Category Archives: Friday Morning Videos

Dearly Departed, plus Club Tropicana, The Interview

I’ve lost another one of my favorite freaks. One of my childhood crushes–this time, he wasn’t androgynous, like Prince or David Bowie, but he sure as hell was one gay “filthy f–ker,” as he himself once said.

We wore out the WHAM! Video Hits tape. Like, we watched the Careless Whisper video–my sister and her best friend, and her younger sister, who was my best friend– and each played different roles, and then rewound it and replayed it, rotating the roles. Every fourth time you had to be “Andrew’s Fingers” (anonymous guitar strummer) but every fourth time, you also got to be The Slut, and whip your hair back in passion, so it worked out.

I know all the words to Wham! Rap. My sister and I performed the song, with most of the dance, for our horrified children at last spring’s family talent show.

I don’t think I had one sleepover where either Labyrinth or George Michael didn’t come up at least once.

David Bowie was my introduction to sexual awakening. Prince was my introduction to owning your freaky-deaky. George Michael was the soundtrack behind all of that.

He, like Bowie and Prince, was a freak, too, but he was afraid to be out about it. He was outed, but it’s hard to remember that because the moment it happened, he lived out, proud, with no apologies. He donated to charities quietly, and shouted his celebrity to the rooftops when he needed to get attention.

He was a mensch. He was out and proud. He was politically active. When he broke into his torch songs, he had a voice that could melt steel.

Everything She Wants and Freedom ’90 are two of the greatest pop songs ever written. (The video version of ESW, of course.)

This one time, though, he made kind of a this-side-of-terrible song, with a video that was more or less an excuse for Andrew, Pepsi, and Shirley to join him in Acapulco. And, as shindancer once said, one night many years later, I got drunk on pina coladas, tracked him down in London, and interviewed him about the video.

(OK, I didn’t. That last part is a lie, up to and including the pina coladas part. I would never drink that many pina coladas.)

Here’s the original post. Because we must remember George Michael as all of these things: as a mensch, as a gay man, as an activist, as a brilliant songwriter, singer, and performer, and as a mostly-naked guy drinking at a poolside.


SlumberPartyMovies recently had an opportunity to interview George Michael about his epic video, Club Tropicana, which has always puzzled me on a few counts.

SPM: Great to meet you, George! Long time-listener, first-time interviewer. Let’s jump right in: Why weren’t the credits in the Wham! The Hits VHS version?

ct_credits

GM: Look at two beautiful women in matching slouchy shirts clip-clop along a darkened path and forget your question.

ct_walking

SPM: Who the fuck is this guy?

ct_moustache1

GM: Look at me posing with a white wine spritzer and forget your question.

ct_drink

SPM: Where is the place where membership’s a smiling face, where strangers take you by the hand and welcome you to wonderland?

GM: Beneath the Panama.

SPM: Wait, like south of the Panama, or underground, or what?

GM: No, sorry. I meant they welcome you from beneath their panamas. Like hats.

SPM: Oh, so where is it? Acapulco? It must be Acapulco, right?

GM: Look into my eyes and forget your question.

ct_2eyes

SPM: Who the fuck is this guy?

ct_moustache2

A: Look at me showering and forget your question.

ct_shower

SPM: Why is it that all that’s missing is the sea, when you’re clearly sitting on the beach in this scene? And you talk about soft white sands and blue lagoons?

ct_beach

A: Look at me showering and forget your question.

ct_shower2

SPM: Why is Andrew Ridgeley wearing long jams, and you’re in a white speedo?

ct_speedo

GM: I am Greek and he is not.

SPM: That’s fair. But his hair is clearly better than yours.

ct_hair

GM: Look at these women’s crotches and forget you ever thought that.

ct_crotch

SPM: Who the fuck is this guy?

ct_moustache3

GM: Look at us me angry in a cowboy hat and forget your question.

ct_cowboyhat

SPM: Do the girls stop and pick you up or leave you stranded?

ct_girlscar

GM: Look at me shaving naked and forget your question.

ct_shaving

SPM: OK, so you’re pilots and they’re flight attendants? Why did you act like you didn’t know each other? Or were just surprised that they’re really hot in bikinis? Do you know each other or not? And are you on furlough or something, which is why you’re a pilot and permitted to drink all day and bake in the sun for a week? and honestly, I know it’s the 80s, but it’s a little sexist that you guys get to be pilots and they’re attendants.

ct_stewardess

GM: Look at Andrew showering and forget your question.

ct_andrewshower

SPM: Forget my question? That’s a weird thing to say! No!

GM: Then look deeply into my eyes and forget your question.

ct_showereyes

SPM: Where are you going on those donkeys?

ct_donkeys

GM: Look at us shirtless, playing the trumpet, and forget your question.

ct_trumpets

SPM: Forget my question? That’s a weird thing to say! No!

GM: Look at us in pilot uniforms and forget your question.

ct_pilots

SPM: Wow! Looks like that’s all the time we have for today. Thanks, George! You’re a true SlumberPartyMovie god.

