Madonna had the number one song in the entire world when she released “Vogue” in 1990. Lyrics from the song are air lifted into the description for this blog day and it remains one of her most iconic songs to date. It fell in between the critical success of Like A Prayer and the cultural ostracization of her sexual fantasies with Erotica and the Sex book.
Originally concieved as a B-Side, “Vogue” was instead issued as a stand alone hit, correcting a mistake her record label had made with one of her previous smashes, “Into The Groove”. Included on the I'm Breathless soundtrack it was one of Madonna's most integrated projects in which she portrayed seductress Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy.
Vogue: The Song
The song popularized vogueing into the mainstream, a style of dance popular in the New York club scene. It also name checked every relevant star of yesteryear, a tactic Lady Gaga made good on with “Dance In The Dark”. A staple of early 90's pop culture, “Vogue” would become one of the defining dance singles ever released.
Vogue: The Dance
The dance was popular among black and gay circles, before it became more prominent by it's inclusion in the documentary Paris Is Burning. However, the dance wouldn't reach mainstream America until Madonna brought it to light with her dance driven tribute, “Vogue”.
Vogue: The Institution
Vogue has for better or worse shaped American fashion. It's inspired feminist criticism, photo shop allegations, and included furs despite the objections of Peta. Current editor, Anna Wintour is best friends with Kanye, inspired The Devil Wears Prada, and would be unrecognizable without her trademark bob and sunglasses.
The magazine has found spots in pop culture. Take Vogue's editor at large, Andre Leon Talley who reviews the red carpet and sat on the judge panel of America's Next Top Model. A proponent of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, the magazine offered hopeful words even with the unprecedented win of our current leader. Vogue plays both the realm of fashion and pop culture purveyor, and if 125 years means anything, it will continue on much longer then that.
The Poncho From Guadalajara
The basic premise of this show is that Betty Saurez (played by America Ferrera) is not traditionally attractive. She has an average body type, braces, with no taste in clothes and unflattering glasses frames. And, of course she works as the secretary to the editor in chief of a fashion magazine. It's all loosely based off of Vogue.
The first season starts with the new editor in chief (Daniel Meade) taking the place of Fey Summers. The former editor in chief who died in a horrible car crash after her brake lines were cut. We see glimpses of Fey Summers with her bob and prim attitude, reminiscent of current Vogue editor, Anna Wintour.
This show is built off of drama. The bitchy secretaries (Amanda and Mark), the woman plotting to take over the magazine (Wilhemina Slater), the tumultuous Meade family, and the daily struggles of the Suarez household. That include, but are not limited to: Betty's boyfriend she doesn't love but doesn't know how to break up with, Hilda's love for the man who knocked her up, Betty's father being deported, Betty's nephew Justin dealing with the problems of choosing not to conform to adolescent standards, shady lawyers, case workers, and a slutty neighbor.
I might have missed something. Sometimes I forget that this show is based off a telenovela. I have never seen a telenovela, but from what I understand their like our soap operas, times ten. I was informed by someone I sit with at lunch not to judge Hispanic culture by this and I told him who am I to judge. What really is American culture? Throwing tea into the ocean and baseball. We are not the ones to judge.
Honestly, I love everyone who isn't, Betty. Although, I do hate all of Betty's boyfriends. They just reinforce the fact that men are shit. Wilhemina is probably my favorite. Vanessa Williams killed this role. She is bitchy and in command and me. Her assistant Mark is adorable and equally bitchy as is his assistant friend Amanda. She's my queen. Claire Meade, wife of Bradford Meade, is queen bitch. Slay mama Meade. I love all of Betty's family. Her sister can be annoying. Her father is everything and 12 year old me totally had a crush on Justin.
It's really weird looking back on this show at 18 and realizing I had a crush on him. I feel really pedophilic. It was age appropriate at the time and now I'm just like I can't take back these feelings. Grown up Justin has moments where he's really cute.
Justin is probably one of my favorites. I especially like his relationship with Mark. Mark is like his guardian gay. He's always there to mentor him and I just love it. When the two of them are together it's everything. Justin is also not openly gay until the last season. It's coming to terms with it and I love how his family is just always there being supportive. Even, his biological father gets on board eventually with letting Justin be Justin. It's just really nice. It's how it should be. My parents died, because in the last season Justin finally kisses this boy he likes. They saw it and they were like that's disgusting. And, I was like this is the best part of Ugly Betty.
