The Search is Over: RIP Jimi Jamison

Over a decade ago, Spiegelmama and I went to see the Reo Speedwagon, Styx, Survivor mega-concert At Mandalay Bay in Vegas because when you get the chance to see The Speedwagon…you grab it! Before the concert, all we could talk about was Reo and Styx. After, all we could talk about was Survivor. Oh, and also, how young Dennis DeYoung’s replacement was, and how we didn’t notice until he vaulted over the keyboard, but mostly we talked about Survivor and how many hits they had and how we knew the words to all of them. (As tweens, we’d even written a parody song of The Search is Over called The Weekend’s Over: every Monday’s bringing me back to school!)

Jimi we hardly knew ye.

Jimi we hardly knew ye.

That’s why I was so sad when I found out that one of their lead singers*, Jimi Jamison, died yesterday at 63. I’m sure he was a good guy a la the plot of the video for The Search is Over. A sexy woman thrashes in her bed while her boyfriend walks around thinking about the skeevier moments in their relationship, then arrives just before she thrashes onto the floor and gives her a platonic tender hug.

You might have noticed a few things. First, Jimi was world class hugger.

Aw. Snuggies!

Aw. Snuggies!

You might also have noticed that Survivor shoe-horned the entire band into their videos way before The Foo Fighters and No Doubt did it. Did you notice something else? The skeeviness I mentioned earlier? A little? Maybe. Well, wait until you watch The Search is Over.

Things you to keep in mind as you watch:

1: He first sees her ass at 22 seconds. He first sees her face at 35 seconds. He falls in love somewhere in between.

2. Peach sweater. Peach earrings.

3. The girl in this video, Lee Ann Marie, was a trained dancer who performed with Ann Fucking Reinking and was one of the Danke Shoen girls Ferris sings to on the float. She claims that the director of the video didn’t know that she was a dancer until she busted out her Staying Alive-esque Aisle-walk dance (about a minute in). If that is true, then why did he not notice her Dance Face at 54 seconds? Pay attention, Chicago-based 80s video director.

4. The weird reaction to the kiss at 2:40. Especially this guy:

Woo. Getting hot under the old collar.

Getting hot under the old collar.

Look, I know he is a band member and not an actor, but his performance as Business Perv is so creepily accurate, it makes me wonder if he’s doing too much acting…or too little! Either way, that’ll be seeping into my nightmares tonight.

5. A man has died people! Let’s show a little reverence.

*Survivor had two completely interchangeable lead singers…just like Kids Incorporated. They are now down to one. Sad trombone.

Friday Morning Videos: Touch Me

No, not that one. The other one. The one by the singer who used to be an adult film star, until she briefly told us all about naughty girls needing love, too. This one.

I get paid in AquaNet.

I get paid in AquaNet.

Oddly, the guy who gets almost as much screentime in this video as Samantha Fox is her keyboardist, whose fringed jacket is rivaled only in “Can’t Buy Me Love” for its fringiness. But he’s an adept spinner, isn’t he?

I don't really play the keyboard. I just spin in front of it and hit the "o noise" button.

I don’t really play the keyboard. I just spin in front of it and hit the “o noise” button.

Just when you think this is going to be an excruciatingly boring concert vid, this guy, who got lost looking for the bathroom at CBGB’s, unexpectedly finds himself on stage, getting humped by a former porn star. Lucky punk.

Well, I DID have to pee.

Well, I DID have to pee.

So moved by the wandering punk, Samantha takes a moment to coach us on proper orgasm-faking, because one can never be too good at that, amirite, Lerlines?

Who stuck that mic up the hole in my jeans? Steve!

Who stuck that mic up the hole in my jeans? Steve!

And then there’s the whole thing where she swings out over the crowd from a rope…

It worked for David lee Roth.

It worked for David Lee Roth.

…and then cools off with a tabletop fan beside from the stage, drinks some water, and throws it in her guitarist’s face.

You should see what else is on her rider.

You should see what else is on her rider.

Happy Labor Day, folks! And happy belated birthday to the other Samantha in my life, who, to my knowledge, has never done any of the things in this video, except probably sing the song whilst wearing a denim jacket.

When That Perfect Girl Goes

Last, we were watching the “Beach Ball” episode of Bubble Guppies, a little romp in which Cinderella’s a bartender lobster at a beachside cabana, and her name is Sandy.

Life after Rydell.

Life after Rydell.

The evil brunette lobsters don’t want her to go to the Beach Ball.

We're lobsters, and we dance!

Bartenders are SUCH low-class lobsters!

As the episode commenced, we had this conversation.

Three-year-old: “Who’s Sandy?”

Five-year-old: “Sandy is that girl in the real-people movie. Grease.”

Me: “Yes… Yes, she is.”

