It’s so easy to get distracted by the things in life, just in general. As I’ve gotten older, it seems there’s some new thing to deal with every day, and some new reason to move away from established habits. I’ve let this blog slide because of that, but today’s Twofer Tuesday selections come in direct relationship to the discussion of #YesAllWomen, #NotAllMen and #AllMenCan, the three hashtags accumulating their current fifteen minutes of fame.
I would like to think that the discussion will outlast the next few weeks, and that we will continue to explore our views of sexuality and violence as they relate to gender and equality, but I think Ingrid Michaelson got there first.
I don’t even remember how I got turned on to the first of these videos. I may have mentioned before that when I was a kid and MTV still played music (a statement that dates me instantly) I watched everything, and Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” appeared in heavy rotation back then. I disliked the video, even as the music caught my attention. I’ve included Palmer’s original for reference, so you can see shot for shot, how well the director pulled this off.
Now that the distraction has become an extended discussion about the foundations of communication between men and women, this seems most fitting of the videos I’ve collected in my playlist, so I’m presenting it to you for further comment.
It’s likely that there aren’t a lot of people today who remember the noise and furor surrounding the publication of Playgirl magazine, the first porn magazine directed at and for women. Reading the Wikipedia page tells you nothing about the handwaving that surrounded the publication. Chippendales, with a sordid history of violence, bankruptcy and legal issues. Objectification of men just doesn’t happen all that often, so when videos like this one come along, they’re eye openers.
(Here’s Robert Palmer’s original, for reference.)
Now the thing about YouTube is, if you watch one video, you’re often presented with similar videos to watch that follow up on the subject matter, the artist, or the action in the video. So I watched this follow-up and liked it a lot, because it’s much more real than the first video. It speaks volumes about the difference between seeing someone as a whole person and seeing only what you want to see. It’s sad that people don’t check the entire package before buying for the pretty wrapping outside.
I’ll note that the first of Michaelson’s videos has reached viral status. The second has under 150k hits. That’s a shame but not a surprise.
Having just completed a class in Time-Based Media, I have a much better idea of how this video was constructed, but the mechanics aren’t the point. Watch how women are represented in art as we slip quickly through five centuries of artistic representation. Notice how often the woman’s eyes are downcast, and notice how shape, color and texture changes.
Art is an idealized form. Even in photography, especially with the tools available through Photoshop and similar editors, truth is often elusive. These are the ideals of the eras, or the truths viewed through the lenses of their artists, most of whom were men.
This Mother’s Day, consider how often we try to reach for the ideal and wonder whose ideal that is. We don’t live in an ideal society. We live in the real world, and our connection to that reality is manipulated all the time.
If you’ve watched this video before, watch it again and consider the filters through which you view your own life.
My musical tastes spring from late ’60s Motown, R&B and folk, ’70s psychedelic and classic pop & rock, and the ’80s New Wave movement. I’ve liked some of the newer stuff, but not much.
There are a few artists who transcend time and style, who produce classics that defy pigeon-holing when describing their work.
Cyndi Lauper made hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “She Bop” popular in the clubs, and yeah, they’re fun to dance to when you’re out in a club or at a party, but they’re not substantial like these two pieces.
True Colors and Time After Time both have a smoky quality and more heart than a lot of the music that came out of the New Wave. The video shows she went there long before Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Björk.
Yeah, I know. You’re probably sick of the song now. I’ll try to make this the last time (for now). But I couldn’t contain myself when Adele Dazeem…ahem…Idina Menzel herself sang on Sunday night’s Academy Awards show. (Made me wonder whether it was just a simple mistake, an amazing parody of herself, or a brilliant marketing move for the producers of If/Then.)
But I digress…
I mentioned earlier that there are in excess of 213k in parody or tribute links to the song Let It Go on YouTube. I’ll give it a rest after this, but you need to see these, just because.
First, the current Broadway cast of Avenue Q congratulate their co-creator, Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the song with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez:
Then, there’s Alex Boyé stellar Africanized Tribal cover of the song, with the ) Ft. One Voice Children’s Choir. Holy cow, can that kid sing!
Finally? What you’re all probably thinking. And if you haven’t swallowed yet, do yourself a favor: Put the coffee down.
Throwback Thursday isn’t just for the original clip. Sometimes, it’s for the original clip and all the things it inspires.
The original, ground-breaking Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was released in 1975 as part of the album A Night at the Opera. Since then, it has achieved stratospheric status as the UK’s third best-selling single of all time. The work is amazing, considering the analog nature of the recording and the process of assembly. (Click the link for a detailed description of the entire studio and post-production work that went into the final project.)
As imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery, this song has plenty to recommend it, from Wayne’s World…
It’s almost time for the Oscars and it’s finally time to post these two “That’s Entertainment” style videos, produced by Robert Jones as loving tributes to dance in the movies. I think there are some key clips Robert missed in these first two takes, and he acknowledges as much in a comment on the second video:
Ive [sic] got about 250 movies/clips that involve dancing and between the two dance tributes I’ve used less than half. There are so many movies I wanted to work into this one. A video like this is very time consuming. I’d love to make another one though. It’s a lot of fun.
I sure hope he does, because I love the work he did on these two:
This brilliant music video tribute to the Doctor in all his forms is a fabulous mash-up of a-ha’s “Take On Me” video and clips in the style of the video taken from the series. I’ve been holding on to these for a while, so here’s your Twofer plus bonus tracks for today.
For reference, here’s the original video, by a-ha. You can really see how the style translates in color:
But wait! There’s more!
And I’m warning you now – swallow before you watch either of these. Yeah, they’re long, but the payoff is SOOO worth it.
There’s too many ways I could tag this. Leaving off at 12…
I wanted to include something to recognize my connection to Shirley Temple Black, in light of her death on February 10th of this year. This is the first chance I’ve had to include a few links to her life and work.
You can certainly go search YouTube for more, but I’ll tell you I’ve had a thing for Shirley Temple’s work ever since my sitter first wrapped my curly hair in vertical ringlets at a very tender age. I wanted dance lessons like crazy, I thought I could sing just like Shirley. I’m certain I wasn’t alone. Long, long after she stopped making movies, I was a staunch fan. I knew this song by heart, but it wasn’t the only one I could sing (in my own, off-key way):
In later years, after she ended her movie career at the top of her game, Shirley Temple Black became a diplomat, serving in a variety of locations. She also became one of the first public figures to highlight breast cancer, when she was diagnosed with the disease in 1972. She received lifetime recognition through both the Screen Actors Guild and the Kennedy Center Honors.
In the long, long list of child stars, Shirley Temple’s early works remain a sweet, sunny reminder of childhood’s best moments, even if her own life wasn’t among the fairy tales with which she became associated later in life. This biopic from 2001 tells a lot of her story. In a lot of ways, she led the way through a minefield for child stars, and she did it with poise and grace. I’m glad to have experienced her work.
The second song has that eerie “I know something you don’t know” sort of feel to it, on top of the minor key thing, and then there’s the whole story song thing. It hits me on multiple levels. Plus? Candles. Everywhere.
This is the reason why I skipped Ben Stiller’s 2013 remake of the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which was in turn based on a James Thurber short story. I just couldn’t bring myself to see the king of deadpan take the classic I adore and bend it to his will.
Danny Kaye didn’t read music. That never ever mattered. I don’t think there are many (any?) actors alive today who could actually do what he did in his movies.
No, the movie didn’t have that much to do with the original short story. And that’s okay. The new one didn’t, either. And that’s another story.
I adore these two women, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, of Decatur, Georgia. They speak more truth in their raw lyrics and honest vocals than many performers. And of all the songs they’ve done in their careers, these two speak loudest to me. Fortunately, these links are coming from the Indigo Girls’ VEVO channel and they shouldn’t go away.
On February 9, 1964, the Beatles appeared for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the world changed.
This “shaky cam” video of the three appearances by the Fab Four over three consecutive Sundays that year shines some light on the craze that became Beatlemania. Fifty years later, radio stations still have all Beatles highlights. That’s the timelessness of their music and the devotion of their fan base, in action.
The Beatles paved the way for The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and other members of the British Invasion over the years that followed.
But how did the shows happen in the first place? Here’s Walter Cronkite to explain.
When I went to bed last night, a rumor was circulating on Facebook that Pete Seeger had died. I went where I usually go, out to the larger Internet, to substantiate the rumor, and I couldn’t find anything to prove it was true, so I went to sleep. This morning, Morning Edition confirmed what a sizeable chunk of my FB Friends now know is true.
My father is largely responsible for my introduction to folk music. Without his reel to reel tape recorder, I wouldn’t have known about Pete, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Phil Ochs, Peter, Paul and Mary, Woody Guthrie or any of the other musicians who made up the fabric of my early childhood.
