The Pretty Reckless

During last week’s long road tip to Wisconsin to sell at the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market, I stumbled into The Pretty Reckless.

Once smitten with Heaven Knows, we turned to Spotify to hear more. One word: Love.

Many of the songs remind me of Devil Doll’s Queen of Pain. (If Devil Doll lead singer Colleen Duffy hadn’t already been dubbed “the punk rock torch singer your father warned you about”, Taylor Michel Momsen could earn that title.)

Listen, I was ahead of the curve and right about Cage The Elephant. I was ahead of the curve and right about Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. And I’ll be right about The Pretty Reckless (and Fever Ray) too. Maybe that’s because mom’s are the greatest music influencers. Or maybe it’s just because I am awesome. Download some of The Pretty Reckless now.

PS My Wisconsin friends should check them out at Summerfest this year.

the pretty reckless

“If I Had A Voice I Would Sing” (Along With The Theme To Vikings on History)

If you are a fan of Vikings on the History Channel, then you’ve probably fallen in love with the tv show’s theme song.

The song’s official title is If I Had A Heart and it is by Fever Ray.

You know how sometimes theme songs are changed, edited, or cut so short that the TV version is nearly unrecognizable? Well, that’s not the case this time. While If I Had A Heart is much longer, it is only more enchanting, even more moving than the few seconds we get with the television show’s credits, — especially when you can make out the lyrics.

This will never end
‘Cause I want more
More, give me more
Give me more

This will never end
‘Cause I want more
More, give me more
Give me more

If I had a heart I could love you
If I had a voice I would sing
After the night when I wake up
I’ll see what tomorrow brings

If I had a voice, I would sing

Dangling feet from window frame
Will I ever ever reach the floor?
More, give me more, give me more

Crushed and filled with all I found
Underneath and inside
Just to come around
More, give me more, give me more

If I had a voice, I would sing

I don’t want to further blow your mind, but you should also watch the official If I Had A Heart video. It’s not really about Vikings either — but it is stunning.

Once I watched the videos (a number of times), I purchased the If I Had A Heart MP3. Then I watched the video for Seven, and I quickly realized it was more economically prudent to buy the Fever Ray (Deluxe Version) LP than to fiddle away buying single MP3s by Fever Ray. I”m loving it! Let’s see if Seven sells you on Fever Ray to:


The Classics: Music & Humor

When Alyssa Milano was on The Late Late Show last December, she told Craig Ferguson (and all of us watching), that her grandfather said there were two types of people: those who think farts are funny, and those who don’t. Clearly Milano does, because she spent quite a bit of time farting around with Ferguson.

Whether or not Milano’s grandfather was right about there being just those two groups of people in the world, it’s clear that Mozart was a man into fart humor. Yes, that Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The proof of poof-amusement comes from (at least) one of 12 letters Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote to his female cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart. These letters, written between 1777 and 1781, are included in Robert Spaethling’s book. And they contain passages which Lapham’s Quarterly calls “alliterative and obscene”. It is in this letter that we find Wolfgang going well-past a love of all things musical into TMI territory. In fact, this might be the first reference to a shart — it’s certainly the earliest I’ve ever read.

You write further, indeed you let it all out, you expose yourself, you let yourself be heard, you give me notice, you declare yourself, you indicate to me, you bring me the news, you announce onto me, you state in broad daylight, you demand, you desire, you wish, you want, you like, you command that I, too, should could send you my portrait. Eh bien, I shall mail fail it for sure. Oui, by the love of my skin, I shit on your nose, so it runs down your chin.I now wish you a good night, shit in your bed with all your might, sleep with peace on your mind, and try to kiss your own behind; I now go off to never-never land and sleep as much as I can stand. Tomorrow we’ll speak freak sensubly with each other. Things I must you tell a lot of, believe it you hardly can, but hear tomorrow it already will you, be well in the meantime. Oh my ass burns like fire! What on earth is the meaning of this!—maybe muck wants to come out? Yes, yes, muck, I know you, see you, taste you—and—what’s this—is it possible? Ye Gods!—Oh ear of mine, are you deceiving me?

Now I must relate to you a sad story that happened just this minute. As I’m in the middle of my best writing, I hear a noise in the street. I stop writing—get up, go to the window— and—the noise is gone—I sit down again, start writing once more—I have barely written ten words when I hear the noise again—I rise—but as I rise, I can still hear something but very faint—it smells like something burning—wherever I go it stinks, when I look out the window, the smell goes away, when I turn my head back to the room, the smell comes back—finally my mama says to me: I bet you let one go?—I don’t think so, Mama. Yes, yes, I’m quite certain. I put it to the test, stick my finger in my ass, then put it to my nose, and—ecce provatum est! Mama was right!

Clearly not all classical musicians are as, errm, stuffy as you might think.

Image via Wikipedia.

Smells Like Mid-Life Spirit

Whether or not you want to smell like Madonna, you might want to catch her wearing lingerie (what else?) in the online ad (video below) for her new fragrance, Truth Or Dare.

I guess we should thank our lucky stars that Mad’s not completely nude as this online campaign was looked after by French art director Fabien Baron, the very same “director” of her 1992 coffee table book Sex. (The book is now highly collectible; yet deals can be found on eBay.)

The fragrance, I-kid-you-not, goes on sale in Macy’s stores April Fool’s Day (April 1, 2012). But it’s available online now for those with US mailing addresses.

The music for the perfume ad is a remix of Madonna’s latest single, Girl Gone Wild, which is the second single off MDNA. Girl Gone Wild has already enjoyed some notoriety, nearly costing the material girl in court (NWS).

Amber Tamblyn: Hero

Amber Tamblyn: Hero

I’m no celebrity stalker; I can rarely identify an eighth of the folks plastered on the publications which stare at me while I’m in the supermarket check-out line. But I rather like Amber Tamblyn. Even if, right now, I can’t name that one police drama show she had… I like it, it was with that guy… Oh, never mind; I need to get to the dish.

Up to this very moment, one of the things I’ve liked best about Amber Tamblyn is saying her name.

Amber Tamblyn.
Amber. Tamblyn.

It’s musically delicious, the way it rolls off the tongue.

Turns out girl’s got more than a musically delicious name and actress chops in a pretty package; Amber Tamblyn’s got a grand sense of humor — and more.

When actor-musician Tyrese Gibson confused Amber Rose Tamblyn’s email address with that of Kanye’s ex-girlfriend, model Amber Rose, resulting in Tyrese asking Tamblyn via email if she wanted to record an album with him, Amber Tamblyn ran with it. Not only in a series of email exchanges but Amber Tamblyn laid down some serious demo tracks.

Called The Tyrese Sessions, these are amazing hardcore feminist rap songs which I would happily pay for. Hint-Hint, Amber. (“Tamblyn,” she whispered like Brick Heck.)

For now, we will have to settle for this woman’s poetry.

