HUMP DAY GRAB BAG: Alternative Alternatives

August 25, 2010

By Max

NOT TO BE A HUGE JERK, but there’s This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now and kind of bumming me out. I don’t want to shit-talk cause it’s a total waste of time, but it’s gotten to the point in my life where when people mention how much they love this singer, I feel deep pangs of personal guilt, because it means that the person I’m talking to and I are fundamentally disagreeing on some things. It’s like how in the early 00s (‘member?) sometimes you’d be at a soccer game or the supermarket or a PTA meeting and someone would say nonchalantly that they had voted for Bush, and it would just send up a red flag? It feels like that.

The thing that bugs me about This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now is that she purports to be something of a Performance Artist. Now, I’m not going to say that Pop Music and Performance Art are mutually exclusive, but I will say that the kind of Pop Music this singer is making is absolutely antithetical to the goals of performance art. According not only to my, but in fact anybody’s definition of performance art. Performance Art necessarily means something that is expressed / transmitted via (you guessed it!) PERFORMANCE. This Singer’s work is almost always mediated through studio magick, the radio, MTV, YouTube, Fashion Photography, Twitter, etc. It’s deliberately a kind of Art that doesn’t need to be performed live, since it’s readily accessible. Just saying. So when I am getting bugged out about this I figure I can either rage against the dying of the light (incorrect use whatever) or I can offer some alternative to This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now. So let’s do that.

So, first: ROISIN MURPHY.

Maybe you already know about her. The thing with This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now is that she often claims that the biggest misconception about her is that she’s fake, that she’s artificial, and she wants you to know that she is Always Glamorous, Always In Drag, and very Real. OK I’ll bite: BULLSHIT. This video for the title track from Murphy’s second solo album Overpowered plays with a similar idea, in a much more interesting way (I think). The premise of the video is that Murphy’s stage persona never comes off, that she wears her ultra-bizarre high fashion outfit (Courtesy of Gareth Pugh– Murphy was wearing Pugh long before Kylie, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and the Pop Singer In Question) in cafes, on the bus, etc. as a way of juxtaposing the artificial with the real. It makes an interesting comment on the nature of celebrity culture and beauty. Oh also, this came out in 2007.

KYLIE.

HAD TO GO THERE. The thing about Kylie Minogue is that she’s world-famous everywhere except for the USA. In most of Europe, she’s more famous than Madonna. Madonna has, for those Europhiles (and American Fags) who have been keeping track, been ripping off Kylie for decades. SO while This Pop Singer Nowadays rips off Madonna, she’s actually not even citing the Minogue sources. The almost-Goth, sort of vaguely “dark” aesthetic that This Pop Singer employs was much better used, again in 2007, by Kylie in the video for “2 Hearts”. Other than the fact that this song and video are excellent, the fact that the shiny skull is a reference to Alexander McQueen, the skull itself was actually a symbol of triumph. When this video came out, it was the lead single from Kylie’s “comeback” album X. Comeback, I mean, from breast cancer. Kylie has an authentic right to glamorize the macabre because unlike the Pop Singer Nowadays, who’s whole shtick is utterly devoid of anything involving “the real world” or “obscurity”, when Kylie released this video, singing into a skull microphone, she has just beaten Death. Top that.

GRACE JONES. In your FACE BONES.

It’s no secret that I love Grace Jones. I listen her every single day and she is a totally guiding force in my life. It is with no small amount of disappointment that I continually see This Pop Singer referencing her work. Grace Jones’ eccentricity is best exemplified by the video above (total. personal. anthem.) Unlike the current Pop Singer, who equates randomness and embellishment with intellectual weight, this video shows Grace in what appears to be her natural habitat, running from Keith Haring’s studio to the wardrobe closet to the chiropractor. The message here is that even with this totally unsustainable, unreal level of glamour, she is able to look directly to the camera and sing a love song. The layers of artifice serve to create a distance which the song’s message ostensibly crosses, rather than simply mask the singer’s face. Grace wants you to know that you and her are meant to be.

ROBYN.