A search for Pete Seeger on You Tube generates hundreds, if not thousands of links to his work. For me, a visit to the Hudson Valley as a young child (in Woodstock, after THE concert) landed my closest association with the man as I recall sitting on his lap. I also remember watching his series Rainbow Quest on PBS, when they broadcast the series in 1967-68.
[Full movie requires rental from YouTube or other site.]
Last year, I made a point of attending the Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival and I got to thank him again, in person. Didn’t have enough time to say it more than once, but I noticed he was all over that festival. I saw Toshi, once, while we were waiting for the Richie Havens memorial to begin, and I knew then that she was quite ill, but I also saw that he stayed with her until that concert started. Their devotion to each other, for just shy of 70 years, was inspirational.
He remained active right up through this year, but was too ill to attend a parade he helped organize:
So, in the spirit of Twofer Tuesday, in this special edition, have a second cut, with Buffy Sainte-Marie, who I also saw last summer at the festival. Explore the clips on YouTube. And take comfort that the folk movement isn’t dead so long as we pass our values on to the generations to come. After all, that’s how the music remains with us. Pass it on.
After spending a whole day glued to the internet, watching with horror as the story unfolded in Columbia, Maryland, near where I live and attend classes, I’ve realized I’ve been holding my spiritual breath. Our idea of conflict resolution should never, ever include the use of firearms, and yet, it happens all too often in this country. We have forgotten how to be human when we resort to taking life by force.
I think it’s important to take a break for beauty, so we can remember that this is what we can achieve when we let go of the anger, the fear, the jealousy and all the other stresses that conspire to make our lives hell.
This Sunday, as we remember three people in Columbia who ceased to be, and those who were injured in body and spirit as a result of this horrible, violent, American-made act, listen to Yuki Koshimoto’s Spacedrum and reflect on the beauty of nature. Remember that we lose people daily, all over the world, to everyday acts of human violence.
Fear and anger drive our actions far, far too often.
If you’re paying attention to the news, you know the northeast is in a cold snap the likes of which we haven’t seen in 20 years. Don’t go all “Global Warming, huh?” on me, because I’ll quote you all sorts of reasons why climate change is real. And that’s not the point of this post.
No, you’re getting Let It Go for Feel Good Friday this week, because it’s stuck firmly in my head, thanks to the supreme talents of Idina Menzel and song writing team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Tony Award®-winner Robert Lopez.
Seriously. 52 million views since Disney published the clip on December 6, 2013!
But why three? Well, I could have chosen more – folks are posting their own renditions of the song, mash-ups with Wicked (Defying Gravity chief among them), and more. It appears this one struck a chord in ways I haven’t seen since Beauty and the Beast hit the screens in 1991.
So, here’s the original:
And then the same clip, in 25 languages (perfectly timed):
And finally, in the best Disney parody I’ve heard in a while, [NOT safe for work or younger kids but oh, so funny], a tip of the hat to all of us who wish with all our hearts we *could* hit those high notes the way Ms. Menzel does:
“I thought it was a fun video,” Anne Dudley said, “but some people thought it was unnecessarily violent. It was banned in New Zealand as encouraging violence towards children. Nothing could have been further from our minds.” The video later won the MTV Video Music Awards for Most Experimental Video and the Best Editing in 1985.
I love the song and the artistry of the video, so it made the cut early on. It’s one of the videos I used to wait for on MTV, back when it was still about music and not reality junk.
I didn’t realize until I started creating my Music Video playlist that there was a second version of this video, but there was. And here it is. (Actually, there are three, but I like these two the best.)
No, it doesn’t make any more sense than the first version, but that’s okay, because ART.
Okay, so technically this isn’t a Twofer Tuesday in the traditional (?) sense, but it’s my blog and I can do what I want.
Back when Saturday Night Live was a new thing, they featured Kate Bush doing both Wuthering Heights and another song from The Kick Inside. The first version is the one I remember from that introduction to her music. (I have all her albums and I’ve snagged more of her videos for featuring this year.)
So when someone started circulating the parody Noel Fielding did for Comic Relief, I was surprised to discover the second version of the music video was also on YouTube, and darned if he wasn’t dead-on accurate.
Here’s Kate’s version (Number Two):
And here’s Noel’s. I’d put the coffee mug down if I were you: