Hutton von Darte
Mallyn as Ms. August
Just in time for Halloween comes a treat for lovers of the holiday who have outgrown the thrill of candy. The Graveyard Girls
, a Burlington-based pin-up artists' group, has just released its 2015 calendar.
Inspired in equal parts by horror movies and midcentury pin-up art, the calendar features a dozen female Vermont models posing in some of the state's many old graveyards. The unusual combination of scantily clad women and mortuary settings is tied together by a good-natured, "Addams Family" vibe. Hutton von Darte, the driving force behind the calendar, says she didn't intend it to be "too serious."
Von Darte, who lives in Malletts Bay, hired the models, snapped the photos and did much of the makeup and costuming. She also came up with most of the themes for the photo shoots, such as the barbarian warrior who graces November and the antenna'd alien temptress of July. Von Darte cites as her major influences the renowned pin-up photographer Bunny Yeager and the overall aesthetics of Roger Vadim's Barbarella
and the output of the renowned British studio Hammer Films
. Photoshop was used only minimally, says von Darte, and none of the models' body shapes were in any way altered. "It's very real fantasy," she tells Seven Days
over coffee at Burlington's Maglianero Café
Around Halloween, the Graveyard Girls spend a lot of time on the East Coast horror/comic-book convention circuit; they recently returned from a gig in New Jersey, and have appeared in other regional cities.
"What really comes through in all the photos," says von Darte, 34, "is the certain vulnerable allure that women have, and the fiercer aspect that they also have. That's what most of the shots are about, [because] I think that's a little bit what women are like." Even after a brief glance at February's scythe-wielding, lingerie-clad vixen, it's hard to disagree that von Darte has hit her mark.
Hutton von Darte
Lexy Lace as Ms. July
Von Darte is herself a Graveyard Girl, posing topless atop a snowy tombstone to illustrate the month of December. "It didn't necessarily feel freezing, but after about 15 minutes, your skin starts to tingle," she says.
When a few of the photos' scenarios called for it, von Darte had her models pose topless. "I didn't think about it as a big deal," she says. "To me, breasts are beautiful, and they're all over art everywhere. It adds to the beauty of the shots, and, compared to what we see nowadays, it's unbelievably tame." Still, she says, she's gotten some negative responses to the nudity from potential vendors; the calendar is shrink-wrapped to stave off complaints from blue-noses. "In Vermont and New England, we're a little bit narrow-minded when it comes to nudity," she says. "That's why I have the calendar. I'd like to break down those barriers a little bit."
The $20 calendar is available at several Vermont retailers, including Bugatti Barbers
and Earth Prime Comics
in Burlington, Good Stuff
in Waterbury and Imago
[NSFW] in Colchester; as well as on amazon.com