Apparently this happened sometime in the mid 1990s… and it’s GLORIOUS!
Well done, my little man!
With thanks to Juan Monasterio!
Apparently this happened sometime in the mid 1990s… and it’s GLORIOUS!
Well done, my little man!
With thanks to Juan Monasterio!
Whoever said the Internet killed the video star was talking crap. If anything, the Internet has given birth to a new kind of video star: one you actively have to seek out, rather than wait passively for them to be beamed into your goggle box.
The perfect example is SSION, all-American dance-pop chanter and video director, and originator of the unibrow-meets-mustache hairdo. SSION, aka Cody Critcheloe, is creating a video for each track on his (brilliant) album Bent as an ongoing project, and we have featured his work numerous times here on DM.
The latest SSION video release is a clip to accompany the track “High,” a bonus song from the official Bent label re-release last year (and not on the original free download release from 2011.) It’s great, needless to say, especially if you have a fetish for karaoke videos, but I’ve still not managed to post about what is probably SSION’s best video yet, the clip to accompany the track “Luvbazaar.”
Lip syncing drag queens, gum-popping schoolgirls, empty theaters, heaving parties, New York city streets, shopping interludes, the return of platform desert boots, a Tarantino-esque glowing case, and a David Lynch-style appreciation of the absurd, it’s all here.
Bask in the glory of Ballet Zoom, the Spanish disco dance troupe of your fevered dreams. Here they are doing a routine to “Soul Dracula” by Hot Blood, a group I’m fairly sure only existed for the purpose of this novelty song. Seriously, I can’t find anything else by them- believe me, I wanted more. They tragically appear to have produced this disco gold and then just hung up their hats! Regardless, it’s a great addition to your Halloween party mix, and the video is superbly weird.
As a bonus, here’s another, more Internet-famous routine where they dance with kittens, which is frankly far more terrifying than the prospect of a “Soul Dracula.”
‘...I’m from an old school that believed that music and musicians could change things - maybe not radically and maybe not quickly, but that the seeds for change could definitely be sown with songs and videos and shows and interviews.’
Niall O’Conghaile aka The Niallist is talking about the music that inspired him to become a musician, a producer, a DJ, a one-man-disco-industry, and a Performer Extraordinaire.
Niall makes music that moves you “physically, mentally and emotionally. Dance music, for want of a better term!” But it’s always been about more than that.
Let’s turn to the history book…
When Brian Eno was working with David Bowie in Germany, he heard Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” in a record shop. Eno bought the single and ran, holding it aloft, back to Bowie in the studio, where he announced, like a pop John-the-Baptist, ‘I have heard the future.’
Niall is part of that future and his musical output is quite phenomenal and brilliant.
But it’s not just music that Niall has made his own, you’ll know him as a star blogger on Dangerous Minds, and perhaps through his work on the blogs Shallow Rave, Weaponizer, Menergy and his site, Niallism.
Niall also DJs / organizes club nights with Menergy and Tranarchy, and is the keyboard player with Joyce D’Ivision. All of which, for my money, makes The Niallist one of the most exciting, talented and outrageous DJ/producers currently working in the UK. Not bad for a boy who started out spinning discs on one turntable at school.
Now, it’s strange how you can spend much of your working day with someone and yet never really know that much about them. Wanting to know more about the extraordinary Niallist, I decided to interview him for (who else?) Dangerous Minds, and this is what he said.
DM: Tell me about how you started in music? Was this something to moved towards in childhood?
The Niallist: ‘Yeah, music is something I remember affecting me deeply as a kid. My sister, who is older than me, was a huge Prince fan and naturally that teenage, female, pop-music enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I would read all her old copies of Smash Hits and create my own scrap books from the magazines, even though the bands were, by then, either non-existent or pretty naff.
‘My brother was into more serious, “boy” music, which I didn’t like as a child, but which I really appreciated when I hit puberty. He had a big box of tapes that was crucial to me, even though he didn’t like me borrow them, but he had pretty much all Led Zep’s albums in there, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bowie, The Stone Roses, and I particularly remember him getting a copy of Nevermind when it had just come out, which was a key discovery. That box smelt of Dettol and musty cassettes, and to this day the smell of Dettol still takes me back!’
What were your early tastes in music? What were those key moments when a song a record made you realise this was what you wanted to do?
