Performers Who Shake + Stir
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because zigging when the rest of the world zags could be the key to celebrating like a boss.
By Eugene S. Robinson
There’s a certain poised perfection to doing the same thing again and again. Oh, and again.
And then sometimes it’s the road to madness.
So let’s strike a blow against the bad kind of madness and do the thing that most marks our species’ greatest successes (and sometimes failures): switch it all up.
Sit back and relax in your post-holiday torpor with some of the grandest non-traditional performances to be found.
If it’s past Thanksgiving, and it is, you can’t have helped to notice the rapid and rabid influx of holiday music. While some of us enjoy holiday music all year round, for others of us it is a blight, a pox, an affliction. And now there’s a solution, and that solution is Tokyo’s Melt Banana. They’re not so much about holiday noise as they are just about noise. Unholy and sometimes wonderful, it’s music distilled to the most effective rudiments: voice, guitar and effects. Not on Kris Kringle’s playlist but they should be. Oh yes, they should be.
“How lucky can one guy be?” Dean Martin asked in one of his less seasonal tunes and we wonder the same as we meditate on the man and his genius. While Martin was responsible for a sizable share of the aformentioned holiday music, his songbook and his life was so huge and at the same time so inaccessible that we wondered about this man who was super-private despite his much-and-many-vaunted private acts done publicly (drinking, skirt chasing, smoking and more drinking). And through all of the puzzling? Performances that kill.
Only in America.
Globally, Black men make their way hither and yon without much extraordinary notice, but in the U.S. Black machismo inspires a certain amount of sublime discomfort in those who are prone to it. Which is why it’s so great to see it addressed head on in the Black Badass movie trope. Not really present in film until the 1960s (and we’re not counting Birth of a Nation), and widely held to be kicked off by Melvin Van Peebles, Black Badassery flowered in the 1970s. I saw it all, every single weekend up on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. So we recreate here for you, with a few of the best, minus the stale popcorn and a theater full of kids like me losing our minds.
Dirk Bogarde was the shit. From The Night Porter to my all-time favorite The Servant (yes, service seems to be a theme). Bogarde’s louche, slightly decadent take on… well, everything, made him an absolute joy to watch. In fact, friendships have actually been ended with people who did not find The Servant to be as significant as it clearly is. With his reptilian cool, like John Malkovich before John Malkovich was John Malkovich, Bogarde is a cinematic delight. And a perfect way to round off your holiday rebellion.