Gwen Stefani & Shakespeare…

04 Apr

I’ve got it all for you. But first up, I’d like to thank all those folks who dropped by yesterday to read California Love. I’ll put up a sneak peek at the novel tomorrow but it’s nice when you get a positive response to something that you felt had value but were afraid that it um, sort of sucked. Anyway, I’m more than two years older than when I wrote that story so let’s hope it brought about an improvement.

So American Idol was on tonight [or will be later today for some of you] and I thought I’d start the ball rolling with this masterpiece from Jacob, one of the two recappers of the show on Television without Pity:

– On Gwen Stefani

“Here’s what I think. I think she’s from a mashup future and that’s obviously where we’re headed: I only like “Hella Good” in remixes with other songs, and I think she knows what she’s doing. It just seems like the easiest way to go with this, which makes me sad, because she is being prescient, but not in a trend-setting way. You can’t build on what she’s doing because it’s already as far as it can go. Like how there was a point called 1990 where things were either going to go hi-tech/high-concept like Tribe Called Quest, Jane Child, Sex Packets, love of technology and sound for its own sake, actual blending and musical invention; or into hardcore rap where the tech was beside the point so you could “keep it real” with your new toys, and talk about how hard it is in the ghetto.

And now we’ve gotten here: the Neptunes can fucking add the same five sounds to everybody’s track and make it sound genius, and we’re not changing or growing or moving but just eating our own crumbs like some kind of ouroboric barf-eating monster, and we got Sean Combs just waiting for people to die or go into debt so he can bite off them massively with no thought behind it at all, Madonna eating her own barf, J. Lo eating the barf of whoever she meets and going into the studio for an hour every couple of years to sing over other people’s tracks, poorly.

That’s not post-modern, it’s post-art, and it’s beside the point. I’m convinced that’s why cyberpunk never actually happened and Jane Child moved to Tokyo and got even weirder, and why only like Outkast and Danger Doom/Gnarls Barkley and like five other people are interesting out of a billion-dollar industry; but I do honestly think there was a tipping point, and I think we’re seeing the same thing here, and unless Gwen gets fucking real about it in the next year or so, she’s setting the tone for the next ten years of girly-pop, which sucks because she’s smart and obviously loves this stuff as much as I do, and as much as the real tech-heads do, but she’s going to force them underground and leave us stuck with fucking Nelly Furtado, who has even less of a musical voice or identity than No Doubt at their worst, unless Gwen goes seriously Yoko on herself and starts inventing new sounds and new kinds of music, because she’s hitting the LCD here and she’s been coasting since Saturn and I want her baby to get older so she can fucking freak out on her art again, because it’s been almost ten years already. And that’s what I think.”

– On Sanjaya Malakar

The performance is, to coin a phrase, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. What is he doing? It’s amazing. Joe so totally called this: he’s an insane person, by demons driven, and most of all he’s chosen this stage for his rebellion. I mean, there’s acting out, dyeing one’s hair, dressing the fool, embarrassing yourself on TV, bringing shame to your family, singing songs you don’t know the words to, coming out of the closet fifty times in a row…that’s acting out. But to do all of these things at once, that means something. I think maybe it means you really, truly, hate your parents. Like Menendez amounts of parent-hating, is how this strikes me. Hate. Devil. Shouting. Baby.

He dances to beats that he doesn’t know, fucks up lyrics he doesn’t get, glories in the feeling of his mohawk wobbling around on top of his crazy little head. This is an affront of the best kind. This is what the Who were trying to warn us about.

My BFF Will always complains that punk has been co-opted and Green Day and blink should call themselves something else, and I keep trying to explain that this is the wonder of linguistic drift and the true punk is being cooked up in the bedrooms of people too young to think we’re cool enough to hear it. On these grounds, I submit to you that Sanjaya is punk rock.

He stalks the camera around the stage, wildly out of control, grinning and grimacing and choking and giggling in turns like a psychopath. He keeps screwing up the lyrics and singing about boys, trailing off, remembering to sing about girls again. All very energetically. I want to start a religion with Sanjaya at its center, and we’ll wear t-shirts that say NO FUTURE. If he were singing, he would sound pretty great, but this is not singing. This is a revolution.

There you have it folks, Gwen and Sanjaya – that’s what everything boils down to. Meanwhile, here’s Swinging Puss over from Things That Go Bang with her take on Samosas and Chai:

He watched her buttock muscles sway to the music known only to elephants. Slow graceful movements that belied her shrewish nature. She was a hag, a witch he hated with such vehemence that there had been times when he had actually dreamt about putting the pillow on her snoring face to end it all.