The Niallist: ‘Well, Nevermind was definitely one. I think that record started a lot of people on a musical journey. But also, I really identified with Kurt Cobain, as he was an outsider in the pop music landscape who spoke up for gay and women’s rights, which really struck a chord with me. He was a man, but he also wasn’t scared of being seen as feminine. He was a pop star, he looked scruffy and spoke with intelligence and passion. He was different. As someone else who was different, and a natural outsider, I guess I saw music as maybe a place where I could fit in and still fully express myself.
‘Call me hopelessly naive if you will, but I’m from an old school that believed that music and musicians could change things - maybe not radically and maybe not quickly, but that the seeds for change could definitely be sown with songs and videos and shows and interviews. Looking back on the early 90s now, it seems like an incredibly politically-charged time for music and pop culture. Public Enemy, NWA, Ice Cube, Huggy Bear, Bikini Kill, The Prodigy with “Fuck ‘Em And Their Law”, Pearl Jam telling Ticketmaster to fuck off, Spiral Tribe, massive illegal raves, Back To The Planet, Senser, Rage Against The Machine, the fact that RuPaul was a pop star, even Madonna’s Sex book and Erotica album for God’s sake! If you weren’t politically active or at least aware back then, you were terribly uncool. That spirit seems to have disappeared from music altogether now, which is sad.’
More from Niall, including his Top 5 picks, after the jump…
I’m a big fan of SSION, but you should know that by now. SSION, aka songwriter, performer and music video director Cody Critcheloe, has just brought out the second video from last year’s dance-pop magnum opus Bent, and it’s killer.
A logical progression from its predecessor “My Love Grows In The Dark”, “Earthquake” sees an androgynous alien-boy moving through a landscape that is simultaneously pop-art bright and druggily disconnected. All the time SSION is beckoning him on, from his iPad, from his TV, from his four-by-four, all the way up to their final, honey-soaked encounter:
Favorites of the Manchester alternative and electronic undergrounds, SIlverclub are releasing their debut album in a few weeks, and in the meantime are giving away a free, four track EP featuring one of the album’s highlights, the brilliant track “Your Headphones.”
Subtly reminiscent of Manchester’s golden age of danceable alternative pop, without being your typical retro-based cash-in, Silverclub have been slowly building a legion of fans with some excellent past singles and and a steady stream of quality live gigs.
I already have Silverclub’s debut album on promo, and it’s excellent, highly recommended for fans of quality music regardless of genre. “Your Headphones” is one of the album’s definite highlights, a shimmery wash of gorgeous synths and summery harmonies underpinned by what could almost be a “baggy” beat. It’s a tune about the sheer joy of music that thankfully manages to joyously brilliant in its own right.
You can listen to, and pre-order, Silverclub’s eponymous debut long-player from the website SIlverclubuk.com. In the meantime, here are the band themselves playing “Your Heaphones” live at London’s Saatchi Gallery a few months ago, and below that, the link to download the Your Headphones EP for free. It’s worth it.
Silverclub “Your Headphones” (live)
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Silverclub: the sound of Manchester 2012
Film-maker Jules Nurrish filmed and edited this homage to Gilbert and George’s dance sculpture Bend It. With Los Angeles-based performance artist and body builder, Heather Cassils and London-based performance artist and musician, Anat Ben David, who together perform their own version of the famous dance. Neat.
3iO’s Robert Mitchell
Music that has a sense of humor tends to get a hard time among people who consider themselves “serious” music fans. Why is this? Is it because music itself has to be seen to be serious? That the music makers have to mean it (maaan) and it’s impossible to wear your heart on your sleeve if it’s matched by a raised eyebrow and a smirk?
3iO are an acoustic jazz band who last year released an album called Back To New Roots, which features jazz-style covers of a host of big dance tunes from the last 15 years. LOL!! Right? Or is this an acceptable style of guffaw on a par with coffee table favourites Nouvelle Vague? Here’s a bit of info on the band via the Soundcloud page of their excellently named record label Hell Yeah:
Let’s keep it simple, this dance meets jazz concept started as a joke: take a bunch of friends, discover that they are highly talented jazz musicians and propose them to do something a bit different, play and perform your favourite E-dance / alternative hits / chill out timeless classics into their contemporary jazz style…. shake it as it was your cocktail of choice and you have Serotonin Fuelled Jazz Covers.
3iO are Richard Maggioni (piano), Juan Manuel Moretti (double bass) Matteo Giordani (drums), they are not newcomers in the italian jazz circuit, they have already two albums on their back and with BACK TO NEW ROOTS they challenge themself with a new repertoire: Fat Boy Slim, Groove Armada, Chemical Brothers, Royskopp, Underworld, Spiller, DJ Shadow… just as you never heard them before.
