I’ve been watching the Vevo version of Dead Or Alive’s Something in My House music vid and basing Pete Burns’ ham/cheese/bananas ability on that, but apparently there’s another version from the 1986 Rip It Up concert vid. This other version has no suggestive banana T_T, but it does have lots more live architecture; i.e., the heads on the door are actual heads, actually blinking. It also has lots more quick cuts and a better view of Pete dancing/writhing/having tantrums, so that’s always a plus. Furthermore, the plot, such as it is, becomes more apparent: it’s Pete qua werewolf/vampire/professional lurker in black pursuing Steve Coy qua hapless dude with a lantern. Unfortunately hapless dude appears to take refuge in the professional lurker’s house. At least I think that’s what’s going on. Anyway, if you like Pete Burns singing and making faces [and who doesn’t? — that man is a master face-puller], check out the other version.
57. Cardiac arrest. My heart goes crack crack crack crack…
The Guardian’s obit says the following:
Burns became famous for his androgynous style and his progressive approach to gender. He often wore women’s clothes and, speaking to the Guardian in 2007, said: “Everyone’s in drag of some sorts, I don’t give a fuck about gender and drag. I’m not trying to be a girl by putting on a dress – gender is separated by fabric. I was brought up with an incredible amount of freedom and creativity. Society has put certain constraints on things.”
I find this quote curious because it’s not quite true. He evidently gave a whole bunch of fucks about gender…or at least his, since he defined his own and performed it with great joy, consistency, and relish until the day he died. More precisely, I think he didn’t care for the inevitable labels [crossdresser, drag queen, transsexual, f****t, etc.] that I’m sure accompanied public notice of his gender. I think this quote is more about him saying, “Y’all are so hung up on what I am or am not. You think I’m some weird deviant pervert. Well, I’m me, and you’re the weird deviant perverts for being so obsessed about it.”
Also The Guardian’s comment that he “often wore women’s clothes” doesn’t make any sense either. Reminds me of the Gender Aptitude Test in Kate Bornstein’s Gender Workbook. One of the questions was as follows:
Have you ever worn the clothes of “the opposite sex?”
a. Hey, give me a break. No way!
b. Yes, but when I wear them, they’re for the right sex.
c. What sex in the world would by opposite of me?
d. Several of the above.
I think D would apply to Pete here.
P.S. The Gender Aptitude Test has lots of entertaining answer choices, but I especially like this one:
Which of the following statements most nearly describes your feelings about gender?
a. My what about gender?
b. I guess my feels range anywhere from anger and frustration to happiness and exhilaration.
c. Gender confuses me. I don’t know why it is the way it is.
d. I feel… I feel… I feel a song coming on!
The title says it all, folks. The music video for Something in My House epitomizes Dead or Alive’s combination of playfulness, silliness, and camp so high that it’s smoking pot somewhere in the stratosphere. Speaking of bananas on ham, there are actual bananas in the video [and maybe actual ham, although I’ve never gotten a close look at the smorgasbord], which means that Pete is quite literally chewing the scenery. I feel that this is what The Rocky Horror Picture Show should have been like — a goofy celebration of flirting with and mugging for the crowd — instead of being a toxic pile of transmisogynist waste that derided the over-the-top character it supposedly centered around. Hmmmm, I smell another essay in the works about camp in RHPS versus camp in Dead or Alive.
Anyway, this entry is mainly an excuse for copious screencaps and sarcastic comments…Continue reading Something in My House, bananas-on-ham fit throwing, and the sheer beauty of Pete Burns’ melodramatic petulance
Being the third in a multipart essay on a) the queer aesthetics of Dead or Alive, b) the effects thereof on the band, and c) the effects thereof on Pete Burns, with AIDS panic and transmisogyny for good measure!
I previously engaged in long, hard study of Dead or Alive’s performances and music to bring you the penetrating news that, first, they were all about the gay imagery and, second, they were all about the gender-bending. Now we’ll examine the effects of said performance and reputation on Dead or Alive’s popularity. Basically I argue that the homophobic and transmisogynist hostility to Dead or Alive hampered their mainstream success.
An in-depth view of You Spin Me Round Like a Record — and, more specifically, what it conspicuously lacks — demonstrates the cultural prejudices arrayed against Dead or Alive. You Spin Me, as I mentioned in Part I, is the song for which the band is best known, at least in the US, UK, and Canada [which all are, of course, the center of the world 😛 ]. Analysis of the reasons for its success leads me to the conclusion that it succeeded mostly on the strength of being neither homoerotic nor generally genderqueer. Yes, folks, I’m saying that the song topped the charts due to the sheer power of its mediocrity.
Now I’m not arguing that lack of homoerotic and genderqueer content automatically makes You Spin Me dull; instead I’m arguing that it charted because it was one of the least queer, most heteronormative, least innovative, and generally commercially safest in Dead or Alive’s oeuvre. In no particular order, here are my reasons for the song’s boringness:
- Musically speaking, You Spin Me demonstrates a conservative dependence on other artists’ work. According to Wikipedia, Pete’s autobiography states that the song arose from his mental mashup of Luther Vandross’ I Wanted Your Love and Little Nell’s See You Round Like a Record. I don’t count this as much of a strike against the song, as it’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it, but I know that Dead or Alive can do cool, creative reinterpretations of others’ songs [ref. their cover of That’s The Way I Like It]. However, You Spin Me, which is neither original or daring, doesn’t come anywhere close to That’s the Way I Like It.
