Silly and obnoxious

In case you haven't seen it:
Check out B.Mc.'s artful manipulation of TomKat's appearance on O (via national watercooler). Just boggling. StinkyLulu's grandmother saw the original broadcast & commented: "Can you believe -- just silly. A grown man. Silly and obnoxious."

You tell him, gramma.


Hot Times / Summer in the City (if ABQ counts as a city)

It was really hot today.
But that didn't stop The Stinky Gang from getting some cultcha on.

~ First, a quick bite in Old Town at Church Street Cafe. StinkyLu's green chile chicken tortilla thing was good, but the table did seem to agree that our server was the tastiest morsel. (QueLinda's appetite was especially whetted.) On the way back to the car, the Stinky Gang popped into the excellent Saints & Martyrs, a total must for ABQ visitors. But -- truth be told -- Albuquerque's Old Town district just pisses StinkyLulu off. Not sure why...
~ Then, the Stinky Gang tooled over to Kenny Chavez' Folk Art Hootenanny (scroll down a bit). A nifty collection of really cool contemporary folk art. StinkyLu really liked the Virgen de Guadalupe pez dispenser & MrStinky almost got a really neato piece of pie art. (QueLinda was the only one to actually score with a piece by one of her favorite artists, whose name StinkyLu totally spaced.)
~ Finally, caught a screening of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room -- Alex Gibney's really smart & stylish doc about corporate culture in the Clinton/Bush era. Gibney's really good at what he does. This film is critical, intelligent, thorough, great looking, funny without being fatuous (hi Michael Moore!)... and if you haven't seen Gibney's The Trials of Henry Kissinger, put it in your netflix queue NOW. So. Check out this Enron flick -- just what a lefty doc should be...

Good day. Hot. But good day.


The Culture (of Fearing For One's) Life

Criticlasm sent an email today, announcing a new project:

"I was talking with friends last night about the current culture of fear --
the news pushing paranoia, the government pushing legislation
through fear, etc. I saw a teaser for the news the other day saying
"Could you possibly be exposed to GYM GERMS?!", and I thought,
"Now, it's just ridiculous." My friend, who is a mother, was talking
about paranoid emails she gets forwarded to her about everything
from toys to bottles to car seats being dangerous according to this
or that study, but no background to how the study was done or what
the actual conditions or reason to worry are."

Criticlasm's sent out a call, inviting submissions (of any kind of writing) that address "how constant overload and paranoia are affecting our lives." Innersting project...Got StinkyLulu to thinking about an incipient fear that's been threatening lately...

See, just a couple weeks ago, while visiting a Premium Outlet Mall just outside of Palms Springs, StinkyLu picked up a kicky pair of new summer sandals (in brown, not black). Anyway, ever since, StinkyLulu's become reacquainted with the always surprising and often quite painful experience of static electricity -- almost exclusively when getting out of the car. So, StinkyLulu got to wondering: Is it the shoes? Will removing the carpet floor mat on the driver's side help? Is StinkyLulu's stubborn addiction to air-conditioning while driving to blame? Will StinkyLulu spontaneously combust while pumping gas?

But here is where StinkyLulu's experience of the "culture of fear" might be a little off. StinkyLulu tends not to succumb to paranoia overload, despite being an essentially fear-driven creature & being totally enmeshed in contemporary media culture. Rather, it's as though -- on the crowded playing field of fears that is StinkyLu's brain -- the attacks by inchoate Panic or Hysteria are block tackled by the all-star defensive team of Cynicism, Malaise and Denial before getting anywhere near the end zone. (To use an ill-crafted football metaphor -- football itself being a long-standing source of fear for StinkyLulu.) Which means that -- in the case of StinkyLulu's fears of static electricity causing an explosion at the Pump'n'Save -- said fears don't arrive to the front of StinkyLulu's fear registry brain-screen until StinkyLulu's well into the process of pumping gas. Which would be so totally way too late to prevent a fireball fatality. Which begs the question: Are StinkyLulu's gas pump anxieties symptomatic of our contemporary culture of fear, or are they the feelings of one who suffers from an emerging condition affecting many in today's society -- Putative Experience of Near Immolation Syndrome, or P.E.N.I.S. StinkyLulu's unnerving P.E.N.I.S. encounters remain to be fully understood, awaiting further P.E.N.I.S. studies by expert P.E.N.I.S. researchers.

Whatever the ultimate diagnosis, it does seem to StinkyLu that Criticlasm's project is certainly a worthy one & something that promises all kinds of interesting tidbits. (Like the revelation that the color-coded terror alert system is all a big scam perpetrated by the Republican noise machine. 'Magine that.)


Creme de la Ru

For 3 weekends now, MrStinky & StinkyLu have roped unsuspecting friends and family into attending quite suspect "entertainments." Two weeks ago, the Ramona Pageant in Hemet, CA; last week, Charo at Casino Hollywood at San Felipe Pueblo. This week? Creme de la Do -- a benefit for New Mexico AIDS Services -- right here in Albuqueerque!

