Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

Batter uuup!: Joan Jett edition

July 16, 2010

via sapphoscloset, very cool queer style blog, check ’em out!

Vintage Joan Jett lookin’ all kinds of pimp and ready to hit that shit right out of the park.

Please remember that Joan still looks THIS GOOD:

That right there? Is what a motherfucking rock star looks like. Hell yes! I said goddamn, Joan Jett. Haters to the left.

So few words in this entry, so many king-size cusses.

When art influences life: Sam Haskins Month, Day 2

December 2, 2009

Today I am thinking about Sam, but still pretty upset to find out he was dead. So I thought I’d use this shot of him and Leni Riefenstahl as a springboard to discussing a little bit about propaganda (obviously entire books and brilliant essays are devoted to this topic, I just want to think out loud a bit). So. Sam and Leni. They were not any type of friends, but they of course knew one another, because of the international stature both held as artists.

This picture with Leni was taken in Munich in the early 70’s. We were serving on the jury for a photographic competition organised by Der Spiegel. A friendly argument developed during a break in the judging activities. Postal sacks filled with the competition entries swamped the corridors leaving little room for chairs. (“Leni Riefenstahl,” Sam’s blog, entry dated 3/15/07)

Leni Riefenstahl is a divisive and problematic figure for me to wrap my brain around: while her career has been largely brilliant, and I suppose each piece of art ought be considered an entity unto itself, she is a photographer and cinematographer from whom for me it is difficult to separate the facts of her life and her art. See, her body of work is great, but it also contains The Triumph of the Will, a handy piece of pure propaganda which launched her to forever-infamy and helped sway many to the National Socialist way of thinking.

Leni Riefenstahl with Heinrich Himmler at Nuremberg, 1934.

Yeah, that’s Heinrich Himmler and her at Nuremberg, 1934, setting up a cozy little scene for the camera. It’s significant and somewhat ironic to me and, you likely too, because, of course, she and Himmler and Joseph Goebbels, spinmeister, were busy here trying to launch some Nazi ships of popularity, and ultimately the career of many a Nazi ended there, eleven years later at the trials. Riefenstahl was arrested after World War II, but was not tried at Nuremberg, nor ever convicted of any crimes. Fair or unfair? Question for discussion: is propaganda a crime? A con of the highest order, making it a physical and emotionally abusive crime of course, as any manipulative act must be, but also, and perhaps more strangely, a crime against art itself? A violation of its core function? If the purpose of art is to express yourself, and we see that for some being provocative is how they do it (I do not believe the work of shock artists violates or upheaves what I’ve just advanced as the core purpose of art; I believe their work still falls beneath the aegis of self-expression, whether they understand that or not), then is propaganda a gross perversion of the core purpose, forcing a perspective on the viewer rather than expressing one’s own, muscling and manipulating and violating the relationship between seer and seen?

Leni and crew filming those all-important ’36 Olympics.

We talked about what happens when art imitates life, and when art imitates art, but what about when life imitates art because art influences life? What would Leni’s dear friend Goebbels, the undisputed grandfather of the spin and the catchy
slogan, answer, if he had not been tipped off as to his imminent arrest and killed himself rather than face trial in the liberated Germany? What are the implications of how propaganda was used politically, with our historical understanding, when we look now at modern instances of using art to increase the popularity of a product or idea, from advertising of food and beverages to people and philosophies and lifestyles?

Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Charlize Theron for Christian Dior, “J’Adore” parfum.

Or am I all backward. Is the opposite so? Is all art propaganda of some kind? One of my favorite movies, The Cradle Will Rock, written and directed by Tim Robbins, which is set during the 1930’s, draws consistent symbolic parallels between artists and whores, and even has a line where William Randolph Hearst says, not sneeringly, but simply with a practical confidence, “And artists are whores — like the rest of us.” Has the relationship between art and advertising and commercialism and pop cultural consciousness come so far that there is no way to ever go back? And, fuck, what do I know, like is that so wrong?

“Tommy Hilfiger Celebrates Sam Haskins.”

