“Beyonce’s rump shaking and knee knocking may trigger a noticeable libidinal response in many, and strike fear in the parental hearts of some. In its Super Bowl edition, it also nicely honored the host town, home of the spectacularly bootylicious bounce music scene. But it’s neither merely instinctive nor an example of video girl-era exhibitionism.
In fact, the shimmy, the Black Bottom, the Quiver and the Funky Butt — the building blocks of what Beyonce does so well — were popular at the turn of the 20th century, and themselves are rooted in the traditions slaves kept alive beyond the Middle Passage. All rock-and-soul era dancing stems from this stuff, of course; but as her Super Bowl routine so memorably demonstrated, Beyonce gets the connection like nobody else. She invokes the madcap, revolutionary spirit of the first great generation of African-American female stars of vaudeville and the cabaret: women like Josephine Baker and Ethel Waters, who once attributed her early success to her “completely mobile hips.”
As a prime mover in the hip-hop era, Beyonce connects these fundamentals to today’s street dances and stepping competitions. But she is easily as interested in how greats from Michael Jackson to Lena Horne absorbed and transformed those vernacular moves. Something similar happens in her sound, which often works like African-Americana, incorporating marching bands, the Aretha of Sparkle and “I Say a Little Prayer,” and the sassy harmonies of the swing era alongside more contemporary beats and studio tricks. Last night, when Destiny’s Child harmonized on their famous line, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly” — a lyric that invokes both the sensuality of classic blues and the loose-limbed sound of early jazz — it all suddenly made sense: Beyonce, the showbiz kid, has worked her whole life for this moment, where she can fully represent an entertainment lineage that inevitably leads to her.”
The Roots of Beyonce’s Super Bowl Spectacular | NPR
“No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.”
“[F]or about a good hundred and ten years, movies have invented all sorts of tricks and all sorts of fancy and sometimes very charming means to make us believe that films were concurring space indeed. The camera was put on tracks and on shoulders and on steadicams and on cranes and you can put it into automobiles and planes and god knows you could even throw it out of the window. But it always ended up on a two-dimensional screen, so space was really always fake. It was always a simulation. I only realized that there was something lacking when I tried to imagine how to film Pina’s dance, because the two of us had been trying to make a film together for twenty years. I was just stalling for time and I found myself at a loss how to film her work, because my tools and my craft didn’t seem to have what it took to really do justice to Pina’s art and to the magic and to the contagious energy of it.
I only finally saw myself able to say “now I can do it” when I saw my first 3D film and realized that was the answer and that’s what we had been missing. Space, for the first time, was a tool for filmmakers. I think 3D is the greatest revolution ever since the talkies, only most people didn’t realize it because we thought it was just a gimmick for national blockbusters. Now some movies come out that show the true potential of 3D which is really a whole different way of seeing the world.”
— Wim Wenders
moved on to tabula rasa.
switched the amp into “pure sound” mode: the display and the display processor shut down. all backlights and fans shut down (except the led illuminating the volume knob). subwoofer processor and output shut down. no signals processed or output for any surround or center or rear channel; nothing going on in there except for signal processing/input amplification to the front-right/front-left output jacks.
i can hear the players’ chairs shifting, i can hear them clear their throats, i’m never leaving the house again.
tabula rasa, indeed.
I lourve arvo. your last few posts have warmed me to the bone.
if you haven’t seen this, well, you must.