Truth be told, StinkyLulu was a tad reluctant to partake -- correctly anticipating Creme de la Do to be "A Queer Epic of Amateur Proportions," a particular genre of "benefit" entertainment/performance to which Albuqueerque has been subjecting StinkyLu for nigh on two decades. (A decade -- as the emcee of last night's Creme de la Do was careful to point out -- "means ten years, guys! That's alot!!!") But the event promises to be a "hair show" & RuPaul was scheduled to perform, so StinkyLu packed in the attitude and headed over to the Hyatt (where StinkyLu's presented at 2 Conferences de la Academentia)...

MrStinky & StinkyLu (along with friends who we'll call QueLinda & ChaCha) awaited entry, crammed into a vestibule along with a couple hundred sissyboys and chubbygirls of all make and model. (All told, it seems that 1300 folks attended this year's Creme de la Do.) Smells of sloshing cocktails mixed with the nearly visible odor of so much hair product as the sissyboys and chubbygirls hooted and honked, succumbing only occasionally to a surreal hush as one particularly muscular young man or another pressed through the cawing cackling throng, likely lost on his way to or from the backstage fluffing zone... Then the show.

Creme de la Do gives runway to 7 or 8 area salons to create a concept for a hair/fashion show of some kind. And a bunch of prettygirls & sissyboys strut while the occasional musclelunk galumphs & poses. Some entries create concepts -- like ABQ Hair Studio which stuck twigs, sticks and feathers all over kids from the local John Robert Powers franchise, creating the effect that (a) these children had been sleeping in the chicken coop or (b) they were on loan from a middle school production of The Lion King's Greatest Hits . Other entries simple create a vibe -- like Ace Barber Shop which put a bunch of hipster kids (possibly already high school grads, possibly not) in nifty threads from Infiknit. The best entry came from 2nd-Hand threads retailer/resaler Buffalo Exchange -- which had the kids staggering around in some early 80s thrash style which was fun but didn't really make sense until the "Free MJ" posters were revealed & most of the models snapped into a kicky riff on the zombie dance from "Thriller." But Fusion Hair & Skin offered the most effective entry -- with a twisty turny concept number ripped from EnVogue's "Never Gonna Get It." Female models lapdanced on hunky suited guys then stripped the guys down to their undypants. The whole number sorta really worked -- despite the stripper style & steroid chic -- though looking at video from last year's entry from Fusion (it's toward the very end) makes it seem that the bumping & grinding might be Fusion's signature moda...

During the show, however, The Stinky Gang suffered some defections. QueLinda lasted about an hour; ChaCha not quite two. But MrStinky & StinkyLu were bound and determined to stick around to see at least a little bit of RuPaul. Two numbers in, after an audiotracked introduction by Shirley Q. Liquor , RuPaul was clearly turning in a quite competent performance of this prerecorded set, obviously prepared for RuPaul's 2005 gaybar/pride circuit tour . Unfortunately, the tightly tracked numbers left next to no room for the banter that Ru does so well (and which StinkyLulu loves best). So, when MrStinky turned to StinkyLu and said "I liked Charo better," StinkyLulu had to agree. So, barely clearing the 3 hour mark of this Amateur Epic (not counting the hour and a half of preshow waiting), The Stinkys cleared out.

Whew. Hafta wonder what dubious theatrical adventures The Stinky Gang will have next...



Who said Yalies had no style?

Is this the work of vigilante fashion geeks (after all, this chalking did happen at the entrance to Sterling Library)? Or is it just another case of designer knockoffs being peddled on the sidewalks of chi-chi neighborhoods?


Charo ROCKS!

It's been a busy couple weeks for StinkyLulu. But the highlight happened just this past Saturday night...

StinkyLu's sister -- hereafter referred to as StinkySis -- had her birthday last monday, but StinkyLulu and MrStinky were still on their way back from the fabulosity of Palm Springs and the glamor, spectacle and sheer entertainment thrills of The Ramona Pageant (possibly more on that in a future blog). So, because StinkyLu & MrStinky missed the carnivore delight of StinkySis' birthday dinner -- they went to one of those South American Steak-On-A-Stick places -- MrStinky & Lulu made plans to treat StinkySis to sushi the next weekend...

THEN MrStinky discovers that Charo's playing at a casino between Santa Fe & ABQ.

The only night we can go is Saturday. Luckily, StinkySis is into adding some cuchi-cuchi to her sushi. (cuchi-sushi?) Ultimately, even the sushi gets chopped from the itinerary, as the whole Stinky gang go up to Santa Fe for a pre-mother's day brunch of pie (Frito & Diabetic Cool Whip Pie, respectively). Finally, MrStinky & StinkyLu whisked StinkySis off for a bit of KMart Blue-Light Special-ing -- breathe deep, that's the glamour of FantaSe -- before dinner at the amazing/incredible/delicious & quite cute Mu Du Noodles.