- Furthermore, the lyrics play it straight. A significant number of Dead or Alive’s songs either leave the identity of the singer’s lover ungendered and/or insinuate that the singer is a dude singing about another dude. By contrast, You Spin Me has a male singer addressing someone as baby, a feminized diminutive, thus implying the male singer’s interest in a female person, i.e., heterosexual desire.
- It’s not funny. I earlier derided Dead or Alive’s lyrics as generic, but that was before I detected the sly humor at work in some of their stuff. This wryness appears in Brand New Lover, in which the peripatetic singer frankly wishes for “someone who will lie to me” and pretend not to notice his constant infidelities. Many of the homoerotic double entendres are also pretty entertaining, as when the lyrics of Something in My House wonder “what might have been / If I’d never met that wicked queen.” Queen qua regal woman or queen qua gay guy? I opt for b), given the total context of Dead or Alive’s preferred imagery. Anyway, the point remains that You Spin Me, with its simple, generic declaratives, has none of this humor.
- Even the supporting material is unusually subdued. The music video, for example, features the band mostly singing into the camera, occasionally tied up in ribbons and sometimes waving flags, with breaks to show an out-of-focus disco ball. Pretty much nothing happens in it, although we do see Pete
dancingwiggling slightly, as some people’s hands, adorned with golden nails, appear from behind him. I understand [from the Wikipedia article again] that they did this on the cheap, but it completely avoids the energetic abandon of all other music videos of theirs I’ve seen.
To summarize, You Spin Me eschews all those potentially controversial aspects of Dead or Alive’s music and image: the homoeroticism, the genderqueerness, and the tongue-in-cheek humor. The song plays it safe melodically with its homage to other artists’ hits. The lyrics describe a thoroughly average experience of heteronormative lust. The song is completely without the humorous glints of self-awareness and/or homoerotic allusions prevalent in other songs. More than that, even the music video shows Dead or Alive in a quiet, physically restrained [literally, by the ribbons!] physical presentation. Pete’s purple loungewear aside [seriously, what is that revolting thing?!], the video showcases nothing remarkable. In other words, You Spin Me gains significance for those qualities conspicuous by their absence in it, not because it has some positive greatness.
You Spin Me is both Dead or Alive’s least quintessential song and also their most popular and commercially successful. I acknowledge that some of their other songs did chart and achieve popularity, particularly in the UK and Japan, but mainstream culture regards the group as a one-hit wonder with You Spin Me as their emblem. That’s because, in the homophobic 1980s, during which people were having moral freakouts over the AIDS crisis, Dead or Alive’s ebullient, flamboyant homoerotic image, genderqueerness, and playful, funny performance of sexuality had little appeal. Only when the band toned down or even excised these aspects could they achieve a chart-topping hit.
The case study of You Spin Me suggests that the homoerotic and genderqueer aesthetics of Dead or Alive manifested in some ways as absences. They played up these aspects in many of their songs, videos, and concerts, but the presence of such tropes led to a mainstream cultural censorship. We found Dead or Alive too hard to handle in the 1980s, so we ignored them, denied them popular and commercial success, and thus absented them from widespread familiarity. When they evacuated their signature aesthetics from You Spin Me in a sort of creative absence, we rewarded them by acknowledging their existence and granting pop cultural success. These absences at play conjure up the metaphorical space of an artistic closet, a homophobic construction created when the audience willfully avoids things it doesn’t want to accept and the artists go along with it by pretending not to evince said traits.
Tune in next time when I focus my attention on Pete’s image in particular and the ways in which homophobia and transmisogyny have played out more recently in his life.
Other parts of this essay:
Back when I was discussing Dead or Alive’s mischievous deployment of homoeroticism in their music and videos, I completely passed I’ll Save You All My Kisses, from Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know . I’m here to rectify this unforgivably grievous omission because, not only is the video for it hilarious, but it’s also so extremely homoerotic that I could have used it as my sole piece of evidence.
In the vid, Pete is dancing with his back to a fence, from which guys in tight jeans are hanging avidly. Steve Coy and Mike Percy patrol the ground, smacking baseball bats into their hands menacingly, presumably to keep the groupies from touching Pete. I doubt the groupies would be able to touch much, though, as Pete’s leather jacket is armored with approximately 700 zillion rhinestones, and his embossed steel codpiece/chastity belt/jockstrap thing is firmly chained to said jacket. Pete makes faces at the camera, deliberately pointing away from the groupies. The members of the audience grow increasingly excited, straddling the top of the fence and ripping off their shirts. After all this preparation, the video ends.
I have to say that, whenever I watch this video, I feel like I’m watching some crappy commercial cut edited down for length or unobjectionability. I feel like there was a moment to which all the fence climbing and baseball bat whacking was building, some confrontation between groupies and guards, of which I was tragically deprived. Phooey.
Other parts of this essay:
Being the second in a multipart essay on, first, the queer aesthetics of Dead or Alive, second, the effects thereof on the band, and, third, the effects thereof on Pete Burns, with AIDS panic and transmisogyny for good measure!
I previously demonstrated that Dead or Alive regularly used performance of gay male eroticism as part of their image. They also employed a more generally queer aesthetic of gender play, endearing them even less to the mainstream US. Continue reading Dead or Alive, Too Hard to Swallow — Part II — The Genderqueering
Being the first in a multipart essay on a) the queer aesthetics of Dead or Alive, b) the effects thereof on the band, and c) the effects thereof on Pete Burns, with AIDS panic and transmisogyny for good measure!