The Power Of Shared Experience In Music

Trini Lopez

I’m no music aficionado. I like what I like. But I have to hear it first. Which means I’m not such a fan of music reviews.

Music reviews always seem so foreign to me… Using words to describe music? What’s next, writing a musical arrangement as a review of a book? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we use words to communicate; so even if music is communication in-and-of-itself, we use words to define it, explain it, sell it, share it. I myself trust what I hear.

So why, then, am I reading Simon Sweetman’s Blog On The Tracks — let alone adding “him” to the sidebar?

It’s not just our mutual love of Trini Lopez, or even vinyl. It’s because Sweetman makes me think thinky things.

In considering the value of music, records, and music collections — tangible objects which help keep music from being too temporal — there’s an elusive emotional component which is hard to put a price on… Yet it’s largely what makes music so important. It’s the power of the shared music experience.

The original joy of music was once a primarily shared experience. Folks gathered around fires, singing together — maybe a few slapping a thigh or smacking a rock or whatnot. But there was no level of “good enough to participate” in terms of pitch or talent or anything. And you can easily argue that even the lone hunter whistling or humming was recalling that tune from some earlier social feast when the group shared a melody.  There was no professional musician then. Those guys and gals would come later.

And when they did, music was still about a shared experience. Not just in the Sing Along With Mitch way either. If you don’t believe me, get thee to a concert sometime. Or even your local watering hole — it needn’t have a live band, just a jukebox will do — and you’ll hear people singing (somewhat) along with the song, or slapping their thigh or whatnot.  For that matter, how many times a week does your neighbor share their music selections with you via the unnecessarily loud volume? How about those cars which you hear approaching by the distorted vibrational boom of blasting base? In fact, folks today with their isolated musical experiences of earbuds will not be silent in their solos; they must share. Even if you cannot hear the song selection itself play, you are forced to hear your coworker scream-sing along. Or at least you think that’s what they are doing… You can’t actually identify the song, even if you can decipher the lyrics, but you’re pretty sure that’s “singing.”

The very fact that music with lyrics is the most popular type of music reinforces this notion of the power of shared musical experience; we want to participate by singing along.

The shared music experience is powerful. Congregations are built upon it. Relationships strengthened, and breakups survived, via those mixed tapes (which have not disappeared but merely moved to MP3 playlists). Even if the kids resist it at first, they come around to the power of shared musical experiences — even with their parents. That’s pretty compelling evidence.

Chinese Laundry Blues

More vintage sheet music of the racist variety. (Via.)

Chinese Laundry Blues was George Formby‘s signature tune, and the first of his “Mr Wu” songs.

Now Mr. Woo was a laundry man
In a shop with an old green door
He’d iron all day, your linen away
He really makes me sore
He lost his heart to a Chinese girl
And his laundry’s all gone wrong
All day he’ll flirt and starch your shirt
And that’s why I’m singing this song

Oh! Mr. Woo, what shall I do
I’m feeling kind of Limehouse Chinese laundry blue
This funny feeling keeps round me ceiling
Oh won’t you throw your sweetheart over, do.
My best silk shawl, now it won’t fit my little brother
And my new Sunday shirt has got a perforated rudder
Mr. Woo, what shall I do
I’m feeling kind of Limehouse Chinese laundry blue

Now Mr. Woo, he’s got a naughty eye that flickers
You ought to see it wobble when he’s ironing ladies blouses
Mr. Woo, what shall I do
I’m feeling kind of Limehouse Chinese laundry blue.

Now Mr. Woo, he’s got a laundry kind of tricky,
He starched my shirts and collars
But he never touched me waistcoat
Mr. Woo, what shall I do
I’m feeling kind of Limehouse Chinese laundry blue

(Instrumental Interlude)

Mr. Woo, what shall I do
I’m feeling kind of Limehouse Chinese laundry blue

Here’s George Formby singing the song, performing on stage for the last time on The Friday Show.

Spotting Memories In Retro Radio Ads

Still nostalgic thinking about the old days in Milwaukee radio, I’ve been hanging out consuming The Halcyon Daze (I prefer using the “classic” interface for navigation, in case you visit here, Scott Beddome — aka rock’s Scott “The Kid”). I’m particularly smitten with this post of 1984 TV commercials for radio — especially this classic WKTI spot:

Not only does it feature Reitman & Mueller, and the Booze Brothers — but that’s Warren Wiegratz on the keyboards!

Having stalked Oceans for years, I’d know. My Oceans following began in 1984 or so, when my biological sister’s foreign exchange “French sister,” Christine (Oh, so tempted to talk trash about Christine and her visit; but I will behave.), came to stay with us and she wanted to hear a jazz band. So my parents took her to Sardino’s. After an early crush on Duane Stuermer (somewhere around here I have signed ticket stubs from Duane, and, possibly, his brother Daryl), I eventually forged a friendship with drummer Ernie Adams — who’s dad, it turned out, worked with my mom. Small world. It became even cozier when Ernie and and dated; but I don’t like to kiss and tell. *wink*

Of Tailgators, Radio & Retail

This is a vintage WKTI Tailgator pinback from 1983, featuring Old Style beer. It’s mere 1.75 inches, but oh the size of the memories it unleashes…

If you’re of a certain age — and from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area — you remember this era of WKTI, Reitman & Mueller — and the uncomfortably named Jim “Lips” LaBelle.

Thinking of WKTI reminds me of the days our family ventured into the retail business. We bought into the Just Pants franchise, running the Just Pants store at Southridge Mall, then a Taubman Mall (Taubman married and divorced from Christie Brinkley, a rather too present icon of my life, helping me date nearly anything).

Our biggest Just Pants competitor was the County Seat — and Kohl’s department store (which bled we specialty jean stores to death by using Levi’s and Lee denim loss leader sales). Anyone else remember the days of denim walls so high, sales staff used ladders to reach the goods? That’s the pun behind this sexy Just Pants ad — it predates when we had our store (and I doubt we would have ran the ad ourselves, even if it had been in the creative pool of franchisee options.)

Anyway, in that era we not only often played WKTI in the store but we special ordered and custom hemmed Bob Reitman‘s black boot-cut Levi’s. Yeah, we were that cool.

Back then, we not only played whatever radio we wanted in the store, on July 13, 1985, we played the Live Aid broadcast in the store. I called in from the store to donate, getting myself an official Live Aid t-shirt. (They were out of my size, so I received a size small which wouldn’t have covered The Girls and so it has remained safely packed away all these years.)

Now, WKTI is WLWK, “Lake FM.” (Reitman’s still kicking it on air with his weekly show, It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Only Music.) And, ironically, Lake FM sounds almost like an auditory time capsule of the Reitman & Mueller days. I know, I’ve listened to the station when I’ve traveled home. Old habits die hard and my fingers still “dial” to the stations I recalled. Not that any of them are there anymore.  Lazer 103, QFM, LPX… All long gone. Apparently, after I moved from Wisconsin, the radio station marketplace went to hell. I’m not the only one who’s more than nostalgic; check out 93QFM: The Halcyon Daze for Milwaukee Rock Radio DJ Stories.