(Brief side note about dinner: MrStinky had the chicken special, StinkySis had the lamb special & StinkyLu had the duck special. All were f'n incredible. MrStinky noted that the meat -- all organic, farm-raised -- is consistently good at MuDu Noodles, perhaps suggesting that -- despite the restaurant's name -- the meat dishes are the real specialty at this noodle shop. StinkyLulu's dish -- described as a duck pizza (?!?!) -- was actually just a pile of really tasty slaw with shredded duck & mushrooms atop a flatbread, the whole thing slathered in hoisin sauce. The hoisin sauce was a touch rich when allowed to soak into the flatbread, but tasty. The hilarious owner lady -- in yoga pants, bedhead & really expensive specs -- even asked StinkyLu's thoughts on the dish, apparently appreciating StinkyLu's hoisin opinions enough to skidoo back to the kitchen promising to adjust the hoisin portion. StinkySis' lamb sate was garnished with a great steamed sweet stickyrice thing, which became a pre-dessert for the whole table. The actual dessert was basil ice cream, some other fancy strange chai ice cream & rice pudding cake. Boy howdy. Tasteeeeeeeee. Stinky Thumbs Up to MuDu Noodles!)

The Stinky Gang rolled down the highway to Casino Hollywood at San Felipe Pueblo, where for some reason tickets to the shows are FREE if you sign up for their players club thing & schlep all the way out to the middle of nowhere to pick them up in person. So, rolling in to the performance venue (just a teensy upgrade from a large black box set up, stackable chair seating, this place is surely available for your next wedding reception), the Stinky Gang's got seats in the 4th row. Viva la Casino Hollywood! The crowd is definitely AARP-eligible, 95% hispanic or Indian. The Stinky Gang appear to be the only people under 40 who came to this event entirely of their own accord, without parents, grandparents or in-laws to blame.

Finally: It's Charo Time!!!

The 80minute show has three acts -- aka 3 Outfits -- with two dance breaks -- aka 2 costume changes. Act/Outfit 1 -- a red, green & black mini-gown, with bugle beads in every cranny -- was a longish comedy set, with a couple musical numbers. Yes, Charo sings & Charo dances but Charo really brings on the funny. An astonishingly skilled comedian, Charo creates a stage persona whose charming naivete is belied by her savvy (and often quite "blue") malapropisms and commentary -- "Please don't misconscrue me when I saying..." -- which play off her basic schtick of a strange girl in a stranger land. It's really an effective persona & Charo's clearly figured out how to get an audience in the palm of her hand and to her substantial bosom.

Speaking of Charo's substantial bosom:
Act/Outfit 2 (pictured above) -- a pink & white jump suit -- was a more musical set, featuring Charo actually offering her vocal stylings of such latin-flavored classics as "Fernando", "Eres Tu" & -- of course -- "Livin' La Vida Loca." Charo lived her vida loca among the audience, salsa dancing among the crowd. At one point, not far from where the Stinky gang was seated, Charo executed what can only be called "The Booby Bop" -- holding the head of a male audience member still as she bopped her bosom repeatedly into his face. (No bugle bead lacerations were visible.) After the first & extended execution of the Booby Bop, Charo made her way down the row, eyed MrStinky's clear pate. Charo winked at StinkyLu as she grabbed MrStinky's bald head and squeezed it into her boobs, before moving down the row to embrace StinkyLu & StinkySis with her breasts. Quite a memorable encounter with a quite remarkable bosom.

And then Act/Outfit3 -- a sequined tuxedo, the only undeniably circus-y outfit of the evening -- for a set of some chatter, a teensy bit of singing, but mostly Charo playing flamenco and classical guitar sets. "For many years, the cuchi-cuchi was showing me the way to the bank. But this" -- she gestured to her guitar -- "is Charo." Charo played a sizable handful of fairly familiar songs -- "Bolero" & "Malaguena" and the like -- masterfully, at once impressive and satisfying, before rounding out the evening with some requisite encores, introductions of her dancers and band (each and every one "numero uno" and "a shtar"), and sending everyone home happy. A truly excellent set, showing her expertise at the cabaret/nightclub form. So much better than StinkyLu anticipated and all that StinkyLulu could have wished for from an evening with Charo.

1st Draft of "The Charo Paragraph"

For a long while, StinkyLulu's threatened to write the Charo paragraph. Here's a first draft:

Charo is truly the inheritor of both Carmen Miranda's burdens & blessings. Each a skilled musician & performer, Charo and Carmen both became notorious for their persona -- a sexually extreme latina clown, mangling the English language as they mangled the image of appropriately desirable femininity. These personas -- detailed constructions of gifted comedic actresses at the height of their form -- were naturalized within U.S. popular culture as their identities, in a fashion familiar to female performers and performers of color. Indeed, each woman's name iself became a jokey cliche, a singular label for a vast collection stereotypes -- about latin women and about the excesses of U.S. popular performance and culture. The passage of time since Carmen's death has permitted some scholars and fans to rediscover, to recuperate and to redeem Carmen Miranda. Perhaps such a project is beginning for Charo. However, the Charo lesson for historians of U.S. popular performance remains. As scholars and fans alike, we remain obliged to think beyond the veneer of "the new" & "the next" so readily marketed by the U.S. entertainment industry and to look toward these historical phenomena of replication, for it is in these revivals that the most intransigent practices of repression (and resistance) might be found.