Katherine Dunn, author of "Geek Love," RIP

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Katherine Dunn, the author of the incredible macabre comedic novel Geek Love, about the strange shenanigans in a circus sideshow, has died at age 70 from lung cancer. From a Los Angeles Times profile of Dunn at the time of the book's release in 1989:

As Dunn's tale goes, Aloysius Binewski, proprietor of a traveling circus called Binewski's Fabulon, gets the notion to breed mutant children who will perform as sideshow freaks. His theory is that, along with boosting business, he will be bestowing upon his children "the inherent ability to earn a living just by being themselves..."

Dunn said she got the idea for "Geek Love" in 1979 while she was walking in the experimental rose gardens in Portland. Admiring the hybrid roses, she conceived Papa Al and his hybrid children.

She was thinking about her son at the time and the whole issue of "the things we do to our children--most of the evil in the world is not done with bad intentions but with the best intentions ever," she said.

Dunn said "Geek Love" also reflects her concerns with "the volcanic and terrifying possibilities of genetic mutation and the whole issue of the cult." (In the book, flipper-boy Arty starts a cult in which converts have their arms and legs amputated so they can become more like their leader.)

At first, Dunn was shocked by her own terrifying characters. Now and then she'd read a passage to her son, who invariably shook his head and responded: "Weird."

"Katherine Dunn has died; the 'Geek Love' author once took the world by storm"

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Kickstarting a Coney Island 3D scanning studio and 3D printed miniature model of Luna Park

Fred Kahl, a Coney Island performer and magician, is kickstarting a project to put a 3D scanning/printing studio and a 3D printed miniature Coney Island at Coney Island's Luna Park. He's developed a cheap 3D scanner based on a Kinekt, and will release the full plans to Thingiverse once he's fully funded. He's looking for $15K (he's already crested $10K), and $25 gets you scanned in his NY studio ($60 gets you scanned and printed).

A 3D Scanning Portrait Studio based in America's Playground- Coney Island, NY (Thanks, Fred!) Read the rest

The Story of The Source Family Birth Rope, as told to Boing Boing by Isis Aquarian in Hawaii

[Boing Boing Video Link.]

"The Source Family" a documentary by Boing Boing pal Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, tells the story of Father Yod and his Source Family, a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. You can download it on Amazon or iTunes, and it's a terrific film.

Isis Aquarian, one of the Source Family members featured in that documentary, sat down with Boing Boing at her home on the island of Oahu to share a special artifact from the Source Family treasure chest. It is the "Birth Rope," a handmade rope on to which were tied the names of each child born into the flower child cult—including Isis' own daughter Saturna.

In our video above, Isis references a mugshot of her. It was taken by Hawaii police when she was arrested for not turning over a fellow Source Family member's body to authorities when he died. The group believed in natural ceremonies for both births and deaths. That police photograph is below.

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