the NachtKabarett

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

Detail from album inlay, reproducing the interior of a prayer book, the left page being this frontispice of a shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary, the right one showing the album's credits instead of the original title page. A depiction of our Lady of Pompeii, the apparition of whom inspired the Novena's elaboration in 1884.

The artwork for Marilyn Manson's live album The Last Tour On Earth featured a patchwork montage of the Rock is Dead tour's most memorable moments, combined with pious text fragments which implement the numerous Biblical references present in the performed songs and theatrical setting during the tour. Though the passages relate to key events of the New Testament, their actual origins can be found in a slightly different source than the Bible itself : the Rosary Novena to Our Lady, a 1884 book of prayers dedicated to Mary, corresponding to each bead of the Holy Rosary, and recounting the main events of Christ's life through his Mother's eyes. The chosen passages, or Mysteries, (the Presentation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection) perfectly serve Manson's narration during the tour (and his then Diptych), his identification to the Anti/Mechanical Christ, in his stemming concept of Celebritarianism. The fragments, manipulated and associated with the fire element in this hellish scrapbook, suggest a desecrated prayers book, which is reminiscent of Manson tearing pages of the Bible during his Antichrist Superstar performance (a sequence captured on the booklet art itself).

"This isn't me, I'm not Mechanical...(x4)"

Marilyn Manson, Inauguration of the Mechanical Christ

First portion of the unfolded arwork, with superimposed first lines of the Presentation of Mary's Child, paralleling the sequence of Antichrist Superstar's emergence ("Our Antichrist is almost here"), and the raising of the TV cross or 'Inauguration of the Mechanical Christ' (itself a reappropriation of ACS's 'Inauguration of the Worm'). The narrative aspect as well as the child presentation subject is also in continuity with the Revelation 12 passage on the nativity of the 'man child' (associated to Manson's Antichrist persona) reproduced on Antichrist Svperstar's artwork. The fragment reading "I humbly play:" and "10 [Haily Marys]" sarcastically demonstrates the way these prayers are mechanically repeated, and also relates to Manson's own repetition of the phrase "This isn't Me, I'm not Mechanical". The other pasted phrase too (originally "Printers to the Holy Apostolic See" and "Printed in U.S.A.", from the credits of this version of the Book) is re-arranged following similar intentions.

(Sometimes called the Purification)

Sweet Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Presentation, when, in obedience to the Law of Moses, thou didst present thy Child in the Temple, where the first drops of His precious blood were shed, and where the holy prophet Simeon, taking the Child in his arms, offered thanks to God for sparing Him to look upon his Saviour and foretold thy sufferings by the words: "Thy soul also a sword shall pierce..."

I humbly pray:

Our Father, 10 Haily Marys,
Glory Be to the Father.

From the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary Novena to Our Lady
The Mechanical Christ's Crucifixion, and Resurrection through fire, at the other end of the same side of the artwork, paralleled with another,
upside down passage from the Mystery of Presentation transcribed above and relating Mary's premonition of Christ's martyrdom.


O most sorrowful Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Crucifixion, when, having been stripped of His garments, thy Divine Son was nailed to the Cross, upon which He died after three hours of indescribable agony, during which time He begged from His Father forgiveness for His enemies,

I humbly pray:

Our Father, 10 Haily Marys,
Glory Be to the Father.

From the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary Novena to Our Lady
Following the Presentation, a montage of pictures of the band members with superimposed/pasted selected fragments from the Mystery of Crucifixion relating Christ's suffering and horrible death, and arranged much like catchphrases on a tabloid, a precursor element to
Manson's later concept of Celebritarianism which also echoes themes of the album's single 'Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes". This final event of Christ's martyrdom partly relates to the song title 'The Last Day On Earth', and the tour title deriving from it : 'The Last Tour On Earth'.


O glorious Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Resurrection of Our Lord from the Dead, when, on the morning of the third day after His death and burial, He arose from the dead and appeared to thee, dear Mother, and filled thy heart with unspeakable joy; then appeared to the holy women, and to His disciples, who adored Him as their risen God,

I humbly pray:

Our Father, 10 Haily Marys,
Glory Be to the Father.

I bind these full-blown roses with a petition for the virtue of FAITH and humbly lay this bouquest at thy feet.

From the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary Novena to Our Lady
Details from the unfolded artwork's back, with fragments from the Mystery of Christ's Resurrection lost in another demonic scrapbook-like montage, the composition and verticality of which emphasize this impression of Resurrection and Ascension, also stressed by the upwards arrow on the floor. Much like the "I humbly pray : x10" inclusion, notice how the hypertrophied yet dissimulated fragment reading 'Faith' (already highlighted in italics in the original text), denotes another sarcastic view of the mechanical brainwashing impression such ritualism can induce.

Mother Mary miscarry / but we pray just like insects. / The world is so ugly now.

Marilyn Manson, Great Big White World
Mechanical Animals
Still frame from the Coma White video, showing a brief closeup on a statue representing Our Lady of Guadalupe. (s)Aint video still frame with a corrupted use of the Holy Rosary, in guise of a tourniquet for Manson's injection.

Mary, Mary, to be this young is oh so scary.
Mary, Mary, to be this young I'm oh so scared.

Marilyn Manson, The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell
Spawn soundtrack
Still frame from The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell showing Manson as an elaborately ornate Mary, in the manner of crowned statues of Mary venerated on shrines or during Catholic processions (most notably Our Lady of Manaoag), and holding the Baphometic pose.

The boy that you loved is the man that you fear.

Marilyn Manson, Man That You Fear
Antichrist Svperstar
Still frames from the 'Man That You Fear' video showing Manson and a Biblical female figure who can relate to both Saint Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary, depending if you place yourself from the Man's or the Boy's perspectives, in a John Waters meets Alejandro Jodorowsky setting.
Still frame evoking the figure of Mary as the mother, the immaculate conception and the nativity."It was that Mary [of Bethany] which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair" John 11:2
Still frames evoking the sorrowful episode of the Pietà, with Mary as a 'Mater dolorosa' cradling the dead body of Jesus before his entombment, a subject notably immortalized by Michelangelo (right, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome). Though most of Manson's video is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery', these elements also make it much closer to a re-telling of Christ's last day on earth, the capital punishment of stoning replacing the traditional crucifixion.
As much more elusive reference, the MMC seal used by Manson during his 2006 Celebritarian Corporation "lost" era bears many similarities with the Auspice Maria monogram, a representation of Mary which is often used as a feminine counterpart of the Christogram, another religious symbol borrowed by Manson. The perfect balance and symetry of both symbols and particular letter intertwining are quite similar.


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 :

LAST TOUR ON EARTH - 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.

The Last Tour on Earth flashcard, presenting a preview of Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes exploited the same imagery that was used for the album art.

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