He could just about hear the mumbling protests from under the pillow, the swinging arms trying to push the pillow away and then the blessed stillness of not having her run his life, rule the roost, rule every waking and sleeping hours of the thirty years of marriage suffered together.

Creamy lards of flesh oozed out of the sides left naked between the saree and the blouse. Tires accumulated over years of afternoon siestas, her lazy over weight body however remained a source of attraction to their young son’s friends.

Please also check out Desigirl who tries her hand at poetry and does it pretty well:

Words became barbs
Looks did kill
Patience and love, non-existant.
This isn’t friendship
This isn’t relationship
is nothing.

Not to be forgotten is this post from Newsweek about what they’re doing to the Bard on the London stage. Its mayhem when the Indian connection kicks into overdrive.

…it’s testimony to British director Tim Supple that even jaded Londoners are surprised by his rich and strange new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which re-imagines the comedy as a bawdy romp through rural India. Athens becomes a village built on a stage of red earth hauled to North London from Rajasthan. Mismatched lovers couple and recouple in a jungle of bamboo scaffolding and scarlet silks. Most controversially, the dialogue tumbles out in eight South Asian languages, and English, spoken by 23 Indian and Sri Lankan actors…

What’s particularly ambitious—and controversial—about Supple’s production is that it draws on actors, languages and performance traditions from across the Subcontinent. His “Dream” gathers Bollywood actors and classically trained dancers on the same stage as folk drummers and child acrobats from the Delhi slums. The linguistic diversity is dizzying: Titania and Oberon spar in Malayalam, Lysander woos Hermia in Bengali and Helena pursues Demetrius in the polished English of the Mumbai elite—only to be rebuffed in the Sri Lankan language of Sinhala. Opting for a polyglot production, says Supple, known in Britain for his innovative work at the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, wasn’t a political choice. It was simply a matter of picking the best performer for each role—regardless of native tongue.

To be sure, the play’s original text is often lost amid the tangle of languages. But the actors’ raw emotion and powerful physicality succeed in filling in the gaps. A mustachioed Puck strides around the stage like a boxer, in leather straps and a red loincloth. Supple’s fairies don’t float on gossamer wings, but stomp and shin up ropes. The choreography draws on Indian classical and folk traditions as well as kalaripayattu, a martial-arts technique.

Sounds good to me.


Posted by on April 4, 2007 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Music, News, Personal


12 responses to “Gwen Stefani & Shakespeare…

  1. DesiGirl

    April 4, 2007 at 3:43 am

    oh wow! i am famous! wheeee!

    ok seriously, good roundup. I liked dee’s story but we must remember to hide the cutlery when she comes to visit. and watch aaman like a pair of hawks. and serve vada pav and coffee.

  2. Dee

    April 4, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Hey thanks for the mention. Didn’t know you guys like my samosas so much and don’t ya worry I’ll come with my own cutlery;) Not making any death threats but I’m a gal of actions not words…..(evil laugh)

  3. apu

    April 5, 2007 at 1:27 am

    Ok, completely unrelated comment – I’ve taken up your suggestion and written a post on why join us ? (i.e. the Indian Feminists 🙂

    Would love to see you perhaps write your perspective on being a feminist in India, and if we each tag other people to do it, we could get maybe quite a few people interested.

  4. Amrita

    April 5, 2007 at 2:28 am

    DG and Dee – and to think you called ME a cartoon!

    Apu – thats fantastic! I’ll have it up soon.

  5. Desigirl

    April 5, 2007 at 2:49 am

    ho? me? never!

  6. Desigirl

    April 5, 2007 at 2:50 am

    hey apu,
    she’s no more a feminist in India than me! bwahahaha

  7. Amrita

    April 5, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Ahem, I am in the summer 😀

  8. Desigirl

    April 5, 2007 at 5:20 am

    ya ya, part-timer!

  9. apu

    April 5, 2007 at 6:55 am

    u ladies are hilarious ! maybe one should do a series on various kinds of feminists including part-time ones 🙂

  10. Desigirl

    April 5, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    no need to insult me, apu – ladies indeed!

    I think Dee is the only full-time Indian feminist amongst us. Even Suj’s heading back to Amru land.

  11. Amrita

    April 6, 2007 at 2:55 am

    Hola – Dee and DG are next now that i’ve put mine up. 🙂

  12. Desigirl

    April 8, 2007 at 3:49 am

    i’m working on mine – honest!

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