I definitely think you should watch it. I want to tell you more, but I don't know how much I can tell you without giving away the entire plot of the first season. Make sure whatever you do, though, that if you watch the first season that you have access to the second season. The season finale of season one was everything. If you were a character on Ugly Betty at that point you were either in some state of moral peril or your world was literally falling apart. There was no in between. It was awesome.
The Art Of Sex
I have been considering doing an over arching throwback on a subject for a while. When I was writing for another blog, I did one on marijuana. That was fun. I did another on abuse. This didn't even start out as a throwback. I wanted to write about Pussy Riot for a Media Monday. It just didn't happen.
If you haven't heard of them, you should look them up. Basically, they are these group of Russian women who are fighting for rights in Russia. The media focuses most of their attention on the feminist and LGBT side of the group, however they protest for other basic human rights as well. They are very interesting and inspirational women.
This article really got started due to Hozier and his song “Take Me To Church”. The song is beautiful and well written. It's definitely worth a listen if you haven't yet. However, it really was the music video that moved me. It told the story of a closeted gay couple in Russia, and the physical violence that results when its discovered that one of them is gay.
I don't know how this did not garner some form of attention. It's a stunning, relevant video. I love Iggy and her Clueless themed “Fancy”. But, “Take Me To Church” is art. It is what pop culture is for to get a conversation started.
I found the video to be so moving I was going to do a whole throwback on Hozier. His influences alone would have made for an interesting article on. Van Morrison, Jackie Wilson, Jeff Buckley. Even, Bon Iver, although he is a little too current for a throwback.
Before the 90's there was very little gay support in media. Gloria Gaynor's “I Will Survive” may be considered a gay anthem, but it wasn't directed towards that purpose. Gay rights came to head when everything else was coming up. Women's rights, black rights. All these rights movements and it was put on the back burner.
This is not a criticism of how it was handled, because it is certainly not. There was a lot happening and you have to pick what you can focus on. The 90's, though was when it became more talked about. I don't want to say accepted.
Although, you did see the emergence of RuPaul. A black drag queen into social media. He became the face of MAC cosmetics, had a stint as talk show host on VH1, and his signature song “Supermodel (You Better Work)” that thrust him into the spotlight. It says something about he 90's that this was allowed to happen. Still, he never did have that top ten hit. He never truly became an A-List star.
These were mainstream hit songs, in the times when MTV still ruled the world. She was forcing America to look at it.
No matter how much I like Lady Gaga or any of the other pop stars who support LGBT rights. Now its almost popular to support gay rights. Madonna did it when it wasn't in vogue. She did it because she thought it was the right thing to do. She thought it would make a difference and it did.
One of the many things I hold against Katy Perry despite her stated support of gay rights, is “I Kissed A Girl” and “Your So Gay”. In one album. It presented the concept of: lesbians are hot, gay boys disgusting. She used this for her own fame. She may not have meant it that way, but its how it comes across. It honestly would not surprise if born and raised Christian girl Katy Perry did not like gays. It really would not. It would not shock me or make me dislike her more then I already do. It was the same with Paula Deen. Was anyone really that surprised that good old southern Paula Deen was racist.
It shouldn't have.
Before the 90's there really weren't any mainstream movies about the gay 'agenda'. Don't you love how the agenda is that they want to be married. What a terrible thing the gays are trying to do. They will bring down America with all this marriage.
You might not have heard of a few of these movies, but some are mainstream. The Adventures of Priscilla is a funny movie. Two drag queens and a transexual cross Australia in bus. You should need no more convincing.
Then, you have both Saved! and But, I'm a Cheerleader. The first tells the story of a girl who tries to save her gay boyfriend by having sex with him. Believing it is the Lord's will, she doesn't realize she will get pregnant, or that he's still gay. With supporting roles played by Mandy Moore and Macauley Caulkin it's surprisingly heartwarming if tempestuously dull.
Of course you've heard of Brokeback Mountain. You know Heath Ledger is in it. It's a great movie. The thing about it that troubles me is that it is so often referred to as a 'gay' movie. When these men are bisexual, not gay. There is a difference.