GM: I know.

Friday Morning Videos: The Neverending Story

Stuck in a long meeting and complaining to a friend, she mocked that I was in the Neverending Meeting. And what better way to get through a long Friday meeting than by muting and watching a little Limahl?

The upside: it’s one of the better movie-based videos to come out in a decade that was all about movie-based videos. Hits all the highlights: the child-empress, the Rock-Biter, the cracking Ivory Tower, the Nothing, etc., so on. But you also get the unrequested bonus of Limahl.

Limahl, facing away from a mirror because he doesn’t really want to see himself under that hair.

The fantasiallet.

The fantasiallet.

Limahl chair-dancing in a library that has a wall screen.

Flatscreens in 1986 cost $400k.

Flatscreens in 1986 cost $400k.

And more chair-dancing.

JAZZ HANDS.

JAZZ HANDS.

Limhal, getting really into his long vowels.
limahl_longvowels2

More long vowels.
limahl_longvowels

Limahl, on a very thin ipad.

More hand-dancing.

More hand-dancing.

Limahl, ducking from a flying very thin ipad

It's the iPhone 7! Dear god, my pockets are too small!

It’s the iPhone 7! Dear god, my pockets are too small!

.

Liladies lilove Limahl.

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.

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.

Friday Morning Videos: Science is Real

We lost a member of the SPM extended family this week. I didn’t know him, but I know his delightful wife and you know his stepdaughters quite well. While this selection is not our SPM generation, it qualifies for our kids’ generation.

And I think Ken would dig it.

 

Friday Morning Videos: Oh, Long-Distance Love!

To celebrate love, I give you the most unabashedly happy song ever performed, and an excellent example of that stepchild of love songs: the long-distance love song.

I have a running list in my head of long-distance love songs, and it’s time I got it down onscreen. Please add to the list.

  • “Walkin’ on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves
  • “All My Lovin'” – The Beatles
  • “Honey Pie” – The Beatles
  • “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – Peter, Paul and Mary (written by John Denver)
  • “Babe” – Styx
  • “So Far Away” – Carol King
  • “Digital Getdown” – ‘NSync (seriously)
  • “Rocket Man” – Elton John
  • “Space Odyssey” – David Bowie
  • “Every Time You Go Away” – Paul Young (written by Daryl Hall)
  • “Please, Mr. Postman” – The Marvelettes
  • “500 Miles” – The Proclaimers

Friday Morning Videos: Last Christmas

Writer’s note: This is a repost from 2012, yes. But as far as I’m concerned, this is the only Christmas video in my heart.

You knew this was coming.

So I made a deal with myself back at Thanksgiving: I would post Last Christmas as the Friday Morning Video on either December 21, or after I heard it on the radio, whichever came first. Well, folks: Christmas came early!

I first saw this video when I was, I’m guessing, nine years old. That was around the time that Wham! Video Hits was released on VHS, and subsequently viewed infinity times by my sister and I. (Jamie and Jenny Stowinsky, too. We used to take turns playing the four roles in Careless Whisper, but that’s a different Friday post.)

Many of Wham!’s videos tell a story, but this one tells a very particular narrative. It goes like this:

  1. Boy meets girl.
  2. Boy falls in love.
  3. Boy gives girl a lapel pin.
  4. Girl dumps boy the day after Christmas because she’s the only woman in the 80s without lapels.

I’m breaking the outline format here, because this part deserves full-on prose. The next year–one year, only twelve months after he’s so in love that he gifts her a brooch–he and his friends all decide to rent a house in the Alps (I’m guessing French, but it could be Swiss) to have a great Christmas away from home. He agrees, one would imagine, because his last Christmas sucked so much. After all, he cared about a girl enough to give her a gift, and her repayment was to promptly dump him. Hello, tacky? Miss Frizz is on line one.

(Although, in fairness, maybe she was waiting to see if the contents of the jewelbox was round instead of flower-shaped. When she saw a pin instead of a ring, well…?)

Anyway, they all hop on a plane and a train and a tramway, and then–here’s the kicker–his BFF shows up with her! Did no one talk about this before leaving London? “Oh, hey, yeah, George, we’ve got the house and everything’s just brilliant, and Andrew’s bringing that chippie of yours from last year, and did you drop your share of the rent in the post, chap?” So not only is Andrew Ridgeley clearly a jackass for bringing George’s ex to a ski chalet from whence they will have no escape, but she was OK with it, too. Especially given the little dinnertime bomb they drop later in the video.

Moving on: everyone’s trimming the tree, Pepsi and Shirlie are on the couch, looking adorable like they always do (did those two sweeties ever get together? I was pulling for them!), and George drops some tinsel, and BOOM! There they are, face-to-face, and here’s the nutty thing: Miss Frizz pretends she doesn’t recognize him. According to the lyrics, anyway. And also according to the lyrics:  this doesn’t surprise him.

People, I may not remember the names of every dude I’ve dated, or other stuffed, but I remember their faces. And I definitely remember the faces, and mostly names, of every guy I dated who gave me a present. And I definitely would’ve remembered him a year later, especially if he’s, you know, the BFF OF THE GUY I’M CURRENTLY DATING.

(Note: This is where I diverge from my she-wanted-a-ring theory, and I begin to wonder if perhaps they only went out on one date. And he gave her the pin and said he loved her. And she was all, “Bangers and mash, are you barmy? We just met last week and you’re dropping clams on lapel jewelry? Mind the gap and beat your elbows!”)

Then there’s a bit where he looks really sad while his friends romp in the snow, because he just found out that someone trimmed his parka with his pet keeshond.

He really loved that dog.

He really loved that dog.

So now it’s dinner time, and they break out the Christmas crackers, and, hair feathered perfectly, wine sipped seductively, George stalks Last Year’s Girl, who is totally snogging the BFF. Gag me. And her.

You will pay. Yes, you will pay.

You will pay. Yes, you will pay.

And then! AND THEN! In a move so tacky it makes Molly Ringwald’s prom dress look like Jackie O’s anything, we see that she actually regifted the flower pin! Not only did she dump him like right after he gave it to her, but then she handed it off to Andrew at some point in the last year, and he wore it to their ski chalet, as if George wouldn’t recognize it. Filth!

Of course, what follows is happy romping in the snow, and a flashback of her getting her lapel pin and wearing it on her blouse, and then we flash forward to the whole passel of friends heading back to the tramway. And I think they’re friends again, because he leaves the tram with the cute blonde with whom he arrived, and everyone’s OK with having suffered through the single most awkward Christmas ever.

(Here’s a third theory: she’s a demon  who trapped his soul in the pin. So he means it literally when he says he gave her his heart, and she gave it away, and so now Andrew owns his heart, which, really, explains a great deal about the trajectory of Wham! and George Michael’s life. So if anyone knows the whereabouts of the soul-capturing flower pin, please send it back to him. Or to me.)

The Mystery of Ph. D, Mtv, and the video for I Won’t Let You Down.

Back when I was 11, I had a bit of a crush on Jim Diamond, lead singer of the Mtv rising stars, Ph. D. What? So he’s a little weird looking? I like weird looking.

Totes hot, am I right? Please say yes.

Totes hot, am I right? Please say yes.

The problem with having a crush on Jim Diamond of PH. D.  was that by the time I was 11 and a half, Mtv stopped playing their video, and never played them again. What’s that you say? Teen Beat?! Ha! Teen Beat would never publish a picture of Jim Diamond. They were too busy finding new un-airbrushed* photos of Ralph Macchio. No. For a 12 year old girl in America in 1982, Ph. D. were as unattainable as wine coolers and earth-tones. 

Then, quite few years later, came YouTube. The first Ph. D. gem I dug up was Little Suzi’s on the Up. The video combines a sweet-as-candy story of a couple getting ready for a night of competitive ballroom dancing, with the competing and creepy stories of a stalker dance judge and a sassy saxophone player/ hairdresser obsessed with something that only looks like pickled eggs.

Despite the meat, motorcycles, and whatever the hell was in that jar, I only had vague memories of that video. The video that I vividly remember was for I won’t Let You Down. It also featured a bit of stalking, but it was by a cartoonish assassin who follows our intrepid hero as he begs forgiveness from his too-tall girlfriend.

Um…what the hell was that? It’s like what would happen if Roman Polanski’s inner psyche was caught on film. No. Wrong. Let me try that again.

HOLY CRAP! What am I looking at and why the hell am I looking at it? Why are they in a theater, and how many minutes do I have to look at it? Let’s try again.

Ah! That’s better.  And see? The cartoonish assassin didn’t really want to blow up Jim Diamond with a plant; he only wanted the girl–the cold, mean, dog-obsessed girl. But still…cute, right?

But it makes me wonder. What is the meaning of those other videos? Were they submitted to Mtv, only to be turned down? In the early ’80s? When Mtv was playing Steve Miller’s Abracadabra on heavy rotation? It makes no sense. But it does explain why Mtv stopped playing Ph. D. Maybe Diamond and company were so sick and tired of being turned down, they started acting really snippy. Here’s how I imagine it started:

Mark Goodman: Here in the studio, a band that is soaring up the charts never, I’m sure, to fall back to earth, Ph. D. Jim, how does it feel to be the latest Mtv darling?

Jim Diamond: Fuck you, Mark. Your head looks like pubes.

And then he dissed Martha Quinn, and that was the beginning of the end.

I’m just guessing, of course. Jim Diamond is still around, still making music, still kind of cute in a weird way, and icing on cake, makes music for disadvantaged children. 

I suppose I could just ask him, but I’m scared.

*Old Teen Beat photos are like a Comstock Lode of Proactive “before” pictures.

Friday Morning Videos: Land of Confusion

I’ve been thinking of this video for the last two weeks. And wouldn’t you know it? The last time I posted it was 13 months ago this week. Must be something about fall.

 

September 9, 2012: We’ve just come out of two party conventions. I couldn’t post any video but this one.