Monday, February 01, 2016

David Bowie Celebrity Cosplay

David Bowie, known for many a fine grand entrance, is gone. We mourn. He leaves behind a huge artistic legacy, including his many fashion looks, imitable but never to pack the punch of their initial impact on our senses. Someone dressed as David Bowie will always be someone dressed as David Bowie and nothing more. Maybe that's why so few celebrity-types have attempted it. They're all busy trying to fly their own freak flag and good luck with that.

Still, let's enjoy some celebrity David Bowie cosplay. This was going to be a tossed-off post while I figure out what I really want to write about. It's become more of a David Bowie fashion rabbit hole and I'm just not prepared to go there. It would take years to properly write about Bowie's world of characters and the clothes they wore and the people he collaborated with to achieve those goals. This is not that post.

This is a post featuring Runaways' singer, Foxes co-star and renowned chain-saw artist Cherie Currie, performing at her Mulholland Junior High School talent show in 1974 as Ziggy Stardust.

Cherie Currie as Bowie - from her revised 2010 biography Neon Angel, written with Tony O'Neill

Currie related to Bowie as a power symbol after she experienced a traumatic incident as a young teen.

She dressed as him again in 2000.

Currie pays tribute.

Kate Moss, who was Bowie's friend, wore his actual Ziggy Stardust bunny-rabbit playsuit to collect his 2014 Brit Award as best male singer. She looks great. But she could make a frock made of dish rags look stunning. Best to leave this look to the professionals.

Kate Moss pays tribute to Bowie for British Vogue and Vogue Paris.

Tilda Swinton as Bowie.

Jean Paul Gaultier's 2013 spring/summer ready-to-wear show featured a slew of pop-music characters you may recall—most from the 80s, and one design based on a 70s' icon.

Who wouldn't want to sport this summery ensemble poolside?

Jessica Lange, channeling Marlene Dietrich via David Bowie on American Horror Story Freak Show.

And finally here's Lady Gaga Exposed's channel's SUPER-INTENSE look at everyone Lady Gaga's ever copied (or paid homage to, depending on your reading of her multiple ch-ch-ch-changes), including Bowie, but just about everyone else on the planet as well. This took a lot of research and features one INTENSE techno track, so give it up, for "Lady Gaga Copies/EXPOSED/Grammys 2010."

And if you'd rather listen to something else while watching Lady Gaga copy or pay homage to everyone who's ever existed, here's an alternative soundtrack to play. Don't say I never gave you options.


Harry Potter as Aladdin Sane by Russell Works

Monday, January 11, 2016

Au Revoir, David Bowie - GIFs

David Bowie went out a champion. He buckled down and did what he always did: made some good music from his heart. Someone on one of my social-media timelines had recently posted this video of his first television appearance, performing Space Oddity, looking good in a flowery shirt and very bell-bottomed pants.

And linking to that was his Lazarus video, which I'll link to rather than embed here since it's too sad to watch today. Anyway, yesterday I thought I should watch some of the new Bowie videos. They were deemed "creepy" by the media when they first came out, so I had avoided them for a few weeks, not being in the mood for creepy Bowie. But I buckled down and gave them a listen, walking around my small office/art space, puttering, organizing things, blowing dust around, thinking: these songs are about death, particularly Bowie's death. And they're very disturbing, facing a destruction none of us personally want to contemplate.

I'm going to be 52 this year. I'm on the other side of the hill, so to speak. Death's closer to me, rather than farther, at least in theory. Bowie's dealing with all that, I thought—like he's always dealt with everything he's going through—composing it in a pop milieu. Good for him! That's brave, I thought.

And now it's today and he's gone.

But he was always brave. He came out as bisexual early in his career (it took him a little longer to gain success compared to many of his young compatriots, giving him time to take on and succeed in the nearly impossible long form of pop culture), he dressed in drag, kind of ironically but with bold, fierce irony, pointing the finger at us, pointing the finger at homophobic society.

