Friday, 11 February 2011
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
The woman in the picture above is Nancy Spungen, one of my all time favourite people. Ever. Yes, she looks slightly OTT in this picture but that was because she was a rock star and didn't give a fuck. So, ignoring the obscene amount of makeup, notice how she's wearing skin-tight leopard print, how her curly peroxide crop is suspiciously like an unkempt version of Marilyn Monroe's and how, if her makeup was toned down, it wouldn't just be similar to a burlesque star's, it would be identical to that of a performer.
- A Halloween ad being banned due to "fairly overt sexual references in terms of sound effects".
- One ad being banned for including a nursery rhyme, as it would apparently attract children to the brand. (Oh come on, as if most kids aren't hardcore porn users by the age of 12 anyway, it's banning sex that gets them interested if you ask me.)
- In 2006, Muslim groups complained about the release of a blow up doll named Mustafa Shag, claiming that the doll was offensive to Muslims as Mustafa was one of the names given to the Prophet Mohamed. (Fair enough).
Here's the full article about the blow up doll:
He was famous for his powers of ridicule, comic, puns and satire (the word 'burlesque' actually comes from the word 'burlare', which means 'to laugh at, to make fun of'). In his plays, he made fun of real-life enemies and, although all actors in classical Athens at that time wore masks when they performed, Aristophane's masks were not of stereotypical characters but of real people, thus all the easier to make fun of due to the fact that they could be easily identified.
Just as in burlesque today, the audience was often drawn into the action, whether with seductive involvement or mockery. Dirty jokes, teasing and music were also implimented in his plays.
But the one play which many, including the current Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese, believe to be the one to watch, is called 'Lysistrata' which tells of the wives of Athenian soldiers hiding away in the Acropolis, refusing their husbands sex until the execution of the Peloponnesian War. The play is notable for its exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society and for its use of explicit obscenities.
Not only is this a fine example of female power in ancient civilisation but, as Dita mentions in her book, these woman are teasing their husbands, guiding their minds towards sex and then locking it away, just as a good burlesque performer does.
It may be a primitive form of burlesque but, just as Calvinism gave societies the attitudes needed for Capitalism, Aristophanes gave the world the attitude it needed for the birth of burlesque.
Burlesque, The Art of the Teese - Dita Von Teese
Monday, 7 February 2011
Now, you may have noticed, in the URL, I have spelt "Lee" incorrectly. This is intentional, as some of you may already know, my name is Danielle Rose Leigh, so I had a bit of a play around with it to make the blog feel a bit closer to home.
Anyway, many people have heard of this girl, but few know just why she was so special. Here are a few reasons:
- In the 1930's & 1940's, when she was at her prime, she spent obscene amounts of money on her costumes, paying a couture designer, Charles James, who also designed for royalty and film stars, to make her clothes in exactly the way she wanted them.
- She insisted on Louis Vuitton trunks for her costumes and a custom-designed Rolls Royce in which to arrive at her bookings, and all because for her, burlesque was about creating a fantasy and not being the girl next door.
- Whenever she performed, she received an enormous basket of flowers over the stage lights from "Anonymous", while everyone else suffered booing and hate mail. It wasn't long before Gypsy found out that her mother was behind the flowers and the hate mail: it was at this point that she discovered the art of publicity.
- She was also famous for chatting her punters up directly, but at the same time mocking them, teasing them by only showing a flash of bare hip bone before giggling and running behind the curtain. Word has it that she got the audience so riled up, she didn't have to strip.
Why do I admire her? Because she didn't blend in. She didn't indulge in opium, as many of her peers did, as she felt that it would make her lose her sparkle and fail to stand out. She was also savvy about becoming a household name, what with the publicity stunt of the flowers and wearing the occassional floor-length cape made entirely of real orchids to attract even more attention to herself.
Gypsy knew how to get what she wanted and cast a spell on the audience, turning the dribbling gentlemen into her toys, rather than succumbing to being their plaything.
(I gathered this information from Burlesque and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese.)
I'm not trying to educate anyone else about the art of burlesque because I'm no expert, this is simply a record of one of three things that interests me (the other two being literature and psychology). xx