Monday, April 18, 2016

Sparkly Sister Wives and Sci-Fi Movies

                I recently watched a sci-fi film, “Midnight Special”, not to be confused with “Midnight Express” which is what I kept calling it, serving to befuddle everyone with whom I shared this information.  In the movie, there is a young man with special powers of some sort who may or may not be an alien or a messiah or something equally spectacular and implausible.  The young man is a member of a cult, but is kidnapped by his father (also a cult member) and a random state trooper, who “saw the light” which came out of the young man’s eyes.  The cult was located in West Texas and I am assuming was supposed to be based on the Branch Davidians at Waco, you know, before Janet Reno put the hurt on ‘em.

                Have you ever noticed the women in these cults whether on TV, in the movies or on the actual news all wear the same dress; a high-necked modified shift with a pointed collar and jaunty puffed sleeves made a bit more uptight by trailing all the way to the sinful wrist where it buttons so as to allow the toil and drudgery I imagine is required?  They are, however, allowed a veritable rainbow of color which the men are not, one of the myriad reasons not to join.

                From what I have read, cult members are not to be of this world and anything causing undue attention has no place in a community with very strict rules about hair volume and living arrangements.  During the scene where all the members are loaded onto school buses and transported to the local high school to be interviewed about their interactions with and knowledge of the young man, whose name escapes me. 

During the scene, a thought occurred to me concerning the original seamstress who designed this dress.  Did she feel it worthy of ubiquity?  Was she the original sister wife?  Was her husband the original prophet?  Did he like it and proclaim it to be the “dress of their people”?  Was she specifically tasked with designing the dress?  Was this an original pattern?  Was it a McCall’s pattern that she modified into what I call Subservient Sister Wife?  And if this was her original design, was she allowed a demure acknowledgement of her legacy?  If so, did she handle the attention with humility ?  Did she demonstrate the proper degree of self-effacement or was she banished due to pride, exiled to life in our society?  If she is among us, is she the person who designs Loretta Lynn’s Grammy dresses?  You don't agree?  Well, then you explain her choices.

                Oh, and the movie was good, too.  Weird, but good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pop Art Wars: Gucci, Fantastic Beasts and Gender Norms in Louisiana in 1978

Returning after a winter hiatus, Andy Warhol was very busy on April 6, 1978, but he was focused on shallow pursuits, very few art-related.  He had lunch with Mark Littman (Queen Elizabeth II’s attorney) and his wife Marguerite as well as Regine and Diana Vreeland.  The talk focused on the need for the world’s largest discotheque.  Later Gianni Agnelli (Chairman of Fiat) also came by. 

Interestingly enough, I, too, was returning from a hiatus on this particular date in 1978.  Whether my hiatus was self-imposed or not, I couldn’t say.  All I know is my seven year-old mind was focused on creation of a fantastic beast which I named ButterBearGirlLion.    I am unsure of the instructions for the assignment as it was not titled and I usually titled all my work in order to establish provenance.  This aside, the depth of understanding of vague instructions, my preternatural grasp of future trends in gender fluidity and the foresight to anticipate the color scheme showcased in the 2016 Gucci GG Bloom collection is astonishing. 

Even though I referred to the animal as “he”, I gave “him” the head of a girl, which is a departure from the concrete gender norms I had been taught at home and church.  What was I trying to say?  What was my motivation?  

What about these colors inspired me?  Why this combination of animals?  Why so many animals converged into one?  Was my muse anticipating the excess of the 1980s due to my experiences in the recession of the late 1970s?   Not to mention the artistic license I took with proportions which may have dampened my intended impact.  I mean, a butterfly with a pterodactyl-esque wingspan was one thing, but to add a superfluous lion’s tail was simply an adolescent disregard of Coco Chanel’s advice on accessorizing, “take off the last thing you put on”.  And the art is poorer for it. 

                Initially, I felt, like Icarus, my Butter-bear-girl-lion flew too close to the sun and was destroyed.  However, upon reflection, as I actually created art and Andy simply had Tom Sullivan urinate on one of his Piss Paintings, I feel the point goes to me.  I think we can all agree, including my readers who stopped reading at the mention of urine in the previous sentence.