Hail Satan!

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Charles Baudelaire published his decadent collection of poems Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) on June 25, 1857. It examined Tableaux parisiens (Parisian Scenes) with an eye on the modern and Les Litanies de Satan with an exhortation of blasphemy. Baudelaire squandered an inheritance and died from his overindulgence in drugs and drink.

The Flowers were considered an outrage aux bonnes mœurs (“an insult to public decency”), leading to prosecution and a 300-franc fine. Six of the poems were removed, and then published in Brussels as Les Épaves (Scraps or Jetsam). The ban of these six expired in France in 1949.

In conjunction with Theater Oobleck, Curtis Eller’s American Circus and New Town Drunks have released the Baudelaire in a Box EP. The theatre troupe collaborated with songwriters to set the Flowers to music while images cranked along on a roll. North Carolinians Eller and the Drunks worked with artist Jamie B. Wolcott to present a musical package with a screen-printed volvelle (or “spinny”) of tormented imagery to accompany the songs.

Baudelaire in a Box is available at https://curtiseller.bandcamp.com/album/baudelaire-in-a-box-songs-of-anguish-ep.

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