This got me thinking about the other radio stations & DJs… And the connections to retail.

Marilynn Mee, aka Jackpot Girl, part of Bob And Brian’s morning show on Lazer 103 (Mee may still be on WKLH?), was someone I met quite often when I was working at the Estee Lauder counter at Gimbels. Mee was pals with Pam, who worked Lancome. I envied Mee her wardrobe of all things.  But then, if you’ve ever had to wear the cosmetic girl garb, well, you’d understand it. Hard to feel 80-‘s glam when you’re wearing a turquoise smock-tent, no matter how fab your face and hair look. (Despite the fact that Marilynn and Pam partied with rock stars, I was the good girl who found herself knocked up; an entirely different subject, and I’ve digressed too much already.)

Because I’m all nostalgic about radio…

My first radio love was WOKY — and AM station that then played top 40 pop stuff. It came in loud and clear on my red ball Panasonic R-70 transistor radio.

I would turn the volume up and dance madly in the back yard. My most vivid memory is of cranking up Billy Preston’s Go Round in Circles and dancing on top of the old wooden picnic table. So not safe, I’m sure, even if you weren’t dancing yourself dizzy goin’ round in circles. Ahh, those were the days, though.

Image Credits: Vintage 1970 Just Pants ad via Ads-Things4Less. Panasonic photo via ebyauctions.

New Vintage Reviews #8

New Vintage Reviews Carnival

Welcome to the long overdue New Vintage Reviews Carnival, edition #8.

In this blog carnival, we review everything from classic film to vintage vinyl, from out-of-print books to games found in the basement — we hope to make the old seem shiny and new again!

If you’d like your review (or one you’ve read) to be included in the next edition, please submit it!  If you’d like to host, just contact me ( and put “New Vintage Reviews Host” in the subject line.


At A Penguin A Week, Karyn reviews The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.

At { feuilleton }, a review of Joseph Balthazar Silvestre’s Alphabet-album, circa 1843, by John Coulthart.

My review of 1962’s Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans For Physical Fitness, here at Kitsch Slapped.


At Immortal Ephemera, a review of 1950’s Bright Leaf, starring Gary Cooper, Lauren Bacall, and Patricia Neal.

At Out Of The Past, a review of Garbo’s Ninotchka (1939).


At Steamboat Arabia, an illustrated review of The Game of Life aka Checkered Game of Life by Milton Brady — first sold in 1860.


At Scratch, Pop & Hiss, a review of James Luther Dickinson’s Dixie Fried (1972).

At Kitschy Kitschy Coo, my review of Toni Basil’s self-titled album.

At Silent Porn Star (obviously NWS), a review of the 1957 LP My Pussy Belongs To Daddy, which is silly and risque.

At The World’s Worst Records, Darryl W Bullock reviews A Soldier’s Plea by Bishop J M Smith and the Evangelist Choir.

My review of MTV’s High Priority, here at Kitsch Slapped.

And… This last one isn’t truly a review… But in the spirit of living with “old stuff,” surely the story of Phil Cirocco’s full restoration of a Novochord dating from 1940 fits in.  (Via Scratch, Pop & Hiss.)

The “Cherry Bomb” Bomb: An Ignorant Hetero Midwest Girl Reviews The Runaways Film

Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, back in the days when they were Runaways.

I don’t ever claim to be first with the reviews (I deal in old stuff, so why even rush to hop on the bandwagon with films about retro bands?), so you’ve likely already heard about, read reviews of, or even seen 2010’s The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. Anyway…

The Runaways is an incredible film. You should see it. My only real comments are really about my impressions of myself…

I wasn’t actually going to write any sort of a review, but then I stumbled onto Susie Bright’s commentary:

“What is this Little Debbie BULLSHIT?” I said. “This is a disgrace.”

Director Floria Sigismondi’s “pretty-in-glam” Runaways promo wasn’t the underground punk scene I remember from Los Angeles in the 1970’s.

And then I thought, “Hey, someone needs to speak for the rest of the un-cool kids here in the Midwest.”

You see, I didn’t know of The Runaways until after there was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ I Love Rock and Roll.  That made it on the radar — and radio waves — in Midwest suburbia.  Heck, my mom was a HUGE fan of that song!  (Rock on, Mom!)

Before Bright’s commentary, I’d viewed the relationship between Jett and Currie as a more complicated version of the college lesbianism experience, mixed with drugs, celebrity-too-soon, and, sure, what looked in the film like a bit of opportunistic, if not predatory, moves on Jett’s part — which seemed more natural and less creepy than it sounds, really. And I don’t suppose Bright’s commentary really changes any of that. ( Or that my interpretation of the film is accurate; or even that the film was entirely explicit about many intimate aspects of their personal lives. It was, after all, a film; not a documentary.) But I feel it’s worth noting that Los Angeles is, and was, a million miles away from my Milwaukee suburban experience. Or even my imagining.

I was in gay bars in the 80’s. However, I’m sure they weren’t anything like the punk scenes you big coastal cities had. I’m sure even the leather and dungeon rooms would have seemed comical (at least by comparison at the time). But my point is that even though I wasn’t phobic, wasn’t ignorant, and therefore wasn’t shocked or put-off by anything in The Runaways that would have freaked my version of the world at that time, the sort of cultural context Bright feels was a necessary part of the story has me thinking… Maybe too much.

Yes, it may be accurate to say, as Bright does, that, “The Runaways band would not have happened, could not have been conceived, without the Underground Dyke Punk Groupie Slut culture that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to the bowels of Orange County,” but is it necessary to understand or appreciate the film, the story of (at least two of) the girls in the all-girls band?

Maybe it’s some sort of “ism” for a heterosexual chick to say it doesn’t matter; or at the very least, I’m being insensitive and dismissive to a movement. I certainly don’t mean to be.  Yet, I thought the film was about forging ahead against the odds, the isolating experience of individuals — of female individuals — and maybe all that cultural context wasn’t integral?  Then again, I’m always harping on the context of things, and certainly the counter-culture is as important in the story of where this band, these women, sat as the cultural norms I was carrying in my own head.

I just can’t decide.

Because fundamentally, I felt the tidal waves of emotion of abuse (self, drug, management, the industry, etc.), dreams gained and lost, friendships, trust, creativity, and being a woman with little respect through it all… And I’m not sure that being more precise in the documentation or depiction of what Bright described as the scene at the time is would have enhanced that ride. Though I guess I’ll never know because that film hasn’t been made.

At the end of The Runaways, I was left wanting to discover what others already had; the music of the band itself. (And the music each made with other bands and in solo careers — save, perhaps, for Lita Ford.  Hubby had a crush on her, so her discs are around… Plus, at the end of The Runways, I didn’t like her. Sure, I understood what motivated her snits; but ick.)   Though, what Susie Bright said now not only colors my thoughts about the film, but thoughts about the music as well.

Such is the plight of one who thinks too much, I suppose.

Can I continue to rock to Crimson & Clover without having any such thoughts of celebrating a “dyke rock’n’roll legacy” — and not have that be dismissive or exclusionary, not have it be a political or social statement at all? Yes, I think I can. So I think I can enjoy The Runaways as a film without any of that too.

I think that’s the question, and the answer.  For me.

I’ll tell you how that works as I listen to more of the music.  …Maybe watch the film again.

PS The end of the movie left you rather feeling like Cherie had relegated herself to, or was even happy with, some sort of boring mainstream life after the band split. Clearly the film focused on Jett. (Odd because the movie was based largely on Currie’s autobiography, Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runawayoriginally published in 1989; reprinted to coincide with the film.) But Currie’s life indeed went on.  Cherie also went on to play more music; to marry and divorce from Robert Hays (of Airplane! — what an odd pairing in my mind) — they even had a son, Jake Hays, who accompanied his mom and dad at The Runaways premier, and to rock the art as a chainsaw chick.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Skeeter Davis Was A Lover (Not A Fighter)

Skeeter Davis fan club pinback, circa 1970s, printed with her photo and one of her song titles, I’m A Lover (Not A Fighter).

Here are the song lyrics:

I only married you for love dear I didn’t go for all of your dough
Now and then you say you love me but honey baby it didn’t show
I never seemed to please you lately cause all you ever do is complain
I’m sick of this fussin’ and fightin’ so baby let your loving woman explain.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay.

— Instrumental —

A woman is soft and tender and willing to love her man
So why don’t you take advantage of the woman that you know I am
I don’t want to fuss and fight dear for the rest of my natural life
Stop treatin’ me like your enemy start treatin’ me like a wife.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay…

Resist, And You Are Called Confrontational. Or Mentally Ill.

Remember the Nirvana song Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle?

Here’s Kurt Cobain’s response to, “So why was Frances Farmer such an inspiration?” (Melody Maker, August 28th, 1993)

“Well, you know, I’d read some books about her and I found her story interesting. She was a very confrontational person.”

Extremely confrontational.

Selfish, maybe. “That’s not what I got from the books I read. Actually, I did from two of the biographies I read about her, but there was one, ‘Shadowland’, the best one, written by this PI from Seattle who researched it for years, and I didn’t get that impression from that one. She was obviously a difficult person, and got more and more difficult as the years went on, as people started to fuck with her more and more.

“I mean, she was institutionalised numerous times and, in the place in Washington where she ended up, the custodians had people lining up all the way through the halls, waiting to rape her. She’d been beaten up and brutally raped for years, every day. She didn’t even have clothes most of the time.

“Courtney especially could relate to Frances Farmer. I made the comparison between the two. When I was reading the book, I realised that this could very well happen to Courtney if things kept going on. There’s only so much a person can take, you know?

“I’ve been told by doctors and psychiatrists that public humiliation is one of the most extreme and hardest things to heal yourself from. It’s as bad as being brutally raped, or witnessing one of your parents murdered in front of your eyes or something like that. It just goes on and on, it grinds into you and it’s so personal.

“And the Frances Farmer thing was a massive conspiracy involving the bourgeois and powerful people in Seattle, especially this one judge who still lives in Seattle to this day. He led this crusade to so humiliate her that she would go insane. In the beginning, she was hospitalised – totally against her will – and she wasn’t even crazy. She got picked up on a drunk driving charge and got committed you know. It was a very scary time to be confrontational.”

Though nothing could excuse what was done to her, even the most reverent accounts of Farmer’s life don’t attempt to deny that she was on extremely difficult person, that her much-vaunted independence often amounted to a ruthless self-interest that left her indifferent to the suffering she caused. So she was no martyr.

But Farmer – beautiful, arrogant, creative, destructive and destroyed –does appear impossibly glamorous, especially from the safe distance of a few decades.

Is that what drew you to her?

“No. No, not at all”

The song, especially if Geffen have the good sense to release it as a single, may succeed in glamorising her.

How would you feel about that?

“I’d feel bad about that. I just simply wanted to remind people of tragedies like that. It’s very real and it can happen. People can be driven insane, they can be given lobotomies and be committed and be put in jails for no reason. I mean, from being this glamorous, talented, well-respected movie star, she ended up being given a lobotomy and working in a Four Seasons restaurant.

“And she hated the Hollywood scene, too, and was very vocal about it, so those people were involved in the conspiracy, too. I just wanted to remind people that it happened and it has happened forever.”

Most of your songs are, in one way or another, about suffering. A popular liberal notion is that suffering ennobles. Do you think there’s any truth to that?

“It can, it can. I think a small amount of suffering is healthy. It makes your character stronger.”

Do you think you’ve suffered on a large or small scale?

“What do you think I think?”

Don’t know.

“I’ve suffered on a large scale but most of the attacks haven’t been on me, they’ve been on someone I’m totally in love with, my best fucking friend is being completely fucking crucified every two months, if not more. I read a negative article about her every two months.”

Why read it? Why torture yourself?

“A lot of the time I can’t escape it because Courtney gets faxes of articles from the publicist all the time. But also it’s a form of protection. It enables you to remember … and to make sure you never deal with those people again. And another reason we like to read it is that we can learn from the criticism, too. If I never read any of the interviews I did, I’d never be able to say ‘Jeez, that was a pretty stupid thing to say. I’d better try to clear that up.’”

I was first introduced to Frances Farmer — and subsequently fell in love with both her and Jessica Lange — in Frances (1982).

The book Cobain “recommends,” Shadowland, by William Arnold, and the ensuing (no pun intended as Arnold sued regarding the film) Lange movie may not be reliable, according to journalist and researcher Jeffrey Kauffman who has spent decades unraveling the Frances Farmer story. However, this doesn’t change much for me.

It’s not that I refuse to accept fact or Kauffman’s research; quite the contrary.  I find all the representations and misrepresentations as detrimental to Farmer as the life she did lead. Mental health, especially then, was not kind, no matter what the ignorant intention. The media has only become worse. Her life as a creative, passionate woman was painful, co-opted.

MTV Cared About Your Breasts

Over a decade before Rethink Breast Cancer & MTV News Canada launched (to public outcry; video), and the Women Rock! Girls & Guitars breast cancer benefit too, MTV had the High Priority campaign against breast cancer.  (You can be cynical, and view MTV’s interest as self-interest — be it sexist preservation of the sweater-puppets which jiggled in videos, or a way to combat judgement that rock videos and music television would be the end of civilization, but whatever MTV’s motives, they’re active in PSAs.) The campaign began in 1984, but my thrift store find is the 1987 High Priority album.

(I say “find” because up until spotting for $1 at a thrift shop I was ignorant of this MTV effort. In my defense, we didn’t have cable; our family only managed to get a color TV in the late 70s or early 80s — but we were the first to have a microwave oven. My parents only got a video player after I moved out; and they just got cable two or three years ago. So that tells you something about our family values. And why, even if we had cable, I would have likely opted to read anyway instead.)

The profits from this album went to the AMC Cancer Research Center. The album cover featured unfinished, yet signed, art by Andy Warhol on the front; monthly self breast exam info and other cancer prevention tips on the back; and ten songs from leading female performing artists of the time:

Side One

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves; Aretha Franklin with The Eurythmics
Manic Monday; Bangles
I Can’t Wait; Stevie Nicks
You Give Good Love; Whitney Houston
Time After Time; Cyndi Lauper

Side Two

Oh People; Patti Labelle
Le Bel Age; Pat Benatar
Nothing At All; Heart
I Feel The Magic; Belinda Carlisle
Slave To The Rhythm; Grace Jones
More Than Physical; Bananarama

While the High Priority Campaign holds no “remember when” significance, the songs and artists do.  So I’m lovin’ listening to it. Grrl power!!

Want it? Infrequently posted on eBay; less expensive at Amazon.

Magic Lantern Glass Slide: I Want To Sing Along!

This old glass movie slide was probably used in an old movie theatre at intermission or before the show started — when people would sing along with songs together rather than just collectively ignore the ads.

This antique glass slide by Maurice Workstel of New York is from a series called Song-Hit Slides and the lyrics shown are, “There are two sides to every story, But Nobody Listens to mine.”

Fabulous vintage fashions and transportation images; but I want to read more of the song! Anyone know more about the song itself?

Breaking Free Is A Drag (Or, Drag Queens Part 1)

Glowing Doll Danielle says she was “totally gob smacked” watching Freddie Mercury’s “sexy mustachioed housewife” in Queen’s I Want To Break Free.

In her post, Danielle also wrote:

I love drag queens because they can dress like women but without all of the pressure to look pretty or be sexy. I know there are plenty of women who dress like drag queens but they are few and far between and they tend to be Pop stars.

Umm, I could be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure the sole point of being a drag queen is to look pretty and be the (supposed) feminine ideal of sexy.

I think part of Danielle’s confusion here — and there’s plenty to be confused about traversing those fine, slinky, and slippery lines between drag queens, female impersonators, transgendered folk, cross dressers, fetishists, etc. (note: no mention of gay folk here) — is mistaking Mercury’s artistic gender-bender performance for Mercury being a drag queen.

Freddie Mercury in drag is not Freddie Mercury, Drag Queen.

The simple & pure existence of a mustache sort of illustrates that point — and my point about a boundary pushing performance.

Danielle gets close to those distinctions when she writes the following (exactly as typed at her blog):

To me anyway, Drag culture is as much about attitude as it is about aesthetic. It seems to exude a sort of ‘Don’t give a fuck’ attitude which I think everyone could benefit from. Ultimately there is a humour born from sadness underlying the aesthetic. The theatricality used as a kind of armour against a world that is so un accepting of others.

If I could be a part of either world I just feel that I would be freer some how. I find myself, inpsite of a vast collection of clothes and accessories, dressing drably from day to day. I guess I fear judegement by small minded people and on a deeper level just want to dissapear sometimes (hard to do with electric coloured clothes, spiked accesories and gigantic hats).

The mythical non-mustached Drag Queen Mercury, like other Drag Queens, probably would have had a female name and completely distinct female persona to go with it. And none would have seen drag as an armor but as flamboyant exhibitionist expression — that people would still sling arrows at.

Mercury in drag wasn’t exactly like Travolta in Hairspray; Mercury’s dress was a theatrical application, use of imagery to make a point. Or at least a slightly different point.   And the whole point of Freddie Mercury et al and their obvious appearance as men in women’s clothing (along with other things in this video and aspects of Mercury’s life) was to expose absurdity, especially the norms of “normal,” to break free of everything — everything except that vacuum, that is. *wink*

Oh, Those Von Dewitz Characters

Because I become obsessed with research, especially when so little is readily available…

In doing some additional research for a piece on silent film star Valda Valkyrien

I found juicy tidbits on her first husband, Baron Hrolf von Dewitz.

From The New York Times on September 7, 1919:

Special to The New York Times
GREENWHICH, Conn., Sept. 6.– A man calling himself Baron Hrolf J. O. E. Dewitz of New York, a moving picture director, and a girl who said she was A. M. Thaisn de Malmey, a moving picture actress, and daughter of Joseph W. de Malmey and Catherine Thomas de Malmey, were married today by Justice Albert S. Mead in his office. They came up by train from New York, and the bride changed from a traveling dress into a gorgeous pink creation for the ceremony and back again afterward into her traveling costume. Dewitz gave his age as 40, and said he was born in Denmark, and Miss de Melmey gave hers as 21, and said she was born in Spain and was a cousin of the late Empress Elizabeth of Austria. They said they had never been married before. They left for New York, saying they would leave New York Sunday morning for the Pacific Coast.

The so-called “Baron” Dewitz, in spire of his statements to the Greenwich Justice, has been married before, not only once, but several times, and his erstwhile wives are on record as divorcing him. Records show that on May 17, 1908, he was married to Nina Pastorelli, a toe dancer with “The Dancing Daisies.” On April 4, 1911 he married Mrs. Katheryn de Montford, an actress, who obtained a divorce from him on Jan. 18, 1912. His third venture was with Miss Freed, whose stage name was Mlle. Valkyrien, another dancer, who as Mrs. Adele Freed von Dewitz also got a divorce, the interloculory decree having been signed on Feb. 13, 1919, by Justice Albert F. Seeger at White Plains. She was then in the movies, and the decree gave her the two-year-old son of the pair.

At the time he married Miss Freed, otherwise Mlle. Valkyrien, the “Baron” sent out cards announcing that their residence would be at the Plaza after Sept. 1, 1914, but at the time the cards were issued he and his bride were living at 560 West End Avenue with a Miss Bessie M. Clay.

So far, I’ve not found anything substantive about the earlier Baronesses von Dewitz (and you know I’ll keep looking — The Dancing Daisies?! Oh. My. Gawd.).

But I did then find a lengthy wedding notice, also in The New York Times, dated June 23, 1914. (I’m so going to interject along the way for this one.)

Cards bearing the imprint of a jewelry house and the baronial crest of a noble Danish family were sent through the mails yesterday to well-known New Yorkers, saying that:

Lo Lieutenant Baron Hrolf von Dewitz,
et Mademoiselle
Valkyrien Freed de Copenhaque
ont l’honneur de vous
announcer leur mariage en date du
quatorze Mai, a L’eglise
Evangelicale-Lutherienne de Saint Mathieu
a Jersey City

Don’t you just love “Jersey” tacked on the end of all that French — and when, for that matter, did Valkyrien become French?

A second card states, also in French, that the Baron and Baroness would be at home at the Hotel Plaza after Sept. 1.