So is this “serious” music? Or is it just a big joke that can be easily dismissed as not being worthy of much attention? While there is definitely a smirking knowingness about this project, the lol-factor is not all that great and I think some of this album actually sounds really good. But I will leave it up to you to decide whether this is “real” music or not (bearing in mind that we’re big fans of both Zappa and Sparks here, two acts who feel no fear of adding humor to their work):
3iO “Right Here Right Now” (original by Fat Boy Slim)
3iO “Born Slippy (nuxx)” (original by Underworld)
3iO “Organ Donor” (original by DJ Shadow)
You can hear (and purchase) 3iO’s album Back To New Roots in full here.
DV8 Physical Theater was formed in 1986 by dancer and choreographer, Lloyd Newson. Over the past twenty-five years, DV8 has produced 16 internationally successful dance pieces and 4 award-winning films for television.
From the start Newson’s work has been controversial. In 1990, the Sunday Mirror denounced DV8’s television production, Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, a piece inspired by the career of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, as a “Gay Sex Orgy on TV”. Such “rabid headlines” gave the program an unexpected boost. It also revealed Newson’s considerable intelligence at work behind DV8’s provocative performances. As he explained in an interview with Article 19
One of the things about DV8’s work is it is about subject matter, for a lot of people who go and see dance it is not about anything and DV8 is about something. I think the other thing that is important is the notion of humour and pathos, of tragedy, of multiple emotions and responses to my work –I’ve been so tired over the years of watching so much dance on one level, it may be very pretty, but it just goes on and on, it’s pretty nice, pretty much the same and pretty dull really, a lot of it.
So my big concern is to try and present images through movement and to talk about the whole range of social and psychological situations.
In 2004, DV8 made The Cost of Living, for Channel 4 television. Based on a longer performance piece, The Cost of LIving was devised by Newson and the dancers, who range from “extremely able-bodied to a man with no legs,” David Toole whose incredible performance challenges our perceptions about ability and adds to the film’s “critique of society’s obsession with image.” As Newson explained in 2004:
The Cost of Living is very much about those people who don’t fulfill the market value, in the sense of playing on the words the cost of living in terms of the financial issue and looking at what happens through experience as you live do you lose your naiveté? As you live do you lose a lot? Or does experience assist you?
What I’m interested in [with] this piece is: do you become cynical and bitter as the cost of living, or do you not? So we’ve got lots of different characters; those who play the more embittered ones, we have the notion of Stepford [Wives] the idea that it’s important for all of us to join the club, whether it be dressing well, being attractive, being successful, and if we can’t be really successful financially or in terms of fame or celebrity, at least we can be normal.
But what happens to those people who don’t fit into any of those categories?
So there are lots of different parallels – dance is a beautiful parallel. So much of dance is about the youthful, beautiful, slender, able-bodied performers. Dance I think is a great form to talk about these issues. It’s a bit like a beauty contest, in fact we have a beauty contest or a physical contest, so underneath all the smiles and attractive bodies on front covers of magazines we want to know what else is going on; who has had the tucks, who is hiding their faults.
Some people can’t hide them as much as others, we have a disabled performer in the company, we have a very large, fat dancer, and on a very obvious visual level they look very different to us.
So what about those people on a psychological level who may be able to hide their physical imperfections, but [cannot hide] their psychological imperfections and why is it so important that we have this ‘Prozac face’? I used to refer to dance as being the Prozac of the art forms. So that is what the piece is about – it’s about those who aren’t perfect and who can’t pretend, those who don’t fit in because they don’t play the game.
There is also the notion throughout the piece about rules. We have a big LED board that has displays about certain rules. The whole set is made of what appears to be fake grass and the board reads like a sign in a park, or a traffic sign “keep off the grass”, also at times it tells the audience and the performers what to do. Do they obey those rules? They’re some of the ideas we’re playing with really, who sets the rules who follows the rules.
So it’s pretty epic in what it’s dealing with.
The rest of ‘The Cost of Living’ after the jump…
Director Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky is currently finishing a documentary on mime and dance legend Lindsay Kemp, which is due for release this summer. Called Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance, the film has had exclusive access to Kemp’s personal archive and offers unique and highly personal insight into the life and art of the reclusive genius.
Lindsay Kemp, who claims he began life in his mother’s lipstick and shoes, was born in South Shields, England in 1938, and has been a major figure in dance, mime and theatre for over forty years, during which time he starred, choreographed and produced some of the greatest dance productions ever seen. He famously taught David Bowie mime, and collaborated with Kate Bush. As actor he has appeared in Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane and Jubilee; and in Ken Russell’s The Devils and Savage Messiah, he also gave a memorable performance performance in the original version of The Wicker Man. Now Pinto-Duschinsky has filmed Kemp on a tour in Italy, Japan and the UK.