This movie was watched in GBF (Gay Best Friend) when one of the mother's tries to convince her son that she is okay with him being gay. It is basically the 2010's attempts at a Clueless or Mean Girls. One of the boys is outed and the three leading prom queen contenders battle over him to gain the upper edge in the polls. All the obvious flaws you are seeing with this movie are supposed to be there. It's about realizing that just because someone's gay doesn't make them any less human with any less feelings.
And, there are other movies of course. These are just the ones I have seen. Milk I've been told is a great movie about gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. You probably know I feel about Sean Penn, which is why I haven't made a point of seeing it. And, of course the documentary Paris Is Burning is a must see. People still quote all the time. Brooke Candy in “Opulence”, even RuPaul took his “Shantay, Sashay” from this movie. It's a classic.
TV of course. The first mainstream, mention of homosexuality on TV had to be Three's Company. The only reason Jack is allowed to live with Janet and Chrissy is the fact that he isn't attracted to them. Which we all know isn't true. Now TV has gay relations on it all the time. Modern Family, Glee, White Collar.
It certainly is better. It has gone past the point of being under the conscious level, but don't let anyone tell you that there isn't discrimination against homosexuality. The fact that not every state has legalized gay marriage is an obvious point. There is no critical thinking involved in that. GBF was rated R. Actually all the movies I listed were rated R. I guarantee when you watch them you'll wonder how that happened. Some of them you'll be like, yes that deserved that rated R, and others you will just not understand.
Take other countries into account. Russia, Pakistan, Egypt. You cannot tell me that homosexuality is not persecuted because it is. It is the same thing as telling me racism does not exist. Are you kidding me. The people who fought discriminatory laws are still alive. The same oppressors are still around. There may be less violent racism, but it still happens. It's just not the same thing.
Is it better. You can make your mind up about that. I do think the younger generation is going to be a lot more accepting. The YouTube community being a prime example of that. Young people watch YouTubers and the fan base of Tyler Oakley, Superfruit, Troye Sivan are obvious points to favor this.
Do not change who you are for anyone. Home is where you are. You do not need people who do not support you. If you're parents do not like gays. Fuck them. You don't need to tell them. Move out. Become your own person. You don't need parental permission.
It really upsets me that it would be impossible to tell my parents thatf I was gay. They would freak out. It would be a major issue. That's heartbreaking parents. They wouldn't love me anymore. I would be a disappointment. That's not sort of upsetting. It's horrific that this is how my parents would feel about it.
Me over here in my intro to pysch class has learned that trying to change your sexuality is not a good thing to do. It is very unhealthy. It causes depression. Don't change yourself. Accept who you are. And, realize that there are people on your side. Even, if you can't reach out to them, even if you can't verbally acknowledge something it is okay. It will get better.
We all have to be adults some day and you don't have to live anywhere near your parents.
T.G.I.F. (Thank God I'm Fergie)
Has the world waited longer for anything more then the return of Fergie and Gwen Stefani? Gwen made a recent appearance in a mildly entertaining duet “My Heart Is Open” on Maroon 5's new set V. Still announcements of an upcoming album from her have yet to appear.
Dutchess Fergie on the other hand recently dealt us a blow with “L.A. Love”, which you may or may not have heard on the radio. Now, we all l loved The Black Eyed Peas. I enjoyed “Boom Boom Pow”, “Meet Me Halfway”, “Imma Be” and “I Gotta Feeling” as much as the rest of the world. But, what I yearned for was a follow up to The Dutchess.
Over the course of eight years since “London Bridges”. We saw a re-release of The Dutchess that included four extra tracks “Labels or Love”, “Barracuda”, a duet with Nelly, “Party People”, and a remix of “Clumsy”.
We saw a misfitted dance pulse of “Feel Alive” on a Step Up Soundtrack and euphoric party peak of “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” for The Great Gatsby movie. The song is the reason for why I bought the soundtrack. And, Lana Del Rey's “Young and Beautiful” goes without mention.
Buy "Feel Alive"
Buy "London Bridge"
That explains a lot about my English grades.
With “Big Girls Don't Cry” we finally got the hit ballad every pop star needs. Just like Madonna needed “Crazy For You” and “Live to Tell” or Rihanna has requisites of “Take a Bow” and Stay” every great pop star has released a ballad to great critical acclaim at some point in their career. That is what “Big Girls Don't Cry” was for Fergie. I still know every word. It's just like when “Back to December” comes on the radio, I like to pretend I hated it, but I can still sing every word from memory. This song needs no reminders. Although, I do wonder if Sia heard of it. Her song is “Big Girls Cry” and Fergie's is “Big Girls Don't Cry”. Where is the lie?
Clumsy was the final hit off the album that we all now. My mother is obsessed with this song. My mother loves Fergie. I just don't love this song, the way the world does. I like it. I wouldn't change the radio station. But, it is not my jam for life.
This album is classic. If you don't have it. You must not enjoy pop culture. Besides the obvious tastemakers. Album only tracks “Pedestal” (A venemous diss off) and “Here I Come” are all reason enough to buy the album. My mother also thoroughly enjoys the closing ballad “Finally”. It's a little too syrupy sweet for me, but if my mother likes it. Fergie likes it. I might just be missing something. I do thoroughly enjoy a hidden part at the end, that consists of a minute of “Maybe, we can take a real long ride...”. I can't imagine what she's suggesting.
Buy "Here I Come"
Buy "The Dutchess"
Eight years after The Duchess was released everything on it is still fresh and relatable. It's no wonder the world is clamoring for new Fergie music. The only way our appetites have been whetted is by her work with The Black Eyed Peas. But, after a four year break from the Peas. We need Fergie.
Buy "L.A. Love"
And Then There Was Bubbles
In case your unaware, the title of today's article is a play on words of Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None. Puns are always shitty if your not the one who said it. I am always slick judging people when they use a pun, and when I use one they ask me why I'm so judgmental. I tell them I judge myself just as hard.
There came a point in my writing for this blog that I realized, I never really talked about books. I talk about music, movies, the celebrities. You would have no idea that reading is my everything. During the summer I will go through a book a day. If I'm taking an English class, the most outside reading I do is the magazines. Vogue, Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan on occasion, and any of the weekly rags if they have anything salacious.
By this point she had married her first husband, Archibald Christie. I believe they'd even had a child, and he convinced her to write as a second source of income. Almost like a hobby. Now Archibald was an aviator, and he served in the war. Agatha was a nurse. That's where she learned about all these poisons and there side effects.
My favorite thing she did was after she found out that he cheated on her. She was going through a very rough time in her life. Her mother had just passed away and for all intensive purposes she had a break. She disappeared. She left her car by a lake. And, she went up to this spa. Until the police finally found her. This was national news. There was a manhunt, the world thought that Archibald had killed his wife. The lake was dredged, this was everything.
When they finally found her, if I remember correctly she was booked under the name of his mistress, Nancy Neele. I can just see them finding her asking her where she'd been, and her calmly telling them she'd forgotten to mention she was leaving. Even before she disappeared she made the reservations at this spa. I might be wrong, this was a little bit ago, when I did this report, but the whole situation made me pro-Agatha.
She divorced him after this. Eventually married and fell in love with her second husband Max Mallowan. He was an archeologist. So, she did a lot of traveling in the Middle East. Something you might have noticed in the long list of books set in the region (Death on the Nile, Murder in Mesopotamia, They Came to Baghdad, and Death Comes as the End).
What's funny is that she took this photography classes in London and when she was with Max on digs. They needed to photograph what they found. And, she did all of these artistic poses, with shadows and light, and he told her. You need to redo every single one of these. We have to be able to identify what your taking a picture of. She never did do any more of the photography.
Fun fact about Murder on the Orient Express is that it's loosely based off an actual event. There was a train (Agatha may have been on it, I think she was) that got stuck in the snow, just like the Orient Express. And she decided this is the perfect setting for a murder. You definitely should read it. My favorite Agatha Christie book is Death on the Nile, but Murder on the Orient Express is everything.
The two detectives you should know about are Hercule Poirot and Jane Marples. Hercule is everywhere. David Suchet had a long running gig as the detective on PBS. If it's on Netflix, watch it. The show is perfect, I love it so much. Near the end of the series it did become a lot more darker and artsy, but I like all TV. So, I was still here for it.
Miss Marples, though. This woman is near and dear to my heart. I love her she is essentially a dear friend. Geraldine McEwan did a wonderful job portraying her. Geraldine McEwan is just one of the sweetest old ladies around and she lives and embodies the spirit of Miss Marples I hate to admit that I like Miss Marples better then Hercule Poirot, but I do.