Look, one of the things that I don’t understand about This Pop Singer, is how she simultaneously seems to be singing about her “feelings” while denying any trace of actual human emotion. She is bloodless. Does pop music have to be this way? Not if Robyn has anything to say about it. The marriage of a human heart and a dance beat may sound strange on paper, but with Robyn it makes perfect sense.

DIAMOND RINGS

Thought it’d be nice to have a non-girl, non-superstar in the mix. Toronto’s Diamond Rings proves that you can do really cool interesting pop music without a multimillion dollar budget. Look, even Kathleen Hanna is a fan. That ought to be enough. This video is really cool and proves that really, real people can and do succeed at aspiring to glamour and art. Who needs a custom haute couture outfit? Just put a sexy kid in a Karl Lagerfeld t-shirt. Signify, baby. This is what postmodernism ACTUALLY looks like.

So whatever. These are some things you can listen to and watch instead. Check them out.

Stay dry, America. Stay motherfucking dry.

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HUMP DAY GRAB BAG: ONLY HAPPY by Max Steele

May 12, 2010

So it’s Wednesday. I hope you’re happy. If you’re here in lovely New York City, you’ll know that it’s raining outside. Why would anybody who is NOT in NYC be reading this? I wonder. But then I also remember that Birdsong International Kitty enterprises, LLC, 69420 is a WORLDWIDE phenomenon. Speaking of weather and not being in NYC, I miss Mickey Pussy so hard. I love it when she updates her Special Blog, called Seriously You’re The Worst, with tales of her fabulous life out in Los Angeles. Slash I want to come visit. Slash and never leave.

Anyway TODAY’S THEMES ARE RAIN and then also WHATEVER  ELSE I FEEL LIKE: Read the rest of this entry »


HUMP DAY GRAB BAG: Surf + Turf

March 31, 2010

gay skateboarder magazine

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A SKATER?

gay skateboarder polaroid

TELLING YOUR PARENTS YOU’RE GAY!

I take that by now it’s accepted, collected, and celebrated common knowledge that there isn’t anything queerer than skateboarding and its wetter predecessor surfing. For the skeptics amongst us, I could easily rest my case by exhibiting the following photograph:

jodie foster riding a skateboard in 1977

(Ms Jodie, you’ll be tickled to recall,  starred in 1980’s Foxes alongside Runaway Cherie Currie. The film’s tagline: The city had it coming. Boy, did it ever! Not to mention, lest we forget, three years earlier, Ms Jodie had already lamented, I’m alone to skateboard and surf, and I’m dreaming of loving in her 1977 disco track La Vie C’est Chouette.)

I’m stopping myself before this blog post turns into a shrine to Ms Jodie (which it all too easily could). Luckily, the coincidence of queerness, surfing, and skateboarding is a rife cultural archive. And, as all I gabbed about yesterday was the impending California sun (which is merely waiting for these morning clouds to part before it shines in all her afternoon glory, I promise!), I’d like to sift through a minuscule sampling of this punchy archive with you now.

This is always where everything begins all the time ever. In 1982. No, really, I mean, we came from the water, ladies. I think water is god’s tranquilizer . . . to be a surfer, between the sky and the water, would be, to me, the most wonderful thing:

Ptrick showed me this video from 1986. I’m certain that Ms Diana would not deem these witches to be cheats. I’m the queen witch, and I only ride at midnight:

Juxtaposition is not a dirty word. And this video juxtaposes four of my favourite things: Soviet-era animation, Arthur Russell, dolphins, and girls. (Dolphins are another subject on which it’s best not to get me started. And I’m not ONLY talking about Lisa Frank or these cosmetics. I’ll just say I’m a proponent of the belief that dolphins are supreme beings and leave it at that.) Out on the ocean surf, I’ll have to pull myself together. Now it’s harder, I’m not on my turf. Just me and me and those big old waves, rolling in:

This past weekend Tommy and I went to the 2nd Annual Rainbow Book Fair where he picked up a reprint of J.D.s No. 6, which happens to be devoted to skateboarding. I keep trying to make my way through it, but, well, as it says in the zine, Mom caught me jacking off to some Thrasher magazines two months ago.

