Bad Boy as a Force of Nature

‘Bad Boys’ come in all shapes and sizes, but the real form of rebelliousness that our culture always needs are those who serve humanity through the depths of their experiences; from the good through the bad. Marlon Brando is unique in this regard. The film industry is the perfect channel that actors/actresses use as a vehicle of self-expression for us as their audience, so we can see, feel and be motivated by our own vulnerabilities of the human condition. The depths of ‘bad’ in masculine identity is very different than that of the feminine, than that of all other identities in between. How we dress is an obvious statement of our varying attitudes that shape and guide us.

Below is a short clip of Sean Penn talking about his good friend Marlon Brando, a kind of ‘bad boy’ that continues to inspire us non-actors and actors alike. Marlon Brando was a genius and magician in his craft.

Costume in film is one avenue to tell a character’s story. Sometimes current fashions come from the film industry like the ‘bad boy’ image below in THE WILD ONE with Marlon Brando. Since fashion is so broad and ‘anything goes’ from vintage to wide pants to skinnies, from wigs to multicolored dyed hair, from natural skin to all ranges of makeup, would this style pass today as just another outfit worn by a guy? Would we take a second look if we saw this very outfit on a man or a woman or any other gender? Has the ‘bad boy’ (so to speak) image been totally absorbed into mainstream? Many of us have black leather jackets of a kind, and wear Levis (jeans) cuffed up above the ankle, perhaps many of us in the Western world have worn or have owned cowboy (Frye) boots at one point or another.

What's he wearing?

Marlon Brando

What is BAD BOY now? Where is that defining edge of sartorial revolt in our culture? How would you dress up as one who is rebellious? (boy or girl or any other range of self-image in relation to one’s sexual identity). New identities of body and expression emerge out of social conflicts, out of personal despair, out of differing belief systems and they push us to tolerate new possibilities of living and lifestyle. I suppose because there are so many differences under the umbrella of humanity, rebellious dress really comes about in relation to particular circumstances and context. We know that dressing in stereotypes are get ups for Hallowe’en, the working world, social groups or thematic celebrations. My take is that what we own to be our ‘dress’ is idiosyncratic to the individual even though we will never stop yearning to belong to something larger than ourselves. It is this very paradox of individual and community relationship that continues to spin us in innumerable orbits. With our undying spirit to invent with our available resources and the images we have of ourselves, the evolution of dress continues. Just how it does persist is the beauty of our ‘character’ we wear today.

 


“Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”: Action Dolls by Victor and Rolf

These Action Dolls made by Victor and Rolf are a wonderful statement about freeing impossible identities into the real world. The fashion runway is a safe road to release our fantasies from the human psyche, and these dolls toy with our imagination. Dolls reference the human. We humans are a diverse people which V & R reflect beautifully. Sometimes dolls reflect cultural stereotypes like Barbie, sometimes they function to heal as mediators of conflict in tribal societies and sometimes they symbolize specific traditions like the wooden Russian Matryoshka dolls  and much more.

To me these dolls heighten the perfection of youth, loss of innocence, the opening to adulthood and the insecurities that come from the dawn of growing up. Fabrics here act like blankets to cushion and hide human form, lest we reveal the awkward occupation of puberty and the daunting cultural expectations around coming of age. Their wide bold eyes gazing for more of the world, wrapped safe from the bumps and knocks of hard cold reality.

Action Dolls

Victor and Rolf have manipulated teen chic to haute wear with Japanese fabrics, quilted collage, re- bombing the war jacket and mascot-ing with punk Doc Marten’s. The mix of low-fi with high is brilliant.

Now there are two concerns I just thought of.

First, the cultural movement towards pervasive ‘youth’ gets me reeling. Can’t culture accept the beauty of all ages? Each age has courage and insecurity, so why does the selling point have to be on the tail of ‘youth’? Let’s not forget the elderly are perfectly innocent. They are innocent to the new ways of doing things, but unfortunately they have to try and keep up all the time, instead of being seen as full in their potential and generously wise.

Secondly, injecting the youth into adult fashion might bring about an irony we really don’t want to see more of and that is more plastic surgery. Plastic re-construction for the sake of preserving youthfulness is about the fear of death, work on that people.

See more Images of Victor and Rolf couture here:

http://www.viktor-rolf.com/haute-couture/action-dolls/


Costume Designer Mark Bridges: Still Image from The Artist

THE ARTIST- Costume Designer Mark Bridges

The Artist movie (The Weinstein Co.)

The Artist- a film still

A moment of love, anticipation, self-love, longing and peace. Mark Bridges articulates the dress of Peppy Miller here played by Bérénice Bejo to stand out from the background curtains and wall. He designed/chose the dress with stripes and  swirly motifs, of sequins in patterns which all separate her from the surroundings. Because the film was transferred into black and white, Mark Bridges had to be mindful of this phenomena so that depth and the dynamic use of space with figure is maintained visually and carries the story in an exciting way. Mark Bridges does this brilliantly.

Above is a black white collage of some ladies in contemporary 20’s fashion. I created it. The ladies are connected to the abstract trees. In this case I had to separate them away from their environment because the  patterning that is in their garments is also in the trees. Close to camouflage. This is the opposite to what Mark Bridges had to resolve. His characters had to stand out in the sets at all times.

To freshen your memory, watch the trailer of  THE ARTIST  by Director Michel Hazanavicius if you can. You gotta love the 20’s style.


Rei Kawakubo- always refreshing

REI KAWAKUBO

She is fun, courageous, eccentric and inspiring. She is absurd, ridiculous, playful and innovative. She is dark, feminine, makes the terrifying possible and thus she is a game-changer. Her style endures the embarrassing without shame. She is the definition of abstract, a poem and the striker on a soccer field.  Her scores reverberate again and again with the unconventional. You can’t miss her. She will make your anxieties pass out of fear and into the realm of acceptance. One couldn’t be cooler.

REI KAWAKUBO

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/07/04/the-misfit-3?mbid=nl_Sunday%20Longreads%20(27)%20remainder&CNDID=49649813&spMailingID=10969476&spUserID=MTkyMzEzMDI1MDIwS0&spJobID=1160599083&spReportId=MTE2MDU5OTA4MwS2


Identity avant ou après -we stir it up

 

CASTEL DIAZ                         Castel Diaz

Patterns, simulated textures and odd juxtapositions are revealed here in quirky perspectives. Castle Diaz presents female beauty as a kind of half hollow statue where Rauschenberg meets Duchamp meets Vogue’s Erte with Art Deco flair. We certainly construct our identities with a relationship to our inherited past.

abstract fashion

abstract fashion

Whether the flora and fauna of the environment take over in ambiguous disguise

DAWN BLACK

DAWN BLACK

or if provocative hidden agendas trap our identity with pseudo disregard,

wouldn’t it be fun to just throw away all our knowing baggage and pretend we were something else, utterly?

What do you imagine this to be?

 


“SHE HAS A BRAIN” says Versace

According to Versace, women no longer have a role in the world of fantasy but are about the real world. Women have an obligation to show their strength, diverse beauty, and intelligence. Does fashion represent the woman differently today than it did ten years ago? In my opinion, back then, fashion was caught up with revealing our sexuality, and sensuality self-consciously.  I think now, the crux is what we do with our empowered selves because sharing that power is what will make a difference. The alchemy between inhabiting clothing and audience will persuade new justices, new identities and therefore new tolerance and new inclusive liberation. Maybe this is what equality means.

Sounds like we better show ‘m how it’s done, be the present, and strut the future with our own voices.

I can do that and so can you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


not THE BOSS, but we get the point

A Letter of Apology From Bruce Springsteen for Letting Trump Win

Bruce Springsteen.

It’s me, Bruce Springsteen. Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

My name is Bruce Springsteen, and one day soon, when the windows of your mosques are smashed and the synagogues lie in ashes, when the skies are gray with dust and the sea has risen to wash away the roads, when the stars and stripes of our flag stand for discrimination and fear, I will wonder, could I have made a difference?