For the purposes of this essay, Dead or Alive constitutes a British New Wave dance pop band most prominent in the mid-1980s. Lead singer Pete Burns, drummer Steve Coy, guitarist Wayne Hussey, and bassist Mike Percy formed the group during their years of greatest exposure. They really hit it big with their second album Youthquake, from which You Spin Me Round Like A Record charted to 1 on the UK singles chart, number 11 in the US, and number 1 in Canada. Further albums had chart success in the UK and Japan, but never hit mainstream popularity in the US.
Okay, so…rad New Wave band with a danceable groove, fun songs, and super sexy members — what’s not to love, right? I theorize that Dead or Alive was way too hard to swallow [pun intended :p] for a homophobic 1980s United States. The societal forces of homophobia and transmisogyny militated against Dead or Alive’s US success. Furthermore, it’s arguable that the same prejudices also nearly did in Pete Burns himself.
Dead Or Alive did two concerts in 1987 for their Rip It Up release. Last night I watched an intercut of the two performances. While the video quality was grade Z, the video itself proved extremely educational. Here is what I learned:
- Pete Burns is like a combination of Freddie Mercury and Ivan Doroschuk. He’s got Freddie’s glee of staging himself and Ivan’s complete inability to stand still when singing. He also has the same tendency that both Freddie and Ivan have to let go and just start flailing in glee. Like Freddie, like Ivan, like Lesley, like Shirley, like Michael, he doesn’t so much sing as much as he emanates an irresistible combination of music, power, and joy. I will always find the tension between controlled performance and irrepressible musical abandon incredibly hot.
- There is, however, such a thing as too much Pete Burns. The camera spent way too much time on him and not nearly enough on the other band members. It’s not a solo show, people! Where’s Steve Coy [drummer]?!
- I figured out why Pete Burns’ hair is like that — all the better for whipping around during instrumentals.
- Good backup makes or breaks a concert. I’m talking, of course, about the several guys in sparkly jockstraps who were pretty much doing high-intensity aerobics for a full hour while getting manhandled by Pete Burns [hah!]. I remain irritated that I saw a lot more of them than, you know, 75% of the actual band, but I have to admit that they matched Pete Burns rather well in terms of energy and amount of sheer fun they were having.
- Concerts where people onstage take off their pants are infinitely more entertaining than the same performers on stage avec pantalons.
- If you’re really good, not to mention a little tired from all the singing and dancing, you can take off your pants during an instrumental, turn your ass to the audience, bend over, and stay like that for a few minutes. The crowd’ll go wild.
- Dead Or Alive’s lyrics and melodies are just…mediocre. Generic like hotel room upholstery. As exciting as water at room temperature. Abysmally unexceptional without the visuals. The aggressively homoerotic scene dressing works mightily to compensate. “Sure, we sound like vanilla pudding, but take a look at those guns!” Sometimes it succeeds.
- It’s a pity that the amazing vanilla has become linguistically synonymous in English with boringness, but that’s another entry…
On one hand, it’s a light boppy electronic flashing 2D advertising blitzkrieg reinterpretation with vocal stylings [and general style] from Pete Burns with backup from Steve Coy! Apt fusion of style, substance, and subject, whoop whoop!
On the other hand, Dead Or Alive just works better as a complete band. I feel like the presence of the other members would have made it harder, tighter, and stronger. It needs a little more slam, bang, and twitch [“Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww wham bam thank you ma’am”? :p], also more Steve Coy looking absolutely deadpan.
Otherwise known as My List of People That I Have the Hots For and Who Are, So Far As I Know, Decent Individuals, Plus The Reasons They Are Hot. Please provide info if I am mistaken!
Shirley Bassey: Sings like magma, moves like a wave, and smirks.
Lesley Gore: Sings like magma again, obviously loves what she does, queer, feminist.
Pete Burns: Moves all body parts with a fascinating sinuousity, sings, clearly enjoys being about as hammy as a deli sandwich, has carefully curated and super creative signature style with zero fucks given about what anyone thinks.
Freddie Mercury: Magma, wave, can’t resist air-guitaring, radiates joy on stage, loves cats.
Ivan Doroschuk: Totally bad-ass image belied by flailing enthusiasm for making music, straight white cis dude feminist!
Peter Dinklage: Dry, sarcastic sense of humor, immense acting talents, floppy hair, soulful eyes, general embodiment of sexiness.
James Marsters: Good actor, thoughtful, smart, witty, seemingly humble, sharp cheekbones, nice smirk.
Robert Pattinson: Good actor, fascinating nose, tantalizing hair, entertainingly tongue-in-cheek perspective on Twilight franchise success.
Kristen Stewart: Immense acting talents, intense eyes and mouth, very few fucks given stylistically speaking, refuses to smile on command.
Janelle Monae: Immense talents in singing, doing concept albums, genderfucking, dressing snappily, and articulating her artistic philosophies.
People I Have The Hots For Who Are Problematic Individuals, Plus The Reasons They Are Problematic
David Bowie. Rapist. Racist [i.e., do not try to tell me that China Girl, both song and video, aren’t].
Kate Winslet. Rape apologist for Roman Polanski.
Emma Thompson. Rape apologist for Roman Polanski.
Tilda Swinton. At the very least, cultural appropriation in Doctor Strange.
(O_O) Now I am edified and completely distracted with lust. I don’t know where to look first — the hips, the lips, the limbs, the chins, the lips [again], the hair, the eyebrows…
Extra super amazing bonus points for the woman with the updo dancing in front of the “Keep my body strong” weight-lifting segment. Double plus bonus points for the eyebrows. Everyone in this video is having a huge amount of fun, which makes it even sexier.
