the NachtKabarett

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All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise
In collaboration with Gilles R. Maurice


We have now entered "The Golden Age of Grotesque."

My band and I are going to give you a peep of what it looks and sounds like. Check the news for more agit-prop and first thing tomorrow, you will get a taste of this site's transformation.

Arch Dandy,
Marilyn Manson

Marilyn online Journal
[posted 3/21/2002 U.S.A.]


For the first time ever The NACHTKABARETT is proud to present a complete, fully functional archive of The Golden Age Of Grotesque incarnation of, inluding all the modifications it went through, from its launch a day after Manson unveiled the album's title, inspirations and creative directions in the News section, until September 24th, 2004, three days before its successor Lest We Forget hit the shelves. Archived below are the four main phases of the site's evolution with intact chronology:

Version 1 (2002/03/22) :
"We've entered The Golden
Age Of Grotesque."
Version 2.0 (2002/05) :
Full site activated
B.B.S., Art Galleria
Version 2.1 (2002/10 and on) :
The Oracle "Q & A"
Version 3 (2003/06 - 2004) :
Album design, Merch site
Grotesk Burlesk tour...


- Version 1 is a rather prototypic incarnation which only offered access to the News, B.B.S., Journal and Merch links.

- Version 2.0 surfaced two months later, with a new background design, all sections unlocked and a cleaner B.B.S. section.

- Version 2.1 presents several significant evolutions : in late 2002 the Art Galleria (also cloned at to promote Manson's eponymous art show) was replaced by an external link dedicated to his art,, and the Peep Show turned into a multi-video player showing selections from the Journal; on February 4th, 2003 the B.B.S. was replaced by the Oracle Q&A board; in April, 2003 the Grotesk Burlesk tour dates were added, and the Photography section was reworked; in May a new, final MM animated intro would surface, soon after the album's release.

- Version 3, the final site incarnation, had a rather minimalist News page with the new album's logotype as a header, a more elaborated Peep Show section (missing) and a brand new Merch site matching the era's visual identity and golden arabesques.

Click thumbnails above for in-depth analysis on each of the key thematics of's design and contents.
(Or access the concerned sub-paragraphs by clicking any of the many MM intro thumbnails displayed below).

The site transcribes this feeling of danger and chaos common to Europe in the 1930s and modern America which Manson refers to, and clearly announces his new directions : the dichotomy of Fascism and Expressionism, depravation and decadence in the arts, entertainment and popular culture, fascination for sex and death in a sensationalist approach, rhythmed with teeth chatterings, nazi salutes and Busby Berkeley choreographies. Its overall design consists in a Dada juxtaposition of vintage medical imagery, morbid kinetoscopic material, pin-up erotica, and surrealism, wrapped with golden arabesques in a very dark, organic cabaret atmosphere. A glimpse into the Arch Dandy's brain, projecting visions of trepanations and abortions, death scenes and birth by forceps on the viewer's screen (the birth of his new era, artistic projects, and album), turning it into a frightening theater from another time and space. "We've entered The Golden Age Of Grotesque"...



Original Golden of Age Grotesque Intro.
May 26, 2003 to September 27, 2004.


The intro splash image to the Golden Age Of Grotesque era design of countained subliminal elements of the opposing extremes of Expressionism and Fascism and images hinting at the influences of the album and era flashing within Manson's new 'Diamond' MM logo. This idea of introducing the site with juxtapositions of key imagery and MM's initials would later resurface in 2006 with's "Phantasmagoric" flash intro. There existed at least three versions of this introduction:


- The first intro incarnation, probably simultaneous with the site's Version 1 archived above, is missing though its vignettes have been saved as follows:

Click diamonds above for in-depth analysis of each key image from the first splash intro incarnation of


- The second incarnation is made of fewer images on similar themes, including an identical Bertold Brecht picture as well as an alternate teeth depiction:

Click above for in-depth analysis of each key image of the second splash intro incarnation.


- The third and last intro incarnation which is displayed above, from May 2003 (soon after the album was released) up until the era's close, was identical to the second one except the four main photos from Manson's collaboration with Gottfried Helnwein were thrown in the mix, which gives this impression of 'flashing' MMs:

Click for more on the 4 new images which were incorporated in the last intro version.


Suddenly, I was the most unlikely ambassador of America. It became quite clear that the critical role for an artist, particularly an American one, is to ensure that our soldiers are risking their lives to defend a country that is worth living in. But how can the irreconcilable extremes of Marilyn Manson fit into this time of political upheaval when I have rarely believed in the behavior of the government? How can I be a proud American, when America has done its best to destroy me?

