The IRREGULAR | An Occasional Journal of Odd Salon | ISSUE ONE


This pandemic summer we’re sought out stories of silver linings from history’s darkest moments, looking to the past for inspiration and endurance, cures, coping mechanisms, humor, and the artistic riches of post plague years. Issue One features short articles from Odd Salon Fellows, plus illustrations and excerpts from voices from the past from Shakespeare’s erotic plague poetry and Newton’s mathematical genius, Horace’s Odes, Edgar Allen Poe’s deadly soirees, Florence Nightingale’s data visualizations, John Snow’s maps, and Mary Montague’s defiant smallpox inoculations… plus stick figures, questionable cures, and quarantine cocktails.

88 pages. Limited edition first printing, by Brandes Printing in Berkeley, California. Print copies and digital access available.

The Phoenix & the Flame | Odd Salon RESILIENT (Introduction)
Annetta Black & Tre Balchowsky

A look at how hardship breeds resilience in the worst of times, from the 1918-1919 flu pandemic to the Black Death of 1348.

Hast Thou Readst My Blog? The Plague Journals of Samuel Pepys | Odd Salon RESILIENT
JR Pepper

In the days before social media, blogs, gossip magazines and tell-all books- people kept journals to describe their day-to-day. But, what if your day to day involves living through one of most devastating plagues in human history? Samuel Pepys took the opportunity to journal the mundane, the devastation, his womanizing, his cat and the local gossip- in a series of personal journals from 1660-1669.

The Seventh Seal: Thirty-Five Days of Celluloid | Odd Salon RESILIENT
Alexander Razo-Myers

Ingmar Bergmans’ now widely acclaimed cinematic masterpiece “The Seventh Seal” was acknowledged to be a special film before production even began; yet it was given just the routine thirty-five day shooting schedule, theatre actors speeding through production, and chilly Swedish critical reception. Set during the Black Death of 1348, and filmed in 1957, the film is also reflective of atomic age questions of existentialism. Unexpectedly, it created a booming desire for international cinema, propelling Bergman to status of grand auteur, with the chiaroscuro cinematography cementing its iconic imagery.

The No Nose Club: Solidarity in the Face of Stigma | Odd Salon RESILIENT
Kate O’Donnell

In 18th century London, syphilis sufferers faced not only untreatable symptoms but deep universal prejudice. Join us for the tale of how one underground gentleman’s club challenged that prejudice – upending stigma through community, solidarity, and perhaps a few too many nose jokes.

Plague Masks: Pestilence & Pointy Noses | Odd Salon EPIDEMIC
Michael Brodhead

When the Black Death came to Europe it gave rise to bizarre and sometimes beautiful doctors’ costumes, including the famous bird-like beak masks. Imbued with a combination of seemingly practical protection and wishful-thinking, the memory of the bird doctor was preserved long after the plague died away as part of the commedia dell’arte and in the masks of the Venetian Carnival.

Dr. Snow in the Time of Cholera | Odd Salon EPIDEMIC
Frederic Lightning Leist

A tale of data mapping, epidemiology, and a man named John Snow: In 1854, it was widely accepted that miasma, the foul stench of decay, caused cholera. The water companies, in particular, were convinced that water couldn’t transmit the disease. But the contrarian Dr. John Snow thought otherwise.

John Early, World Famous Leper | Odd Salon RESILIENT
Christopher Reeves

The story of how an ornery leper scared America’s wealthy into paying for research into Hansen’s disease by defying quarantine and making an unruly, uncomfortable and press-worthy spectacle which raised the profile not only of the disease of leprosy, but the inhumane and antiquated treatment of patients.

Defeating Diphtheria with Dogsleds: The 1925 Serum Run
Matt Codner

When trains, planes and SHIPS wouldn’t do, Siberian Huskies answered the call to deliver antitoxin to the edge of the American empire, against overwhelming odds, covering 674 miles of ice covered terrain in just five and a half days, to save the lives of children of Nome, Alaska.

Dr. Joe and the Fight to Save America’s Children
Isolde Honore

Dr. S. Josephine Baker was a champion of preventative medicine and innovative public health solutions. She tackled outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery in slums, then took on the worst health crisis in New York: high infant mortality. She revealed to the nation that it was six times safer to be a soldier in the frontlines of France during WWI, than to be an American infant. Something had to change.


A reading list from the ages of plague and pandemic: Including stories of endurance and survival, cures, compassion, and community, and lessons from the history and science of epidemics. Selected by the Curators and Speakers of Odd Salon RESILIENT.

Selected further reading on Odd Salon themes compiled by our curators and speakers, and powered by the new indie-supporting online bookshop.

RESILIENT Reading List>