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Some thoughts on seeing Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s big concert for Hillary Clinton last night

I was at the Wolstein Center on the campus of Cleveland State University last night to see the much-heralded free “get out the vote” concert for Hillary Clinton featuring Jay-Z and special guest (everyone knew who it was ahead of time) Beyoncé. I had a marvelous time, it was really excellent to see America’s favorite pop stars (pretty much) alongside the soon-to-be-first female president (deep breath) on the same stage. I hadn’t actually gotten the memo that Hillary would be there as well, so it was a wonderful surprise to see her. Wisely, Hillary kept her appearance brief and let the audience enjoy its gift of excellent, free music.

A few thoughts:

1. Big arena rap shows are an awful lot of fun.. I don’t have a big point to make here, just that rap audiences put rock audiences to shame. It may have been an unusual situation because the doors opened around 5 p.m. and nobody actually performed until about 9 p.m. DJ Steph Floss was tasked with keeping the audience engaged for virtually all of that time, and he did so by playing countless rap songs by the likes of Drake and J-Kwon and Lil Wayne and so forth. The engagement of the audience during this whole stretch was impressive. Whole sections were vibrating due to the motion of people dancing, and there were frequent impromptu singalongs when Floss would cut out the volume, and so on. These people were into it. Rock audiences seldom give opening bands, often consisting of several human beings playing actual instruments, the time of day, much less pre-recorded music. This audience treated the pre-recorded music the way a rock audience would treat the Strokes. In general, the role of the audience singing along to almost everything enhanced the show.

2. Donald Trump and his organization could never have organized an event that was anything like this. During his remarks in Pennsylvania the same night, Trump essayed a jab at the Wolstein event, saying that he draws huge crowds and doesn’t need “J-Lo and Jay-Z” to do it. And that’s true enough. Just ask Scott Baio. But Trump’s line sparked another thought, for which it helped to be present in the arena last night.

It is simply this: Trump and his organization have shown no ability to mount a show like this. Hillary Clinton can and did do it. The show featured several high-profile rappers in a boda-fide arena show with a great many specialized voting-specific graphics that were specific to the event. Having been at the Wolstein from about 6 p.m. to about 10:30 p.m., I can attest that the event was very well run.

One of the biggest worries about Trump isn’t so much his terrible racism/xenophobia or the effects his awful policies would have but just his sheer incompetence and inability to execute long-range plans. This insight about the arena show addresses that concern. In a way I’m really complimenting Hillary here, she has high standards that were utterly reflected in every aspect of this event. Trump has shown in this campaign that he cannot manage a large organization (preferring a small one), and his “ground game” and internal polling operations are widely believed to be laughable. Trump may make fun of the Dems’ coziness with creative superstars, but Trump wouldn’t be able to leverage such relationships even if he did have them.

Amusingly, I don’t think the word Trump was mentioned a single time from the stage. It was a kind of game, they’d say “her opponent” or whatever and move on to something else.

3. Beyoncé is the one person in America you want behind you if you are a Democrat. Simply put, Bey is amazing. It’s not exactly an original thought. Before she went on, Jay-Z had occupied the stage for many songs, and had demonstrated why he is considered a rapper of unusual flow, presence, and intelligence. He was very, very good. Chance the Rapper, Big Sean, and J. Cole all had extended turns while Jay-Z rested up, and they all were deserving of the roars of appreciation they received from the audience.

Beyoncé made all of them, including Jay-Z, look like amateurs.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Trendy celebrity diets photographed like stately still lifes from the Renaissance
03:08 pm


Gwyneth Paltrow

Celebrity fad diet
The Beyoncé Cleanse
Italian photographer Dan Bannino has recently completed a cheeky art project, to translate a bunch of celebrity fad diets from our own time (as well as a couple from a few centuries ago) and depict them in the form of a magnificent still life by a great master, perhaps an inspired 17th-century “daubster” (hey, I had to look it up too) from Holland, Flanders, or some place like that. I can’t remember who said it, possibly someone from Monty Python, that the essence of comedy is to elevate the humble and bring down the lofty, and this series of photographs (which are quite pretty in their own right) certainly fits that paradigm.

Here’s Bannino’s comment on the series:

With this series my aim was to capture the beauty that lies in this terrible constriction of diets and deprivation, giving them the importance of an old master’s painting. I wanted to make them significant, like classic works of arts that are becoming more and more weighty as they grow older. My aim was to show how this weirdness hasn’t changed even since the 15th century.

I don’t think I knew that the “Cleanse” is so closely associated with Beyoncé. In fact, the Cleanse has been around for much longer than Beyoncé has been alive. It was originally called the Master Cleanse, as I believe it still is, and was developed by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s and, decades later, promoted in his books The Master Cleanser and Healing for the Age of Enlightenment (both 1976)—by the bye, isn’t that second title just totally spot-on for a book that would come out today? Burroughs was, at least in that sense, way ahead of his time.
Celebrity fad diet
Charles Saatchi, Eggs diet
Celebrity fad diet
Gwyneth Paltrow, Strict detox diet
Celebrity fad diet
Bill Clinton, Cabbage soup diet
Celebrity fad diet
Kate Moss, Hollywood diet
Celebrity fad diet
Simon Cowell, Life-enhancing diet
Celebrity fad diet
Luigi Cornaro, Sober life
Celebrity fad diet
Henry VIII, Banquet diet
Celebrity fad diet
Lord Byron, Romantic poet’s diet

For the curious, here’s the real thing. This is the Dutch painter Willem Claeszoon Heda’s Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie from 1631:
Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie
via designboom

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Did Jay-Z and Beyoncé attend a bloody Hermann Nitsch-style ‘action’ in Cuba
12:43 pm

Pop Culture

Hermann Nitsch

In April of this year, YouTube user yadniel padron aguilera, presumably a Cuban citizen, posted three videos. All three videos are just raw footage taken by a single person, straight footage recorded without any cuts. There isn’t really any information about these videos—hardly any text was uploaded with them—but they add up, potentially, to a very interesting story.