I have had to look at myself in the mirror. More importantly, I have had to look at my children, and consider, uncomfortably, the world they will inherit. And I wonder.

Could I have made a difference? Did I do everything I could have done?

Meryl Streep and that speech she gave at the Golden Globes got me really thinking about this.

It’s all well and good for Meryl Streep to give rabble-rousing speeches on television, but unless she is hosting a benefit for each and every congressional candidate in her state running in the 2018 midterm elections—New York, California, Connecticut, I don’t know where she lives—it’s totally freaking meaningless.

At the end of the day, what did that speech of hers accomplish? A lot of people said, “Oh, great job, Meryl!” A lot of people patted her on the back, tweeted how wonderful she was and said, “You go, girl!” But it meant virtually nothing in terms of winning any elections, getting anyone out to the polls, changing any minds. I doubt it even made one single person register to vote, and it probably didn’t cause anyone to donate to a local congressman’s election campaign.

Unless she backs it up with some actual action, specifically geared toward the midterms, her words are just more self-serving, self-congratulating liberal fireworks. Sorry, Meryl. That’s what we liberals do: we set off fireworks at our own backyard parties.

I bet you felt just great and all proud of yourself when you re-posted Meryl’s speech on your Facebook page. I bet you thought, “Well, I just made a difference!” You didn’t. All you did was make it so your friends would go, “Oh, hooray for our side, you think like us, too!”

And I realized, well, that’s precisely what I’ve done. I’m getting press for saying some anti-Trump stuff from the stage in Australia. That’ll show him. That will impact the midterm election for sure! Boy, I really went out on a limb there, really took a risk.

So I ask again: Could I have made a difference in the last election? Some people think I’m one of the few people who actually could have.

Trump won Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes. Shit, 22,000? I sold 1 million copies of Human Touch—without the E Street Band—and even I can’t stand that record.

It’s been suggested that in the weeks and months leading up to the election, I should have followed Trump around from rally to rally, especially in September and October when he was hitting the Rust Belt states hard. After all, those are supposed to be “my” people, too.

Y’know, imagine this: just as he was getting up to speak, I’d pop out of a van right outside the venue, step up on the back of a pickup or something, and play a few songs. If I was playing across the street from a rally, at the same time, you’re telling me they wouldn’t have turned their back on Le Grand Orange—that’s what Garry Tallent calls him, he’s an old Mets fan from way back—and rushed over to wherever I was?

Imagine if I had done that for two or three weeks. If I had Just birddogged the man! I could have stolen his audience, stolen all the TV crews—you don’t think they wouldn’t have rushed to me, and wanted to hear my opinion on the big man? Not only would I have won over some of his supporters, but Trump almost definitely at some point would have come after me, and how bad would that have been for him? You think the new boss could’ve attacked the original and gotten away with it?

He doesn’t like being upstaged, you know he would’ve have come after me. Can you imagine if he attacked Bruce Springsteen? Even without doing the math, on just that alone he might have lost enough votes to lose him the election.

How hard would it have been for me to give up three or four weeks of my life this past fall or summer, and followed him in a van from rally to rally?

Shit, I campaigned with Obama in 2012, what happened last year?

Shit, I campaigned with Obama in 2012…what would’ve happened to Trump if I’d played outside his rallies in the Rust Belt? Getty

Let’s talk about numbers. Trump won Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes. Michigan by about 11,000. Shit, 22,000? I sold 1 million copies of Human Touch—without the E Street Band—and even I can’t stand that record. Eleven thousand? That’s the first night of a four-night run for me.

Look, if I had done that—if I had followed him around from rally to rally, stood on a park bench across the street, played “Kumbaya” or some Suicide song on the acoustic guitar and then gave soundbites to the 800 camera crews that were there—yes, I totally think I could have swung those votes. Between the media, and Trump getting pissed at me for stealing his thunder, shit, I could have gotten most of them on the first day.