'Trans Amnesia' (excerpt), Marilyn Journal
[posted 4/21/2003 U.S.A.]
A poster by Allen Sandburg commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 presented in the first site intro. Another parallel from the 1930's & 1940's to today in The Golden Age Of Grotesque was the parallelism between September 11th and Pearl Harbour; the latter's "Never Forget" is very reminiscent of the former's "Remember Dec. 7th", both were the only two attacks on the US in recent history on American soil by foreign pilots, and both signified the beginning of a decade and sparked two wars which both span the world over acting as the rallying cries for war in both eras. Click above to see the whole poster.

SIMPLE---Isn’t this the very core of what the two words “Marilyn” and “Manson” have represented from the beginning? If the U.S. stands for democracy and freedom, then the most patriotic thing an artist can do is to fight for those liberties. My opinion is a sharpened stick, poking democracy to make sure that it's not dead.

'Trans Amnesia' (excerpt), Marilyn Journal
[posted 4/21/2003 U.S.A.]
Left; another image included in the same, early version of the intro design. Right;"Do you love your guns, your god, your government?" Manson during the preceding, eponymous tour, assuming the role of Nuremberg-esque rally for our society today where violence is religion and where fame & death on camera is better than life itself, surrounded with banners at the effigy of his gun crucifix podium, and a similarly damaged US flag, echoing the song "Burning Flag".

“The inspiration (of the upcoming album) came from 1930’s Berlin, because it reminded me of America today in that we’ve reached such a point of decadence and extremism in art that people wonder where we’ll go from here.”

Marilyn Manson, Metal Hammer 100th issue, April 2002.
Left; a prideful & charismatic, ideal Hitler Youth, the pride, joy & hope for the future of the Third Reich. Right; detail of a nationalistic German rallying poster. For much more on Manson's allusions to Fascist imagery and the Hitler Jugend, particularly during this era, visit our "Degenerate" Art section.

"The young are too senile / The young zeich heil".

Marilyn Manson, Doppelherz.
Left; full view on the Hitler Jugend recruitment poster: "Youth serves the leader. All ten year-olds into the Hitler Youth." Center; Nazi salute image
intermittently flashing on the tour button of's menu. Right; wartime image contained in the later versions of the intro.

“The unfortunate onset of rigid control and conformity that brought Berlin to its fiery end seemed to almost mirror today’s less violent, but equally ignorant censorship and fear of ‘dangerous’ art.”

We have entered “The Golden Age of Grotesque”
Marilyn news entry, 3/21/2002
Left; full view on the Großdeutschland rallying poster used in the former intro version. Right; Perou's portrait of Manson posted in his Journal on 3/3/2003 playing with the same parallels, by showing him in front of Helnwein's artistic enlargement of a heiling crowd of kids from Nazi Germany.



Left; image contained in former intro which features a 1930's/40's big band swing musical, presumably from a Busby Berkeley musical of the same era. Right; still frame of the newer splash introduction featuring a line of high-kicking Rockettes, also presumably from a Berkeley musical, whom Manson has referenced as a thematic influence for his ties to the big band swing movement of the 1930's & 40's, and the aesthetics for the mOBSCENE video. Note how the choreographic aspect contrasts and echoes the several Nazi representations above, in continuity with Manson's constant dichotomy of Expression and Fascism.

'mOBSCENE' was pulled from the weirdest parts of my imagination. I suppose it had been what I was watching and reading – a lot of Busby Berkeley chorus lines of girls. I wanted a stampeding elephant sort of thing – so when I wanted to write with the band I told them, 'We need an elephant, we need Busby Berkely and we need Oscar Wilde' and then we went at it.

Marilyn Manson "talking", Chuck Weiner.
Left; Manson performing "The Golden Age of Grotesque" at the Volksbühne Berlin on April 11, 2003, a special opening venue of the Grotesk Burlesk tour. In the background, projections of curiosities such as this surrealist montage of female legs (which would later transcribe into the prosthetic legs stage prop seen in the tour), or several vintage pornography pictures, which also have their own "choreographies". Right; still frame from mOBSCENE that mixes inspirations from Busby Berkeley, military U.S.O. shows, WW2 Berlin and the wounded witches from Helnwein's 'Macbeth'. Visit the Grotesk Burlesk section for more.

