Madame Fricka has specifically asked for 2 young goats for her divorce party.

So the frisky kids are presented to Fricka. While the staff hopefully looks at Fricka, her smile gradually hardens to a reflection of the horrors of a relentless genocide.

Her joy-crushing campaign will guarantee many nightmares as this story is retold:
-the keeper of the goats is beheaded on the spot,
-the fluffy kids get the names SOD-IT and BUNK-OFF!

We know what has to happen: Fricka will feed the jolly young goats only sauerkraut and bile for the rest of their lives to ensure that our once jolly kids only radiate diabolical malevolence wherever they might roam.

What Fricka does not know:
The old goat mother is best friends with the neighboring nest of vicious, toxic constrictor snakes and has already invited the hungry snake family for a meeting in Frickas bedchamber at 14:30 tomorrow.


Written on 19.05.2017




Facing the Monday of calendar week 38 of 2017 with a horrible head cold could easily have deflated all my creative survival instincts – if I didn’t have reliable, realistic friends who help me see every attack of germs or energy-vampire fellow human beings as an invitation to do a slow pirouette, blink twice and find the other options of looking at the current problem.

Looking at the full 360 degree spectrum of challenges life serves us, even without a preparatory pirouette, opens up so many possibilities of spring cleaning the physical and mental baggage we unknowingly treasure as necessary for our survival. The false security of habits and addictions we hide behind needs to be dusted and rearranged, or at least labelled for future action, if they are not to drag us down.

Thus I attack my Monday challenge with a re-labelling action.

Living in a lovely corner of Europe where Switzerland, Germany and France meet, greet and cross-pollinate merrily, one becomes accustomed to hearing, speaking and dreaming in whichever language best fits the situation. A rather marvelous side benefit of living in an area where German, French, Italian and English co-exist mostly peacefully is that the brain comes up with alternative translations for even the simplest everyday subject.

my defusing of the MONDAY CACTUS involves starting at the root of the problem. As a big problem faced in smaller sections seems more manageable, I came up with a simple re-translation of „Monday“.
Let’s read „mon“ in French = MY, and then leave „day“ English, one arrives at a far more inviting „MY DAY“.

Every good action needing the fitting theme song, I have come up with „THIS IS SO MY DAY!“ sung to the tune of Paul Anka’s „MY WAY“ tune.

Reminder of the lyrics:

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this

To help you visualize the Monday blues and make it, and ALL its‘ soul-drenching relations FLY AWAY, I include pictures of jewelry & Info shared by my friend Helen Bickers. Her text in italics.

I have a file of “wing” jewelry, a popular motif. This thing is the acme! It’s a wind up brooch, the diamond star rotates and flashes. The tacky/cool ration is incalculable. If you’ve ever read Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate 1949, there’s a character who wears a clockwork brooch with a rotating diamond, a symbol of tacky excess. I always thought it was fantasy. Nancy got around, I wonder if she had heard of this guy?



Diamond, pearl and enamel automated turban brooch (sarpech) attributed to Garrard, circa 1910. A gold and silver turban brooch composed of a central circular case with rotating mechanism set with one central cushion shaped old mine diamond in a silver claw setting with an approximate weight of 0.80 carats, above a pair of eight rayed stars which when wound rotate in opposing directions set with fifty two round rose cut diamonds in silver bead settings, the cover of the case in dark blue engine-turned enamel encircled by a single row of thirty six pearls in bead settings, the case also set to top and bottom with twelve round rose cut diamonds in silver collet settings on individual rays, and flanked by two double tiered wings set with one hundred and forty two round rose cut diamonds in silver topped gold bead settings, all two hundred and six rose cut diamonds with an approximate total weight of 5.34 carats, the reverse mounted with a gold hinged pin and scroll clasp, the reverse of the case with a hinged winding latch, engraved with a crown, and with an approximate combined diamond weight of 6.14 carats.Formerly belonging to the estate of Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II (r. 1926-48) of Indore.

Here the same form worked in two different types of enamel – If it sells, why not?

(wing enamle opal diamond skinner)


Flying opals were popular

(wings opal gold diamond wings)

Carl Giuliano’s workshop turned out this interestingly colored zircon number.

(wings giulianoenamel zircon)

Also from Giuliano, a lacy design centered on a mabe pearl

(wings mabe pearl enamel giuliano)

Giuliano star sapphire


Ruuuuubies diamonds and a big ol ‘pearl

French peridot 1880s, they were turning out some amazing metalwork detail

Green enamel & amethyst


Belle Epoque graceful diamonds

This one is about to achieve liftoff! It looks to be an aigret.

This is 1900 cupid not at all aerodynamic

(wings enamel baroque cupid 1900)

Heart shaped moonstone, 1890s

Boivin sapphires 1935


Paul Flato made a line of shoe brooches – these ones inspired by Mercury


WHEEEE Horseshoes!