And letting his inner alienated spacenaut out, which in turn let his young fans know it's possible to turn alienation into an art form. It helps to be supremely musically talented and photogenic, but Bowie was so busy messing with his good looks in theatrical and startling ways, that his gifts seemed beside his point. "I'm a weirdo and I'm not ashamed," was his credo. It was dark but very refreshing in the conformist U.S. I don't know how Great Britain took it all in initially—that's always been a land of creative eccentrics. But here in the U.S.A.,  my brother-in-law's otherwise "cool" middle-school teacher editorialized a news story about Bowie with, "He's a FAG!" Bowie was very liberating from that way of thinking, for a lot of us.

He also called out MTV on their racist playlist in 1983. You could say, well, any white celebrity could have done that—big deal. But the fact was, he was the only white celebrity I can recall who did. And did it well. He marched forward in a thoughtful, artistic way, always. And for such a visually minded person he was supremely musical—a modern-day genius on several levels.

A beautiful body of work. That's all we can hope to leave behind.

Not a Bowie original, but like all great singers, he made it his own. Wild is the Wind (1976).

GIFs—they've been sitting in a folder on my computer for a long time. Here you go.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Time May Change Me illustration by Helen Green.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Women dancing seductively in 60s films while on LSD

There's nothing like a good ol' fashioned 60s-era druggie exploitation flick. They just don't mix up batches of that special LSD that made scantily clad women dance sensuously anymore. You know the kind of LSD I'm talking about—the kind that made the ladies make love to the camera and take off their clothes. I guess the men in these films took the other LSD—the manly variety, because they seemed to keep their clothes on and there was no seductive dancing whatsoever. Just an occasional violent freak out.

In celebration of the new year, let's revisit some classic sensual LSD-laced dance scenes from yesteryear. None were destined to make MGM's "That's Entertainment!" reel, but it's a lost NSFW art-form that could use a little appreciation.

Bibi (Pamela Rodgers) from The Big Cube (1969) is always looking for attention. I can't help but adore her rascally antics. If I was a drag queen, I'd model myself after Bibi—great 60s-wear, big hair, massively exaggerated line delivery, always. Here, she's got a little male competition but nips it in the bud because it's all about her. He must have taken some of that lady acid.

I've never seen Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) in its entirety but perhaps that's unnecessary—this LSD-fueled dance by Andy (Mimsy Farmer) encapsulates its exploitative schlock-factor for nearly eight minutes so well. In a piece-of-crap film like this, it's surprising how much Farmer throws herself into the moment here, during two song cycles before being ravished off-screen by a drug-dealing goon.  The second half of her choreography is especially crazed—nearly transcendent. A modern-dance company worth its salt could certainly do justice to her interpretation. Or a drag-queen revue. I would pay to see either.

In an otherwise deadly dull look at LSD culture, here's Peter Fonda in The Trip (1967), about to take a headlong voyage to the bottom of a basement club full of dancing freaks, including a naked body-painted lady doing her hippie groove thang.

I'd be remiss not to include the "The LSD Story" from season 1 of Dragnet. Sure, it's television, but producers managed to sneak in a few moments of sensual-LSD dance during the brief-but-memorable party scene "up in the hills somewhere" in Los Angeles. Sergeant Joe Friday and his partner Bill are here to break up all the fun, as usual (starting around the 4-minute mark), which includes not only the family-friendly sexy dancing, but actual climbing-the-wall dancing. The party boys get more active roles, playing (and rewinding) tunes, eating paint and being mouthy. The girls merely look perplexed and pouty, yelling, "Merry Christmas!" during the drug bust like a bunch of acid-tripping dum-dums. It's an LSD-party glass ceiling is what it is.

