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Behind-the-scenes footage of David Bowie & Amanda Lear from ‘The 1980 Floor Show’


 
Soon after David Bowie’s brief “retirement” he was already busy preparing for his first big public appearance since (apparently) leaving showbiz.

The 1980 Floor Show, Bowie’s special episode of The Midnight Special, the uber-popular US TV music program, was shot over the course of three days in October of 1973 with most of the footage being taped at The Marquee Club in London. The choreographed stage extravaganza included dancers, the members of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars band, Marianne Faithfull, The Troggs, glam flamenco group Carmen, and the transsexual muse of Salvador Dali, model and (later) singer Amanda Lear.

When it comes to the rehearsal footage in this post, as one YouTube commenter put it, you could cut the sexual tension between Bowie and Lear “with a knife.” Bowie looks ethereal clad in all in white with his signature bright red mullet and otherworldly good looks while he exchanges lines—I think from Lewis Carroll?—with Lear whose famous “come-hither” raspy voice purrs back at Bowie like a cat about to pounce on her prey. Here’s Bowie musing about why he choose The Marquee for his “happy unretirement party”:

There were a lot of clubs to go to in the Soho scene in the 60’s but The Marquee was top of the list, because musicians did hang out there, pretending to talk business and picking up gigs - but picking up girls mostly. One of my keenest memories of The Marquee in the ‘60’s was having a permanent erection because there were so many fantastic looking girls in there, it was all tourists, especially in summer, all flocking to London to get an R&B star. My final performance of Ziggy Stardust was at The Marquee. I wanted to go back there because I had so many good memories over the years.

The intimate footage shows Bowie and Lear laughing at each other as they each mess up their lines—it’s really quite something to see and feels more like a home movie than a high-powered television production. While the video quality is slightly lacking at times the audio more than makes up for it as does Bowie’s impossibly beautiful face which practically jumps off the screen. It’s yet another nostalgic and heartwarming look back at David Bowie—the indisputable personification of cool in his element. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ll never, ever stop missing him, a feeling that this video reinforces all the more. 
 

Amanda Lear and David Bowie, 1973.
 

Charmingly intimate footage of David Bowie and Amanda Lear rehearsing for ‘The 1980 Floor Show.’

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘She asked for my love and I gave her a dangerous mind’: Goodbye David Bowie from Dangerous Minds
Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse
Ziggy Stardust’s last stand: David Bowie’s ‘1980 Floor Show’ Midnight Special

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Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse


 
Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.
 

Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
 
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.
 

‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
 
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”
 

The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
 
Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.
 

Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
 
Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
 
“The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

 
Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse Amanda Lear in her first TV commercial, 1967
02.25.2013
02:17 pm

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Fashion
Pop Culture
Queer

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Salvador Dali
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Lear photographed by David Bailey for the December 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue.

The glamorous Amanda Lear in her first TV commercial appearance, circa 1967, for Révillon’s Detchema fragrance.

The music is by cult figure French soundtrack composer, François de Roubaix.
 


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Stryx: Italian TV Disco madness with Amanda Lear, Grace Jones, Patty Pravo & more

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In my post about Rockets the other day, I mentioned the Italian TV program Stryx. Here’s some more bizarro music performance clips from the show, in its own particular late 70s batshit/fierce style. They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore! According to Wikipedia:

Stryx thematically referred to Hell, devils and underworld. The scenography featured elements resembling Middle Ages-like gloomy castles and caves… The show caused many controversies in more conservative societies, mainly because of its devilish theme and referring to underworld as well as exposing nudity. Due to numerous protests the show was taken off the broadcast and the production of following episodes was cancelled.

So in these videos, all of which are worth watching, we get two huge gay disco icons in the one clip (Amanda Lear & Grace Jones), Patty Pravo giving Gaga a run for her Illuminati wage packet, Mia Martini getting burnt at the stake in a fabulous glittery dress, and some more of those amazing Rockets. My favourite clip is Gal Costa performing “Relance” - it’s quite subdued for Stryx (apart from the dozen or so extras who are lying still at the front of the stage) but is carried by Costa’s no bullshit performance and the incredible gypsy funk of the track itself. But first let’s start with Grace and Amanda:
 
Grace Jones (introduced by Amanda Lear) - Fame
 

 
After the jump, more Grace Jones, Amanda Lear, Patty Pravo, Gal Costa, Mia Martini and Rockets…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment