9.21.2011

Dead|Sexy

At your leisure, please check out my new site.

I know this “Sexy Dead Guys” meme is completely pervasive and zeitgeisty right now (viz. Bangable Dudes in History, My Dageurreotype Boyfriend, et al.), and it may be difficult for you to believe, but
my first flicker of this idea began a few years ago. Way back when I still bought the newspaper I came across an image of Anton Chekhov. “That is one surprisingly appealing dead author,” I thought and reflexively cut out the photograph. I felt sort of odd and shallow because I’d never actually read any Chekhov, but here I was saving his photo like he was Rob Pattinson and I was Sweet Sixteen. That led me to keep a clipping file of truly attractive men so I could recognize someone like that if he ever came along. (Read about my pivotal "all the guys I like are dead or fictional" self-realization here!).

I never did much with this guy file save for a couple of related posts on this very blog. So, getting my act together a bit late, I missed out on bringing this to book form (congratulations Bangable Dudes). I might as well put up that tumblr now, right?//

9.15.2011

Everybody Apache Dance

Apache dancers, c. late 1920s?
This couple look really hard core. I'm guessing early 1950s but I could be wrong.
Above and top from French CanCan
"Prada Candy....pure pleasure wrapped in impulsive charm... a new facet of femininity
where more is more and excess is everything."
She's doing the Apache Dance.

You can see how they filmed the commercial here

Le Bateau Lavoir, a ramshackle area in Montmartre, 1900——> Apache territory!


"The Apache is the plague of Paris", 1907
Krazy Kat as an Apache dancer, 1930.
watch the cartoon at Uncle John's Crazy Town
Apaches, 1911

 "A Tough Dance"-- 1902


 La Danse Apache - Alexis Et Dorrano 1934
Prada's got a new perfume: Candy. Normally I wouldn't rush to post about that but when I heard they'd hired gnomish photographer-director Jean Paul Goude to create an over-the-top visual match for the perfume's "excess is everything" PR I thought I'd investigate. (I liked some of his work with Grace Jones and loved that iconic Chanel Egoiste commercial....) In the new video, a French ingenue music student jumps her piano teacher and launches into an exuberant terpsichorean frolic. The acrobatic dance sequence is a revival of the Apache Dance.

Pronounced “ah-PAHSH” (remember, it's French!) the Apaches were a late 19th century Parisian street gang—or rather, they were reputed to be "as violent as wild Apaches" and they thought that sounded pretty good and the name stuck. Later, "Apache" became a general reference term for a thug or a pimp. The Apache Dance—became popular just after the turn of the century. By 1908 they were doing it on stage at the Moulin Rouge (it was revived and adapted in movies and by teens up through the 1950s). Part tango, part stage combat—the original Apache Dance fit in perfectly with the other "rough" and "degenerate" dances so popular in those years: Grizzly Bear, Turkey Trot, Boston Dip. The whole schtick is that it mimicks a violent encounter between pimp and prostitute: he "slaps" her, tosses her around, and drags her by the hair. Actually, it all sounds rather like an old Snoop Dogg video...

9.13.2011

Greek specials

"(To) Asclepius and Hygeia, Tyche gives thanks"
pair of eyes, bronze, marble, quartz, obsidian, c. 400 BC carved marble shell, c.400 BC
akroterion, or architectural decorative device, c. 350 BC
bronze statue of a man, c 100 BC
bronze horse, c. 700BC
terracotta statuette of a siren, c 500BC
cuirass, c 300BC
Terracotta keras (drinking horn) in the form of a lobster claw
Archaic drinking cup, c. 550BC
limestone votive ear with earring, Cypriot, c. 300BC
Herewith, a few atypical Greek artifacts—no white marble youths, no urns, no parthenons. The Ancients obviously had creativity, sensitivity, and humor. What is going on with those people today? (I'm Greek so I'm allowed to say "those people"). Greeks have always squabbled amongst themselves (viz. Sparta<-->Athens) but with the entire European Union doing a face-palm over Greece and her debts I just hope they can get it together.

9.05.2011

Fashion musing and arithmetic*

So we've gone from cajoling women to dress like children, and ogling children dressed like adults, to actually using children as "fashion muses". (Above, 14 year old actress Hailee Steinfeld as the new face of Miu Miu, and 13 year old Elle Fanning modelling for Marc Jacobs.) I'm not clear why this annoys me so much: is it the "exploitation" of underage girls? No, no, no. Is it the gimmick-novelty of using children in serious fashion? Possibly. But this gimmick has far less ├ępater la bourgeoisie strenuousness than, say, parading supermandels Andrej Pejic or Lea T. No, I think it's only because I find the child-muse marketing so boring.//

I had just been formulating my thoughts about this when I saw the piece in the New York Times about 15 year old fashion wunderkind/industry insider Tavi Gevinson. For those of you who might not keep up with such things, Style Rookie is her blog, Rookie is her new magazine, she's written for Harper's Bazar and if you have any further questions talk to her publicist. Tavi was profiled last year in the New Yorker where, in an exquisitely sadistic moment, she was prompted to worry about her future relevance as she grows up.

Anyway, I left a fairly cranky comment on the
Times piece about, among other things, Tavi's style sense. Gah! I'm insulting teenagers now. Afterward I realized that bile was misdirected: I have no issue with the girl— she's got a lot of what people long ago used to call Moxie. In fact, if I'd stumbled on her blog myself I'd be sort of enchanted: she's droll and enviably self-possessed. No, my bitter pearls were directed at the marketing juggernaut of publicists, mom-managers, product tie-ins, exclusive wedding-rehearsal-dinner-photo-sellers and ass X-ray takers that flogs things relentlessly and indiscriminately in order to corral my 1 millimeter of mental bandwidth and drain my wallet.//

If peevish-and-in-one's-40s ever becomes fashionable I am your new muse.
//

*Anna Piaggi + Michelle Williams = Tavi Gevinson


 

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