The Accordion Connection

Simone says there's a popular indie rock band called the "Accordion Connection, you know, that one with all the guys on stage at once, and one of them has a drum? You know who I mean". Anyway, this is an unrelated blog of bitchin' YouTube videos.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

What is up with the checkout people at Trader Joes in NYC? Does TJs buy high-quality speed laced with exstacy in bulk and then sell it under the TJs brand name to its employees at low, low prices? Because, granted, I don't go there very often, but the few times I have, the person checking me out has been soooo fucking chatty. Last night, I was forced to discuss my work situation at length with an overly peppy gay man. In the past, I've been incessantly hit on at the wine store.

And then there's the time a woman ringing me up decided to tell me about what an incredibly fine man George Michael is/was. A BIOLOGICALLY FEMALE WOMAN.

The thing is, the sentiment that George Michael was foine, voiced by a woman, would have been totally acceptable about 20-25 years ago. But I mean, we've learned a lot since WHAM!, right? Like, that George Michael is GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY.... But seriously, what was up with WHAM! being considered "hot" throughout the 80s and George Michael continuing to be a a "sex symbol" for women well into the 90s?

Hopefully you just watched one of WHAM!'s first appearances on Top of the Pops, "singing" the song "Bad Boys," in 1983. You'll see that both members of wham are rocking a look I like to call "Classic Gay Leather (soft version)" and George Michael is prancing around singing about Daddies and Bad Boys... Now, officially, this song is supposed to be about a teenager fighting with his parents, but I think we all know what it's really about. That's right, leather daddies.

In 1984, WHAM! decided it was time for an image change. Out went the leather daddies and in came the giant white tshirts that told us to "choose life," along with a few shuttlecocks stuffed down the white pants for good measure. (Yes, seriously, there was a controversy about how the lads from WHAM! were stuffing with shuttlecocks. GAY.)And then came "Wake me up Before You Go Go," WHAM!'s biggest hit, which has it's own totally gay backstory. Andrew Ridgely (the one who isn't George Michael) left GM a note when they were at a hotel one night that said "wake me up up before you go go." But, obviously, what it really said "wake me up up before you go go to the gay leather bar because i want to come too! (I love bears!!!) okay ttfn!"

Yeah. I mean, look at that. The cavorting, the white pants, the fake guitar playing... It all point clearly at gay. And yet, they were not perceived as such. What is the possible explanation for this? The only thing that comes to my mind is that they were popular with teenage girls. And the thing about being a teenage girl is, you don't understand when boys are gay. I personally had a die-hard crush on one of my gay friends, who, looking back on it, was EXTREMELY flaming, (though he wasn't yet out of the closet) for like 2 years in high school. So, i can understand the confusion when presented with squeaky-clean, cute, non-threatening pop stars who just wanna "go go" and not, like, force their hands down your pants without asking at makeout point or whatever. (though also, I don't really thing george michael was "cute" really... but then again, neither were any of the members of NSYNC, so what do I know?)

What really confounds me is that George Michael somehow managed to continue to be a straight sex symbol during his solo career. I mean, seriously, watch this:

First off, there's the fixation on the ass - GAY. Then there's the bedazzled leather jacket, the reflective aviators, the single dangly earring, and the facial hair. GAYYYYYY. Did you ever wonder how he got so many supermodels in his video for "Freedom 90"? Because he's gay. And the gays love fashion!

Of course, then he got caught being totally gay in a public restroom in some park, and the rest is history. There would be no more rumors of his supposed relationships with the likes of Brooke Sheilds and Whoopi Goldberg (!...i guess everyone was a beard there...). Nope, GM was officially forced out of the closet, kicking and screaming. After paying an $810 fine and doing 80 hours of community service, GM came back with "Outside," an anthem of gayness if there ever was one. The video... well, the video is a high camp classic, y'all. There's a disco in the men's room, and everyone is invited! No need to RSVP!

...By the way, is he saying "keep on fucking" at the end of that video? I can't tell.

Anyway, here are some facts that I didn't fit into the post, but I thought were, you know, interesting or whatevs.

