What’s that? Why are we being so demanding? Well, both of your faithful Filthy Dreams founders are moving. While Emily is making the move this week, Marion is the next. However, it’s close enough to synch up our wild-eyed moving mania. *cue the Benny Hill theme song*
After the mania, comes the existential crisis: Why did we do this to ourselves? What were we thinking? Fine…both of us are moving mere blocks but still, it’s a waking nightmare.
However, the only way we can get through this loss of sanity together–and I mean all of us, dearest readers, because you’re in this with us–is to put on some videos to distract ourselves from the realization that we have to fit all of our lives into tiny boxes. Maybe this will help maintain our grasp on reality (however tenuous it was to begin with).
So put down the cardboard boxes, sit back and watch. BUT NOT FOR TOO LONG, WE HAVE PACKING TO DO!!!
1. Last Discoball Maker in the United States
Sometimes I fantasize about leaving all this art and culture writing business behind. Who needs all that stress and all that little pay? But what else would I do? I’m not qualified to do anything with social value! Nor do I want to. Well, I think I discovered my new dream career: Discoball maker. To support this fantasy, watch the Nightly News segment that profiles Yoyo Baker, the last discoball maker in the United States. Oh, Yoyo! Do you even know how much you’ve done for us? And are you looking for an apprentice?
2. Jimmy Somerville “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”
It’s no secret that we, here at Filthy Dreams, have become captives of Jimmy Somerville’s elfin charm. He’s just so aggressively sincere in a way that’s both shameful and endearing. Well, I think I found my new favorite Jimmy video–his version of Sylvester’s disco anthem “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” With clips of Harvey Milk and Sylvester, Somerville forges a queer genealogy that probably nobody wanted. However, both Milk and Sylvester are dead so they have no say in the matter.
What I love about Somerville’s videos is how they seem to have these themes but they’re all so vague and convoluted that who can figure out what they are. With clips of protests, floating heads, gyrating hips and boogying spacemen, this video is no different. I have a feeling we’re supposed to be galvanized by this rallying cry. I mean, I know I’m ready to take to the streets but I have no idea why.
3. Blood Orange “Augustine”
Dev Hynes has been a role model here at Filthy Dreams ever since Blood Orange’s debut album Coastal Grooves. With each subsequent Blood Orange album, Hynes seems to further define himself as an important figure in queer black politics. His new album Freetown Sound is no different as Hynes seems to acknowledge and accept this position with an album filled with a multitude of black and queer voices. As he himself wrote on Instagram, “My album is for everyone told they’re not BLACK enough, too BLACK, too QUEER, not QUEER in the right way, the underappreciated. It’s a CLAPBACK.”
The video for his first single Augustine begins with a shot of a number of publications including Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology. Sitting in Washington Square Park and dancing on an NYC roof, I’m obsessed with Hynes’ movements, which recall a dreamy version of voguing without feeling completely derivative. However, the part of the video I’ve been stuck on since it’s release are the shots of Hynes at a jerk chicken place with The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, who looks a hot mess. Besides rekindling my love of Casablancas’ deadpan slurred singing, I keep obsessing over this part of the video-what does it mean?! With the rest of the video feeling so symbolic, what are you trying to tell us, Dev?
4. “Don’t mess with a snap diva!” clip from Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied
In Freetown Sound, Hynes samples Marlon Riggs’ singing so why not follow Blood Orange’s video with a legendary clip from Rigg’s seminal Tongues Untied? Perhaps the most iconic work to expansively address queerness, HIV/AIDS and being black in America, Tongues Untied remains endlessly influential. The film is currently on view at the Bronx Museum incarnation of the traveling Art AIDS America. Of course, on my visit to the show, I caught my personal favorite part of the film. What is it you ask, curious readers? Well, *SNAP SNAP SNAP* “Don’t Mess With A Snap Diva”!! I mean, who wouldn’t want to perfect the “Medusa Snap”?
5. Penny McLean “Lady Bump”
What better way to end our list with a return to disco through Penny McLean’s screeching classic “Lady Bump”? When I first saw this video, I wondered how I never knew Mary Tyler Moore had a disco phase in the mid-1970s. Turns out, no, it was just another big-mouthed red-head. Apparently, “Lady Bump” was a disco success and watching McLean’s gaping screams, I can see why. I’ve never seen anyone shriek like a banshee under a spinning discoball but man, am I inspired.