"I'm taking inspiration from Thirties Hollywood. That's why I was attracted to Dita - she looked like she'd stepped out of an Alberto Vargas pin-up. I seduced her by pretending I wanted her in my video. And we hit it off immediately. We're both like kids. We like to play dress- up and do things we're not supposed to when the parents are away."

Marilyn Manson, intervew for The Face, May 2003

“My inspiration for this record came from historic parallels to my own present position in popular culture. Most notably, I found myself fascinated with the overwhelming imaginative, sexually-depraved artistic chaos that just bled from some of history’s greatest minds as Berlin reached its creative extreme peak. ”

We have entered “The Golden Age of Grotesque”
Marilyn news entry, 3/21/2002
Left; Weimar era pic of a band consisting of Bertold Brecht on clarinet, tubist Karl Valentin, a skinny German clown, with Liesl Karlstadt, another clown, conducting. Note that this is the only image present in all versions of the introduction. Another hint was a series of Manson portraits as "Mack The Knife", a direct allusion to Brecht's Threepenny Opera. Right; Absinthe Terminus poster advertisement included in the second intro version, setting the atmosphere of The Golden Age of Grotesque, and echoing Manson's many allusions to the green fairy (which later led to the distillation of his own line: Mansinthe). The comparative aspect (average drinker vs Terminus drinker) and the character's styles, hats and attitudes serve Manson's dichotomy of black/white and red.

“So stand up dopplegangers, we are on a leave of Absinthe! Our lives are theatre, we are the art and the world will now become the beautifully grotesque stage it was always meant to be. Am I just an innocuous entertainer or am I the destructive force and the terrible reality you’ve suspected all along?

The simple answer is, I am Marilyn Manson.”

We have entered “The Golden Age of Grotesque”
Marilyn news entry, 3/21/2002
Right; a caricature drawing of a black minstrel from the first intro, appearing to be a stylized perfume spray bottle, and hinting at the blackface and vaudeville inspirations in The Golden Age Of Grotesque and Manson's visual collaboration with Helnwein. Left; photograph of Manson in top hat and monocle displayed on Manson's site, announcing the aesthetics of his new Arch Dandy persona, in perfect continuity with the poster imagery above in a darker, Manson way.

"All I can say about it is I'm glad that it makes it into the collection of images that represent me as best as it could. I think that it just scratches the surface of what Gottfried and I could do together. Also I think it was most appreciated and understood for it's biggest quality and it's biggest political impact.

Like I said, people can take it anyway they want. People took it as serious as it could be in Europe, particularly in France and Paris, and in Japan because they saw my commentary on America. They saw me as much as people see Mickey Mouse as an American symbol. You cover your mouth with blackface, which really represents a franchise, moneymaking, and slave creation of entertainment, that isn't even human."

Marilyn Manson for Inrock, July 2004
Images from Manson's collaboration with Helnwein that were included in the final splash intro, after displayed in the News section. The first two being the actual album's artwork (for more on allusions to blackface comedy visit the "Degenerate" Art section), and the Mickey Mouse diptych at right which were rejected as such, though they remained omnipresent during the era's Grotesk Burlesk live performances and aktions, as documented in our Rodent Death Head logo article and the quote below. Note how these Mickey Mouse Club reference in the imagery, logos, lyrics and performance contrasts with the Hitler Youth elements which they're also filled with, a reunion of not-so-different interpenetrating opposites which has always be the essence of Marilyn Manson's concept and meaning.

ME: "What's the significance of the mouse ears? Was that ever intended to be the album cover?"

MM: "Well, all the artwork that we created was part of The Golden Age of Grotesque, but none of it was intended to be album artwork. What ended up being the album was allowed to be on it. We used a different approach- We didn't say we were going to design things for an album, we designed a bunch of things, and then we chose ones that we wanted. Many were denied and some were accepted, so we decided to show those that were denied elsewhere. What you're talking about is a big part of the show, because the show has a lot of statements about politics and religion, and about art, and how I fit into all of it. They will be a major part of the performance that I think everyone will be surprised by."

Marilyn Manson, The Golden Age Is Upon Us
Interview for Metal Edge, September 2003



Original title header for the 2002 official Marilyn Manson B.B.S,
which was also the title for one of the album's songs.
Left; image made with vignettes from all intro versions with a similar teeth pattern. Center; the actual image that was used for two vignettes of the early intro version. Right; animation isolated from the B.B.S. button hover sequence made from vintage medical imagery, a relatively Dada representation of expression and speech which echoes the forum's title above in association with the fist-like sign language symbols sequence which is intercalated in the animation.
Left; B.b.s. link button during the Holy Wood era of Center; image from the "Dope Hat" video showing a similar vision in the background, of teeth damaged by drugs use. Right; still frame for Doppelherz which was displayed on Manson's and Helnwein's sites to promote the short film. Note that similar sequences appear in Manson's video 'The Mechanism of Desire' which was displayed on Valentine's Day, 2003 in the Journal section.
Left & center; still frames from the first seconds of The Beautiful People video. Right; poster designed by Print Mafia for a venue of the Rape Of The World 2008 tour and made of a photograph of serial killer/raper's Ted Bundy juxtaposed with the photographic evidence of his teeth, in continuity with the tour's name and corresponding album's title 'Eat me, Drink Me' in its cannibalistic interpretation, as well as Marilyn Manson's former concept and references to serial killers.

MTV: "The look of Floria Sigismondi's most noted video to date, though, "Beautiful People," although it owes a debt to Austrian painter Gottfried Helnwein, was pretty much the inspiration of the artiste, Marilyn Manson."

MARILYN MANSON: "I'm a big fan of prosthetics and other medical fetishes and I explained that to her so we all went wild with, you know, her ideas. And I think she did a great job. It did leave some bad cuts in my mouth, which unfortunately probably will never heal."

Interview by MTV with David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and Floria Sigismondi,
Kurt Loder, April 04, 1997
Left; another still frame from 'The Beautiful People', the aesthetics of which seemed to borrow from Gottfried Helnwein's body of work already. Top right; signature used in a January 2003 post of Manson's journal entitled "Lietz, Cam-era, AKTION". Bottom right; still frame from the Tainted Love video.
Left; close-up still frame on Manson's teeth from 'The New *hit' video. Right; image used in the mOBSCENE Flash card.
Both being evident allusions Winslow Leach's metal teeth in Phantom Of The Paradise as seen in our Celluloid section.
Title header for the Oracle Q&A board which
replaced the B.B.S. on February 4th, 2003.
"Figura 3 shows that blood cannot be forced in the 'wrong' direction."
Sir William Harvey, De motu cordis, 1628
Drawings from William Harvey's 1628 treatise "Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis", in which he presented evidence that blood flowed in arteries out from the heart to the tissues and returned back along veins, the origins of the modern concept of blood circulation. The 3rd figure, which was used in the design of the Oracle Q&A board, describes an experience which proves that "blood cannot be forced in the 'wrong' direction," which totally illustrates Manson's theme of the fight for expression his new album stands for, so the semantic dimension here goes much further than just the 'fist' evocation and anatomic aspect.
My whole life has been a process of making myself asymmetrical on purpose. In the end it may come to removing a limb or something, because I have a great fascination with prosthetics and a large collection of prosthetic legs.
Marilyn Manson, interview for Guitar World, 1996
“The Form of an Arm made of Iron very artificially,” from 'Of the Means and Manner to repair or supply the Natural or Accidental Defects or Wants in Man’s Body'. Mechanical prosthetic device designed by Ambroise Paré, anatomist, specialist of battlefield medicine and father of modern surgery, reproduced in the B.B.S. header in its golden form. Besides the obvious 'fist' fight theme and Manson's fascination for prosthetic limbs, notice the 'metal' metaphore initiated with the various grills and masks goes on here. The Grotesk Burlesk live performances and stage props featured several tricks involving prosthetic arms and legs.
Left; the Tour Dates "coming soon" background image in the site's Version 2.0 is actually the negative reproduction of a medical engraving by Defehrt (right) from a plate of Diderot's Encyclopedie that shows the anatomy of the diaphragm and larynx, which is once again directly linked to the corresponding section (live performance), and echoes Manson's autopsy video, yet another connection to the preceding era. This illustration was actually helpful for a reconstruction of the image's bottom half that was missing from the archive. The result vaguely ressembles an Ace of Spades, much alike the title of one of the tracks.
Left; animation isolated from the Archives link button when hovered. Right; Choulant's illustration of comparative anatomy : "Male figures showing proportions in five ages". In continuity with Manson's constant theme of evolution through his work (and reminiscent of Schultz's diagram representing the five species of apes in the preview site), the five represented ages probably stand for the five main eras of Marilyn Manson's evolution.