Speaking of jacking off, let’s speak about Christian Slater in 1989’s Gleaming the Cube and specifically that upside-down cross in his queer ear. There were only two things Brian did care for: his skateboard and his brother:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Sleater-Kinney’s Surf Song from 1994 is my favourite Sleater-Kinney song. I’ve always had trouble finding this song on the internets, so if you find yourself in the same boat, lemme know. We’ve got to start a band this summer:

sleater-kinney surf song

Yesterday Max posted about The Doom Generation, and it reminded me how Gregg Araki really knows how to set the (sex(y)) scene:


4. 4.

ext.HEAVEN-night

Token TRACKING SHOT across the local staked-out turf known as “Heaven” which resembles ruins leftover from the last A-Bomb test (in actuality it’s the rotting, abandoned lot of a deceased drive-in theatre). Cars doing donuts. Dueling stereos blasting out competing trendy NOIZE. KIDS of all sizes, shapes and colors loitering, getting high, screwing, y’know, doing all that Rebellious Youth stuff.

We’re TRAILING one kid, no shirt, muscles, bitchin tattoos, a SNAKE draped over his shoulders like a mink stole, who zigzags through the flotsam and jetsam on his skateboard with MUSIC (“Sex On Wheelz” by THRILL KILL KULT or some such thing) cascading from his ghettoblaster.

The CAMERA comes to rest at an ultra-cool, faded sky-blue ’70 Ford Torino with totally fogged-up windows.

More contemporarily, this video world premiered at the 2003 National Queer Arts Festival. I love the title and the earnestness, and it makes me think about the conceptual linkages between skating and queerness—failure, community, and rebellion. We ride even more and never stop riding:

[blip.tv ?posts_id=300096&dest=-1]

Finally, this video accompanies a range of girls skate and surf wear. Summer lukes, ladies. I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours. Y chromosome gets the perfect wave:

If I’ve left out yr favourite homo thrasher, then I’d be delighted if you’d please share it with us all in the comments section below. Until next time:
obama shaka


RIP Corey Haim Hump Day Grab Bag

March 10, 2010

By Tatyana

It’s strange. I recently made an off-handed comment about how the music industry has lost more greats than the motion picture industry, and then snarkily suggested that the motion picture industry kill off some of their greats. Then lo and behold, 2 days later Corey Haim bites the dust. First of all, I’m not necessarily saying Corey Haim is a great. He is an… all right? (RIP Corey Haim). Second of all, this is not the first time that I’ve accidentally willed a celebrity to die. I have been known to randomly mention actors the day before they keel. This guy knows what I’m talking about.


The response on the internet is, as usual, incredibly profound.

I would be lying if I said I knew much about Corey Haim. My childhood was devoid of the pop culture that informs most of the party jokes of my peers, as I was only allowed to watch a handful of movies–usually based on books featuring scrappy, but well-mannered Victorian girls– or retrospectively terrifying PBS shows.

Fresh!

Sometimes, if I was lucky, my grandma would encourage me to write letters to Barbara Bush about how much I loved to read.

Something else Barbara Bush and I have in common.

It was only recently that I even watched the Lost Boys for the first time!

Obviously, it’s always very sad for anyone who loses a Corey too soon, and RIP Corey Haim. But this whole thing really got me thinking about the teen pop culture of the generation just before ours, or maybe that of our older brothers or sisters, and how now all of those celebrities are old. Remember the John Hughes tribute at the Oscars? Maybe you didn’t catch it because the Botoxed skin of the Brat Pack was reflecting the diamond broadcasts a little too brightly. How terrifying was that? Anyway, that was a bit of a nail in the coffin for the genre of sentimental 1980s movies. Sorry about your feelings, Ally Sheedy. Sorry about your face, Molly Ringwald.