FYO: “She was good except when she went all curly-haired and wore black. That was weird. Why did she do that?”

Good thing Rizzo's my size, or these pants would be even less comfortable.

Good thing Rizzo’s my size, or these pants would be even less comfortable.

Me: “Well, that was weird. Because she was trying to be something she wasn’t for a boy.”

FYO: “But maybe she really liked that.”

Me: “That’s true… In which case, it’s OK. If she really did, deep down, want curly hair and to wear all black. But if she did it just for a boy or anyone else, that’s not OK. But if she really did  like it…”

FYO: “…”

Me: “Is that too much?”

FYO: Sigh.

When I was five and watching Grease, I thought Sandy’s transformation totally kicked, because she got a great song out of it, and clearly John Travolta liked it, so it must be right. Then I turned twenty and was all, WTF, what’d she do that for? She went all slutty just to get a guy. So uncool. And now, my five-year-old has me realizing I’ve been judging Sandy’s life choice too harshly.

Hmm. Maybe what I really need is a home perm from a Lock of Fury dropout.

Hmm. Maybe what I really need is a home perm from a Lock of Fury dropout.

It reminded me of a blog (to which I will not link) on Slate, I think, where the writer had deep reservations about Elsa’s makeover at the end of “Let It Go.” It sexualized her, it said, and it also was expressing that for a girl to get her power, she has to have a slinky little walk and let her hair down in a way that the boys will totally love. (This writer also said the song is setting up Elsa to be the film’s villain, which makes me wonder if we watched the same movie.)

She's here. She's fabulous. Get used to it.

She’s here. She’s fabulous. Get used to it.

After two theater viewings, multiple DVD viewings and countless “Let It Go” YouTube replays, I have come to the satisfying conclusion that Elsa got into her bangin’ slink-dress because she could. She spent her whole life barricaded away by sucky parents, her hair all scrinched up on her head, wearing giant regal dresses that probably weighed a ton, covering up every bare inch of her body so she didn’t accidentally shame the family with her horrible secret. So what’s she do when she busts out of that? Gets herself a light, flattering, dramatic gown that allows her freedom of movement and doesn’t make her feel like a prisoner in her own body. I’d have done it, too. In fact, I did do it.

Elsa’s physical manifestation is her final fuck-you to her parents and fear: I will be who I want, do what I want, and I will look how I want to look. She’s not just exhibiting her talents, she’s wearing them out there, plain as day. It’s the equivalent of the emo teenager finally having the nerve to wear eyeliner to school, the man who finally busts out the high heels, the woman who realizes she can wear anything she fucking wants because it’s her body, and she can.

So I offer my sincere apologies to Sandy. I’ve been slut-shaming you all these years, and it took a five-year-old to expose it. You wear whatever the hell you want. After all, I never judged Danny for lettering in track. Shame on me.

The king is dead.

James Garner will be long remembered as Maverick, Rockford, or for a few of us romantic comedy suckers, the Murphy in Murphy’s Romance, but to me he will always be King Marchand. He will always be the lovable gangster who fell in love with a woman who was pretending to be a man who was pretending to be a woman.

Yay!

A real man’s man.

In some weird cosmic way, I’d like to think that he’s laughing at Robert Preston’s drag routine in the great cabaret in the sky.

Viva la Revolution!

Thirteen years ago to this day, a college friend of mine took me to a party next door to the most pretentious grocery store in San Francisco, where I met fellow SlumberPartyMovians Melinda and Karen.

It was a Bastille Day party. Melinda was bent over her oven, pulling out a tray of French fries. I mentioned that they were Fronch! Fries! And she said she also had Fronch! Toast! And Peru! And an epic friendship was born.

It wasn’t until about two weeks later, when Karen said “The Chauffeur” was the sexiest Duran Duran song ever, that my official self-adoption into their family was complete, but suffice to say: June 2001 was a very good month.

Friday Morning Videos: SCOTUS #2, The Bamboozin’ and Smackin’ Edition

A mere six days after Shindancer’s beautiful post about her Louise (and my grand-Louise) we got some pretty crappy effing news from a bunch of old men who think that it’s OK for some purveyors of cheap Chinese sparklies to break the law and not provide their adult female employees with Plan B, because the science in their brains says the morning-after pill might destroy a future Christian of America.

Thus followed a few days on Facebook wherein folks longed for the beauty of ten years ago, back before all this partisan rancor, when we were all aligned against the terrorists and everyone was afraid to mention maybe there weren’t WMDs in Iraq, and gays couldn’t get their icky marriage all over our government, and “changing the conversation” wasn’t anything women talked about, because it was before a couple of criminals in Steubenville thought it’d be totes fun to sexually abuse a girl and then like txt it all over, and the town was all, “But football!”