The world’s most famous mime, believing himself to be Queen Elizabeth I travels to Japan to face his own mortality.
What happens when genius is most active in advanced years?
Does an artist’s greatest work hover achingly close to the restraints of their own body?
A unique and captivating feature-length documentary, Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance is the powerful story of the world’s greatest theatre performer facing his own mortality at 70. The film grew from a childhood meeting between the director of the film and Lindsay Kemp. This turn of fate brought about a friendship that was to take the director on a three year journey to Japan, Italy and the UK to film Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance.
In contrast to this work and its core meanings, the director has been given access to Lindsay’s personal archive which contains very rare footage spanning his lifetime from his relationship with David Bowie to his work with Kate Bush. His seminal work Flowers, of which no other copy exists, is contained in this archive.
Deeply comical, provocative and emotional, Lindsay’s world onstage and offstage are one seamless act. With his cast of international performers, some of whom are ex-lovers, the score of Carlos Miranda is enhanced by a script in six different languages. Woven into the film are interviews with artists with whom Lindsay has worked. Lindsay comes across as a perfectionist and a seismic personality.
Previously on DM
With thanks to Steven Severin
Back in the day before pop promos, the BBC’s chart show, Top of the Pops employed dance troupe Pan’s People to fill-in for those artists who couldn’t appear on the show.
Pan’s People were the legendary dance goddesses of the 1960s and ‘70s, who are still worshipped by the writers of Lad’s Mags, and by the over-familiar contributors to self-congratulatory pop culture list shows, like I Love the 70s. And less we forget, Pan’s People were also responsible for convincing many a middle-aged dad, in the 1970s, that pop music wasn’t the devil’s plaything.
Pan’s People made their first appearance on TOTP in April 1968, replacing The Go-Jos, the original trio of dancers who had graced the chart show with their interpretative dancing since 1964. BBC bosses decided a change was needed and cast Louise Clarke, Felicity “Flick” Colby, Barbara “Babs” Lord, Ruth Pearson, Andrea “Andi” Rutherford and Patricia “Dee Dee” Wilde as Pan’s People:
London born Louise Clarke had attended the Corona Stage School where she did child modelling work and was also chosen for some minor roles in films and television.
Ruth Pearson also attended the Corona Stage School. She originally came from Kingston in Surrey and at the age of seven won a place at the Ballet Rambert.
Wolverhampton born Babs Lord began dancing an early age and after initially taking lessons at her mother’s dance school, she later attended the Arts Educational Trust stage school. At the age of eighteen Babs joined a group of young dancers called The Beat Girls and made weekly appearances on BBC2’s music show The Beat Room. Babs later appeared with The Beat Girls in the 1965 British film Gonks Go Beat.
Originally from Farnham in Surrey, Dee Dee Wilde had arrived back on British shores a few years earlier, aged seventeen, after spending most of her childhood in Africa. Prior to joining Pan’s People, Dee Dee enjoyed a stint with another dance troupe that included a tour of Spain.
American Flick Colby came from New York and originally trained as a ballet dancer. Within months of arriving in Britain in 1966 Flick, together with Andrea Rutherford and the four other girls, had formed Pan’s People. The fact that Flick also handled the group’s choreography ensured that Pan’s People remained a pretty much self-contained unit of strong-willed young women who were hungry for a little success.
During the next eighteen months Pan’s People only appeared a few times on British television, but they had more success in Amsterdam with a spot on a Dutch TV series. They got their lucky break in 1968 when the BBC finally decided to sign them up as TOTP’s new dancers. Initially Pan’s People made only semi-regular appearances on the show, perhaps once or twice a month. However, it soon became clear that Pan’s People were proving a huge hit with viewers. So by 1969 the girls were dancing on the TOTP every week and were now an integral part of the show.
As the new chart run-down was released on a Tuesday and TOTP went out on a Thursday, Pan’s People only had 24-hours in which to choose a song, work out their moves, and learn their routine. The tremendous pressure led Flick Colby to quit in 1971, and focus solely on the troupe’s choreography. Pan’s People thereafter remained a 5-piece until Louise left to start a family (Pan’s People were allegedly banned by the Beeb from getting married) and was replaced by 17-year-old Cherry Gillespie in December 1972, who was presented to the group as a Christmas present. Very enlightened.