So RIP Corey Haim, and RIP all of us eventually. Nobody’s forever young. Except of course for these guys.


how the earth made us: a hump day link for every colour of the rainbow by #danielisafag

January 20, 2010

ladies, please pick up yr cookie snax and take a hump day lunch break with this text-link-heavy cornucopious smörgåsbord i’ve spent all morning preparing for you.

all right, to get the ball rolling, it is important to remember that there was a time when things made sense. my bff ana and i like to remember the smashing pumpkins like this, and i like to think you do, too:

IT MAKES YOU FEEL MORE . . . IT PUTS YOU IN A TRANCE

what kind of monster (smashing pumpkin) are you? while i’d like to be billy, i think i’m more of a james (who appears to be wielding a pitchfork here).

while i may have the mind of an engineer, my heart is most definitely that of a geologist. this explains my fond affections for sizeable structures and underground chambers:

FOR MY MONEY, THE MOST SPECTACULAR CAVE OF CRYSTALS DISCOVERED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD

field trip, anyone?

this may be a crapshoot, but i’m willing to wager that most of us have spent the better portion of our lives and purses typologizing ourselves. visit the site here, and simply type in your name and the password ‘character’ and off you go. a psychiatrist figure will then ask you a number of questions about your personality before diagnosing you with a typeface:

EMOTIONAL, UNDERSTATED, PROGRESSIVE, DISCIPLINED

what type are you?

i’ve always been more of a river phoenix kind of person myself, that is until my cursory research led me to one of keanu reeves’ early stage roles in a

PSYCHO-SEXUAL BOY-MEETS-WEREWOLF MUSICAL THRILLER

vampire or werewolf? who has yr heart?

speaking of werewolves, this transition is just really obvious to me, and i think it will be to you, too:

MICHAEL MIS-EN-SCÈNE

does anyone else have a thing (you know, like, a thing for thongth) for self-portraits in mirrors? unfortunately, we still can’t see him naked.

and, you know, why not make it a werewolf hat-trick while we’re at it. if i had a car this is what i would do with it:

WE WENT TO AMOEBA RECORDS AND WE BOUGHT TWO CDS

what’s yr favourite misfits song?

not to be a debbie downer, but this makes me sads:

I WASH IT DOWN WITH POP . . . I WHO LOVED THE SPARKS

till adieu, adieu, and white doves, danny

if i told you this were safe for work, would you trustbelieve me?


I Want You, Therefore I Hump You: Hump Day Grab Bag- aka I love the BACHELOR or why I hate long dresses

January 6, 2010

By Laurenesss
(or The Goat, or Who is Syvia?)

Yesterday, my favorite reality tv show The Bachelor made its long awaited return (it has been 3 months since the last season ended). This train wreck of a show has everything that I need and more.

ROMANCE

Polyamory is for everyone!

LONG LASTING RELATIONSHIPS

This chick (Shane Lamas, daughter of actor Lorenzo Lamas) was supposed to get married. Yeah, it didn’t last. She's most recently been arrested on DUI charges. Click on the pic to read more.

FASHION

Kinda looks like a Grace Coddington original...NOT!


Read the rest of this entry »


Hump Day Grab Bag

December 9, 2009

by Wilkes

Now that I’m gainfully unemployed, I wake up at around 6 to “work on my novel” and keep at it until my stomach starts to hurt from caffeine and self-hatred (which usually kicks in at around 5). You’d think I’d be getting something accomplished in that 11-hour window but that’s where you’d be wrong.

I can’t force myself to come up with anything good to write about; all I can do is force myself to sit here at my computer  hour after hour, so I spend a lot of time procrastinating on the world wide webiverse. Sometimes I go out for walks, but mostly I don’t do that anymore because every time I go outside something freaks me out.

For example, yesterday I passed a McDonalds’s and in the window was a cardboard cut-out of Ronald McDonald and he was staring at me with those chilling, beady eyes of his and I literally got a little scared so holy shit I just can’t do it anymore, man.

I’m going to die a shut-in and a fat shut-in at that (Mama, wake up!) which is fine as long as I have the internet to keep me warm and to tell me (through photos of adorable kittens) how much it loves me.  So my theme for this Grab Bag is THE WEIRD SHIT I GOOGLE WHEN I’M PROCRASTINATING.

1. “Gelukkige Verjaardag!”


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dutch is a useless language. Read the rest of this entry »