At the very least we’re desperate to know more.

The first video, “Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Cuba,” uploaded on April 6, is 22 minutes long. It’s a fairly aimless attempt to capture some footage of the two married megastars as they make their way from a building to an automobile or vice versa. A few times in the video one can in fact see Jay-Z and Beyoncé walk from a building to a van or the like, surrounded by just teeming hordes of people. Mainly what the video is is a documentation of the thousands of devoted fans swarming the area in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Jay-Z and Beyoncé. In a funny way it’s an unintentional commentary on the nature of fame.

“Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Cuba”:

The second two videos are dated April 10, and apparently document the same event—a very remarkable event indeed! The two videos bear the same title, “Beyoncé vs Hermann Nitsch,” and the one we’re going to call “BvHN1” lasts 8:05 and the one we’re going to call “BvHN2” lasts 5:30.

If you’re not familiar with the work of the notorious Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch, suffice it to say that his Das Orgien-Mysterien-Theater arguably took Antonin Artaud’s concept of “the theater of cruelty” to its most extreme expression. (Everything about Nitsch’s work is extremely NSFW!! You have been warned! Your co-workers will think you are nuts if you are caught watching! It is recommended that the squeamish under no circumstances check out a Google Images search for “Hermann Nitsch.” Seriously. It’s very disturbing stuff.)

Both videos record a big chunk of what is unmistakably a Nitsch-style “action,” complete with naked people, dismembered animals, people wearing white clothes stained with what could very well be blood, unearthly music, people being crucified in some way, rampant abuse of fruits and vegetables, and a generally orgiastic atmosphere. When I say “Nitsch-style,” I am 99% certain that this is actually an event staged by Nitsch, but I’m not 100% certain. He was in Havana in the spring of 2012, but Beyoncé and Jay-Z were there in 2013.

Back to those Cuban videos: Despite the title, in neither video is there any overt physical appearance by Beyoncé (and at no point is any of her music played). Nevertheless, her name is mentioned in the titles of both videos.

Why is her name there? Why did yadniel padron aguilera decide to pair Beyoncé and Nitsch in this way? For more YouTube hits?


“BvHN1” features pretty much straight footage of the bloody “happening” and little else. Stirring atonal modern music can be heard throughout, with occasional loud whistles that appear to dictate new events in the revelry. Mostly a group of perhaps 30 people spend most of the video frolicking among a bunch of fruits and vegetables and possibly some fluids that are more vital to life.


“BvHN2” is clearly footage of more or less the same event, but in this one there are a bunch of tables everywhere, and it seems like it may be a preparatory stage for the other video, an earlier stage. It’s hard to tell.

But there’s something very striking about “BvHN2” as opposed to “BvHN1”—namely, there is a pretty tight clot of what must be a couple thousand people milling around not far from the tables. Furthermore, after about a minute it becomes apparent that LOTS of the people there are DOCUMENTING the ever-loving SHIT out of this event, quite possibly a human being at the center of the clot of people—in other words, perhaps they’re not documenting the “happening” as such, but an extremely famous onlooker or two? A whole bunch of people are holding cameras way over their heads to get pics of something, and there are even a couple of boom mics visible. Would a Nitsch “action” attract such attention? This seems dubious, but it’s still possible. Anything is possible… like I never, ever thought I’d be speculating about an apparent connection between Beyoncé and Hermann Nitsch!

“BvHN2” seems to bear some relationship to the massive throngs of people running around trying to get close to Jay-Z and Beyoncé in that first video. What else would draw so many people to what (in truth) most people would regard as a disgusting display of artistic excess?

I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me that one of these things could very well be true:

Beyoncé Knowles, possibly with or possibly without her husband Jay-Z, attended a Hermann Nitsch-style action while they were in Cuba last April (or, in fact, this was an event staged by Nitsch himself as it appears).

Maybe a huge number of Cubans staged a bloody, entrails-enhanced Hermann Nitsch-style action as a kind of companion to or comment on Jay-Z and Beyoncé‘s visit to Cuba???

Both of these possibilities are incredibly amusing. There’s also the more mundane possibility that the uploader simply thought that adding her name to his footage of a Nitsch action would bring in more YouTube views. We just don’t know.

We need more information about this event. We certainly wish that Mr. yadniel padron aguilera were a little more forthcoming about the footage he uploaded. We’re counting ourselves utterly bumfuzzled.

If you know anything about this, please contact us!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Hermann Nitsch: Das Orgien Mysterien Theater 1970 (NSFW!)
Lady Gaga and Beyonce song remade by bored soldiers in Afghanistan

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment