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Thinking about Image and Age and Self - Laura Wise

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June 27th, 2009


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10:00 am - Thinking about Image and Age and Self
Two linky things, with burble:

1) I didn't know that Farrah Fawcett had been an art major until I read this Vanity Fair blog about her 2000 collaborative project with sculptor Keith Edmier. As this article about the 2003 Andy Warhol Museum exhibit notes, Edmier had first approached Fawcett about a project where he would sculpt her, but "but encouraged by Edmier, she decided to make a portrait of him as well." Further, "Rather than standing in as Edmier's independently powerful muse who facilitated creation, Fawcett participated in and directly influenced the process." (The show was then panned by the LA Times art critic, who argued that her work showed she had nothing to say. Nevertheless, there's an art book detailing their project...)

What fascinates me, beyond the notion of co-creation, is the fourth picture in the Vanity Fair blog entry's gallery. Fawcett, unglamorous, wearing camouflage trousers (but cool boots) and sporting a messy ponytail, works on her sculpture. She is looking at the figure; she is doing. That isn't how I've thought of her before, and I'm glad to think of her this way now.

2) Ever since John Scalzi linked to this, I've been mesmerized by this transformative work: a video pairing the "Girl Hunt" dance from The Bandwagon, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse and choreographed by Michael Kidd, with Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal."

Michael Jackson's own video of the song is clearly riffing off "Girl Hunt," from clothes to mise-en-scene. Thirty-year-old Jackson is lightning-fast and sharp in his dancing, but ultimately the dance is about his relationship to the spotlight and his self; he gets lost in the crowd a few times, but the spotlight finds him, and the crowd follows his steps (literally). It's virtuoso, but it doesn't move me the way the Astaire/Charisse piece does.

The vidder for the "Girl Hunt"/MJ mashup makes an interesting choice from the beginning, smartly substituting a clip of Leslie Caron from "Daddy Long Legs" putting a coin in a jukebox for MJ's own magic flip of the coin. Women have agency here, which sets up perfectly for the utterly astonishing Cyd Charisse as the Blonde and the Brunette (also: unexpected Julie Newmar is Unexpected!). This is very much a partner-dance sequence -- despite Astaire's solo turns -- in which Astaire is there to anchor or lift her as they spin.

Fifty-three-year-old Astaire is more than strong enough to hold a woman like Charisse (even whilst he's smoking a cigarette!). He can hold his own in the choreographed fight, too, but the dance is about the relationship of those two bodies together, drawn together, torn apart. Both of them are carrying guns. Both of them are doing.

May you have time to do whatever moves you today!

(20 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:lazy_neutrino
Date:June 27th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
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Cheers for that, especially for the Fawcett pic. You're right - not a way I'd ever thought of her either, and good to see.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
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I'm so glad you liked it too!

Happy Saturday, and may it be a good one for you. :-)
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From:paratti
Date:June 27th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
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You too, mate.

((Hugs))
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
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Happy weekend, L! [hugs and good cheer]
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From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
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I'm so glad you're feeling better physically -- I've been thinking about you!

[hugs and cheers and amusement on your Saturday]
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From:cindergal
Date:June 27th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for linking that vid - smooth, indeed. :-)

Have a good weekend, L!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
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I love Fred Astaire so, so much. :-)

Happy Saturday, C, and may you all find LOTS to do! ;-)

[User Picture]
From:stateless82
Date:June 27th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
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Love the video and your comments about it and MJ((hugs))

Happy Pride!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
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Happy Pride party and parade! :-)

And thank you, S, and hugs hugs, and iced drinks and cool breezes.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
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I think you're exactly right about Astaire -- that's a fabulous way to put it!

Hugs and a happy rest of Saturday to you, L.
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From:heron_pose
Date:June 27th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
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Wow, thanks for these things. I love the idea of mutual sculpting, and ... whatever, critic. I'd look at that again (shapely male nude form having everything to do w/it.)

I love the way you talk about dance ... and women's agency.

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
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H_P, hi!

I thought the sculpture she did was lovely (yes, "shapely male nude form" for the win ;-)), but what is also fascinating is that she purposely idealized Edmier's body as he was idealizing hers, and portrayed him in a more vulnerable, open pose -- which strikes me as a statement worth thinking about, especially for a project where she was originally approached simply as 'muse.'

The vidder who matched "Girl Hunt" to "Smooth Criminal" really did showcase Charisse (and Caron in the opening), and Astaire operates so well with equals. :-)

Hugs and thanks, and may you and the Tall Man enjoy your evening!

[User Picture]
From:gwynnega
Date:June 27th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
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That was a fantastic vid--thanks for linking.

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Isn't the vid awesome? And I fall in love with Astaire all over again (and wish vainly to be Cyd Charisse).... ;-)

Hugs and good cheer for your Saturday, Gwynne!
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:June 28th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
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HUGS and Happy Sunday!
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From:laurawise
Date:June 28th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
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And hugs and good thoughts for a happy Sunday (and a good start to the week) right back at you! :-)
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From:roguedemon
Date:June 29th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
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As we get older it's really important to remember that what really expresses who we truly are is what we do and love, not what we look like... we can't remain eternally youthful-looking. We can get so caught up in what we look like in today's society --it's good to have these reminders.
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From:laurawise
Date:June 29th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
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Yes yes yes. You are wise, Nell.

[hugs and good thoughts for your Monday]

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