In that magic few weeks when springtime is imminent, the days are newly long, and the sun, while not in full effect, is at least making its presence known, I can’t get enough of simple, yummy, classic pop songs. Here in Portland, these days have recently been more frustrating than magical, with rain and even hail upstaging the sunny bits and making it unclear when we can expect the springlike part of spring to arrive. So I’m taking a stand, musically at least, with a playlist that all that bashes you over the head with riff-tastic, seasonally appropriate tunes perfect for blasting from your car or your headphones, or perhaps singing along to in the shower with your sponge mic.
In times of war (check), political and economic upheaval(check), and social tension (check), artists are in a unique position to stoke democracy and to put pressure on the state, or, as the case may be, the banks, the corporations, "the man", etc. "In my experience, when things are upside down," actress and writer Anna Deavere Smith said in a PBS interview in 2006, "there's an opening for a person like me. I think when things fall apart, [as an artist] you can see more and you can even be part of indicating new ways that things can be put together."
There's a new brand of supermodel in town, and, good news for the fashion industry, hunger-fuelled temper tantrums aren't part of her coding. It's the HRP-4C fembot, who made her entrance down the catwalk at Tokyo Fashion Week last month.
An opera singer with stage fright, a stay-at home mother who's tired of seeking societal approval, a dark and twisty virgin, and a young woman who has struggled with body hatred and bulimia are among the ten women who seek out Miss Indigo Blue's Academy of Burlesque for an opportunity to change their lives in just six weeks—and Deirdre Allen Timmons' A Wink and a Smile captures their transition on film.
The first movie to explore the process of becoming a burlesque dancer, this musical documentary shows that Burlesque is more than just a campy striptease. It's about embodying a powerful persona, mocking traditional gender roles and sexual scripts, exploring sexuality through a teasing playfulness, and having a wicked sense of humor. A Wink and a Smile is full of delightful surprises that uncover both the history of the art form and its modern day incarnation through a handful of today's popular performers. Burlesque is about the creativity of the reveal, not the reveal itself, so here's a brief interview with Timmons intended to whet your desire to see this film.