“We have burnt our bridges. We cannot go back, but neither do we want to go back. We are forced to extremes and therefore resolved to proceed to extremes.” (Joseph Goebbels, 1943)

I do not have answers. I’m frustrated and bummed and totally confusing myself. I quit! I’ll regroup and come back to this a different day.

NSFW November: Tonja Christensen, Miss November 1991

November 30, 2009

And Then There Was One.

Your final Miss November is Playboy’s November 1991 Playmate of the Month, the lovely and talented Tonja Christensen. She is last because, next to Monica Tidwell and Bebe Buell, I think she is the prettiest of the girls of November. Someday I will examine my feminine beauty ideals, but not today because I’m busy. Anyway, I am afraid that, though I saved her for last because I thought she was beautiful, it is a mixed blessing; she bears the brunt of my boredom and busy-ness, because I’ve not got time nor inclination to say much about her. Going to let the interview with her do most of the talking.

Photographs by Stephen Wayda

Blonde, blue-eyed and gutsy Tonja Marie Christensen, who just turned 20, has come a long way in the past two years — 5800 miles, to be exact, the distance from West Valley City, Utah, a sleepy suburb of Salt Lake City, to cosmopolitan Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city. There, while the Catalan capital gears up for the 1992 Olympics, she’s diligently pursuing a dual career in modeling and acting. (“A Blonde in Barcelona,*” Playboy, November 1991)

Dang, I forgot there even was a Summer Olympics in Barcelona. There are new ones coming up, you know. Everyone hurry and get jingoistic about sports! Also, buy Doritos!!

*Gracious, that is just a damned ridiculous title. Barcelona is from where many a blonde Spaniard hails. Everyone knows that there are tons of hot (and not) fair people in Spain. With over 3 million people living in the city at the time of Tonja’s residency, I sincerely doubt she stood out because of her hair color in any way, shape, or form. You may just as well have said, “A two-legged person,” or even “A person from another country who lives” … “in Barcelona.” Jesus. What a stupid, Americanized view of what Spanish people look like to advance. Shame on you, Playboy: I expect you to be more international and dashing and man-of-foreign-knowledgey than that.

Our Miss November was one of nine children, an example she doesn’t plan to follow. “I believe families should be three or four children at most,” she says.

An intriguing viewpoint for a girl from Utah. Goodness knows, I know the playmates do not like it when assumptions are made about their religion (see last entry for a brave girl who was not embarassed to be of an identifiable faith and culture) … but … come on. Hint, hint, ya know?

Two things weird me out totally about the above shot.

  • Her arm hair has, like, its own set of dewy crystalline eye lights shining in it.
  • Her pubic hair has been either dyed or cell-painted to match her fake (though lovely!) head-hair color. In the previous shots it is dark.
  • See, I have a couple rules of thumb for gentlemen who want to imagine ladies sans clothing — I know you are few and far between because that is like, so gross, what with our widely-documented girl cooties and all, but bear with me for the sake of those perverse and unhappy freaks among you who actually picture women naked — and I am happy to share them. First, a lady’s pubic hair is nearly always the same shade as the coarse hair of her brows. So lay the drapes aside altogether, discard their color completely, and, unless you are pretty sure the gal you are gawking at has bleached or somehow cosmetically altered them, her eyebrows are your best bet as to the color of the carpet.

    Similarly, the color of her lips without the aid of gloss, lipstick, rouge, permanent surgical lining assistance, or any other type of makeup is your leading predictor of the color of her nipples. Finally, a few shades darker but in the same family of hues as the lips and “nips” follow the labia (those can get rosier/darker brown depending on her arousal level and whether she is Northern European or has stronger Sapphardic Jew DNA — Caucus mountains and Eastern/Southern Europe are less pink and more browny-purple, and obviously your ladies from Africa and its subcontinent follow suit in deeper shades as well). Take those tips to the bank, y’all. You’re welcome!

    Wow, I did not even realize there was a time when LaToya Jackson did not look like a total freak made of 90% post-consumer recyclable parts. She looks comparably human here. You’d think one of her psychic friends would have warned her of the Madamism syndrome of too much plastic surgery! Better luck in your next life, LaToya.