Now it's your turn! Make up your own sensual LSD dance. Here's the Strawberry Alarm Clock in Psych-Out (1968) to get you started (young Jack Nicholson sitting in on poseur guitar). Remember to seduce the imaginary camera (male gaze). Clothing removal is optional, but in keeping with the hippie ethos. Use all-organic ingredients for your body paint—skin is our largest organ, after all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Live-blogging the Brady Bunch Davy Jones Episode - 44 years too late

So I'm a grown woman, watching this Brady Bunch "Getting Davy Jones" episode from 1971. None of this makes sense. But hear me out: I've never seen this episode. Me, a Brady Bunch freak. I've seen every episode of this show at least three to four times. Perhaps even more. I was a child during its initial run and it's been syndicated ever since, so do the math.

Anyway, I missed this episode when it first debuted and of course it was THE TALK OF THE PLAYGROUND the next day, only I, who had loved (truly loved) Davy Jones since age eight, had no idea what anyone was talking about. Davy Jones + Brady Bunch = Mystical Convergence to my young mind. And I missed it.

Oh well, I thought, I'll just see it when they rerun it over the summer. Summertime was Brady rerun time, back in the 70s. Except I kept missing it. Over and over again. Forever. It would become a mythical episode for me—the one guest-starring my favorite Monkee (next to Mike Nesmith)—did I dream the entire scenario?

Flash forward 44 years later and I finally decided to see this damn episode. For my own piece of mind, so I could move on. Finally.

I put it in my Netflix queue and waited. Won't be long now, I thought. It's going to be me, the Bradys and Davy Jones, my childhood crush. Except Netflix wouldn't send it. A notification appeared on my account: VERY LONG WAIT for this DVD. WHAT?! I thought. VERY LONG WAIT? How about 44 years, Netflix?! How about that?!

I waited some more. Weeks, months went by. It was kind of good in a way because Netflix, feeling bad that I had such a long wait, kept sending me extra DVDs to compensate for my inconvenience. For the last several months I've had four DVDs at a time in my home, when I'm only paying for two. I figured, well, at this point, I'm making out okay, and if I never get to see this episode, at least I'm getting all these free movies out of it. We can't get everything we want. We're not all Marcia Brady, after all.

But then, one day, it arrived. And at long last, here it is. The Davy Jones episode. I live-blogged it, but I'm going to embellish, not because it's a great episode (it's pretty tossed off, I'd say), but because this is my CHILDHOOD I'm talking about here, as experienced through the warped prism of inexpensive television production values, child-actor labor, and a pop star who had experienced enough career weirdness in three years to last a lifetime. RIP, Davy Jones, consummate showman.

Marcia and her Fillmore Junior High entertainment committee (seems like a lot of responsibility for junior-high girls) need to get a guest star for their prom (that is not believable but I'll just go with it).

Jan interrupts to say Davy Jones is here! He's here! He's here! My reaction would have been: WHAT?! ?!?! But Marcia is nonplussed, saying, Jan, don't interrupt, we're having a very important meeting. THAT'S NOT VERY RESPECTFUL, MARCIA. Then she absorbs what's happening and reacts properly, shouting DAVY JONES!? He's HERE, in THE HOUSE? Even for entitled Princess Marcia, that seems like asking too much. And it is. Jan, voice of reason, says, no, he's in a hotel.

Marcia pulls a framed handwritten note from Davy out from under her pillow. That's not weird at all. She hands it over to her way-cooler cohort, Doreen, to prove that he promised her a favor if he's ever in town since she was president of his fan club. Doreen is like, "Yeah, right. It's just a publicity letter, Marcia." Also, Doreen has a great manicure, so I'm apt to side with her on this one.

Carol says Davy Jones is apparently the best thing since pepperoni pizza--good writing, Brady Bunch script team.

Peter and Bobby are not impressed by Davy Jones. Jan and Cindy say they're jealous of Davy Jones and his 2,000 fan clubs. How many fan clubs does Peter Have? Peter says he hasn't counted them in a while and Jan says it shouldn't take him much time to count to zero. Good one, Jan.