Lead of Dead Or Alive = Pete Burns apparently.
Yaaaaaaay! Another $100.00 music video by Men Without Hats, this time for Moonbeam. [$25.00 clearly went to space rental, $25.00 to safety harnesses, and $50.00 to dry ice. See commentary on Pop Goes the World video for budget breakdown on that one.]
I feel like this is what Major Tom was doing before he got strung out. :p
For comparison and contrast, see David Bowie’s also obviously cheap video for Space Oddity.
According to Afropunk, “Mychel Beckhtold and Lucas Souza absolutely kill it, showing off their flexibility and athleticism all while wearing stilettos and crop tops.” Yes, yes, they are absolutely killin’ it. Excuse me while I feast my eyes….
This popped up in my FaceBook feed with a title about “gender non-conforming models,” but that grabs my attention less than picture 4, in which one of them is doing that “my leg is straight-up parallel to my torso” pose. That’s some contortionist/gymnast/performer level of stupendousness right there.
Hey look — people wearing outside of my head what a certain someone regularly wears inside!
I’ve been listening to Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit because it was on Says You last weekend [in a round about songs that people know by informal titles that aren’t their actual titles — I guess people know it as Go Ask Alice]. Also for some reason I ended up at a trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass, a sequel nobody wanted for a movie nobody liked. Pink was covering it with an interesting raw, rocky edge, but I was much too distracted by Johnny Depp’s whingeing and Sacha Baron Cohen’s scenery chewing. I have therefore been listening to the album original and then the version done live at Woodstock. In the latter, one can watch Grace Slick in all her barefoot, fringe-bedecked, frizzy-haired glory, plugging one ear with a finger, grasping the microphone tight enough to strangle it, and singing with an intensity both joyful and piercingly focused. She is the personification of groovy — she has a groove, and she’s grooving in it, and she’s amazing. [For further illustration of Grace groovin’ in her groovy groove, check her — and the whole Airplane crew — doing Somebody to Love! Wow!]
Ahhh, this is wonderful — David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly practicing in costume and like trying to dance down steps or something — you can see him saying, “Don’t trip!” and she’s saying, “Whoops — got it!” More expression in two seconds than she shows throughout the entire film. Continue reading Ahhhh, this is wonderful — David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly dancing
There’s a lot of diaphanous blue in that cape there… I can dig it. Continue reading Sparkly capes are the bestest.
One of the most memorable and useful justifications I learned in Latin class was “It fit the meter.” You see — the Latin language poetry I translated in high school followed a rigorous form of syllabification and rhythm known as meter.
When we were working on lines, our teacher regularly pointed out poetic devices and asked us why we thought Virgil [because we were doing the Aeneid] — used certain words. Without fail, one kid always responded, “It fit the meter!”
This explanation, while technically true, always entertained me. It completely dismissed all sort of sophisticated rhetorical effects and instead focused on wedging language into the appropriate amount of syllables and lines.
That being said, I find myself seeing all flourishes that “fit the meter” in a variety of media. When someone is repeating “Yeah yeah yeah” or “Oh oh oh” in a song, those words exist to fit the meter. Rococo architecture is full of curlicues and flourishes that fit the meter. When my digital sets look boring and empty, I may add people and decor to fit the meter. In other words, fitting the meter means filling available space in an appropriate way.
Back to the title of this entry… After watching Michael Jackson’s Bad and Smooth Criminal, I think that a certain number of his crotch grabs and hat tilts occur because they fit the meter — i.e., they fill time and look cool.
69 is really fucking young to go.
This is very hot. I am going to watch this many many many times on repeat. There’s also a song in there that’s not too bad to listen to…but damn — that individual can move. [A little concerned about the bruise-colored eyeshadow, though…]
You’re bad? Okay. You can call yourself anything you want — just do that pelvic thrust again!!!
I wonder if the jingling chains were just taped along with the singing or if they were put on a separate track that was added in later. In any case, they’re my favorite part of the song aside from Michael Jackson’s
pelvic girdle dancing.
…Wearing a blue silk floral poet’s blouse, peach bellbottoms, and some superfly chunky platform heels that I can’t get a good look at. Oh yeah, and he’s singing an acoustic live version of Space Oddity too.
I’m deeply saddened that I find this noteworthy, but I have to say that, in my albeit limited survey of Queen’s music, I have found remarkably little in the way of condescension, objectification and misogyny directed toward women in their songs. I’m still waiting in dread for the inevitable sexist stereotypes to crop up and drop my opinion of them, but so far they seem on a level with Men Without Hats. That is, they care less about slagging more than half the population and more about doing what they love: making music!
Take, for example, Queen’s Killer Queen. It’s a character sketch of a rich, powerful woman who has expensive tastes and an indomitable will. After an enumeration of her expensive preferences in company and cuisine, the lyrics describe her as "Dynamite with a laser beam / Guaranteed to blow your mind / Anytime" — i.e., she’s attractive and sexually powerful, but she doesn’t threaten, piss off or annoy the speaker. He calls her "dynamite," in the sense of "highly skilled at what she does," "sexy" and "explosively awesome." He wants her to blow his mind!
