Archive for the Pugs Category

On a personal note, a fellow(s) and his dogs

Posted in Me, Pugs on October 12, 2011 by babylonbaroque

For my Facebook friends, pardon the redundancy, but for my other readers, just a little snippet of my personal life. I live in a dog friendly neighborhood, so much so that my neighbor, the photographer Scott Witter  has put together a series entitled Dog People. My daily walks with the four beasts , two carried about in a flamboyant John Deere wagon aroused Scott’s attention. He graciously asked us to be part of his series. We of course were tickled, the result follows.

photograph by Scott Witter

Family Portrait

The Better Half, buddy the daschund, Rose the tripod  pug-dog, Speck, the most perfect chihuahua, and Viola the pug-dog


click on image to enlarge

Arts district , Los Angeles Not only was Scott gracious enough to include our little family in his project, he named us “Dog People of the Day”, blog post follows.

Thank you Scott!

Queen V, Charles Burton Barber RA, and the cult of the pug-dog

Posted in 19th Century, Charles Burton Barber RA, Pug Rescue, Pugs, Queen Victoria on June 3, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Playing upon the theme of my last post, I thought I would explore further the Victorian cult of domesticity; most particularly all things canine.

As many of my readers know, I am unabashedly loony for dogs, I have four, would love more if the landlord would allow. The dear late Queen ( and the current ) share this passion, as did  (do) her subjects.

First stumbling upon a pug-dog, in the guise of a door stop in my Nana’s Bucks County antique shop, I was  immediately enchanted; the fascination for the breed hasn’t waned.

I blame part of my love for the breed on Her Majesty.

Although not a pug, this is a favorite image of the Queen.

after Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson


colored woodcut

National Portrait Gallery

Part of the campaign to secure popularity for the monarchy and the Queen in particular was to stress domesticity, adding a pup or two (or four) to the vignette was of course in order.

Domestic Life of the Royal Family


National Portrait Gallery

There  were many painters of hounds, Maud Earl amongst them.

Maud Earl, 1864-1943

Although there were plenty of painters willing to capture the charms of our canine chums, none did so as effectively as Charles Burton Barber.

Charles Burton Barber

b. 1845

d. 1894

Having studied at the Royal Academy at eighteen, and exhibiting there from 1866, Barber caught the eye of the Queen, commissions ensued.

Charles Burton Barber, for the Queen



The Royal Collection

By no means limited to painting pug-dogs, I of course find myself drawn to the few well known, very sentimental depictions of the breed.

Blonde and Brunette

Barber totally captures the seductive charm of the breed, this little pup is shamelessly flirting with the viewer.

I know this behavior well.

A Monster


Again, Barber captures the downward tail, ordinarily curled in a double loop, terribly charming.

There are of course other 19th century depictions of the breed, I’m afraid I cannot identify the artist or the  title of the work that follows; I “swiped” them long ago and did not make note of the title. If you happen to have info please forward it to me.

Identified or not, they are very charming .

ca. 1915

In closing I risk the wrath of my own puglets of I fail to include them in this post.

I appreciate your indulgence.


Rose in background, Viola in the fore.

Viola left, Rose right.

I appreciate your patience, this is quite a “light weight” post, The World’s Oldest Student is mired in finals week.

I hope to improve my offerings during summer break,

Until then,

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque

Mid-Century Victoriana, Gaslight Romanticism

Posted in 19th Century, Ben Shahn, Booth Tarkington, Disney, Fin de Siècle, Gaslight Romanticism, Gay, Orson Welles, Pugs, The Magnificent Ambersons on March 4, 2011 by babylonbaroque

In my continuing obsession with the 19th century, the fin de Siècle in particular;I have been ruminating about that curious, often sanitized version depicted in mainstream  American culture (particularly  film) during the  mid century (give or take a decade or two).


Perhaps it was just nostalgia, Walt Disney, when describing his vacuous horror Main Street stated: “For those of us who remember the carefree time it recreates, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For younger visitors, it is an adventure in turning back the calendar to the days of their grandfather’s youth.”

Although the Disney oeuvre offends my sensibilities, his interpretation of what I call Gaslight Romanticism was extremely influential. In his own Main Street pied-e-terre, the cobwebs of Victorianism have been swept away in a cheery attempt at nostalgic recollection.

Images of his apartment will follow.

The 19th century, being such a close memory for many of the mid-century inspired some really beautiful interpretations as well, Saul Steinberg and Ben Shahn coming to mind.

Ben Shahn

Farewell to New York- All That is Beautiful

watercolor on paper

ca. 1965

I recently stumbled upon this wonderful illustration by Max Bignans, circa 1961, it beautifully captures the era’s fascination with Paris during the Gay 90’s.

Max Bignans illustration

ca. 1961

Thank you Chateau Thombeau.

Perhaps it was just the sauciness of the 90’s that had such great appeal for mainstream audiences. What I love about the fin de Siècle, the Decadent movement, Oscar, Beardsley et al are given little play.

Heteronormative fantasy is the fashion of the period.


It is difficult to not be seduced by the charms of Montmarte during the 90’s , what bothers me is how chaste (yet vaguely sexy) the depictions were, the 1952 Moulin Rouge starring the very pretty Zsa Zsa Gabor a prime example.

As pretty as she is, the clip fails to capture what I find so very appealing about the Montmartre scene.

George Cukor’s 1964 My Fair Lady offered a much more stylized interpretations, at least based upon Miss Hepburn’s costume, a pared down confection seemingly inspired by Charles Worth.

Cukor’s vision, although a little nauseating for my tastes- I may be the only gay man with a deep rooted aversion to the musical genre- admirably captures the Victorian/Edwardian interior.

Vincente Minnelli’s 1958 Gigi offers a particularly vivid interpretation of the 19th century interior; again I suggest muting the clip, it is way too shrill for my ears.

Some folks seem to really enjoy this stuff.

My curiosity for this Hollywood spin on Gaslight Romanticism was inspired by my recently watching the very silly 1965 comedy The Great Race, directed by the late great Blake Edwards. I have never seen Tony Curtis so fey , Natalie Wood so charming(and shapely) or so many adorable pug-dogs.

It goes down as one of my favorite movies.

the very adorable Miss Wood

I particularly love the opening credits, very period, both 1890’s and 1960’s, an admirable accomplishment.

Two films from my youth depict the 90’s , the first that I remember being Gene Kelly’s 1969 Hello Dolly, starring Louis Armsrtrong and Miss Streisand.

I am only just beginning to understand her appeal (a little too much of  a middle- aged -gay -homo cliche for my taste) but she does seem to have quite an impressive voice.

I might convert yet.

Of course we mustn’t forget Miss Channing

Miss Channing

The other film of my childhood, one that haunted me with boyhood nightmares was the 1968 film directed by Ken Hughes, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The Child Catcher of Vulgaria ( gotta love it!) sent my brother David and I into fits of terror.

We of course adored it.

Sally Anne Howes as the deliciously named Truly Scrumptious is really quite scrumptious.

The only film depiction of the 19th century that I am wild about is from a little earlier; Orson Welles 1942 masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons based upon the equally stupendous 1918 novel of the same title by Booth Tarkington.

The film ( and the novel) captures the somewhat claustrophobic atmosphere of the 19th century that I perversely find so very appealing.

I love how Welles captured the spirit of the Victorian painted backdrop of the traveling photographer.

This clip clearly captures Welles understanding and perhaps sympathy for the 19th century sensibility.

The following image is of the now demolished Indianapolis mansion that inspired the Amberson mansion of Tarkington’s novel.

It is undeniably magnificent.

I include the following clip from the 2002 A&E interpretation of Welles’  masterpiece, only because it features pretty boy Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Ridiculous of me, ridiculous of A&E.

As I mentioned before Uncle Walt ( that moniker  has ALWAYS creeped me out) was perhaps influential for this whole “bright & cheery” spin on my beloved dark and romantic 19th century aesthetic. His apartment certainly looks a heck of lot like my own Nana’s home, although she chose the particularly bilious palette of “peach and Wedgewood blue”, trust me it was a horror. God rest her antiquarian lovin’ soul!

Uncle Walt in situ , above MainStreet’s Firehouse.

A true horror.

Evidently this frightful lamp is left burning to honor the great man’s passing.

God this is one ugly lamp.

I don’t fully comprhend the vitriol I have towards this man and his vision; a tremendous number of people ( friends and family included) adore this fellow. For more info concerning Walt,  his vision of Victoriana, and  his apartment follow this  link.

I for one will take my 19th century straight up, clutter, moodiness, romanticism intact,

although perhaps at times a clearing out of clutter is in order.

I appreciate your indulgence in this particularly long post; if for some reason you want to further explore Hollywood films depicting the fin de Siècle follow this link.

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque

Daisy, an ode to joy

Posted in Daisy, Epileptic pugs, Moses, Pug Rescue, Pugs on January 17, 2011 by babylonbaroque

I lost my beloved pug -dog Daisy early Friday morning, her death was very unexpected, the angel of death struck swiftly.

I ask for my readers’ indulgence as this post will for the most part be self serving; to honor Daisy’s memory, alleviate some of the grief, and to spread the joy Daisy possessed in abundance.

I would understand perfectly if you passed over this post, but I hope you do not.

Daisy née Savannah

b. 1st of January 2004

d. 14th of January 2011, around 8:30 am

Recquiscat in Pace little girl.

Daisy entered our life when we were living in Ft.Lauderdale, the Beloved wanted a pug, I was quite content being a one pup household, Speck(aka Gooch) the adorable chihuahua brought enough joy.

Thankfully the Better Half insisted.

We located a young pup, through the  Miami based Compassionate Pug Rescue, she was  nine months old, full of vigor, and possessing this ridiculous tongue. You had to laugh.

She made quite a splash, literally, upon first meeting us, she darted outside and jumped directly into the pool. We were aghast, I jumped in fully dressed, and rescued her. I think my “valor” impressed the adoption agent, I for one was hooked on Daisy.

Daisy Pup

about 9 months old

Daisy came with the name Savannah which we did not think fitting, we easily changed the name.

Daisy also came with epilepsy, less easy to remedy.

Soon after adoption she suffered a series of seizures. Although spooky, she recovered quickly from them, seemingly oblivious to what had just happened. We tinkered with a variety of treatments, starting off with phenobarbital, which proved unsatisfactory. Our wise veterinarian suggested we give old fashioned potassium bromide a try, it was proving to be an effective treatment for epilepsy with little side effects; fortunately Daisy proved to be a successful candidate, we hadn’t experienced a seizure until her final day.

Thank you Dr.Cox.

Our seven years with Daisy were a joy, she had many moods, and aside from greed and envy, all positive:

she was playful,




and often quite lazy, being so charming was apparently quite exhausting,

We of course adored them all, even when she was naughty.

Daisy was my loyal studio companion, providing charming (if sleepy) company,

and ultimately inspiration,


oil on canvas


by the author

Daisy was not the sporty type, not given to exercise. Her notion of a hike was being carried up Runyon Canyon. Speck the chihuahua adores a good hike, Daisy preferred a nice lounge in the shade.

the author with Daisy, Speck and Buddy (off camera)

Runyon Canyon

June 2007

Aside from napping,

Daisy was quite the sport in dressing up, she may not have enjoyed the outfits, but she certainly relished the attention.


Halloween 2008

We were officially married during that brief window of opportunity,  pre Prop 8.

Daisy was of course part of the celebration. Acting as  our hostess/flower girl, she adored having the  crowd of friends and family  in our little West Hollywood condo; she had captive  fans to charm and seduce.

Ultimately all that seduction proved exhausting.

July 3rd 2008

When we moved to downtown LA, Daisy and the boys settled right in, trading in happy green West Hollywood grass for doggie park astro turf.

They didn’t seem to mind,, home was where we were.

That’s why I love dogs.

Daisy, Speck/Gooch (left), Buddy (right)

Sept 2010

I couldn’t have imagined that this would have been her last birthday, frankly I almost forgot. Thankfully I was reminded, and we gave Daisy extra fussing ( and I confess filet mignon).

Daisy the birthday clown.

January 1st 2011

7 years old.

That image frankly breaks my heart, if I had known…

fortunately my new phone has a handy recording device, I plan to more diligently secure memories for the future.

Daisy’s absence has reduced our little family, when our beautiful Manx Moses died in early December we became acutely aware of how loud the sound of  absence is.

Like Moses, Daisy haunts our home and hearts.

Fortunately we have dear Antigone our little calico, and Speck  and Buddy to help heal our grief.

Buddy and Speck

Although Daisy’s little torch of life has been extinguished her memory continues to tickle us with joy, granted right now through a veil of tears.

We will adopt again, most likely another pug, there is a local pug rescue, Happy Ending ; when it is appropriate we will meet another little pug. In addition to soothing our hearts, adopting another will honor Daisy’s generous spirit.

We want to consider another “special needs” pug.

I will close with silliness, as Daisy was the mistress of silliness.

I appreciate your indulgence.

Respectfully submitted,

Leonard @ babylonbaroque