Bobby pretends he's Davy Jones by being a complete spaz, yelling, "All he does is bang on a guitar, singing Ooh, baby! Yeah Yeah! Oooh!" Peter says, "Don't break your gee-tar." Which doesn't make any sense. Everyone knows the proper way to make fun of Davy Jones is to bang upon a giant tambourine with aplomb while crooning, THE SHAVING RAZOR'S COLD AND IT STINGS! ... CHEER UP SLEEPY JEAN!

The prom committee girls are now starting to lose their minds, believing in Marcia, spreading the word that Marcia's going to get Davy Jones. Marcia bombs out at his hotel. This is sort of a manual on "How to Stalk Davy Jones." You know what? I think Marcia's going to get Davy Jones. I really do.

In all the excitement, several Fillmore Junior High girls are inexplicably styled as if they were auditioning for a theater production of "Heidi."

There's already a banner announcing Davy Jones at school, as if everyone was under a mass delusion at this point. The Brady Bunch was sort of a mass delusion of a show, with heartwarming epiphanies. OH MY GOD, MARCIA WALLACE!!!?!?! I didn't know Marcia Wallace was in this episode. She's Marcia's delusional teacher Miss Robbins here, but you may remember her from another classic episode, "Jan Buys an Ugly Wig," in which she shone as "Saleswoman." I'm so glad they hired her for this episode. I love her almost as much as Davy Jones.

Nothing in this episode seems normal because they managed to get Davy Jones in a stunt-casting coup. It's like the Partridge Family episode where Bobby Sherman was hiding out in their garage. I don't remember why he was lurking on their property, but Laurie Partridge was pretty thrilled. The Bradys have the opposite problem—they'd like to lurk in Davy Jones' vicinity but the universe conspires against them.

Here's Greg, trying too hard to compete with the idea of Davy Jones by wearing this overly groovy purple shirt. Everybody's flipping out a little in this episode. I would be too.

Marcia tries writing a telegram to Jones' hotel to NO AVAIL. Mike imparts his parental wisdom: don't promise something you can't deliver. Like Davy Jones at your prom. Of course, this is Marcia, so she'll get her way. She always gets her way.

The prom is a week away. FUCK.

Mike tries to get a golf networking connection going. No dice. I like Marcia's pullover sweater--very flattering. But WHAT is Carol Brady wearing here? Good God.

Man, oh man, Mrs. Brady...

Marcia has a cow over the upcoming loss of all her school-chums after this debacle.

Peter tries calling the hotel under the guise of being an old music buddy of Davy Jones. Jan, Bobby and Cindy pretend to be in his band, singing four different public-domain songs at once, and off-key as well. The hotel operator sees right through that ruse and hangs up on them. That was dumb, kids.

Sam, Alice's boyfriend, who is working class, knows the guy who sells the meat to Davy Jones' hotel. Greg and Marcia dress up as busboys and Marcia uses a deep voice because in the Brady universe, no girl could ever bus anything, ever. And also, maybe they think busboys don't stalk pop stars. But I bet they do. Some of them, anyway.

Marcia, pretending to be a boy, just like in a Shakespearean farce

Davy Jones' manager looks like a perv in a Beatles wig in this sad facsimile of a luxury hotel.

Finally—Davy Jones! He's singing "Girl." It's a promotional tie-in for his first post-Monkees solo album. Those are some big headphones. He's so sincere. This isn't my favorite song. Even when I was a kid it kind of embarrassed me. I've never been into love ballads. He's bobbing like the born showman that he is. I wonder if he missed The Monkees at this point. Probably not. That show was fun to watch but probably a huge cluster-fuck for all involved. Oh now his voice fades out while he's still singing. I hate when shows do that. That's not how it works. You sing multiple choruses and the fade-out is engineered later. The Partridge Family always faded out while they played "live" on stage. That was insulting to our intelligence.

Davy Joooones ....