I feel less guilty, because I know Agatha did not really care for Hercule Poirot. She created him to be the antithesis to Sherlock Holmes. And, whenever her publisher felt that she was down or depressed, they urged her to write a novel for Miss Marples. Of course how much she really hate Hercule is in question. Because, she did not like her play the Mousetrap and yet she carried around this little fake block of cheese a fan sent her for good luck. I feel, like Hercule was near and dear to heart, he just irritated her and she didn't want to deal with him.
Do not be confused and think that she was not a celebrity. She was. When she was on site with her husband, they always had people come out and visit her. She never let on to her husband that they were really there for her. Agatha knew how to play a man, so she didn't offend him.
I just think she's great. Don't forget that she was born in the 1890's. She still had a coming out season in Egypt of all places. So, when people really started being like equal rights for women. She was just so confused. She did not understand why women wanted the right to fight in the military. As an older woman, she probably felt the place for women was on the sidelines. She said she just didn't understand why after hundreds of your, women were finally getting men where they wanted them, all of sudden women wanted to start doing men's work.
Her mystery's are the cornerstone of how to write a noir type novel. Her works are short, clipped, and fast paced. There's a reason she's the third best selling author in the world only behind Shakespeare and the Bibles' numerous contributors. With her work you have a large, wide ranging, appeal to many types of people. I'm utterly impressed and obsessed with her. And, if you ever have free time or on break try one of her books out. It might not be for you, but almost certainly it will be.
As Good As It Gets
I was reminded of Helen Hunt as I was reading my issue of Vogue this month. You know the one with Blake Lively on the cover. I was reading this short little article on Brenton Thwaites. They described him as a “heartthrob” and I replied back to my Vogue doesn't that imply that people know who he is?
Now, I did recognize one movie he was in. He played Prince Phillip in Maleficent. I do remember him in this movie. But, he is not a heartthrob. He's cute. But, heartthrob implies so much more then that. Sleek, muscular, young, boyish good looks, otherwise known as Zac Efron. Brenton Thwaites has not made heartthrob status yet. Although, more of us will know who he is soon. He's starring in the lead of the movie The Giver opposite Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges.
This also brought attention to his participation in Helen Hunt's directorial pursuit Ride. A movie that general concept is of a mother traveling to California to be with her son after he drops out of school to become a surfer. In her quote she dismissed him as the right choice for the character, but that he had the drive need to really pull it off.
I have been in love with Helen Hunt, since I was a child, and I watched the Sarah Jessica Parker movie Girls Just Wanna Have Fun on repeat. I still watch this movie. All I wanted was for Helen Hunt's character, Lynn and I to be best friends. It was a goal in my life. I didn't realize that she was thirty years older then me. I didn't understand that the people in movies from the eighties had actually aged. Just like I thought Olivia Newton-John and I were really close in age when I was obsessed with Grease. It killed me when these delusions were shattered.
You definitely need to get around to seeing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. It's a good old fashioned dance movie, where the daugher (Sarah Jessica Parker) has to sneak out of her house in order to attend dance rehearsals (assisted by friend, Helen Hunt) in order for her to win the Dance TV competition. Where she inevitably falls in love with her dance partner, ala Dirty Dancing. Shannen Doherty is also in this movie. If you're scared off because you saw Footloose. Do not be afraid. It's inimitably better.
What you really know Helen Hunt for is her lead role in the sitcom Mad About You as Jamie Buchman. This is where you hit yourself for not knowing who she is. This show is iconic. It's so iconic they had a crossover episode with Friends. Now you can kill yourself.
But, I get it. Not everyone watches TV. So, let me list just a few movies she's been in. Just off the top of my head I see, Twister, What Women Want, As Good As It Gets. With Helen Hunt, though, she never is quite good enough, because she always manages to improve upon something I already thought she conquered.
I was blown away with her performance in The Sessions (And it still irritates me that she lost the Academy Award to Anne Hathaway, and I love Anne Hathaway). Now you might not have seen this movie. This is one of those Sundance movies, but I just love the concept. It's about this man who's been paralyzed by polio and has hired a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) in order to lose his virginity.
I'm just obsessed with this movie. You should see it. I mean it almost won an Academy Award. What more do you need. As Helen Hunt continues slaying thirty years into her career, it won't be long before one of her own movies becomes an Avatar level blockbuster. Whether it be Ride or another venture ten years from now. It will happen and when it does. I will be the first to congratulate her.
Greta Garbo, and Monroe