Even the verse in which she’s compared to a cat comes across as laudatory. While woman:cat similes tend to connote peevish competitiveness [cattiness] and sexual objectification [qua pussy cat], the simile here calls the woman "playful as a pussy cat." The verse describes how she pursues the speaker avidly, then suddenly stops, "temporarily out of gas." The speaker recognizes that she’s playing a game — "all out to get you" — but doesn’t think she’s a cocktease or playing hard to get. No, he goes along, happy to play with the woman. The song ends with an acknowledgment of the woman’s irresistible effect on the speaker ["Recommended at any price"], as well as listeners ["Wanna try? / You wanna try…"]. It’s very obvious that the song Killer Queen is sung as a tribute by a dude who desires, respects and perhaps even loves a woman for traits that other people would probably deride.
…People like, for example, the Rolling Stones. The Stones’ analogue to Killer Queen would have to be Stupid Girl, in which the singer sketches a character similar to the Killer Queen. The woman in Stupid Girl dresses expensively, values material goods ["…she digs for gold"], pursues men aggressively ["…she grabs and holds"], etc. The singer even trots out a feline simile: "She purrs like a pussy cat / Then turns round and hisses back." Heck, the Killer Queen and the Stupid Girl are probably the same person, just described from different points of view.
While the speaker in Killer Queen thinks that the woman is the best partner he’s had, the speaker in Stupid Girl absolutely loathes the woman. It’s right there in the title of the song! Finally, the comparison of the woman to "a lady-in-waiting to a virgin queen" implies that she’s close to power, but actually lacking it, really just a glorified servant. Furthermore, the virginity of the queen in the simile passes by association onto the woman, connoting sexual inexperience, coldness and inaccessibility. The speaker clearly can’t stand the fact that he desires this woman, so he projects all his hostility onto her and vilifies her for being interested in people other than himself. [Gee, I wonder why? He’s such a catch! :p ]
In my imagination, this is how the story goes: There’s a young woman — let’s say her name is Regina 😉 — born into wealth and power. She’s neither particularly good nor particularly bad, neither particularly selfish nor unselfish, just a person of average character. She really enjoys her material privileges, though. She knows that her wealth and attractiveness give her a certain license, so she exploits this in her active, assertive search for romantic and sexual partners. She always has the flashiest and latest and best and most expensive of everything, and she carefully, deliberately cultivates her status as trendsetter. She holds meetings with her staff, for example, where they go over long-range ramifications of, say, choosing vegetarianism. For another example, she has a panel of people who critique every outfit she wears, looking not only for high quality, coordination, fashionability, originality and daring, but also for rip-offs, appropriation, offensiveness, copyright infringement, etc. Regina has a reputation for being somewhat mysterious and reclusive, but this is mostly because she spends so much time analyzing every more in private before she makes it in public.
Regina’s work pays off. People wear what she wears, eat what she eats, travel where she travels, support the causes she supports, While not an actor or singer or model or fashion designer or hereditary titled person, Regina hangs out with all the coolest of all these groups, or, more precisely, they seem to hang out with her because they want her awesomeness by association. In short, she has become one of the most powerful people in the country. As a style icon, she has enormous influence to shape the most basic aspects of people’s lives, from the contents of their closets to their moral considerations. Regina shamelessly enjoys this power.
There are two people — let’s call them Freddie and Mick 😉 — who represent the divergent opinions that the public has about Regina. Freddie recognizes Regina’s achievements. He understands that people in Regina’s position are neither inherently sexy nor glamorous and that Regina has carefully crafted the role of style icon for herself. He realizes that the creation and maintenance of such a status requires a lot of time, money and energy, and he’s impressed by her ambition, acumen, intelligence and hard work. He notes that, while she does not have a traditionally defined profession, she has turned "style icon" into her own demanding, full-time job. And, of course, like many people, Freddie feels the effects of Regina’s glamour. Her quick movement through dating/bed partners just proves to him that she’s admirably lusty, playful, fun-loving, probably "dynamite" 😀 in the sack and exhausting to anyone she moves on from. He lusts after her; he has a huge crush on her; he thinks she’s amazing and really enjoys their friends with benefits hook-ups. If anything, he has a little hero worship going on that keeps him from seeing Regina as an imperfect person, like him.
On the other hand, Mick contemns Regina as an airhead heiress who does nothing and is famous for being famous. In his eyes, she wastes her fortune on trivial tokens of femininity, like clothes and cosmetics. Her assertive pursuit of sexual and romantic partners makes him think that she’s a slutty whore…and also a frigid b***h because she declined to date him after having sex one night. He hates her because she’s a woman who has the temerity to be happy without him in her life. It goes without saying that Mick is, of course, a miserable, wretched excuse for a human being. :p
Freddie Mercury and Queen doing Another One Bites the Dust. I love Freddie Mercury. He has just such an amazing amount of irrepressible JOY in his performances. He moves with such grace and poise and control — everything he does on stage is dancing!
Goofin’ off with We Are the Champions. So caught up that he starts air guitaring with the mike stand again. ^_^
Earlier today I mentioned Jareth in the same entry as various theatrically costumed rock stars from the mid-1970s. I think David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and probably Adam Ant [though not from the 1970s] would approve of the get-up below.
Continue reading Smashing!: Jareth’s latest outfit
Okay, so she’s in her underwear on a skateboard with no protective gear. That’s awkward. Other than that, though, this is a wonderful shot with an amazing-looking model who is clearly having fun. What’s not to love?
I don’t know why Shutterstock labels this as “Funny Overweight Woman Skateboarding.” Why is this photo amusing? Because she’s in her underwear? Because she’s having fun? Because she’s fat? And why do the keywords include “fatty,” “funny people,” “crazy” and “humor?”
Oh those hilarious fat people, thinking they can enjoy themselves! They should know that they’re supposed to be miserably ashamed of their disgusting flab and that they should go around completely covered in heavy, shapeless drapery all the time so that no one else has to see their grossness. Seriously…any fatty who thinks that anyone wants to see them in their underwear clearly has a mental illness.
…with flame fringe on the kirtle sleeves and bellbottoms, not to mention the neckline that plunges somewhere into the region of the crotch. That certain type of person is Freddie Mercury.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone to wear a striped vinyl jumpsuit with integrated platform shoes and a similar neckline, you’re looking for David Bowie.
And if you’re looking for someone whose idea of smashing constitutes a purple Rococo pompadour, a feathered ruff, skin-tight pants and thigh-high ballet boots, just hang in there — I’m rendering him tonight. :p
Now watching Queen’s Legendary concert from 1975, I see Freddie Mercury playing air guitar with his mike stand, just like he was 10 years later, during Live Aid. Even rock stars can’t resist the power of the air guitar ’cause it’s so damn cool! 😀
While watching the music video for We Will Rock You, I can’t help but notice the difference between Freddie Mercury’s moves and those of the rest of the band. Though the guitarist does get his groove on during the solo at the end, most of the band just stand there stiffly, moving no more than necessary. Meanwhile Freddie Mercury is performing in inimitable Freddie Mercury fashion.
I was going to compare him to my usual referents — you know, Ivan Doroschuk, Mick Jagger, Tim Curry — but I really can’t because he’s in a league of his own. Ivan Doroschuk moves, but he does more flailing and bouncing. Mick Jagger and Tim Curry make faces, but I don’t think of them as so completely self-possessed as Freddie Mercury. He demonstrates absolute control in every expression and motion of his limbs: a combination of fluid precision and sheer joy of motion. Kind of like Shirley Bassey or Lesley Gore. And his voice is incredible. The more I think about it, the more apt a comparison is between Freddie Mercury and Shirley Bassey — both fabulous performers with stunningly powerful voices and charismatic stage presences whose love for what they do so clearly shines through in every word they sing.
In these interviews, he tries really hard not to slag the franchise that earned him bundles, but he can’t refrain from some rather insightful criticism of the series’ failures. His observation that Stephenie Meyer sees herself as Bella makes lots of sense, especially since she got the original idea for a key Twilight scene from a dream.
I actually really like the guy. From what I’ve seen, he’s rather down-to-earth, playful, a little silly and accessible. Being sexy doesn’t hurt either.
Check out this photo series by Sarah Deragon, “The Identity Project.” She takes pictures of people and tags them according to how they identify. They all face the camera squarely, some hamming it up, dressing and posturing in ways that they feel reveals who they are. As a bonus, their proud, challenging expressions [for example, the person in portrait 1, who appears to be thinking, “It’s too early in the morning for this heteronormative bullshit!”] also serve as a critique of narrow, rigid identity categories at use in broader society. I would like 1:6 scale populations with all of those skin colors, body shapes, hairstyles and expressions, please…
That’s what I like in this Boys Keep Swinging [David Bowie] music video. Posture, gait, the size and shape of gestures — all these little details develop different personalities.
I wish I could make my dolls move differently, but they don’t move. Guess they’ll just have to stand and sit and be still differently, which they do. Examples abound in the latest survey of small populations, where especially those in the "dolls who bug me" and "Zombieville" categories evince their personalities through their posture.
Judging from their body language, an inordinate number of my dolls appear to think that they’re fabulous: Anneka, Frank 1:6, Jareth 1:6, Will, Jareth regular, Peekaboo, Lucian, Béatrice, Isabel, AJ regular. Out of all the postures in the "all my dolls" series, I most like Janvier Jett’s [because she looks like she’s about to speaek], Jareth’s [because he looks like he’s up to something, which he always is], Sardonix’ [because she just looks so completely unimpressed with anyone’s bullshit], Dillon [because he’s just chillin’ casually] and Steampink AJ’s [because she just looks so serenely superior].
David Bowie, almost certainly somewhere in the 1970s, possibly in concert?
EDIT: Google Image Search identifies this picture as him on the set of the Boys Keep Swinging video, 1979.
…androgynous dude with black leather, studs, whip and heavy eyeliner, not to mention killer balletic dance moves. Sexy, maybe, but not bad.
P.S. Yes, we all see your crotch. It’s kind of impossible NOT to in those pants.
P.P.S. How did I not see this video of yours until now?
[goes to watch Thriller]
She has such a strong voice, relishing every word she hurls forth. I love that rich underlining that her voice gets when she draws out words. She has such a strong, solid, expressive body, made for propelling out song. I love her self-consciously hammy, dramatic little gestures when she sings, as in this 1974 rendition of Goldfinger ["Goooooooooooooooooldfingaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"]. She also has a marvelous sense of humor; look at her glee as she combines sex appeal and playfulness when singing Big Spender in 2001! Like Leslie Gore, she enjoys herself so much when she sings. You can tell that she’s working hard, but loving every minute of it.
I don’t think I could stand it if Lesley Gore and Shirley Bassey did a duet. I think my ears would explode from the combined power and sexiness of their voices.
She makes me actually like the song. I always thought that the lyrics were, "I’m coming out, so you’d better get this party started."
The mist, masks and mirrors are making me think that someone needs to mash this cover up with images from the ballroom scene in Labyrinth.