After Pan’s People split in 1976, Flick remained choreographer for TOTP and created the shows dance groups Ruby Flipper, Legs and Co. and Zoo. Only Legs and Co. was successful out of these. Flick’s style was often criticized as far too literal (most notably in Pan’s People’s version of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Get Down” - see below), but it fitted with the times and she did create the group’s very recognizable dance language:
By the mid 1970s Pan’s People had almost invented their own sign language to accompany song lyrics (now commonly referred to as ‘Pan Speak’).
“You” - Index finger pointing towards the camera.
“Stop”- Arm half outstretched with palm facing camera - like a policeman halting traffic.
“Love” - Both hands held over heart.
“Think”- Index finger pointing towards temple with a ‘thinking’ facial expression. Head cocked at 30° angle towards finger.
“Know” - Index finger pointing towards temple with a ‘smiling’ facial expression. Head cocked at 30° angle away from finger.
“I” or “Me” - Index finger pointing towards oneself.
“Don’t” - Index finger pointing upwards about 30cm in front of face, then move forearm in a windscreen wiper motion. Half smiling, half chastising facial expression.
“No” - Arms crossed just in front of chest with hands at neck level, palms facing outwards. Now uncross your arms until they are vertical, palms still facing outwards. Same facial expression as with “Don’t”.
Here are a few moments of Pop Heaven from Pan’s People, firstly their short film interpretation of John Barry’s “Theme from The Persuaders”, then the classic dog dancing to Gilbert O’Sullivan, ‘a best of’ and The Chi-Lites’ “Homely Girl”. Enjoy.
Previously on DM
Bonus clips of Pan’s People getting their groove on, after the jump…
This is amazing: home-movie footage of the Ballet Russes playfully dancing on a beach in Australia in 1938.
After Diaghilev’s death in 1929, a number of Ballet Russes companies formed out of the dissolution of the original Ballet Russe. Between 1936 and 1940, three of these companies visited Australia, in tours orchestrated by the entrepreneur Colonel Wassily de Basil. According to the website Australia Dancing:
The first, a company assembled in London by de Basil and billed as (Colonel W. de Basil’s) Monte Carlo Russian Ballet, toured for nine months between 1936 and 1937. Its sixty-two dancers were drawn largely from the Ballets de Leon Woizikowsky, augmented by artists from de Basil’s own company, and from Rene Blum’s Ballets de Monte Carlo.
The second tour, which took place over seven months between 1938 and 1939, was by the Covent Garden Russian Ballet, presented by Educational Ballets Ltd. In essence, this was the de Basil company of the time. The use of the title Educational Ballets Ltd. related to the need for de Basil to formally distance himself from company management during a legal dispute with the Ballets de Monte Carlo, the company that had been founded by Rene Blum following his split with de Basil in 1935.
By 1938, the Ballets de Monte Carlo was based in America under the direction of Sergei Denham with the financial backing of Universal Art. An attempted merger between this company and that of de Basil early in 1938 ended acrimoniously, with ensuing legal challenges by Universal Art over the copyright of particular works. Prior to this, legal challenges to de Basil over copyright had also been instigated by Leonide Massine during his 1937 move from the de Basil to the rival company as artistic director. Michel Fokine, originally ballet master and choreographer for Blum had, also in 1937, moved in the other direction, joining de Basil. A feature of this second Australian tour was the presence of Fokine, supervising the production of his own ballets.
For the third tour, Colonel de Basil assembled a company that, in addition to his English-based dancers, included a number who were stranded in America on the outbreak of war. These two groups were united in Australia, forming the company that was most commonly referred to as The Original Ballet Russe, although it was also billed as Colonel W. de Basil’s Covent Garden Ballet and Colonel W. de Basil’s Ballet Company. De Basil himself accompanied this tour, which began in December 1939 and, although originally planned to be of ten weeks duration, was, due to the complexities of the war, extended until September 1940.
The Ballets Russes companies brought with them a panorama of choreography, music and design of a kind not previously seen in Australia. Works such as Scheherazade and Le Spectre de la Rose linked directly back to the Diaghilev repertoire, with some, such as Aurora’s Wedding, extending that link back to the Tsarist Russian period. Ballets such as Les Presages and Cotillon introduced Australian audiences to works that post-dated the Diaghilev era. Five ballets, including David Lichine’s Graduation Ball, received world premieres in Australia. In all, a stunning range of forty-four works, most of them Australian premieres, was presented over the three tours.
With thanks to Henri Podin