Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sweet dreams are made of this...

We were talking about gender roles and performative acts of gender constitution (from Joan Riviere's "Womanliness as a Masquerade" to Judith Butler's Gender Trouble) in class last week, and I decided to show a clip from Jennie Livingston's amazing 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning. In the film, Livingston showcases the underground, urban gay/drag club scene which popularized voguing (and, yes, it's this club scene that inspired Madonna).

Anyway, searching out a good clip to show from Livingston's film reminded me of my favorite 80s band, The Eurythmics, and their 1982 MTV scandal. In an interview I heard a while back, lead singer Annie Lennox explained that the still-relatively-new MTV banned the band's music video (for the song "Love is a Stranger, below) because they couldn't tell whether Lennox was really a woman or a man dressed in drag. Apparently gender ambiguity was not cool with MTV back in the early 80s; they obviously got over that pretty quickly.

Reminiscing about The Eurythmics sent me on a whirlwind trip down memory lane, which I thought I'd share with you here. Here's one of their most bizarre (and, in my opinion, awesome) videos, for their 1987 song "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)":

And, because it would be severely remiss for me not to post this, especially relevant, video, here's Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox singing their 1985 hit "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves":

Read Full Post/Permalink...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

RIP Lucille Clifton

Rest in Peace, Lucille Clifton, award-winning African American poet who died yesterday at age 76.

Here she is reading two poems at the Dodge Poetry Festival in 2008:

Homage to My Hips, by Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Read Full Post/Permalink...