Dames Nation, grab your boas, grab your pearls...
….because THIS VERY SUNDAY, we will be hosting a livetweet of the classic documentary Paris is Burning! This indelible film, which introduced much of straight America to drag balls and voguing, as well as such now-everyday concepts as realness, reading, and shade, is essential viewing. It’s smart and sharp and forever timely and poignant as hell. It’s now on Netflix & we can’t wait to watch it with you!
When: Sunday, April 9 at 8pm EDT (GMT-5)
Where: Twitter - follow along using #parisdames. We'll be tweeting from @MrsFridayNext (Margaret) & @twobossydames (Sophie)
How: Netflix or a handy DVD
ONE LAST Two Bossy Dames Shop Reminder!
As of yet, no one has bought one of these wall clocks. But we have not yet given up hope that someone will.
This is the last time we’re going to shill OUR COOL MERCH featuring Simini Blocker's UTTERLY FLAWLESS LOGO in the newsletter for a bit. Three weeks in a row is bordering on craven. BUT!! Society6 is offering an artist opt-in sale this week, meaning if you follow this link here you can get 20% off all our merchandise ~*plus*~ free worldwide shipping, through midnight PST on Sunday, April 9th. And that seemed like something worth sharing. The carry-all pouches are still CLEANING THE FLOOR with the competition, but we have a feeling mugs might just start catching up. Pro-tip: the mugs make a GREAT receptacle for boxed rosé.
Harry Styles Assassinated All My Emotions & I Am Glad: A Memoir by Dame Sophie
An actual report on NPR, April 7, 2017.
Ok, first of all, I want to thank all of the Dames Nationals who wrote in to tell us last week’s Brief Harry Styles Primer for Young Olds (now available for handy sharing on Medium) moved them in some way. There were even more of you than I anticipated, based on my highly unscientific general survey of my acquaintance. You are all most welcome! We will move onto some “Sign of the Times” yelling in just a moment, but because so many of you said the hilarious hashtags fans use to describe him were your favorites, I will share with you that I keep a note on my phone to keep track of the silly ones I come up with. I’ll sprinkle a few of them below.
Well, it happened. I listened to “Sign of the Times”. This song took my heart, shredded it, carefully reassembled & then refilled it. Truly, the ballsy choux pastry of our dreams has Done The Thing, entirely his way. If you haven’t listened to it yet, go ahead. I’ll wait 5:42. Yes, the #1 pop song in 90 countries this week is a nearly six-minute, spacily glamorous stadium rock power ballad about the apocalypse and the profound need for human connection. You will feel the smudged eyeliner applying itself to your lids while you sway gently in your kitchen, tears streaming down your face and lighter held aloft.
There are a bunch of hugely appealing influences shining through on this song - ones that struck my ear immediately, such as “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars?” Listen a couple more times and you’ll hear what Harry & his team have been listening to and loving: everything from Beyonce’s “XO” and the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” to “Hey Jude” and “Purple Rain”. This definitely did not make me cry a lot, no sir. Did you hear the huge drums that come in at 1:18? They are very nearly the same as the wild drums just before the chorus on 1D’s debut single “What Makes You Beautiful”! (They’re not exactly the same, as a very helpful Twitter correspondent noted, but they’re close). Natalie Fisher, writing for Hypable, even noted a hint of “It’s Quiet Uptown” from our beloved Hamilton in the mix.
The beautiful part is that while you can hear echoes of a host of influences, “Sign of the Times” synthesizes them into something new and wonderful that, even as it tears up Top 40 radio, would also fit in perfectly on any Classic Rock station’s heavy rotation playlist. Writing a timelessly anthemic, simultaneously uplifting & soul-destroying singalong about death at age 23 for your debut single? Sure! No sweat.
Can we talk about his voice for a minute? This sexy chesterfield’s voice has matured. The lovely, emotive rasp of his mid-range is surer, and now he’s added a beautifully vulnerable and fine falsetto to the mix. Bliss. The glorious, aching frenzy of the song’s final crescendo takes me to the same celestial emotional realms as Mary J. Blige’s performance of "No More Drama" at the 2002 Grammys. I just. Listen, we are neither ready for nor worthy of next week’s Saturday Night Live performances, but by god, for the sake of The Most Extra Boy Who Lived, we are going to try.
SO LUSH / DRENCHED / VELVETY
In addition to the works of this velvet-blazered satyr, a LOT of great music has just come out!
Some of it could even conceiveably leave you doing this very dance, like Young Harry.
So many new songs are here to bless our ears! Smooth, classic Britpop gods Saint Etienne recently released “Heather” and will shortly release a new album. Listening to them is like taking your ears to live inside a Boden catalog for free.
Public Service Broadcasting are a band who combine archival sound recordings from interviews and documentaries with their own music to create songs and concept albums about things like World War II and the Race for Space. Their latest song, “Progress”, from their forthcoming album on labor relations, politics, and the environmental impact of coal mining in Wales, features beloved-to-both-Dames Camera Obscura singer Tracyanne Campbell. We are smitten.
