The first of many revolving castings of critical eyes upon the latest breakout stars of streaming media.
I went to a party last night that quickly devolved into watching various YouTube favorites. I don't go to a lot of parties and have for the past year not worked in an office, so I think I am behind in the role that YouTube and various streaming media dumpsites have taken in the vast wasteland. YouTube has done remarkable things:
Case in point, Pussyamazing. Much like Beckett's settings for his tragicomedies, the backdrop before which Pussyamazing indulges her muse is a simple one: the cheap door of a room in her apartment in Italy (if her MySpace location is to be trusted. We were guessing Ohio.) We began with her rendition of "Against All Odds" by Mariah Carey after a webcam-ready "hi guys.... She sways in mismatched lingerie in time with the karaoke machine set between her and the camera. We garner this because she looks down a lot. Understanding the implications of the next statement, she's no Mariah Carey, but there is something triumphant about the fact that she's trying. Why pick a song with some highs she will never hit? Why that weird belt? Because you noticed. Everyone knows they need an angle, and here was hers, and as we proceed, we shall see that angle open up.
Next up is a heartfelt rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," and as the Titanic of her dignity (or is it ours for watching) sank, it snagged her bra with it, leaving her to cover her shameful breasts with her hands. I joke about the shame. Even though she is now deprived of American Idol style hand motions with which to augment her performance because of YouTube's draconian nudity standards (er... have you seen the internet before?) , she does make it through. The thing that struck me here most was that the door, closed in the previous clip, has opened a crack. As her inhibitions are dropped, as the ante is raised, so widens her conduit to the rest of the world.
The third clip, the event horizon if you will, is titled "PUSSYAMAZING WITH HER ANIMALS!!!!" where she is nude expect for two plush toys covering the offending areas. Again with the Mariah Carey, and here it seems her singing is getting worse, but glance past the glory that is Woman, gyrating like Botticelli's Venus with a third floor walk-up and a video camera for a briny clamshell, and you will see the door is now wide open, gazing down the hall, around a corner, past the guest room, and just perhaps, leading eventually to God and the infinite. She attempts all the peaks and valleys of Mimi's exhortations and, nice showbiz touch, at one point turns to the side with a paw deftly covering her nipple. That is how a pro does it, y'all.
It is tempting to chastise here, and YouTube encourages this chastisement, but I did walk away from this with more than Mariah Carey stuck in my head. I left with a knowledge that, with the times, are born souls equipped to navigate them. PA's MySpace says that she has yet to find a record label, and I'm scared to conjecture whether there is one in her future. But via YouTube, a karaoke machine and a gift card's worth from the Ladies Intimate section, this one woman at least sought a way out, and through that seeking we are alive.
Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com
March sees a greatly expanded reissue of Elliott Smith's most critically acclaimed album Either/Or