Right; What appears to be an early erotic photo of the Weimar era decadence & fetishism, as included in first splash intro version. Center; the site's navigation menu which seems to be cut out from the strip of a kinetoscope peep show machine (the like of which also appears in motion when hovering the Peep Show button), superimposed with an erotic drawing (which also flashes in the button hover sequence) and an obstetric medical engraving. Left; details from part of the Peep Show button link's hover animation : note that the Weimar fetish masks have possibly been added on top of the original vignettes.


Besides the voyeuristic, sensatonalist and sexual connotations lying behind the very concept of Peep Show, which made its appearance back during the Victorian years in 1888 with the kinetoscope, and the pin-up erotica imagery as seen through peepholes, all combined with the inherent morbidity of the images and catchphrase "LIVE-NUDE-DEATH SCENES" subliminally flashing in the animation sequence automatically reminds of Manson's earlier concept of Celebritarianism, which he would later develop into an art movement, and where death on camera equals sanctity (notice the subject's beatific expression, ascension movement, immaculate veil and crucifix pendant, hinting at the song (s)AINT and few religious references within the album's lyrics).

Which tends to prove Manson's concept wasn't totally absent between the Holy Wood and Lest We Forget/Celebritarian eras, as this representation does not only scratch its surface, but explores it furthermore from a new angle, exploring the very origins of this fascination for death on camera, through the prism of The Golden Age Of Grotesque's thematics. And that's precisely where these historic parallels find a purpose, clouding the landmarks and temporal points of reference to let a bigger truth emerge : the demonstration that sex and death as forms of amusement in themselves have been present in entertainment since the invention of celluloid itself, and that entertainment, the media, arts and religion are only satisfying these voyeuristic needs that have always inhabited the human mind, and repeat themselves through the ages like the loop sequence of a peep show.

From left to right; video button of the archive section, presenting the head of a man with bandaged eyes, a still frame from the Doppelherz video, a montage of images from both intro versions, and the full view of the first version's erotic image. For more references to Weimar during this era read The Grotesk Burlesk.


Another manifestation of this are the many allusions to the fascination/repulsion of the collective unconscious for Lustmord/sex murder, which somehow started during the Victorian years with Jack the Ripper, and prominently gained the sphere of arts and expressionism after World War I, with Weimar Germany "Degenerate" artists such as Dix and Grosz, a theme which Manson pays tribute to in the song 'Spade', or with his paintings of Elizabeth Short for example. The obtained result is a transposition of the fundamental statement behind Marilyn Manson, fascination for serial killers in modern society, placed in another combination of historical contexts.

The sequencial aspect here, which would later be at the center of The High End Of Low's imagery with its pieces of film strip in the artwork, filmed and live snuff-like scenes, the repetitive video of Evan Rachel Woods which inspired the song 'WOW', and the burning tape of celluloid in Manson's experimental videos for Not to mention Manson's fascination for the Zapruder film and its infamous frame 313 which captures JFK's head shot. Something more emerges from this angle, by observing the numbering of thethree vignettes composing the menu : though the indicators are partially hidden or parasited by the design (and were even more in the original archive which had the top image's width wrong), we can easily understand that they go from 14 to 16, leaving a hidden 15 in the center frame which acts as a transition between both other images, and stands right next to the Peep Show button. Read Mar1lyn Man5on & Numerology for more on the importance of the number 15 in Manson's work.


Conclusion of the "Golden Age of Grotesque" performance at the Volksbühne Berlin, closing Manson's opening venue of the Grotesk Burlesk. The vintage projection of a room filled with gentlemen and a lady around a table, staring mischievously at the audience with similar masks symbolic of Weimar's decadence.
The zeitgeist of Berlin’s “degenerate art” was infused into Marilyn Manson and the people within the Volksbuhne Theatre that night. The decadence and reckless honesty that fear inspires, made the outside world irrelevant.

'Trans Amnesia' (excerpt), Marilyn Journal
[posted 4/21/2003 U.S.A.]
Left; anatomic diagrams from the Art Galleria section menu from version 2.0. Center-left; detail from Holy Wood's artwork with a similar configuration. Center-right; "You're sure you will be comfortable?" ; watercolor from the "Elizabeth Short as Snow White" series, which Manson elaborated with a children's watercolors kit from the actual autopsy pictures, the like of which appears subliminally in blue, in the Peep Show button's hover animation (right).