Baron von Dewitz, whose marriage on May 14 in Jersey City is thus announced, is the same Baron who on April 4, 1911, married Mrs. Kathryn de Montford, an actress, at Stamford, Conn., and who, several years previously was reported married to Nina Pastorelli, a toe dancer. Although the alleged marriage with Miss Pastorelli was extensively published in the newspapers, it was shown later that the wedding did not take place.

The matter of being shown that the marriage to Miss Pastorelli did not take place is A) not as reported later, and #2, not really shown at all.

In his most recent matrimonial venture Baron Dewitz again went to the stage for a wife, for Mlle. Valkyrien Freed is a dancer and a member of the ballet of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. Furthermore she is about to embark upon a professional career in this country despite her title, and at a dinner tonight at the home of Miss Jeannette L. Gilder, the writer, her stage future is to be talked over by her husband, Miss Gilder, who, through taking the management of another dancer has become an enthusiastic impresario, and the Baroness herself.

Please note the Baron’s involvement in his wife’s career; there is more flavor to savor later.

Although the wedding announcement cards say that the Baron and Baroness will be at home at the Plaza after Sept. 1, they are at present living at the home of Miss Bessie M. Clay, at 560 West End Avenue. It was explained last night by Baron Dewitz that this was because he and his bride wished to live in seclusion for a while, and at the same time it gave the Baroness an opportunity to practice her toe dancing.

The Miss Bessie M. Clay mentioned is likely the then President of The New York Institute of Music, located on West End Ave.; more on her, and why they would live with her, is here.

The marriage of Baron Dewitz and the toe dancer, who is not yet 19 years of age and who is a young woman of remarkable beauty, ends all the chances the Baron had of coming into a great estate and another title, he said last night. In fact, he is likey to be cut off by his relatives altogether for not returning to Copenhagen and marrying into a royal family.

“This wedding with Miss Freed,” said the Baron last night, “was a real romance. Two years ago when I was at home I met her and we fell in love. I returned to this country and we wrote each other frequently, but my family, and hers, too, put so many obstacles in our path that we gradually stopped writing. Last month we decided to marry after all, and so she came to this country. I met her at the boar and took her to the home of a married sister in Jersey, and a week later we were quietly married.

Put a pin in that “met two years ago” part — there will be some math.

“We are going to Newport in a short while, and she may give some exhibition dances there. I have been approached with offers to to upon the stage, but I am told that in this country a man who goes on the stage is not likely to be taken seriously in business affairs afterward. In my country I could go on the stage as a lark and nothing would be thought of it.

Remember when I asked you to note the Baron’s involvement with his latest wife’s performance career? Well, it sure seems to me that the Baron von Dewitz desperately wants a stage career himself. He’s willing to give up his title and wealth for it. And remember that first (though more recent) article wherein he calls himself “a moving picture director” — I guess that line’s a winner.

“The report that I have been married several times is all a mistake. I knew Miss Pastorelli when I was here some years ago and was seen about with her frequently. Some months after I had left this country I was surprised to get some old newspaper clippings saying that Miss Pastorelli and I were married. It was so long after the time that the stories had been published that I did nothing at all about it. I was divorced from Mrs. de Montford about a year and a half ago.”

But remember, the later clipping states that “records show” his marriage to Pastorelli on May 17, 1908. “Records,” not “reports.”

And remember, you have a pin in the number two, right? Do the math with his statement that he “was divorced from Mrs. de Montford about a year and a half ago.” Erm.

Baron Dewitz, who writes for the magazines, was a Danish naval officer who was one of the first to take up aeroplanes as war machines, and for some time was interested in perfecting air warship which he wished to sell to European Governments. He said last night that the cost of the enterprise was so heavy that he finally dropped it.

Baron Dewitz apparently did write, including a book titled War’s New Weapons.

At least that much is true.

*About Miss Bessie M. Clay and The New York Institute of Music: A bit from The New York Times, October 22, 1905:

An interesting feature of this college is what is known as the “Home Department.” As more and more girls have been coming from places far from New York to study music, there has been a growing demand for their proper accommodation in the city. Accordingly it is now possible to obtain not only musical instruction at the institute, but rooms, board, and chaperonage can be secured. But the care of the visitor does not stop here. Informal teas and receptions will be arranged to which persons prominent in the musical and artistic world will be invited. There are classes in dancing and fencing, and there is also a bowling alley and gymnasium. In other words, a student from the West can secure here many of the advantages and pleasures she would find at a college like Wellesley or Vassar.

I believe this 1906 issue of Music Trade Review is also on Miss Bessie Clay (said to be the niece of Major Clay of Sherman, Clay & Co.) and her marriage to Truman A. Glaser.

However likely this seems to be the same Bessie Clay, I cannot account for the continued reference to her as “Miss Bessie” past 1906.

And that brings us to the end of today’s (last night’s) obsession. Until I find out more — or you add to the story with what you know.

Once again, I’d like to declare my deep abiding love of The New York Times for making their archives available.

We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We had Seasons In The Sun…

I’ve been listening a lot to the cable music stations — most recently to the 70’s station. Tonight, Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks came on and I found myself singing along as I had in my childhood:

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
‘Til the cops came along and shot us in our buns.

At this point hubby (10 years my junior, remember, and so perhaps not even born at the time I was singing along to the AM radio), turns around and calls me an affectionate slur for a mental handicap.

“Come on,” I laugh, “I was like 10 years old when this song came out.”

And I continue to sing along with the song — growing happier and louder with each opportunity to sing my childhood recollections of the verse. I was seriously clapping with glee by the end of the song. Perverse? Maybe. But it was thrilling to relive my 10 year actions and enthusiasm.

Blaming my age might seem like a weak defense, but honestly, little kid weirdness can often be attributed to very real — and very grown-up — things.

Streaking was a big thing then (at least pop culture reference wise; I never knew anyone then who had done so) and as kids, uncomfortable with the notion of naked adults, we made jokes about it. Continually.

And the song, Seasons In The Sun, was terribly depressing; it reeked of death. Another thing kids would be terribly uncomfortable with.

So we dealt with our anxieties via the mutilation (further mutilation?) of the song.

Come to think of it, so many 70’s songs were about death…

There was Wildfire and Brandy, of course (the latter of which may not have explicitly about death, but certainly there was loss). Helen Reddy’s Angie Baby used to scare the crap out of me (that swirling noise made me dizzy and is somehow mythologically tied to my experience with the floor dropping in Disney’s Haunted Mansion) — second only to Eleanor Rigby, which, with the popularity of Wings, was played far too often as far as I was concerned. (Wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door?! I’m old enough to understand the lyrics better now, but that only creeps me out more.)

However, in terms of raw exploitation and manipulation of emotion, there were even worse offenders.

Like Rocky (“Rocky I’ve never had a baby before, don’t know if I can do it…”) by Austin Roberts. In my mind, Rocky was from the made for TV movie, Sunshine, which was based on the real life story of Jacquelyn Marie “Lyn” Helton, a young woman who while dying journaled for her young daughter so that she’d remember her (unbearably more than ironic if this post is to be believed).

I recently discovered that Rocky was not from that film when we found the record at a thrift shoppe (and yes, I snatched it up). I don’t think I ever saw the Sunshine movie, or the television series which followed…

But maybe I did. In my mind, it was all twisted up with my Sunshine Family dolls. Dolls who suffered greatly, despite their cheerful happy hippy faces. One parent often died… Of course, it could have been worse for the children after I read Flowers In The Attic (the baby boy obviously would have been named Cory).

All of this is so depressing.

The only way to really cleanse from this is to sing along with Seasons In The Sun — my way. Go ahead and try it, you’ll understand why we sang it this way as kids.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
‘Til the cops came along and shot us in our buns.

#MusicMonday Zazzle Gifts Edition

Retro audio themed gifts to kitsch-slap your vintage vinyl and retro cassette tape (and 8-track) lovin’ friends — even your disco dancin’ pals.

Extinct shirt
Extinct by bluelucy
Many tee designs available at zazzle

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Of Man’s Instrument & The Horror Of Eating Unsalted Cashews

In the June 26, 1950 issue of Newsweek, a report on Smithsonian ethnologist Dr. Kalervo Oberg’s trip to Matto Grosso. Among the horrible delights, calling members of the native Nhambicuara “the most miserable and impolite even to rudeness.”

They eat snakes, bugs, rats, and cashew nuts (unsalted). Their animosity toward the white man is understandable, since the Nhambicuara are about to die out from such civilized sickness as tuberculosis and syphilis.

In order to get y’all to read the article, Newsweek captioned the following photo: The jakui: A man’s instrument.


Does that still compel you to read the article? (Click to see a larger scan, if needed.)


Moby Vs. The Funding Terminator

Continuing to salute men who care enough to do something, I bring you the happy news that Moby has announced that he will donate 100% of the proceeds of his three California tour dates to help the state’s domestic violence shelters which have been struggling ever since Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated all State funding for shelter services back in July.

From Moby’s announcement:

Moby said that he wanted to make his donation in a way that would ensure that the funds had a statewide impact. “I’ve decided to give all of the revenue from my upcoming California shows to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence,” he said. “My hope is that by doing this I will enable domestic violence prevention workers to continue their work, and also encourage other people to step in and help raise funds for domestic violence prevention and care. Domestic violence is equal parts prison and torture for many women, and my sincere hope is that we can step up and help to protect women in California and end domestic violence.”

For more, you can see this CNN video with Moby.

I’d like to be all poetic and say something witty, like how the pen may be mightier than the sword, but music is mightier than the governor’s pen, but well, I’m just glad someone is doing something. And, as Moby also reminds us, you can do something too: donate to the CPEDV.

New Vintage Reviews Carnival, 6th Edition

Welcome to the sixth edition of the New Vintage Reviews Carnival, where we review “old stuff” — from the classics to the forgotten — that is likely new to someone…

This month’s edition is chock-full of films — so I hope you have your popcorn and Jujubes ready!


Rupert Alistair presents Black Narcissus: Technicolor Masterpiece posted at Classic Movies Digest.

Jaynie presents Lessons In Vertigo (Hitchcock’s Vertigo, That Is!) posted at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

Raquelle presents Wild River (1960) @ the Harvard Film Archive and the Walking Ethnic Stereotype posted at Out Of The Past.

Surbhi Bhatia presents FILM REVIEW: RED PSALM (Még kér a nép, 1972) posted at The Viewspaper.

Rupert Alistair presents Fury (1936): Fritz Lang Comes to America posted at Classic Movies Digest.

Surbhi Bhatia presents Onibaba: 1964 directed by Kaneto Shindo posted at The Viewspaper.

Jaynie presents Ready To Get Manhandled? posted at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.


Jeet presents Trip to Shivaganga posted at Discover Karnataka, saying, “Shivaganga is a nice adventurous destination near Bangalore city of the Indian state of Karnaraka. It has very old temples for history buffs and can be a training site for new trekkers.”

Games & Toys:

Yours Truly presents Cheap Thrills Thursday: Can He-Man Still Thrill The Uninitiated? here at Kitsch Slapped.

Yours Truly presents Are You Game To Try Tiltin’ Milton? posted at Collectors’ Quest.


Clark Bjorke presents Billie Holiday: My Man posted at Clark’s Picks.


Azrael Brown presents Lover Boy posted at Double-Breasted Dust-Jacket.

Jason Ward presents Ringworld by Larry Niven posted at The Word of Ward.

Yours Truly presents My Summer of ‘79 (A Review of Summer of ’42) posted here at Kitsch Slapped.

Surbhi Bhatia presents Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ posted at The Viewspaper.

Jason Ward presents Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev posted at The Word of Ward.

Rebecca presents 35th Bookworms Carnival: Really Old Classics posted at Rebecca Reads.

Honorable Mention:

The Dean presents The Big & Little of Collecting Western Publishing Co. posted at Collectors’ Quest.

If you’d like your review to be in the next edition, please submit it (or one you’ve read) to the next edition of the blog carnival using the carnival submission form.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: The Joys Of TCM, Bathing Beauty Edition

I’m not about to go all mathy on yer arse, but in a world of streaming video, on-demand downloadable rentals, home delivery rentals (even without fees!) TCM, part of basic cable, which is bundled with my cable internet connection, is one of the greatest cheap thrills I can get.

Films shown uninterrupted and commercial free, save for a few sponsored reminders to things you probably want anyway (like the TCM Now Playing Guide) — it’s the way TV ought to be. (And here is where I will insert my continual plea that TV return to its original format of corporate sponsored programs, with mentions at the top & bottom of the hour, as opposed to junky ads & product placements — which, in the case of the former, only distract & cause me to leave the room and, in the latter, go unnoticed by me anyway.)

Anyway, TCM is an incredible value.

robert-osborne-bobbleheadAlong with Robert Osborne and, now, Ben Mankiewicz‘s informative tidbits, you get to watch films you adore and see films you’ve never seen — including those that aren’t available anywhere else & those that you’ve avoided before because of crappy trailers & promotions that made you think they were crap. Now, thanks to TCM, you can watch them and either fall in love or be glad you didn’t waste money on a rental, download, or whathaveyou.

All of this brings me to the case in point: Last night’s viewing of Bathing Beauty.

As a kid, I’d never seen the Esther Williams films — but I saw the various parodies & heard the not-so-flattering commentary about the kitsch of synchronized swimming and pageantry of the old dated swimming movies. Ditto my kids, who aren’t interested in humoring me enough to let me rent one for movie night. But thanks to TCM, I got to watch Bathing Beauty last night.

The film is as sweet & simple as you’d expect a film from the 1940’s to be; romance and humor, with Red Skelton a complete joy as the young man willing to do anything — even be the only (tortured for demerits, forced to crossdress) male at an all girl’s school — to get his beloved back.