Amoeba Records’ What’s In My Bag? Is a long-running series of interviews with musicians and filmmakers about the music, books, and DVDs they’re buying, shot right in the store. It’s a great resource for learning more about your favorite musicians’ favorite music, and has led Dame Sophie to make ever-better use of her Spotify access. Some favorite videos, if you’re looking for specific entry points:
If you, like Dame Margaret, love Top 40 pop made by women but dislike listening to commercial radio, have we got a treat for you! It's #Damespal-Former Guest Editor Maurene Goo’s delightful Spotify playlist “For Ames,”which could also be titled “I love Robyn-- what’s next?” Dig in and learn why you SHOULD have been listening to Selena Gomez for like YEARS NOW.
A bunch of Dame Margaret’s established favorites have ALSO just released new music. To wit:
Sera Cahoone, Dame M.'s prefered soundtrack for a quiet Sunday afternoon spent making soup and reading, has a stunning new album of folk music called From Where I Started.
Aimee Mann, whose 2002 album Lost in Space is so vital to Dame M. that it may have partly rewritten said Dame’s genetic code, just released another crushingly beautiful album of straight bummer songs: Mental Illness.
A more recent favorite of Dame M., the orchestral indie rock band San Fermin, also just released a ornately gloomy new album called Belong, which is very important, but not QUITE as important as the fact that the release of said album is putting them out on tour. They are one of the best bands Dame M. has ever had the good fortune to see live-- if they are coming to your town, GET A TICKET. It won’t cost you more than $30 and you’ll be SO glad you did-- not least because every member of the 8-person band is a TOTAL smoke show.
And finally, if you’re looking for a good kicked-in guitar girl-fronted garage-y band to fill the Waxahatchee-shaped hole in your heart, you want Diet Cig’s Swear I’m Good At This, which opens with a song about the awkwardness of dating a boy with the same name as you, and only builds from there.
Did you know that there is a music festival in England that is dedicated, simultaneously, to twee indie music and historical trains??? WELL THERE IS, it’s called IndieTracks. Its website promises that visitors are "free to enjoy steam train rides, railway attractions and museums, discos, art and craft workshops, great food and a selection of real ales.” And neither We Your Dames nor Marcus, Dame Sophie’s Beloved Consort, can attend, so all three of us will be listening to the playlist they have built to represent their artists and experiencing medically unsafe levels of wistfulness. Join us, won’t you?
And Few Non-Musical News Items Worthy of Your Attention
All hail Our Lady of Perpetual Pettiness.
On Saturday, a group of activists threw a queer dance party for climate justice outside Ivanka Trump’s Washington D.C. home and her neighbor was photographed watching the scene in a full-length fur coat, clutching a glass of white wine, and smiling beatifically. Obviously, this image went viral immediately and Diane Bruce (or Our Lady of Perpetual Pettiness as I have dubbed her) SO captured the imagination of the Internet that Cosmo tracked her down for an interview. The results are surprisingly endearing. Why is she smiling? Because she loved watching the athletic young dancers on her street, of course-- “Really, really good dancers. We were all most impressed, thinking about how, gosh, we would never have been able to do that when we were young, much less now....The most athletic, wonderful dancers I've ever seen” Why a fur coat? “I mean, it was a chilly evening, so I grabbed my coat.” And, most essential, what was she drinking? “Oh! Probably a very nice pinot grigio. I would love to say Champagne, but it was probably a pinot grigio.” The real heroes here are obviously the activists from Queer Resistance, WERK for Peace, 350 D.C., and The Trans Women of Color Collective who organized this dance protest and we most earnestly salute them-- not least for creating circumstances that allowed this truly iconic image to be captured. We hope they continue their valuable work of taking the weakest thing in them and beating the bastards with it.
We Your Dames on are record as being QUITE obsessed with the comedic stylings of one Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post, but she really outdid herself this week with her parody “Every story I have read about Trump supporters in the past week.” To wit: “Like the rusty hubcaps hanging on the wall behind her, [Linda Blarnik] was made in America 50 years ago, back when this town made things, a time she still remembers fondly. She says she has had just enough of the ‘coastal elitist media who keep showing up to write mean things about my town and my life, like that thing just now where you said I was like a hubcap, yes you, stop writing I can see over your shoulder.’ Mournfully a whistle blows behind her, the whistle of a train that does not stop in this America any longer.” It is a tour de force and we were so grateful for the belly laughs it brought us this week.
Speaking of laughs, you can hear Dame Margaret’s FAMED GIGGLE on Pop Culture Happy Hour this week, where she discusses her ambivalence about the new podcast S-Town, her delight in the British show Chewing Gum, and her wardrobe’s undeniable similarity to that of sexually repressed virgins in Netflix’s original sitcoms.
And bonus, because how could we not?????? Someone took a video of a beagle puppy sitting on top of a subway grate and set it to the tune of “I Believe I Can Fly.” You’re welcome.
What can we say except "you're welcome"?