Top-center; image reconstituted from the Archives button animations. An assemblage of faces, female mouths, nostrils/navels and a pubic zone, following a Surrealist technique known as 'exquisite corpse', in which automatic parts of a sentence or an image are collected from different persons ignoring eachother's contributions, resulting in a surreal manifestation of the collective unconscious, often containing a certain erotic charge, like the example at left by Man Ray, Tanguy and Miró (1926), or Magritte's illustration on Breton's book from at right (1934), which reminds of this method.

The fortuitous/unconscious association of the terms "exquisite corpse" themselves, which were obtained through this method, acts as an oxymorous/dichotomist formula which "Marilyn Manson" can easily compare to. It can also apply litterally to the era's material, with the autopsy pictures above meeting pin-up and cabaret imagery, the fascination for Sex Murder with 'Spade', and the religious/Disneyan treatment of light and colors in the Elizabeth Short series : reuniting the gruesome and the beautiful, which again is at the source of Marilyn Manson's work. Not to mention the numerous references to Baudelaire throughout the years (see "Les Fleurs Du Mal"). The surrealist dimension of the Black Dahlia's murder scene itself makes the "exquisite corpse" allusion even more meaningful, and and finds parallels with the Bellmer-like siamese creature from Doppelherz, the surreal concept of 'Slutgarden', or the words from 'Para-Noir' which could be pronounced through the multiple Man Ray-esque mouths in the animation above.

For now, there's a peep show that a doctor once showed me.


Marilyn Manson online Journal
[posted 5/11/2002 U.S.A.]
Left; screen capture from the Peep Show sequence : vintage video of a genuine abortion, which "Live Nude Death Scenes" turns out to be an euphemistic description of. One step further in the direction of voyeuristic morbidity, danger in entertainment and death on screen, only to fall over in horror, exhibited like a curiosity and presumably conceived as such if you judge by the medical staff's cynical looks at the camera. Right; abandoned, alternative loading screen imagined by Cartisien Interactive for the late 2009, suggesting the piece remained important in Manson's inspirations and revelatory of his message.

"I think you can tell this album is honestly doing and saying what it wants. It operates with its own mind. I look at it like a kid: I gave birth to a child. It's a very bad child. That's what I like about it."

Marilyn Manson, Interview from The Courier Mail, May 24, 2003
Left; detail from the menu, revealing the anatomic depiction of an upside-down pelvis in which a baby is lodged, in position for delivery, which illustrates Manson's comparison of creating the album and giving birth to a child. Center; the Dada-esque montage framing the news contents, made of antique obstetric equipment bearing likeness to forceps, abortion clamps or assimilated objects related to medically assisted "birth", also suggested in the pin-up silhouettes' position. Everything is in place for Manson's creation to come to life, from the metaphoric vagina/trepanation wound suggested by the background which actas an organic theatrical/surgical curtain which highlights the golden cabaret letters and gleaming death/birth instruments. Right; crude passage from the Peep Show video of a vintage filmed abortion, closing the circle of sex, death and birth allusions behind another kind of curtains that lets only the obscene and violent reality see through. In addition to this Manson would occasionally walk around with a dildo-cam back during the era - "it’s a dildo with a video camera inside," as willingly described to journalists. This particularly crude and disturbing scene would later inspire passages from the 'Phantasmagoria' 2006 trailer, which potentially caused the project to be put on 'indefinite production hold', after a backlash of protest that followed the trailer's leak in early 2010.
Left; 'Demonstration of forceps delivery.' Engraving after Jan van Rymsdyk, from W. Smellie's "A Sett of Anatomical Tables", 1754. Center; engraving of obstetric instruments, from "Traité sur divers accouchements laborieux" by George Herbiniaux, 1782. Right top and center; forceps-like element appearing hospital room's floor in the 2007 incarnation of which also hides a baby behind suspended autopsy photos, and another similar obstetric tool turned into a Celebritarian Double-Cross with duct tape decorating Manson's bedroom walls as seen during The High End Of Low. In both cases the element denotes a difficult birth process for Manson's creations, roughly extirpated from the depths of his mind through extreme methods. Bottom; detail from Portrait Of An American Family's artwork, illustrating the lyrics for Get Your Gunn, which denounces hypocrisy behind the assassination of Dr. David Gunn. The coat hangers cynically replacing the usual "stars, pills and needles," are known as back-street abortion tools, a barbarism Gunn was standing up against.


Don't let anyone look at your baby until it coughs. You have generated
this great work, it cannot be called "degenerate."

OOhhh the baby's crying.

