30 Years of Italo-Disco

28 08 2014

Michelle Pfeiffer Grease II Cool RiderIsn’t it funny how musical styles come and go? I remember 1950s rock ‘n’ roll being popular when I was growing up in the early ’80s, mainly because of Grease and Grease II. Michelle Pfeiffer straddling a ladder was one of my most cherished memories (and her electrocuting Christopher Walken to death in Batman Returns was perhaps my favourite scene in cinematic history). Everything ’50s was cool then, from the turned-up cuffs to the white socks. One of the first songs I learned to sing was ‘Rock Around The Clock’, but that was in 1982, long after the original song had been played on the radio, let alone penned. I was flooded with images of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Boy George. The same era had a peculiar dance beat which nobody had ever heard before—a 4-4 dance beat–with synthesiser arrangements.

In the early ’80s a new sound flooded the dance clubs of Europe and trickled down to America (as usual—new sounds happen in Europe first). It was a style of dance music with a rich, heavy, persistent bassline and simple yet elegant melody. It originated in Italy, with musicians like Giorgio Moroder, who produced music not only for Donna Summer, but also for films like Midnight Express and iconic ’80s fantasy films like The Never Ending Story. It clearly derived from 1970s disco, but reinvented itself with modern synthesisers. It became known as Italo-disco.

Probably my favourite italo-disco tune is ‘Hypnotic Tango’, by My Mine:

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?

One of my other favourite italo-disco tunes is ‘Orient Express’, by Wish Key:

Isn’t that the most seductive dance tune you’ve ever heard?

Glass Candy basically aced the whole italo-disco revival with the following tune:

How beautiful is that? Ida No, the singer of Glass Candy, is totally awesome.

New italo-disco style music is being created by Sally Shapiro:

Italo-disco is a gorgeous dance style. You just have to love dance, melody, and rhythm.





Mandatory Colours: Technopagan and Manhunter

14 08 2014

Brandon Arkell:

The very fact that these colours are called ‘Technopagan’ and ‘Manhunter’–not to mention the fact that I am a man-hunter with a penchant for paganism and techno music, or the fact that Deven Green is a devilish comic genius–is enough reason to endorse this refreshingly colourful cosmetic palette. If I were a girl (that is, if I weren’t going to be beaten up on the street for doing so), I would wear all of them!

Originally posted on Deven Green:

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Three Intimate Yet Groovy Dance Tunes

31 07 2014

A lot of people describe dance music as ‘soulless’. I completely disagree. I think this is an idea concocted by people who are more familiar with rave music from the late ’90s than the legacy of funk, soul, disco, techno, and synthpop which has informed pop music since the mid-’70s. Dance music is just popular music with a danceable beat, melody, catchy hook, and lyrics important enough that you keep singing them inside your head.

Some dance songs prove superior to others because they have lyrics which reveal the intimate reflections of their writers. At the same time, the musical accompaniment, whether guitar, synthesiser, or drum, holds up the background and forces people to move. In this situation, dance and emotion are the same. The inner person becomes dance.

The most emotional and soulful dance song, for me, is ‘Hideaway’, by the British synthpop band Erasure. They manage to create a luxurious texture of sounds and melody while conveying a very important message:

Obviously, the song is about coming out as gay. This was actually revolutionary for its time—the song is from the Circus album, which was released in 1987—and singer Andy Bell is one of the first lead singers of a major pop group to come out as gay. I actually personally commend him for writing this song, because it is so important. And yet it is fun, catchy, and danceable! Who’d have thought??

The next song is by somebody everybody knows, but I don’t want to ruin the experience by mentioning the artist’s name, so I will just say that I find it infectious, groovy, and emotionally revealing:

Everybody constantly criticises Madonna, but this song proves two things: her stature as the queen of inventive dance-pop and her ability to reflect on her youth. It is actually really interesting to groove to a song that reveals the inner feelings of Madonna. It is fun, catchy, sing-song, and danceable, but it also reveals her torn memories about her mother (who died when she was only five years old) and her father, who didn’t offer everything she sought. And so she fought for what she has today.

There is one more song I want to add to the list of songs I categorise as intimately danceable. You might think it unusual, but if you know my ear, you’ll know what I mean. It is ‘Sara’, by Fleetwood Mac:

I’m not exactly sure what she’s saying, but the cool, quavering voice of Stevie Nicks has always haunted me. The song makes me want to sway to and fro and coo and echo everything Stevie is saying, as though it flutters within me. And at the same time, it is not a slow song. It is upbeat. It is a song that makes you want to move while feeling what she says.

I don’t care whether it’s Madonna, Erasure, or Fleetwood Mac. A good dance groove with a good melody and good lyrics makes the best song. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a huge name or not–the point is that dance music can conjure up unexpected emotions. Dance music can be surprisingly soul-satisfying.

 

 

 

 





The Folly of Men’s Rights Activism

26 07 2014

Detroit SkylineWhat are ‘men’s rights activists’? Men’s rights activists are men who claim to be victimised by the modern feminist movement. MRAs suggest that women have more power over men because of prejudice against men.

On the surface, a lot of MRA concerns are understandable. Divorced or separated couples should both have equal access to their children, all else being equal. Fathers shouldn’t be portrayed as goofy idiots. Men can be victims of domestic violence, too.

Seems right, right?

The first problem is the incoherency of the Men’s Rights Activist movement. Recently, a publication called A Voice for Men sponsored the first International Conference on Men’s Rights in suburban Detroit. The city of Detroit was picked because it was an ‘iconic testament to masculinity’. I guess that means tough, industrious, and down-to-earth? (God, what would that make Seattle? The effete queen of the northwest?) But if you believe that manhood is defined by these things, why would you then act sensitive about women’s assaults against you? Why are you complaining that women are hurting you if you are such a big, burly man? The imagery of traditional manhood contrasted with modern sensitivity doesn’t make sense. At least make up your mind.Susan B. Anthony

But the Men’s Right’s Movement isn’t just incoherent and insecure in its masculine identity–it is also misogynistic. The head of A Voice for Men, Paul Elam, who organised the Detroit conference, declared the month of October to be ‘Bash a Violent Bitch’ month: ‘I mean literally grab them by the hair and smash their face against the wall’. Suddenly, moaning about equal child-care rights turns into an ugly assault on women. And while his rhetoric has ‘toned down substantially’, he claims  his movement ‘doesn’t depend on mainstream approval. It’s a subculture’. Sorry, but I don’t care if you’re suddenly cool now because you’ve toned down your rhetoric on assaulting women. You remain a fucking asshole.

Putting aside claims of incoherency and misogyny, the fact is, the Men’s Rights Movement is fundamentally flawed because, in real life, women still have fewer rights than men. And Effeminate Boywomen are less represented than men, even though they constitute about half the population. Right about now, 20% of U.S. senators are female, while 18% of U.S. representatives are female. In the United States, there has never been a female president. How can you complain that women are  systemically dominating men? It is purely unbelievable.

Here is the question I meet whenever I venture to broach this subject: ‘Brandon, why should you care? You’re a man.’ The reason I care so much about this subject is that it affects everybody. Everybody. I view misogyny as the ultimate root of evil and prejudice. Obviously lesbians are affected by it, but gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people are affected by it, too, because it derives from patriarchy, which states that men have to be macho and dominate and fuck women and make them walking incubators for their own spermload, which is fucking stupid and not just retrogressive–it is abhorrent. I completely deny this doctrine of life.

Men’s Rights Activism seems to pull from the shady pseudo-science of John Gray, while feminism seems to pull from the substantiated philosophy of Cordelia Fine.

 





More from OCCmakeup – Fall/Winter Campaign UNKNOWN PLEASURES

23 07 2014

Brandon Arkell:

Deven is so gorgeous, she puts drag queens to shame!

Originally posted on Deven Green:

occ-fw14-TechnopaganLipTarTechnopaganNailLacquer

 

The new OCCmakeup.com Fall/Winter colours “UNKNOWN PLEASURES!”

http://www.temptalia.com/obsessive-compulsive-cosmetics-unknown-pleasures-collection-fall-2014#more-170091

LIP TARS:
Lament – Neutral rose beige
Covet – Golden buff neutral
Manhunter – Red/orange w/ golden shimmer
Pagan – Blackened purple
Technopagan – Blackened purple with blue pearl
Vain – Deep, dark indigo

NAIL LACQUERS:
Dangerous – Opaque, true grey
Covet – Golden buff neutral
Poison – Shimmer ivy green
Distortion – Deep shimmering navy
Pagan – Blackened purple
Technopagan – Blackened purple with blue pearl

The collection will be available online at Sephora.com and OCCMakeup.com beginning 8/5 – 2014!

— with Nichole Christine, David Klasfeld, Trash Cult, David Phelps, Ja Ck and Nicky Whitten.

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Book Review: Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry

2 07 2014

Brandon Arkell:

Having watched Mr Fry in the biographical film about Oscar Wilde, and having read his refreshingly truthful quotes about the idea of ‘being offended’, I cannot say I have read this book, but I would probably recommend it if I had.

Originally posted on Fluster Magazine:

Moab is my Washpot

by Stepehn Fry

[per la versione italiana andate giù]

moab is my washpot

Reviewed by Giulia Bertelli

I finished this book about two weeks ago and for many different reason I find myself to write about it just now. This is a bit strange for me because I usually have to write down at least something on what I liked or unliked of my latest reading.
But here we are and both you and me have to accept this situation, I just hope to still have something with any sense to tell you. I can do it, I just have to keep calm.
I read this book while I was on holiday in Barcelona at the end of may and I think it was the perfect reading. It’s the first part of Stephen Fry’s autobiography, and even if he tells you so many facts and stories, you can close the…

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Showcase: Stefania Sammarro (Ania)

4 06 2014

Brandon Arkell:

Her art says more than words can. Take a moment to soak it in.

Originally posted on Fluster Magazine:

Stefania Sammarro is a young Italian photographer based in Calabria (Italy). She is passionate about photography, digital and analogue . She writes on her own blog as well as on magazines about photography and cinema.
She got a degree in Dams (Art, Music and Performance’s Disciplines) at the University of Calabria and currently she is studying Publishing. She is an ardent fan of fantasy books, fairy tales and unreal stories. This unconditional passion for the “mystical” is reflected on her photography; portraits, mostly female ones, uncover her romantic side, her deep emotions.

Interviewed by Nassia Katroutsou
Edited by Chiara Costantino
 
the well

Introduce yourself to us. Who’s the person behind the camera?

I’m Ania, I live stories, sounds and visions. I don’t prefer talking about me but I expect others to find me. I am inspired by my memories, nature and atmosphere created through music and film. I like thinking that photography takes shape…

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