Unexpected were the lengthy scenes of musical performances from Harry James and his orchestra, Xavier Cugat, & others in traditional, glamorous nightclub settings; vicarious home front war living for those who couldn’t afford evenings out.

Now I loves me some Cugat, but the pee-my-pants-with-delight moment was a scene early on in the film, when the campus girls force (by flattery & girlie whining) one of the music instructors to play some forbidden music…

Here Ethel Smith plays the organ — note the lavish visual of her dainty feet, in pretty pumps, skimming along the peddles (Foot fetishists, beware! I’m not responsible for what this does to you!)

After that warm up, Smith consents to show the kiddies — ooops! I mean the girls — more of her chops on the electric organ, playing her theme song Tico Tico.

Ahh, a fantastic orgasmic ode to the organ — and fashion (love her ensemble!). But if that’s not incentive enough to watch Bathing Beauty &/or TCM, how about Skelton as a ballerina?

Seriously, all of this is so fantastic, I was nearly exhausted by the time we go to the results of all the cumulative efforts — the big swimming pageant. Which was as over-the-top as the parody legends proclaimed. Oh well, I have to leave you with something to look forward to.

Maybe You’re Not Juliet

When Chelsie Hightower & Mark Kanemura Dance danced to Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love on So You Think You Can Dance (choreography by Napoleon & Tabitha D’Uma), I was mesmerized…

But the lyrics disturbed me; doubly so when the girls, my daughters, began singing it. Especially the chorus.

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth
My heart’s crippled by the vein
That I keep on closing
You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
I keep bleeding
I keep, keep bleeding love
Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
You cut me open

Now, technically, according to the full song lyrics, neither the cutting nor the bleeding is real; it’s metaphorical teenage poetry expressing the pain of trusting and loving after having been hurt before by others. But…

There’s also this part:

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you

Whoever “they” is, be it family or friends, why don’t you trust them?

I know it’s social acceptable — required, even — for teens to rebel. (And love songs are filled with teenaged angst & longing, even if they aren’t of the pop variety — which Bleeding Love is.) Teens aren’t supposed to trust their parents. But parents are the very same people teens have to thank for keeping them alive all these years. They don’t have an ulterior motive. They want you alive, safe & happy — even if your definitions of the latter differ greatly.

And what if it’s your friends who don’t like the guy — or girl? OK, occasionally, you have a frenemy who wants the dude (or babe) for themselves… But if you aren’t wise enough to keep away from frenemies, you probably aren’t mature enough to date (or have sex) anyways.

My point is, unless what “they” say is that you shouldn’t date or be with him is because he’s too short, or her nose is too big, or some other superficial thing, shouldn’t you at least listen to their reasoning & evaluate it for yourself?

They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth

Oh, you might be temped in that dramatic romantic way to believe you know more than “they” do — but really, why would “they” try to pull you away unless they saw or knew something was bad or even dangerous?

Ignoring the people who’ve known you longer, if not better than anyone else; resisting the warnings of the people who’ve cared for you, invested time and money in you, because you want to be right or play Romeo & Juliet, is not maturity. (See comments about frenemies.)

It scares me when I hear songs with lyrics like these… Hear people singing along, like it’s a mantra… Romanticizing “forbidden love” to the extent that they mistake warning signs for meddling, mistake dangers for a chance to prove themselves “right” rather than being safe.

True love doesn’t hit, soul mates don’t control or hurt you, and families & friends (the “they” sung about) don’t lie about your safety — the people who love you, family members & friends, want to like & love who you love. At the very least, they don’t want to upset you — but “they” will upset you, try to pull you away from things & people who are not good for you.

Maybe you’re not Juliet.

So maybe there’s no reason to drink from the poison cup.


This post is part of the blogathon for Hope For Healing, a wonderful event raising awareness of domestic violence & funds for supporting victims.

Twolia generously sponsored me, and you can help too! Comment, link, Tweet my posts!

And use this special link to to perform searches; it will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.

The “What Happened To You?!” Musical Family Road Trip

family-road-trip-warning-signOn Monday we drove from Fargo (ND) to Menomonie (WI) to meet my folks and get the eldest who had spent a week at their house. We do road trips like this quite often, what with visitation & all, so what I’m about to say happens in many variations…

Somewhere around Hudson (WI), hubby and I put in a CD. Not just any CD, Pete Seeger’s For Kids & Just Plain Folks (a recent garage sale find). He & I begin to sing along and either our collective loud singing or my “chair dancing” garners interest from the children. We are notified by this when Hunter complain-asks, (with intensely wrinkled face), “What is this?!” I tell him it’s folk music; that I like bluegrass and folk music. His response?

A judgmental, “What happened to you?!”

But eventually, the children not only listen (which required two of three to remove earplugs & turn off their iPods) but begin singing along — even to songs they’ve never heard before, like the fanciful & silly Here’s To Cheshire — Here’s To Cheese (Froggy).

As Pete Seeger himself said in his narration, there once was a time when very few people had music to listen to. Only the very rich could hire performers, so most people had to make their own music. (In his narration, Seeger relays the comments of a man who claimed to have learned the fiddle because he noticed that fiddle players got to stand next to the fires; which prompted me to add, “And fiddle players get the chicks.” To which hubby commented, “Fiddlechicks!” now a frequent expletive we use lol)

Anyway, my point is that most of us are spoiled by the availability of music — and we lessen the musical experience too. Not only do we make less music ourselves, but we don’t share it either. We sit enclosed in our own musical bubbles, earphones in and isolated from the experience of sharing music. For hours. Days, even.

It’s a shame, for there’s great fun in sharing a silly sing-along with Seeger. Or, as occurred later, singing along with Three Dog Night – Joy to the World: Their Greatest Hits.

I must say that those 80’s air band contests (yes, I “competed” in those) & Karaoke (even though they are much more solo-performance oriented) are better alternatives to the isolation of listening/singing alone to your earplug-fed music, with or without singing into your hairbrush. (But Rock Band et all can go to hell; it’s not teaching a love of music or even a shared musical experience, just making music more competitive acts and solo pursuits.) I’m much more in favor of group & family sing-alongs — be they with Mitch (grandma put those albums on at Christmas) Seeger, Three Dog Night, GNR, or whoever.

So take a road trip with your family, your girlfriends, etc. Have everyone unplug from their individual listening devices, & create a sing-along.

You could try this at home; but just like those questions kids ask you when you are driving, you have a captive audience in the car. Use it.

Credits & Other Info:

Mini review of Pete Seeger’s For Kids & Just Plain Folks: A lovely collection, but poorly equalized. I suggest other Pete Seeger recordings where the volume doesn’t waver, resulting in continual volume adjustments & ear-blasts. (However, as usual, not all the songs may be available on other CDs/recordings; I’m not into researching that.)

Mini review of Three Dog Night – Joy to the World: Their Greatest Hits: Absolutely fabulous! Has 14 songs which sound like they’re on vinyl, and has a track (I’d Be So Happy) that’s not on the other (later released) 20 Greatest Hits album.

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