-WHAM!'s first appearance on top of the pops was in 1982, where they performed a song called "young guns (go for it)" (yes, seriously). George Michael apparently wore "espadrilles, a suede jacket slit open, and rolled-up denim jeans." And apparently this drove the girls wild.
-WHAM! was the first western pop act to tour in Red-turning-pink China. They were there for 10 days in 1985.
-Their trip to China is immortalized in the tour film "Foreign Skies."
-Their first song was called "wham rap."
-The other guy in WHAM! is actually not gay and he lives in some old castle with his wife somewhere in England. And he's an environmental activist or something.
-George Michael was arrested in a public restroom in Beverly Hills after being baited by one of the force's "pretty police."

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Can Has Low-Brow Humor?

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"You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!"

Oh my god and holy shit, dudes:

Amy Sedaris and Dolly Parton together! It is simultaneously the most exciting moment in feminism this year, yet also the gayest thing that ever has been and ever will be. Amazing!

Summary: Dolly loves you, but she just doesn't have time for your big city neuroses! In anyone else's hands, this video totally could have turned into, like, a Dove "Real Beauty" ad, but Dolly speaks from the heart! Anyway, I'm sure Simone would have more/ better historical things to say about how Dolly's always been a total feminist or whatever, but whatever! I got home from work first!

Actually, this is totally making me weepy. It's totally like a Le Tigre song for moms who read Redbook!

PS: The part where she refers to herself as the "Dolly Lama" is so good, it actually cured my cold!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our Brothers from Another Mother

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The Accordion Connection: Where Even The Most Mediocre Aspects of Mid-90s Alt Culture Are Treated with the Respect and Dignity That They Deserve

Now where's my OK! Soda?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Guy With the Beard is Grant Lee Phillips (In Case You Care)

I had thought my 20s were going to be like this. My bad?:

So obviously from a time when "being Janeane Garofalo-ish" was a legitimate career prospect. Sigh.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guitar Queer-os

We can't get enough of these dorks in the cold, soggy winter months (even though its kind of so pez it should have its own dispenser):

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sonic Youth and Their Super-Friends

(Jason Lee)

(Chloe Sevigny, Marc Jacobs)

(Macaulay Culkin and that girl he married)

I kind of want to make excuses for them, still, but "Sugar Kane" is essentially the "Freedom '90" for people who had really strong opinions about Airwalks. Okay, you're right, "Freedom" was way better:

PS: I never noticed that guy with the anti-gravity boots before. How "Zoolander"!

PPS: Supermodels! What was that even about?!

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'll be sex offensive to you.

Yes, that's right, you, the young Bruce Springsteen. EMPHASIS ON YOUNG, guys. I mean, seriously. Let's forget the fact that the current Bruce Springsteen is like 60 and has a "soul patch" and is pretty boring, musically. Let's just remember when Bruce Springsteen was FOINE and YOUNG and his music was still pretty boring and lame but WHATEVER god he was cute.

Just watch this video and tell me he isn't fine. But watch it with the sound off. Because this song sounds like elevator music.

Now, I was going to post a video of Bruce singing "I'm going down," (the only good Springsteen song out there... seriously, for a while there I thought there was something wrong with me, like, wasn't Bruce Springsteen supposed to be good and, you know, the boss or whatever? Anyway, "I'm going down" is what I wish all Bruce Springsteen songs sounded like) but there's this long monologue where he's like chatting with the audience before he plays the song... and basically, he says "make love" a bunch and it's really gross. That's something cheesy lounge singers in Las Vegas say, you know? Anyway, instead, here's the cover of "the river" which is supposedly good but actually isn't!

Sigh. What a dreamboat.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

I Was a Pre-Teen Goth

Well, it wasn't really my fault, you know! Pre-teen culture in the early 90s--before there were 'tweens' and 10 years old was considered a reasonable age to begin wearing thng underwear--was filled with the kind of stuff that would, a few years down the road, lead us all to skull rings and bad eyeliner and Robert Smith hair and shoddy, ill-informed Wicca practice. Need proof? Well, to begin with, there was Beetlejuice, the animated series:

On the show, B-Juice was downgraded from the Charlie Sheen of spirits (crazy, vengeful, gassy) he was shown to be in the movie--on the show he has gone from trying to steal Lydia and make her his underworld bride to just trying to earn some money babysitting to buy her a present. For what it's worth, Lydia seems a bit more into him, too...