Now in North Carolina the margin was 180,000, and I know that sounds like a lot, but what if I enlisted Garth Brooks and, oh, I don’t know, Darius Rucker? Oh, and are you telling me Dave Matthews wouldn’t have shown up? Of course he would have. And remember, 180,000 isn’t really 180,000—because you take one from Trump and put that vote in Hillary’s column, that actually counts as two. Even if we couldn’t get the venues, we could have played in parks. Like the cops are going to bust Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews for playing in the park? Yeah, that’llhappen. The cops will be standing in the front lining up for selfies.

Do I think if I had worked my ass off I could have changed the outcome of the election? I don’t know if I can say yes. But I can say maybe. And imagine if someone had said to you, “You take some action now, and maybe it can change whether your children will be able to have a legal abortion, maybe it will change whether your children will have healthcare, shit, maybe it will change whether my children will have a planet.” You’ll go, “Yeah, hell yeah. I’ll throw a little sweat, muscle and time behind that maybe.”

So I look myself in the mirror, and I ask, could I have made a difference?

And now I answer yes. I think I could have.

Now, just because you could have shot Hitler, that doesn’t mean you are guilty because you didn’t, right? I mean, probably 5 million Germans could have killed Hitler at one point, but we can’t condemn every one of them, right?

And by the way, I’m not suggesting we kill anyone! This is just a comparison—an analogy. Or is it a metaphor? Whatever. And I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler, either, no sir, don’t try to hang that on me. I’m just trying to make a statement about inaction—why is it a big deal that I didn’t do everything I could when I was one of the few who could have made a difference?

I’ve spent my life trying to tell a story about Americans that tried to do good when the easier route would have been to do bad, or to do nothing. But were those just words?

I guess this is the answer.

I’ve spent my life trying to tell a story about Americans that tried to do good when the easier route would have been to do bad, or do nothing; about an America where everyman was King, an America which was defined by its working men and women, not its oligarchs; an America where your children can look at you and say, just with their eyes, “Will our lives be as free as yours, daddy? Will we have the same rights and choices as you, will we have clean air to breathe? Daddy, will we have the ability to look the rich in the eye and say, ‘You may have more than us, but you do not have more rights than us.’ ”

I’ve told the story of an America where you asked questions, and even if you didn’t find answers, you were better for asking.

But are those just words? Are they just words that made me a hundred-millionaire many times over, or do I actually mean them? When my country called me to serve, was I on a book tour? When my country called me to serve, did I say, “I wrote some poems, I made some people happy, I gave a soundbite or two, wasn’t that enough?”

So maybe, just maybe, I fucked up. So here’s what I’m thinking: The 2018 midterm elections are going to be here in no time. The only chance for real change is if we vote more Democrats in, and flip control of the House of Representatives.

It’s O.K. if this stuff doesn’t matter to you, really, but if it does, whether you’re playing arenas or coffee shops, you need to be using your power to get Democrats elected in next year’s—NEXT YEAR’S!—midterm elections. That’s all that matters. That’s all that matters. Getting results in the midterms means more than all the petitions in the world, more than all the outraged Facebook posts, more than all the angry and sarcastic blog posts. The nuts and bolts of making people aware of their candidates, raising money for those candidates, and getting people registered and to the polls…that’s what matters, because everything, I mean everything, changes if the House flips.

So that’s why I’m committing, today, to make a difference.

Bruce Springsteen fans were freezed out on Ticketmaster this morning, but there are several solutions the site could implement so that doesn't happen again. (Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

What if I used my star power to influence the 2018 midterm elections instead of convincing you to buy my new record? Wait, this is America, can’t I do both? Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images

First and foremost, that means electing Democrats to congress in the 2018 midterms. So, in the six months leading up to the 2018 elections—it might be just three or four months, haven’t confirmed the tour routing yet—I will be playing as many shows as possible, with the express purpose of doing everything I can to elect Democrats to congress in 2018. I will be introducing the candidates from the stage, making sure everyone coming to the concert knows who will be running in their district, registering voters, making sure voters know their voting rights, and putting money directly into the coffers and war chests of all the local congressional candidates.

