Underneath the 1980s nostalgia of Netflix’s drama Stranger Things, the sleepy Midwestern town of Hawkins, Indiana becomes a porous portal into an alternate dimension that the kids on the show call “The Upside Down.”
“It’s almost embarrassing to acknowledge how good things are…There’s something abnormal about it,” reflects Perfume Genius’s Mike Hadreas in an interview with FADER. With the release of his new album this week No Shape, a transcendent ode to romanticism, love and domesticity as redemption, Perfume Genius raises the question: What does utopia sound like?
I drool when I nap. Yep. It’s not pretty, dearest Filthy Dreams readers, but as Mariah Carey slurred in her New Year’s eve performance/art/train wreck, “it is what it is.”
Yesterday, that over-salivation both almost killed me and gave me inspiration. I dreamed I was drowning. While I couldn’t breathe in reality, in my mind, I was immersed underwater with a slow, rhythmic, Rorschach-like imagery. A bikini-sporting body appeared and disappeared in spurts of bubbles, a beaded heart sank to the bottom of the sea and a childlike voice, reminiscent of Björk, crooned Chris Isaak’s heartbroken “Wicked Game.”
In his seminal 1952 anticolonial text Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon writes, “I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos–and the white man, however intelligent he may be, is incapable of understanding Louis Armstrong or songs …
In his song “Lady Stardust” from his seminal album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie vividly describes an androgynous gender-bending singer, half-entertaining and half-terrifying a crowd with his decadent aesthetic and songs. Potentially written in honor of T. Rex’s frontman Marc Bolan, “Lady Stardust” also references Bowie’s own playful, visionary and even, utopian transgressions of traditional gender binaries, particularly when dressed as the glam rock savior Ziggy Stardust.
As some of you observant readers may have noticed, I don’t often share my writing with other publications on this wondrously decadent blog of ours out of fear of becoming as queer theorist and former Chair of Performance Studies at New York University José Esteban Muñoz would call, using the biting words of Jack Smith, “a walking career.” …