I have developed a HUGE crush on Lesley Gore. I could watch her sing all day, even if it’s heteronormative bullshit. She sings with such power and force, propelling the words out from inside her with irresistible potency. That voice could knock down walls. She’s amazing!
Here’s Lesley Gore doing You Don’t Own Me in 1989 with the same expressive passion that she imbued the performance I recently mentioned. I love the way she bounces on her toes, as if the force of her voice is going to sweep her off her feet. She looks so grounded and so powerful.
This video of Lesley Gore, most likely around 17 or 18, singing You Don’t Own Me live, fascinates me. She sings with such joy and passion and expressiveness; she clearly loves to sing! Plus she’s hot; I love her baggy eyes and her long straight nose and her rectangular face and those amazing flickery eyebrows. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s one of us. 😀
…have some clause in his contracts that stipulates that, when he guest stars on a fantasy TV show, he has to be A) an exceptionally long-lived character and/or B) one that explicitly tells our protagonists that vampires are bullshit?
In Smallville’s Thirst, he played Milton Fine/Brainiac, who fulfilled the B role.
In Supernatural’s Shut Up, Dr. Phil, he played Don Stark, a witch with a greatly extended lifespan.
In Warehouse 13’s The Living and the Dead, he played Professor Sutton/the Count of St. Germain, a 500-year-old charlatan who, he emphasized, was not a vampire. A + B!
I must say, though, that it’s always a pleasure to see him guest star, especially when he plays a charming rogue, which he does with relish [mmmmmm, relish!] and playfulness.
Also he is hot.
This is awesome! How often do you see fat, kinky, androgynous, pierced people with disabilities in stocky photos? WOOOOOO HOOOOO! What a cute pair. ^_^
EDIT: I fixed the link!
Right here. ^_^
I could watch this GIF for a few hours…
As much as I like smirky Jareth, I'm also a big fan of contemplative Jareth. [Hey, lookit my userpic!] Also known as "Oh shit" Jareth. :p
Some time ago, I created a Youtube playlist based on a concert DVD of Men Without Hats entitled Live Hats, and I love it. In concert, Men Without Hats sound less poppy and harsher, more experimental. Unfortunately, I don't know of any concert recordings of Men Without Hats, with the exception of Live Hats, which is only available on DVD, not CD, hence my constant resort to this playlist. Whenever I need some background music, I just cue this playlist up, and it automatically makes me happy. ^_^
P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU IVAN DOROSCHUK!!!!
I can’t find video of Richard O’Brien’s Dammit Janet [Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975], but I found Billy Idol’s White Wedding (1982). All the weirdos in the church, plus the juxtaposition of coffins and marriage, made me think of Dammit Janet. Billy Idol does an interesting job of fusing both the Brad and the Frank characters in this video…mostly Frank, given the vamping. It is also possible that he is a vampire, although I may be anachronistically projecting from a certain vampiric character [Spike in BTVS] that clearly ripped off his look.
…Wow, Billy Idol remade Mony Mony? All I’ve heard is the original. Maybe I need to investigate his
sneer hair washboard abs music some more.
Today’s New Wave comments: Dancing With Myself is about masturbation. Safety Dance, besides being about safe sex, is the least interesting Men Without Hats song ever. In comparison to the rest of their thoughtful, poppy, odd oeuvre, it’s dull and predictable.
Above and beyond his ebullient, hard-pumping, catchy synth aesthetic, balanced with equal parts fantastical optimism and wistful melancholy aslant:
1. He plays air guitar at his own concerts.
2. He plays air drums at his own concerts.
3. He headbangs at his own concerts.
4. He jumps around in circles at his own concerts.
5. He incorporates these weird noises — "Wha hoo hah hoo haaa!" — into his lyrics, as if to indicate that the music is so kickin’ rad that it renders him wordless.
6. His style of "dancing" involves lots of fist-pumping, wrist-twirling, spinning in circles and hopping.
7. He never lets his complete lack of kinesthetic talent get in the way of his bodily transmission of the super awesomeness and hip-unscrewing abandon of his music. He doesn’t just sing and/or play the music; he becomes it.
8. He is a complete dork, and he doesn’t care.
Even better now that I have discovered that RealPlayer has a feature allowing users to download videos, through which I am attempting to download the many mini-vids on YouTube of each song on the Live Hats DVD, my favorite Men Without Hats album. Then I will try to get them on a CD or DVD [I really just want the music, as much as I love Ivan’s jumping around] and put them on my hard drive.
Not only is Ivan Doroschuk hot, energetic and smirky, with a shuddersomely wonderful voice, but he’s also…GASP…a feminist! Hey Men kind of blows my mind, being as it is a song about respecting women and children and, for men, embracing a wider, more compassionate definition of masculinity. No wonder this song never made any hit lists.
EDIT: This just in. Ivan Doroschuk is also a great big geek. He has been known to jump around in circles singing ["Tell me tell me tell me where do the boys go?!"] regularly and play air guitar at his own shows.
EDIT EDIT: I’m gonna have to buy the Live Hats concert DVD and somehow get the music off it. Here’s another awesome tune — Security — about being haunted by one’s confidence. And here’s the creepy original, apparently not available on CD anywhere.
EDIT EDIT EDIT: If I made a 1:6 Ivan Doroschuk, it would fail to capture his appeal because much of his magnetism comes from the sheer abandon with which he flings himself about in spasmodic blitheness.
His voice gives me chills; also, he manages to look like he’s glowering and having fun at the same time.