Darn we the people and our pesky voices.

One wonders if back in the chambers, this video maybe plays on repeat, all the time, with the Quintet of Contraception nodding along with Mr. Man, and then sighing mournfully at the end and the hysteric hyperbole of the womenfolk.

 

 

Meanwhile, Salt, Pepa, Spinderella and the guy in the hat were freaking in the next room.

Salt n’ Pepa might disagree, but this week, in my heart, there’s only one true judge, and that’s Ginsberg.

 

** I know it’s not Friday. But tomorrow is a holiday–the birthday of our great nation! So it’s a holiday Friday.

We’ll be drinking margaritas by the sea, mamacita.

When the movie Thelma and Louise came out, it was unapologetic with it’s in-your-face, shoot-you-in-the-dick, blow-up-your-tractor-trailer brand of feminism. Some men took umbrage, like the mustachioed dude who happened to walk out of the theater ahead of me. “That was nothing but a couple of women driving around and shooting men,” he remarked with more than a little contempt.

You watch your mouth.

You watch your mouth.

“Fuck yeah, it was.” I said loud enough for him to hear. He looked at me with actual fear in his eyes, but I just laughed, lit a cigarette and walked to my car, scrunchied pony-tail swinging and slouchie-suede high-heeled boots tapping on the pavement. If it had been a different movie, I might have said nothing, just given him a dirty look and talked shit about him later, but you see, I was Thelma.

In 1991, when the movie came out, I was smack-dab in the middle of an epic friendship that could, before then, only be described (with just a bit of a stretch) in pop culture terms as Patsy and Edina.

Sombreros, Pats?  Oh, yeah, Eddie!

Sombreros, Pats?
Oh, yeah, Eddie!

Without question or any stretch at all, we were an un-armed Thelma and Louise. I was much younger and still figuring out how not to take crap from men (especially the good-looking ones). She was jaded and older and always telling me exactly how to stop taking crap from men. We even took more than just a few road-trips, but instead of driving to Mexico, we were driving to New York to drink Boones Farm on Yasgur’s Farm or to catch George Harrison and Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden.

Smile, Thelma!

Call of the wild.

 

There was a female comic who, on the topic of how dating can sometimes screw up our lives, said something to the effect of “Every young woman should be locked in a closet from the age of 19 until 27 just to keep her out of trouble.” I disagree. I think every woman should spend those ages in a joined-at-the-hip friendship with a Louise who’s been down that road you’re about to drive down and already locked the State Trooper in the trunk.

Louise, no matter what happens, I'm glad I came with you.

Louise, no matter what happens, I’m glad I came with you.

Now, I might not have followed all of it, but my Louise gave me plenty of “He’s your husband not your father” caliber advice: Don’t let a man hit you, not once, not ever. Don’t date a man who cheated on or hit his last girlfriend. Don’t cry over an asshole because you already have one, you don’t need another one. Always take the word “bitch” as a compliment. Always leave a tip for housekeeping and never leave a mess. If you are going to go to one concert, go to Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band because then you get…like seven bands for the price of one…plus a Beatle.

The advice, along with hushed revelations, talk of getting the fuck out of New Hampshire, angry rants, and fall-to-the-floor laughter was a big part of our friendship. We talked. We talked on the phone for hours, then met in the Denny’s smoking section and talked over pots and pots of bad coffee. We talked at the mall as we shopped for outfits, shoes, belts and over-sized bracelets. We talked in seedy bars, lighting cigarettes and tossing lighters on the table with a clunk, jangling our well-coordinated bracelets and snapping our overly-embellished belts as we sipped double sombreros…and we laughed at the men who thought we were doing it for their benefit. I had an ex-boyfriend admit to me once that he hated the fact that we spent so much time together. I thought about ignoring it and changing the subject, but I was Thelma, so I said, “Why? What is it about two women talking that threatens you?”

My Louise even had a secret in her past, one the size of Texas. She kept it from me, but other well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people told me about it. I called them out for spreading rumors and then said, “So what? That’s in the past. What matters is the present.”

Thelma7

You know how I feel about Texas…

But since then, I’ve learned that it isn’t just THIS present that matters. It’s certain presents that matter. It doesn’t really matter that I needed to push her away when I quit smoking and cut back on coffee and shopping. And jeez Louise, it doesn’t matter who moved to California and lost touch and who stayed in Nashua, New Hampshire and died of cancer. What matters is that our friendship will always be there. Sue and Melinda. Two women. One present suspended in time, washed out by faded memories, defiantly hovering above the abyss.

Let's keep goin'

Lets keep going

 

This blog is dedicated to my Louise, who deserves better, but this is the best I can do.

EPSON MFP image

Susan Smith-Rogers: 04/14/1953 to 11/09/2005 and forever over the abyss.