Anyway, Marcia barges into the studio wearing a mustard-colored acrylic turtle-neck poncho. She's making her case to the perv manager who wants nothing to do with her, tossing her out on her can with an air of genuine disgust. Davy's listening to their exchange in the studio, thinking: that girl's got chutzpah. And she's the president of my fan club... Hmmmm...

Marcia throws in the towel. But DING-DONG—someone's at the door. Who could it be?

Davy Jones is shorter than Florence Henderson. That's so cute. They have similar haircuts too. Ew, Davy Jones is asking Marcia to be his prom date. That's not right. Well, it was the 70s. No one thought that was weird at all.

Do we get to see the prom? The Brady kids are singing "Girl" now. What a nightmare. Mike thinks so too. He yells, "SHUDDAP YOU DOPES!" (my interpretation). Wait, is that the end?

That's IT?! We don't get to see Davy Jones perform? How was the prom? Did he sing "Girl" to all the Heidi girls and Doreen and Marcia Wallace? What the hell?

We would all have to wait until 1995 for The Brady Bunch Movie to finally get our Davy Jones prom scene. Was it worth the wait? I'd say yes. No Doreen though, sadly.

And that's that. A somewhat bitter disappointment. Still, I'm glad I saw it at long last. Cross it off the bucket list. Marcia Wallace was so under-utilized in this.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Eagle Attacks Trump GIFs

Here they are, just in case you need them.

Watch Trump slide away, his face squished down like a tossed-aside sock puppet, his little claw-like hands dithering across the desk for all of eternity. It is proper. It is right.

eagle attacks trump

eagle attacks trumps hair

Thank you Time Magazine, for releasing this video and thank you bald eagle for trying to annihilate the nasty orange rat man.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Punk No Dead - from the Fanzine Collection in the Stairwell - Swellsville - Winter Edition 1989/90

Hey, I found a copy of Swellsville in my 'zine vault (a moving box full of zines, stored in the stairwell). This old blog Teenage Gluesniffer wrote up a fine piece on Jack Thompson's labor of musical love from Seattle. I think I got slightly involved with this through my friend Richie, who's been writing about music since around the dawn of time and now, besides publishing fine rock history books, lectures and teaches in the Bay Area.

Anyhoo, who's interested in musical thoughts of the 1980s? True, the bands mostly disintegrated but our thoughts and relationships with them never fully faded away. Partially because we were all "coming-of-age" and this was our youthful soundtrack and blah blah blah and so on and so forth, but most importantly because this was truly an underground scene for us and we didn't know that was not going to last. So it's like a dream from the subconscious that if you don't write it down, you'll forget about it in the morning. We were all compulsive writers.

"Punk No Dead" was my thoughts from a three-month stay in Mexico where I was based in Guadalajara, attending school to learn Spanish (which I still need to learn, thanks to my mom's family buying into 1950s' assimilation ideals that encouraged them not to speak the language around their kids, and also I'm a lazy language-learner), but traveled throughout the southern regions of the country as well. My friend Rosanna and I were underground-music chicas who had to forgo underground music for the most part during our stay in Mexico. Until that faithful night in San Cristรณbal de las Casas...

And I included a coloring page, which Thompson was so nice to print full-page for this 1989/90 issue. Thanks, Jack. I hope you're still writing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy 50th Anniversary of Your Arrest, Arlo Guthrie

Yes, folks, it was 50 years ago on Thanksgiving that Arlo Guthrie was arrested and tried for littering, which then, two years later (spoiler), exempted him from the draft for the Vietnam War. Because humor is the ultimate in human expression (along with love, compassion and understanding), Guthrie's Thanksgiving tale will always have resonance.

And he's still performing it (on occasion), because: never forget.

PBS will be broadcasting Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant 50th-anniversary concert from Pittsfield, including "The Alice’s Restaurant Massacree" on Thanksgiving evening. Because "Massacree" is 18 minutes long, Guthrie rarely performs it live (it's been ten years since the last time). Here's a preview of the show.

Happy Thanksgiving.