Sociological Images drew my attention to Viktoria [interview and photos here], the May 2008 cover model for Bizarre, a British glossy about fetish activities and style. Viktoria is a woman in her early 20s who designs and models fetishwear. Her left leg is amputated below the knee. As Lisa asks in SocIm:
What makes Viktoria “bizarre”? Is it her amputated leg? Is it the fact that she has an amputated leg and is still incredibly sexy? Or is it that she has an amputated leg and still considers herself a sexual person?
The comments also got me thinking about the ways in which Viktoria is presented. To me it seems that Bizarre thinks that Viktoria is bizarre because she has 1.5 legs, but she can easily conform to modern bourgeois stereotypes of what white, attractive, sexy, young women with 2 legs are supposed to look like. As the rest of the post points out, though, and as some commenters observe, there’s really nothing bizarre, unusual, original or subversive about this shoot. Viktoria is just being objectified like all the other cover models.
I do not think it is helpful and subversive and interesting and, above all, feminist and pro-accessibility, if a woman with 1.5 legs ends up treated just as misogynistically as women with 2 legs. A feminist and pro-accessibility view of Viktoria would neither dismiss nor fetishize her 1.5 legs, but instead talk about how being a WOMAN with 1.5 LEGS informs her unique experience of being a sexual person. We get an interesting glimpse into her self-perception, assuming that the interview is true, when she says of her post-amputation reactions, “[My amputated leg] was so cute. It was the biggest release you could imagine.” The article, which would rather profess wide-eyed amazement that a person with 1.5 legs actually has sexuality, does not really investigate the content thereof, contenting itself instead with the facile conclusion that Viktoria is so awesome because she can be airbrushed and Photoshopped just to look as “sexy” as models with 2 legs!!
P.S. I included this particular picture because Viktoria’s outfit in this part of the shoot is hot.
Excuse me while I sit here drooling over the way the man dramatically wipes his lipstick, making it trail across his face like an exposure of his secret skin and the way the woman discloses her bound breasts with a fluid movement, shucking her shirt as if it’s petals of a flower. Found at Sociological Images.
I really like this song, but I keep forgetting that I like it, so, when I play it, it ambushes me with its emotional punch. The lyrics draw from the standard tropes about love and loss, but the way in which she knits them together makes them tender, weary and infinitely melancholy all at the same time. The dirge-like tempo underscores the sadness, while the clarity of her voice embodies the spirit of affection. Plus the title indicates that it’s about vampires, although nothing in the song specifies that. What more could I ask for?
Come into these arms again
And lay your body down
The rhythm of this trembling heart
Is beating like a drum
It beats for you – It bleeds for you
It knows not how it sounds
For it is the drum of drums
It is the song of songs…
Once I had the rarest rose
That ever deigned to bloom.
Cruel winter chilled the bud
And stole my flower too soon.
Oh loneliness – oh hopelessness
To search the ends of time
For there is in all the world
No greater love than mine.
Love, oh love, oh love…
Still falls the rain… (still falls the rain)
Love, oh love, oh, love…
Still falls the night…
Love, oh love, oh love…
Be mine forever…. (be mine forever)
Love, oh love, oh love….
Let me be the only one
To keep you from the cold
Now the floor of heaven’s lain
With stars of brightest gold
They shine for you – they shine for you
They burn for all to see
Come into these arms again
And set this spirit free
James Marsters is guest-starring on Torchwood season 2 in the Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang ep.
I really respect highly accomplished artists who fuse technical skills with passionate execution and attention to detail. I respect them even more when they are intelligent, analytical people who have insights into themselves, their craft and how their craft affects others. For example, Sarah Michelle Gellar is a highly accomplished actor, and I respect that, but I can’t respect her as a person because she’s not very thoughtful or reflective; plus she’s really squandering her talent.
James Marsters, on the other hand, ranks right up there with David Bowie for me. He’s really talented AND really intelligent, not to mention jovial and humorous, as you can see in the latest Television Without Pity interview. After reading the transcript, I conclude that he seems to be a charismatic, extroverted person with the gift of making almost anyone feel relaxed and accepted.
Anyway, in case I need any more reason to have a crush on him, here he is saying intelligent things about the massive popularity of Spike in BTVS. Brains are such a turn-on. A cut from the TWoP interview:
CB: Speaking of Spike, one more question about him. Obviously, I don’t have to tell you how popular a character he is, but if you can separate acting ability and looks from the equation, what is it about his essence that makes him so alluring?
JM: Hmm…that’s a really hard question for me to answer, because I wasn’t objective about it. I think at the end of the day, it’s either of two things or both of them, and one is probably more for women than men. But the first is that the show wasn’t supposed to be about sexy vampires. It was supposed to be about ugly vampires who die. The mythology was that the vampires stood for what sucks about high school, and so Joss got talked into Angel, which was not in his ground plan, and the character just took off, and he’s like, that’s it, it’s one sexy vampire, I will allow you no more. And then I come along, and I think that he was trying to keep a cap on…he recognized that I was thematically dangerous to his show. He didn’t want it to become a soap opera of sexy vampires. And so he, uh, marginalized the character, and it’s ironic, because the show is about outsiders, it’s about people who are not the popular people, and he didn’t really realize it, but he created within…so the show is about these outsider outcasts, and in this group of outcasts, there’s this other outcast. So he made me the super-outcast, and the show speaks to everyone who feels sometimes like an outcast, which is pretty much everybody. So thematically, I don’t know that he meant to set it up that way, but it kind of went down that way.