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Archive: Vogue

In 1989 British artist Malcolm McLaren (1946 – 2010) invited vogue legend Willi Ninja (1961 – 2006) to London to record a spoken word introduction to his song “Deep In Vogue”, with which he wanted to present the New York ballroom culture to a new audience. The main part of the song was performend by singer Lourdes Morales and released as a single from McLaren’s album Waltz Darling in a remix by producers Mark Moore and William Orbit, which McLaren liked better than his own version. Singer Lordes today claims that McLaren stole the original idea for the song from house DJ and producer David Delvalle, while Willie Ninja shortly before his death criticized McLaren for misspelling his name on the single and not mentioning him as the writer of intro’s lyrics.
McLaren for his part later on openly criticized Madonna for stealing his idea of introducing ballroom to the mainstream with her single “Vogue”, which was released one year later: ”I found myself on the same bill as Madonna at some Greenpeace concert and I remember her watching my dancers voguing from the side of the stage. A few weeks later she had stolen all my dancers, brought out her own single and carried it over into the mainstream. The cheek of her!” It is said that Madonna learned about voguing through actress Lauren Hutton, who was McLaren’s girlfriend at the time.
The epic video to “Deep In Vogue” starring ballroom legend Willi Ninja and his crew was shot in 1989, shortly before the release of “Paris is Burning”, which already existed on VHS at that time. It was director Jenny Livingston herself, who allowed producers Mark Moore and William Orbit to use samples from the film for their version of the song.

Wu Tsang via Neon Ladosha.

Another really nice song and video I found on the Iberoamerican pop blog club fonograma. Alex Anwandter is based in Santiago de Chile, his single “Cómo Puedes Vivir Contingo Mismo?” (“How can you live with yourself”) and the album “Rebeldes” were released last year on the artist’s label 5PM. The lyrics of the song deal with brutal murder of a young gay man called Daniel Zamudio, who was killed by neo-Nazis. The murder sent a shockwave throughout the country, Zamudio family revealed to the media that Anwandter had been his favorite artist. With the beautiful new video shot at a bar in Santiago (which is anything else but shocking), another homage to voguing culture as shown in “Paris is Burning”, the song has a real potential to spread around the world. You can currently download the song together with two nice remixes on Anwandter’s website. If you want to stream the whole album click on “Home”.

“Every Night I Say A Prayer” is a track from Little Boots‘ upcoming album, released in conjunction with the “Record Store Day” in a one-off limited edition vinyl and now available as a free download. The track was written and produced by Andy Butler (Hercules & Love Affair) and Little Boots, you can download the song on our last Music Ticker from Sunday (just scroll down a bit, it’s the fourth Soundcloud wave).
The video was directed by artist Zaiba Jabbar, who writes the following about the it on her blog:

“Initially inspired by Paris is Burning we wanted to draw on the performance element and make a more london, and abstract version. In this realm we wanted to create a more conceptual take on a music video. Moving into more of a dance:performance video.”

So it seems like 20 years after Madonna’s take on the NYC ballroom culture and after artists such as Hercules & Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman, The Miracles Club and others have prepared its comeback visually and musically (see “Creature” / ”Light Of Love”) during the past two years, voguing has now officially diffused into the white mainstream culture again. Is that a good thing? I put this up for discussion.

For my generation, Ball Culture is something known and experienced through “Paris is Burning”. The famous price winning documentary film portrays the people involved in the scene in the late 80s, the rules of it, but keeps the distance of the anthropologist’s eye.
By starting chronologically where the film ends, the picture book “Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-1992″, offers a different look on the phenomenon, by being temporally set when balls and voguing gains the attention of the mainstream. Madonna’s single “Vogue” hits the charts in 1990.

The book offers three types of photos: the formal studio portraits by Chantal Regnault in a papier glacé look can be seen today as documents for the relativ fame the protagonists of “Paris is Burning” reached, after they confessed in the film they wanted it so much. Journalistic photos taken at balls and casual-but-posed outdoor snapshots portraits gives a conterpoint, a more spontaneous mise-en-scène of the selves.

In addition to the pictures, interviews with protagonists done for the purpose of the book in the last two years gives an often nostalgic look backward. But most interesting is the introduction text by Tim Lawrence, who describes the late 80s Harlem ball scene as part of a 150 years old tradition.

“Voguing” is currently on discount, you can order it via Soul Jazz’ website, you also find more information about it there. Here are some more preview pictures (via Dummy, (c) Chantal Regnault)

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Beth Ditto performs Madonna’s “Vogue” at Moscow Miller party.

First video via Jonathan.

ME AT NINE, PERFORMING TO MADONNA IN SUMMER ’91! from Robert Jeffrey on Vimeo.

Voguing: The Message is a nice little pre-”Paris Is Burning” documentary about the emerging New York voguing scene with a lot of footage and some awesome performances and statements by Willi Ninja from the House of Ninja. The film was shot in 1988 by Jack Walworth, David Bronstein & Dorothy Low and released in 1989.

The gorgeous video to the new Junior Boys song “Bits and Pieces” features Twista, Vixen and Snoopy, three dancers of the Canadian Voguing collective “House Of Monroe”. That group was formend in 2006 and since then seems to have a huge influence on the ballroom scene in Toronto (I think they even may have been the ones who have established it). You find a lot of other videos featuring their dancers if you search for House of Monroe on Youtube. (via produzentin)

To all Berliners that aren’t yet totally under the spell of “Germany’s Next Topmodel”: There is an alternative for Thursday evening – a lecture about the history of voguing held by Jan Keves, editor of Spex magazine. It is part of the quite interesting exhibition project “fake or feint”. More about it here.

They’re the Capri Kids.