Trouble is on its way.
Love and I am,


Marilyn Manson online Journal
[posted 2/22/2002 U.S.A.]
Marilyn Manson has often symbolized the genesis of his projects or characters through a baby or fetus representation, like the examples above, the biblical ' man child' alluded to in the Antichrist Superstar booklet, or the Infant Jesus in The Last Tour On Earth artwork. The overall mise en scene here, associated with the trepanation references detailed below, presents several parallels with a particular birth/death themed depiction from the Holy Wood era : the Autopsy video (left) and its photographic adaptation (right; Holy Wood vinyl backside artwork). Retellings of JFK's death and autopsy, evocative of a revolution killed in the egg or a symbolic rebirth through death. This angle constitutes another tie between both eras, a kind of reinterpretation/sequel in a more suggested way. From that perspective, the abortion theme here could be another metaphoric vision of the censorship of creative freedom and art that is deemed "degenerate" (read the quote above), and we're forced to admit the 'Peep Show' and 'Autopsy' videos both have a closely similar, strangely disturbing nature at first view.



Left; Journal button hover animation. Center; Antique Diagram (copper engraving) of Phrenological Organs for the indication of Character and Mental Abilities, 1851. Right; The Oracle's brain background, presenting a similar texture than the organic, gaping hole of the News background which is itself close to a trepanation wound, a "third nostril" as in The Golden Age Of Grotesque title track's lyrics, through which we penetrate directly inside Manson's brains.

"Could someone please autograph the frontal lobe?".

Marilyn Manson, Doppelherz.
Left, center; images from Holy Wood's artwork and Disposable teens video, evoking trepanation, rebirth and enlightement as seen in our article on early 2006 Right; still frame from "Dope Hat" video showing female genitalia on Daisy Berkowitz's shaved head, another vision of a fertile trepanation.



Top-left; site header used on, a sister site promoting Manson's eponymous art exhibition on September 20th, 2002, and the more elaborated which replaced it soon afer. Keeping's elegant cabaret letters, diamond MM logo and golden arabesques, which it's actually made from. Bottom-left; several manifestations of Manson's preceding Holy Wood era's Mercury logo. Right; "Old Man" official T-shirt for the era, displayed within the same golden arabesques, which ornated the new official Merch site in 2003.


As you see, we have begun the show and the progress of this website’s transformation will continue rapidly in the days to come. [...]

While it is terminal, I am spelled out in a halcyon font with an unwashed brain and a belief in my new layer of skin. I must advise, that despite the discomfort any creature endures when molting, never hesitate the agony of leaving behind the dead cells.

To stay in that rotten shell you have finally outgrown, you will surely die.

Marilyn Manson online Journal
[posted 3/26/2002 U.S.A.]
Left; background for the first incarnation of, presenting a wide diversity of elegant arabesques, on the red curtain of a virtual theater. Right; 1969 Lincoln Continental appearing in the Tainted Love video, with similar shapes decorating the windshield, and prominent MM initials surfacing.
Still frames from the Tainted Love video passages featuring the Lincoln Continental car in question. The front windshield's arabesks seem to be surrounding the MM initials logo on the back which is showing through. Note that the metalic MM's on the car's grill have been changed in the exhibited model above, more in harmony with the back windshield MM's and single-related merch, while in the video they were shaped following the logotype's initials from the single cover.
Left; updated version of's main background, ornated with the Dada-esque obstetric montage described above, and more organic arabesques probably made from antique anatomical depictions and assembled to form curtain-like structures: the gates of Arch Dandy's theater and The Golden Age Of Grotesque. Right; outside advertising panel animation adaptated from this final design of and promoting the album's launch party.



"The aged text that serves as an opening image to my journal, was put there to promote thought and discussion. I would like to make it clear that these words are not mine, nor did I intend for you to believe that they were. I used one of the memoirs of the great and talented, Marlene Dietrich as a bit of an amusement park sign that one might see at night. Will it turn on? Has it ever been on? Do I want it to? From the NACHTKABARETT,"

Marilyn Manson Journal
[posted 4/19/2002 U.S.A.]

Left; still frame from the March 15th, 2002 Journal video clip "A burnt offering can often be considered instant choreography", which features the effigy of a lamb in flames with a Marlene Dietrich song playing in the background. Center; image link from the memoirs of Marlene Dietrich leading to the Journal's contents (in the pre-GAOG version you had to click "meet them" to access the Journal). A crucial influence on the era's conceptualization and imagery, as shown by several allusions in the Journal itself, or this still frame from mOBSCENE (right).

It is important to understand that this video of a burning lamb, technically the last post of the Holy Wood era, symbolizes the end of this period through death by fire of Manson's Lamb Of God persona, and resurrection of Manson's "new layer of skin" through the sound of Marlene Dietrich. The whole site becomes a machinery to orchestrate Marilyn Manson's transformation (note the presence of the original Lamb Of God image on the Photographia button, or in a 2004 news entry which compares the character of Satan/Death in Mel Gibson's The Passion to this depiction, and the birth/death theme evoked above). This transitional mise en scene reminds the symbolic death of Manson's Mechanical Christ live persona, and destruction of the Mechanical Animals era, during the 1999 'Rock Is Dead' VMA's performance, which introduced elements from the new Holy Wood era. Note that the release date of this Easter "offering", March 15th, is also another manifestation of the number 15 and its cyclical nature in Manson's work.

"Some people don’t think that lily
Is smart enough to understand what I’m thinking
But I know if she could she would kill
Everybody that I hate, cos she loves me
Cos I took care of her since she was a little baby".

Marilyn Manson, Doppelherz.

Right; "Lily and JonBenet", posted late 2002 in the Journal. Center; "Lily White", Manson's watercolor portrait of his cat. Right; several captures from Lily's appearance in the Journal vids, the two lower ones being from a Valentine's day 2002 post. Many of the Journal entries presented photos and videos of other artworks in progress and preview of album takes in the outfits and makeup detailed in our " Prelude to the Golden Age Of Grotesque" article.

Another significant post was "Valentine's Day brings us a new taste of eonism" from February 14th, 2003, with the video "The Mechanism Of Desire" which presents the aesthetics of the era with nude sequences of Dita Von Teese with fake tits and genitalia, Nazi military bandsmen outfits and blueish close-up plans on Manson's teeth, all of which would reappear in Doppelherz, to the sound of the distorted Alfred Hitchcock introduction later used in's 2006 splash sequence, and what would become the bonus track 'Baboon Rape Party'. The January 23rd, 2003 post, comparing Dalí and Nietzsche's moustaches, is also worth mentioning. The Rolling Stone article mentioned below gives deserved recognition to this virtual prolongation of Manson's brain, qualifying it a "virtual ringworm".

Manson Journal in Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone Magazine (June 10th, 2004) features an article entitled "Rocker Diaries -- Fred Durst and Marilyn Manson Sound Off On-line," by Gillian Telling. A photograph of Marilyn with the caption "Manson: Spreading virtual ringworm" is found at the top of the article, which lists web addresses for and quotes from the on-line journals of several musicians, including: Billy Corgan, Moby, Fred Durst, Ryan Adams, Andrew W.K., and Marilyn Manson -- whose journal entries Rolling Stone characterizes as "a very goth-y collection of musings on the world," teasing the readers with this choice sampling: "Our stigmata will stagnate and we will shake, shake hands like little boys -- if boys were just like puppies -- spreading our ringworms." News entry, 5/31/2004



S e e   a l s o   o n   T h e   N A C H T K A B A R E T T :

mOBSCENE - ONLINE FLASHCARD | Along with the song preview websites, from 1999 to 2003 Manson released six flashcard previews from The Last Tour On Earth, Holy Wood & The Golden Age Of Grotesque. Many of these flashcards contain hidden images & symbols which relate to the imagery of each era they are a part of.

Preview of new era's collaboratory "degenerate" artwork with Gottfried Helnwein & the first single from The Golden Age Of Grotesque.

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MARILYN MANSON'S ONLINE JOURNAL | The complete audio / visual archive of Marilyn Manson online journal between 2002 - 2004. First hand chronicling Manson's thoughts, the creation of 'The Golden Age of Grotesque' and Manson's own artwork. Now defunct and exclusively archived in complete form by The NACHTKABARETT of this former staple of

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THE ORACLE - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS | The complete archive of Marilyn Manson's Q&A board, The Oracle (February/March 2003). "This 'Oracle' will be one of many AKTIONS created to prevent any prostitution of our collective mind. I believe it will provide immediate communication that respects the value of our love affair between danger/chaos and reality without the middle (meddle, mid-ill) man. I will tell my tales as they plummet faster, from floor to floor, like a broken elevator with its door cracked open for you to see. That is the sole purpose of my journal and the finished album's obligation as we set foot into this GOLDEN AGE. However, this "Oracle" is for you, dedicated spectators, that I invite to join in this spectacle... This is the beginning and everyone should know that I love you and thank you for your devotion.

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