Please consider further: Gravedale High:

On this show, Rick Moranis teaches at a high school for monsters, some of whom are voiced by Ricki lake and I think Phil Hartman, and is one of those shows packed with weird references that go over little kids' heads. I spent many a pre-YouTube year desperately seeking copies of episodes of this show, trolling around eBay and whatnot, only to recently find it on YouTube and remember that it's not very good. Is it wrong that I'm kind of attracted to the werewolf with the red pompadour? I mean, in a cartoon way. I mean not really! Kidding!

Furthermore: Eerie, Indiana

Set in a small Midwestern town where everything that went on was like a less-spooky "X-Files", Eerie, Indiana started off as an unsuccessful Friday night show, but found a second life on the Fox Saturday morning line-up, where I watched it obsessively, praying that my own lame-o suburb held such mystery, excitement, and haunted Tupperware.

And of course, we can't forget Goosebumps:

I was totally fucking above Goosebumps, because I thought they were books for illiterates, but I watched it because it was on and because it had monsters in it, which is something you can rarely say about any TV shows nowadays.

Nickelodeon, of course, had it's own tween-Goth offerings, like it's monsters-at-monster-college cartoon, Ahhh! Real Monsters:

Even Canadians got into the act, with Are You Afraid of the Dark:

It was on SNick, remember? Ah, SNick. There was something so deliciously adult and forbidden and sophisticated about SNick that really summed up the appeal of pre-teen-Goth in general to me.

And of course everyone too young to have a period but too nerdy to have more than one friend was watching the X-Files every Sunday or Friday night, depending on the year, of course.

Being a teenager of course is profoundly confusing, but being a pre-teen is confusing, too. You're about to be let into the big bad adult world, and you need to get a handle on some of the freakier stuff about it, perhaps through a gentle, candy-colored version of some of its scarier parts? I feel like pre-teens today are getting that version of sex, with their Abercrombie tween thongs and pole dancing classes and whatnot. In the early 90s, watching all of these shows, I felt like I was getting a prettied-up, candy-coated version of death, tragedy, and trouble. Is sex scarier to us than death now? Were we making such spooky kids shows way back when because we were all so traumatized by mass death promised by the Cold War? Perhaps I'm reading too much into this. Maybe all the people in charge of childrens programming in the early 90s were also early investors in Hot Topic, and they were just making sure that they cultivated an audience of people who would remain interested in skull-print clothes through their early 30s. Either way, the lessons of these shows stick with me to this day. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go dye my hair black, return my DVD of the Craft, and wash my spiderweb-print tights.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

My Fake Inspirational Writer Girlfriends, Part 1

Funny girls seem like they're writing TV shows and movies these days, not novels, huh? What's that about? Actually, who are the really funny girl novelists ever? Please leave me suggestions in the comments! But I am getting ahead of myself. Anyway, so because funny girls are writing movies and TV these days, I hereby present you with my two favorite writing ladies, who have both written books but they were memoirs so they only count a little, and they are mostly writing for the moving pictures. God, this blog is so boring when I am being really sincere!

First up: Jill Soloway! When Jill was very young, Jill produced a stage show called "The Real Live Brady Bunch." Then she smoked pot for something like ten years straight, got accidentally pregnant, wrote a funny story about Courtney Cox (, yeah, no, I don't know how to hyperlink, fuck you), wrote for Six Feet Under, wrote a memoir called TINY LADIES IN SHINY PANTS, and most importantly is a feminist all of the time. She runs some kind of feminist dance party-comedy-fun organization in LA, and also she speaks at some NOW conference, below!:

Now: Diablo Cody wrote a great book called CANDY GIRL that is about what it is like to be a smart funny Midwestern lady who decides to become a stripper anyway. I will admit that I have an endless taste for books about the business of being professionally naked, but this book is really really genuinely funny and good and filled with hilarious lists and stuff. I kind of see her as a fun feminist refutation to the works of Chuck Klostermann, which I think is pretty important! Like, for the world. Anyway, here she is on Letterman:

"I thought strippers would be these off-the-wall feminist chicks who were best friends and drank gin," Cody said. "But that is not the case. Everyone hates each other."

Isn't she so adorable? She's dressed like it's 1995 in her heart. Also, on December 14th, a movie she wrote called "Juno" will be coming out. It stars Ellen Page and Michael Cera and Jason Bateman and looks like the feminist refutation of "Knocked Up"!:

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