‘What better inspiration could an artist ask for than a bunch of amazing drag queens? They’re stylish, sexy, and sickening! My work captures the fierce personalities and performances of those fabulous fake ladies in a clean, classic style.’
With their larger-than-life presences and glittery costumes, the gender-bending stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race are the perfect subjects for portraiture. Illustrator and comics artist Chad Sell, best known for his his collaboration with Logo on RPDR webcomics, and his work on the upcoming iOS game Dragopolis, pays awesome, witty tribute to the ladies in an extensive series that captures his favorite contestants’ finest moments.
The Prom It’s a Pleasure is a well-produced color film that stars the 1961 Coca-Cola Junior Miss Pageant winner as the guide to a well-mannered prom night.
From the phone call asking Junior Miss for the date, to the drop-off at the end of the night, this film details prom etiquette for the curious and uncouth teenager. It also explains that the boy should call his date’s mother before the dance to find out the color of her dress so he can match the corsage to it.
Wholesome sixties movies often dealt with American morals, and this prom night film is a classic example. At the high school dance itself, the film shows how to dance, how to ask someone to dance, ways to ask someone to dance, how to fill out a dance card, and how to navigate the refreshments, which consisted mostly of Coca-Cola, not surprisingly. In addition to all the prom do’s and don’ts etiquette tips, this film features great footage of a typical sixties prom.
The queens test their vocal abilities as they sing in RuPaul’s 1980s “We Are The World” inspired charity single. This Band Aid/USA For Africa-inspired parody is the latest viral video to come from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” starring RuPaul along with this season’s top eight queens: Alyssa Edwards, Coco Montrese, Jade Jolie, Ivy Winters, Jinkx Monsoon, and Roxxxy Andrews, Alaska, and Detox, aka “Rolaskatox.” And they weren’t lip-synching for their lives, here: This singing was live.
This awesome faux charity-single does indeed have a lot of heart and humor and is actually not faux at all, since sales of the bizarre song, available now on iTunes, will benefit a very worthy organization: the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Can I get an amen up in here?
The Girl Can’t Help It is the garish acme of CinemaScope and DeLuxe Color, monumentally loud and blatantly exploitative —a veritable Parthenon of vulgarity and a supremely unfunny comedy that is pure eau de Fifty-Six. This satire of Elvis and Marilyn (or rather, of their clones) shimmers with radioactive pinks and cobalt blues; at once strident and static, the movie defines the atomic-Wurlitzer chrome– tailfin Fontainebleau-lobby look. Producer-director-co-writer Frank Tashlin is one of the very few Hollywood directors who broke into movies as an animator and, like the Dean Martin–Jerry Lewis comedies that preceded it, The Girl Can’t Help It is something like a live-action Looney Tune.
Appropriated by John Waters some 15 years later as the only suitable way to introduce his 300-pound gender-blur Divine in Pink Flamingos.
Grotesque stereotypes collide with billboard-sized caricatures. This proto Pop Art pathology might be too painful to contemplate were it not for the exotic life forms flourishing around its periphery. Climaxing with a rock show performed for an audience of teenage white zombies, The Girl Can’t Help It is populated by all manner of failed honkers and would-be cool cats—as well as Fats Domino, the Platters, a gospel-shouting Abbey Lincoln.
The coolest presence ever recorded by a Hollywood camera may be Little Richard, first seen standing entranced before a piano—as if wondering whether to pulverize or incinerate it.
“In Albania, is anything so bad it’s good?” “Little Richard was “…the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.“
Here, our beloved Pope of Trash introduces Frank Tashlin’s gemstone for everyone to enjoy.…
When our society went from “buying to replace” to “buy to be happy”, the effect snowballed over the decades with the force needed to keep from experiencing a real existential crisis.
Once Upon a Honeymoon is a 1956 musical sponsored film about a couple wishing for a new home. It starts off with a group of angels who decide to help a couple have a honeymoon. The husband (Jeff) tries to write a song, while the wife (Mary) daydreams about a new home, and imagines what it would be like to have the latest household products with the help of the angel. The angel then helps the man come up with a new song called “A Castle in the Sky”.
The film was directed by Gower Champion, and starred Virginia Gibson, Ward Ellis, Alan Mowbray, Chick Chandler, Veronica Pataky and Russell Hicks. In recent years the film has gained a small following, after it was mocked on the show Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is in the public domain.
This clip is a very early, full-color Kodachrome film made by Kodak in 1922 to test new film stock and color processing. It is a lovely little four-and-a-half minutes of pretty actresses gesturing for the camera. The color and lighting are exquisite—all warm reds with flattering highlights—making it a purely enjoyable thing to watch.
In 1922, for all its technical achievements, Kodak hadn’t yet done away with the flicker that gave movies one of their earliest and most enduring nicknames: the “flicks.” The flicker resulted from variations in film speed produced by the slow, hand-cranked cameras of the time and by variations in the density of the film itself.
Even more interesting to a modern viewer are the women’s gestures. They act out fluttery, innocent modesty; warm maternal love; and in the longest sequence, sexy, puckered-lip vamping. Their open expressions of feeling and the particular way they move their hands and tilt their heads, even more than the fashions of their clothes and makeup, immediately mark them as women of the interwar period. Recently a Russian film scholar, Oksana Bulgakowa, has shown how various feelings and meanings were coded in the gestures of early film actors. Some of these are so unfamiliar now, they seem like a foreign language.
Today, when we watch a TV show or a movie, we see a wide range of acting styles and behaviors. A hundred years from now, which ones will be seen as defining our age?
Izabela Kaczmarek-Szurek is a Polish-born graphic designer whose work ranges from poster art to illustration to textile design. However, it’s her knitting illustration (we think she may have invented this) project entitled ‘Extreme Knitting Calendar’ that has us making faces of awe.
She explains: ‘This calendar present an idea to knitting your favourite idol. This is my subjective selection of famous people. For these illustrations, I took 3rd place in the famous graphic competition “GRAFFEX”, organized by polish lifestyle magazine EXKLUSIV.’
Set at the 1956 General Motors Motorama, this is one of the key Populuxe films of the 1950s, showing futuristic dream cars and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.”
Design for Dreaming (1956) is a musical sponsored film about a woman (played by dancer and choreographer Tad Tadlock; real name “Thelma Tadlock”) who dreams about a masked man (dancer and choreographer Marc Breaux) taking her to the 1956 General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.” The entirety of the dialogue is sung, though the actors do not move their lips to their characters’ prerecorded voices.
Design for Dreaming has gained a small cult following, with some enjoying it for its perceived camp value, and others enjoying it for nostalgic reasons. One prominent showing of the film was as a short feature in a fifth-season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K).
The BBC documentary series Pandora’s Box by Adam Curtis made extensive use of clips from Design for Dreaming, especially in the title sequence. Some footage was also used in the music video for Peter Gabriel’s 1987 single “In Your Eyes”, Rush’s 1989 music video for “Superconductor”, a 1989 commercial for the Nintendo Game Boy game Super Mario Land, a 1994 commercial for Power Macintosh, and in brief clips on an episode in the 2nd season of Penn and Teller: Bullshit. Clips were displayed during Nine Inch Nails concert performances. Part of the film, with dialogue, is played during the opening titles for The Hills Have Eyes. Some snippets (without dialogue) are played in the video watched by Michael Douglas during his physical in The Game and in the opening titles for The Stepford Wives.