Listen, if you don’t care, that’s fine. I am not actually criticizing you if you don’t care. It is a free country, as of today, anyway, and that is your right. And if you support Trump or the Republicans, that is your business, too. But if you want a change, don’t act all outraged about what’s going on and then do absolutely nothing about it. Don’t post something on Facebook or say something in an interview, and get all your friends going, “Oh, you are so right! Right on, brother!” and somehow actually think that makes a difference. It doesn’t.

To quote John Lennon: “If you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao, You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.” Be Mao. Don’t just carry his picture. I mean, not literally Mao, but you get the idea.

Because if I don’t do this after all that working man and “Born in the USA” stuff I’ve been doing for decades and decades, for the rest of my life I might as well open my set with “Mustang Sally,” close my set with “Mustang Sally,” and in between play three and a half hours of “Mustang Sally,” then come out and do four encores of “Mustang Sally.”

Listen, I’m not saying everyone who picks up a guitar has to put on a Ché beret and fight the power. I really mean that. “Mustang Sally,” after all, is a helluva song.

But don’t wear Woody Guthrie’s shoes unless you are prepared to walk in his footsteps.

I have to run. Little Steven and I are trying to convince Jann to put G.E. Smith into the Hall of Fame.

Thanks for listening.

Love,

Bruce*

*Not actually Bruce

Bruce Springsteen talking about immigration ban in concert
Hollywood Life
‘AHS’ Next Season Will Be About The 2016 Election
Autoplay: On | Off


We Get Our Armor from Everywhere

INSECT

UNGENEROUS BUT WILL LAST

CONVENIENTLY REFLECTIVE

SHE IS CONFUSED

UNDEFINABLE

IMPENETRABLE

IMPENETRABLE

SHE IS WOODEN

WOODEN

FROM A GRAVITATIONAL BLACK HOLE

NO CORE

NO CORE

NO DIRECTION

NO DIRECTION

SOUNDS LIKE POWER TO ME…

 

 


GLAMOURie performance exhibition January 2016

I am nostalgic around an exhibition I created early this year from my residency at Oxygen Art Center in Nelson, BC.  I thought I would share some of the performance that came out at that time. I created the set, directed and choreographed the movement and momentary stills of the performance called Glamourie. You can visit the intentions of the concept here-http://www.samtalbotkelly.com/news.php.

Artist: Sam Talbot-Kelly

Fantastic creatives: Architect and dancer Thomas Loh, Teyana Neufeld, Lynn Dragone, Ho Soon Yeen along with a giant teddy bear were the performers wearing specific costumes who bump into each other on a dilapidated, topsy turvy, insecure ‘vessel’.  Ships and vessels are typically with ends at the bow and stern. My ‘ship’ had signs of foreboding and comfort, dark and light, stable and insecure at either ends. The narrative wasn’t visually linear with characters moving in and out of space from a beginning act to an ending act. Rather the performance was happening before the audience knew it was happening. These characters pre-existed in the entire space before the audience came in, as if they inhabited it for an uncertain amount of time, as seemingly unrelated people with random connection. The audience stumbled into their space of ‘happening’ and together performers, audience, time and space collapse into a collective ‘real time’.

The  ‘vessel’ set jutted out on a diagonal from one corner and extended over to the opposite corner. The center of the vessel found the characters colliding and culminated into a vortex of uncertainty. None of the four knew what to expect from the other, none of the four knew if they could trust one another. They circled together ambiguously without trajectory, without destination, without fully knowing who each other were, yet the attraction to pull through and out of the culminating maelstrom peak was strong. A reliance on instinct came upon them, on that which they couldn’t perceive, not of each other’s powers but on some oblique acceptance and perhaps responsibility to that which is beyond themselves.

Enjoy.


“…workers in song” Leonard Cohen

 

I started this blog over and over. Can’t really sum this up or begin. To an artist so human, we have your material and love forever

in classy dark suits

to the deep dark voice

always inspiring

our soulful march