Thomas Edison’s famous and oft-abused quote about genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration is one of the great truisms of our time. But is it actually, y’know, true? How creativity actually works — in terms of the nuts and bolts of actually getting things down on the page/tape/canvas/etc. — is perhaps the most mysterious aspect of art, a process that’s both romanticized and often misunderstood. And in view of this, we thought it might be interesting to see what some of our favorite songwriters had to say about how they approach the process of writing. Click through to read opinions from Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Björk, Patti Smith and a whole heap more. We hope they provide some measure of inspiration, interest, or insight. … Read More
What if Dolly Parton was Asian? For his series All Look Same, photographer Howard Cao took a trip to Las Vegas to shoot portraits of uncanny celebrity impersonators and then transformed their race using some fancy editing from Sugar Digital. The project explores how cultural identity influences our notions of celebrity. So, what difference does it make and does it make any difference at all? Would Willie Nelson be any less “country,” any less famous, any less Willie Nelson? Spotted in the June issue of PDN Magazine for the 2012 PDN Photo Annual, see some famous doppelgängers in our gallery. … Read More
Today marks the 49th anniversary of teen idol Lesley Gore’s American Bandstand performance of “It’s My Party” — a chart-topper with a catchy, melodramatic, but unmistakably girl’s-eye view. Followed by the similarly spirited “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” “She’s A Fool,” “You Don’t Own Me” and “That’s The Way Boys Are,” Gore’s early singles are often considered as proto-feminist in emphasis. “You Don’t Own Me” is a potent statement in itself — an attitude that was to burgeon later in the decade.
Throughout the centuries, women have accented popular song with resistance, resentment, and outright revolt against oppression. The history of popular music reveals that it’s far more than a man’s, man’s world.
While genres like blues allowed a remarkably femme-centric candor, rebellious notes can be perceived throughout numerous eras — and even within the hit parade. It’s true that often these songs frequently concentrated on romantic themes, but their strong female perspectives, assertiveness, and attitudes denote them as feminist forbearers. Here’s a selection of pioneering vocalists’ music dating from the twenties to the mid-sixties to remind us that empowered girls have been with us for longer than pop culture often cares to remember. … Read More
If prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, then it makes sense that whorehouses are such a pervasive part of pop culture. So, when we heard that the cable channel HDNet is producing a reality show documenting the exploits of the Mustang Ranch, America’s first completely legal brothel, it got us thinking about some of the most memorable establishments in books, movies, television shows, and visual art where a lonely traveler could spend a night with a willing companion. Here’s a quick list of some of our favorites — but we haven’t even scratched the surface, so leave your additions in the comments! … Read More
There’s a fine line between opulent beauty and horrifying excess, best described by the word “decadent” and embodied in the work of Lauren Gibbes. The Asheville, North Carolina-based artist paints bright, sugary pictures of society ladies with foggy white space where their noses should be, pink lips kissing ostentatious jeweled rings, indulgently bountiful meals, and Dolly Parton — many embellished with glittering applications of colored diamond dust. While they’re undeniably pleasing to the eye, the images are also sickly sweet, the visual equivalent of getting a stomachache after eating too much candy (and then having to analyze how something so initially appetizing can become nauseating). Click through and be unsettled, then visit Gibbes’ website to see more of her strange and complex work. … Read More
We’ve known for a while that music and food go great together. But it never occurred to us to take those pairings to the extreme in quite the way Stockholm-based duo of photographer Philip Karlberg and chef/set designer Mattias Nyhlin have. The images below capture delicate desserts like fruit carpaccio and panna cotta spinning atop records whose songs they help to illustrate, the entire elegantly blurred photo creating the attractive illusion of a place setting in motion. See Dolly Parton collide with candied pears and Whitesnake complement cheesecake in a series called 33 RPM after the jump, then visit Karlberg and Nyhlin‘s websites to learn more about their work. … Read More
Country music doesn’t have much of a reputation for sticking its neck out on the gender-equality front. The genre is better known for the sentiments expressed in Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” than for asserting women’s rights. But there are plenty of rock-em sock-em female country artists out there, and plenty of anthems about women fighting back — or just plain fighting — in the country oeuvre. Some, like Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill,” face political issues head on, while others, ranging as far back as the folk tune “Wish I Was A Single Girl Again,” question the value of being hitched up to a man at all. In honor of the one and only Dolly Parton, whose 66th birthday it is today, we present a feminist’s introduction to country songs, after the jump. … Read More
We’ve been looking forward to Friday for a while here at Flavorwire: it’s release day for Haywire, Steven Soderbergh’s uncommonly smart, disarmingly taut, ridiculously entertaining action/spy picture, an unexpectedly frisky exception to the rule that January releases are generally terrible. The reason for its creation — and a big part of its success — is the leading performance of MMA fighter Gina Carano (more on her later). Though she had a minor role in one previous film, Gina’s terrific starring turn got us thinking about other non-actors who made a big splash in their debuts; after the jump, we’ve collected ten of them for your perusal. … Read More
Last Friday, our dreams finally came true: Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah’s Sister Act-meets-Save the Last Dance movie, Joyful Noise, debuted, combining two of our favorite over-the-top personalities in one giant festival of gospel, beat-boxing, and oddly close-fitting choir robes. It’s by far the campiest movie offering of the still young year, and it got us thinking about our favorite movie duos that are, to quote John Waters’ definition of “camp” from The Simpsons, “tragically ludicrous or ludicrously tragic.” Check out our picks for film’s ten most gloriously campy duos after the jump. … Read More
A couple of months back, our erudite music editor Judy Berman put together a list of her most memorable fictional characters from songs. The feature inspired plenty of talk, both among commenters and at Flavorpill HQ, and we’ve been meaning to do a follow-up ever since. Now, with all our end-of-year list making and beginning-of-year predicting over and done with, we’ve finally got around to revisiting the idea — so, after the jump, we’ve pulled together 10 more of our favorite fictional characters from songs. As ever, suggestions are welcome! … Read More