Issue #17: Mugler, Makeup, and Meat Loaf
plus, Jeopardy Excitement and What To Watch
“I made clothes because I was looking for something that didn’t exist. I had to try to create my own world.” - Thierry Mugler.
The world of entertainment was bursting at the seams this week! Paris Fashion Week showcased brilliant new Schiaparelli, Valentino, and Jean Paul Gaultier collections, leaving me breathless. Ye and Julia Fox made sure that they were seen even if one of them couldn’t see much at all. Beloved Jeopardy contestant Amy Schneider lost after a 40-day winning streak, and one TV show had me screaming while another left me feeling like a lady.
Unfortunately, we lost two more cultural icons; trail-blazing fashion designer Thierry Mugler and genre-defying performer, Meat Loaf. Days later, Elton John postponed his tour after contracting COVID-19, and I have been praying to Whitney Houston1 ever since that his symptoms remain mild. I can’t take much more of this!
I strive for Obsessed! to be about the living, and it will often be, but I must pay tribute to Mugler and Meat Loaf, both masters of artistic invention.
That being said, let’s start things off on a fun note!
What Is Jeopardy Excitement?
After a 40-game winning streak that kept my mind and my heart ablaze for the better part of two months, beloved Jeopardy contestant, Amy Schneider, was outplayed by another.
Rhone Talsma did what all Jeopardy-lovers dream of; he made a risky true Daily Double that paid off in a big way, and he correctly answered Final Jeopardy. The clue was, “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an ‘h,’ it’s also one of the most populous.” Talsma wrote down the correct answer, Bangladesh, while Schneider did not.
As an ultra-fan, I am sad to see Schneider’s run end, but I am thrilled that she could pass the torch on to Talsma, an openly queer librarian with funky glasses. Jeopardy has my heart, and so do these two formidable players!
Linda Evangelista bursts forth from backstage chaos onto the runway, serving a structured, platinum, sanguine strut, shoulders softened by lush white fur, to George Michael’s hungry lens. That’s my Mugler.
My Millennial and Gen Z friends lovingly accuse me of being emotionally stuck in the ’90s and last week’s death of Parisian fashion designer, Thierry Mugler, proved them correct. Of course, my pop culture obsessions have spanned the decades, and I have continued to fangirl over Mugler designs worn by current stars like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Cardi B. But, in that emotional moment, my mind zoomed back to George Michael’s “Too Funky” video, entirely costumed and co-directed by Mugler. The year was 1992. Shhh…don’t tell my younger friends.
My review of Mugler’s career, including his creative contribution to the “Too Funky” video, revealed an essential piece of historical information that I am ashamed not to have known. Alongside ‘90s supermodels Linda Evangelista and Tyra Banks, Mugler cast drag queen Lipsynka and trans model Connie Fleming in the “Too Funky” video. Mugler was the first fashion designer to hire an out trans model, Teri Toye, to walk the runway in 19842.
Current Mugler campaigns feature trans models Hunter Schafer and Dominique Jackson. Still, I had no idea that the embracing of transfeminine models stretched back to a time when it was beyond radical. Then, public identities outside the bounds of cisgender and heterosexual norms were nearly non-existent and, if made public, would jeopardize credibility and commercial success. George Michael, a now-celebrated gay icon, was not even out at the time of the “Too Funky” shoot, fearing personal and professional fallout. Queerness is assumed to fuse with the fashion industry, yet Mugler was one of the few fashion designers who were publicly and unapologetically out. His bold casting choices were top-tier transcendent.
Sashaying back into the present, we find Mugler’s imprint on the RuPaul’s Drag Race runway. Mugler has inspired the looks of former contestants, including Detox, Violet Chachki, Aquarius, and Gigi Goode. In last week’s episode, his name was on the tongues of contestants Bosco and Alyssa Hunter as they presented their Mugler-inspired Ball Challenge looks.
Mugler created a new world, transcending time and boundaries, welcoming all to inhabit it and live freely within.
The Eye Of The Beholder
It was Paris Fashion Week and with the best designers, models, artists, and creatives gathered together in one place, there were many extraordinary places for my eyes to land. Unfortunately, and definitely against my will, my eyes were fixed on Ye and his muse, Julia Fox. I couldn’t look away!!!
These two queens made their international debut at Kenzo’s Fall 2022 show wearing coordinating Canadian Tuxedos. As a Canadian and a Britney Spears devotee, I am very familiar with the denim on denim look, but it did not need to be revisited, even in Schiaparelli and Balenciaga form.
That was enough to get my attention, but Fox’s dramatic, sloppy black eye makeup made my own eyes pop out of my head!!!
Of course, the look went viral and hilarious memes ensued, including this one claiming that Ye’s daughter, North, was responsible for the amateur look.
Why, why, why was I surprised when Fox posted this pic of Ye completing the makeup look? STUNT!
Ye was left to his own creative devices for the first two showings, but celebrity makeup artist for Pat McGrath Labs, Daniel Kolaric, stepped in to perfect the graphic winged look for Fox’s appearance at the Schiaparelli show.
While on the subject of eyes, Ye chose to wear a black face mask, covering his entire face, except for two small slits for his eyes to the Schiaparelli show. I hope he appreciated what little of it he saw.
What To Watch: Ozark and The Gilded Age
On Saturday and Sunday, I watched all seven episodes of Ozark, Season 4, Part I, and my heart never stopped pounding. The season starts with a shocking scene that flashes the viewer forward to an incident that will be revisited in the still-to-air Part 2 series finale.
The all-American Byrde family continues to try to survive a forced money-laundering operation for the Mexican cartel, maneuvering complex and often dangerous relationships with the locals in the Ozarks, as well as drug lords and the FBI. This season the lies and betrayals between family members rival those in The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and Succession, obliterating the lines between good and bad.
While Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) manages a slew of precarious situations with his calm demeanor and steady voice, the women around him handle things by getting down and dirty. The war of will between calculating Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) and balls-to-the-walls heroine farmer Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) escalates into one of the most ferocious battles between female characters in television history. But it’s Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), the whipsmart, foul-mouthed, loyal local who ends Part I with damning rage, making this must-see TV.
Ozark, Seasons 1-4 (Part I) is streaming on Netflix.
If the wild goings-on in the Ozarks is too much, it might please you to travel to the 1880’s Gilded Age of New York City. Here you will be a party to the refined, nuanced power plays between Old New York high society (the van Rhijns) and the nouveau rich (the Russells). The Gilded Age is the latest offering from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. The similarities between the two shows are transparent, showcasing worlds of ladies and gents clutching elaborate wealth and social standing (or clawing for more) while ‘the help’ caters to their whims and fancies. The first episode of The Gilded Age introduces two storylines that might offer new social commentary, one around a young Black woman hired as the van Rhijns’ secretary and another about a van Rhijns son who is romantically and sexually involved with a man. However, if the first episode is the meausre, it seems as though the social commentary will be kept on the fringes.
If the storyline does not tickle your fancy, the casting just might. Christine Baranski plays Agnes van Rhijn, The Gilded Age equivalent of Downton Abbey’s Violet Crawley, with Cynthia Nixon playing her softer, kinder sister, Ada. The two actors of screen and stage are a delightful contrasting duo. Lovers of Broadway will be pleasantly pleased with the appearances by Tony-winning and Tony-nominated stars of the stage, Audra McDonald, Michael Cerveris, Kelli O’Hara, Donna Murphy, to name a few.
The Gilded Age streams on HBO and Crave (Canada) with new episodes airing Mondays 9 E/ 6 P.
Singing In The Car With Meat Loaf
The morning that Meat Loaf died, I was set to drive to visit my parents in Tillsonburg, Ontario, back to the town that holds my high school memories and home to the small gymnasium where I first saw and heard “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” at a video dance. So, I downloaded “Bat Out Of Hell” and a playlist and hit the road with Meat Loaf.
“Paradise” was the first song I played; it lives a life of its own in my emotional memory (Millennial and Gen Z friends win again!). The song was released in 1977, but it was still a high school dance song in the early ‘90s. Picture me, young and barely 17, long brown hair held high in a pony, and torso clenched by a Madonna-Esque bustier stuffed with Kleenex to fool the boys. I couldn’t dance to save my life, but I was a lip sync assassin - killing the male and female parts with my hot pink lips. Riding along with Meat Loaf, there was no need to lip sync, so I sang that song at the top of my lungs, every word a triumph in the face of aging.
With that out of my system, I forwarded through the playlist until I found “Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back.” That choice was a surprise, even to me as it doesn’t occupy much space in my inner landscape. It’s a hard rock song, with screaming guitars and heavy beats reminiscent of Def Leppard and lyrics that are angry and unapologetic.
It’s always something
There’s always something going wrong
That’s the only guarantee
That’s what this is all about
It’s a never ending attack
Everything’s a lie, and that’s a fact
Life is a lemon
And I want my money back
Knowing that Meat, an outspoken anti-vaxxer who refused to be “controlled” by politics, died from COVID-19, I began to think that he really was with me in the car, his spirit forcing my finger to scan to that song. “Okay, Meat, I hear you, but I’m singing this song from a different point of view,” I said to my imaginary sidekick. My rage is against capitalism that chooses commerce over the health and wellness of human life. Surely this POV pissed Meat off, but he remained beside me while I sang-screamed, “Life is a lemon, and I want my money back!” I think I even heard him grumble, “Go off, bitch.” I guess we agreed to disagree.
As we drove along the roads of my youth, we sang our way through the playlist of songs, a mixture of the elements that gave me life through the ’90s; glam rock, Mega Musicals, pop music, and power ballads. I relished every lyric that held the optimism of youth and the complexities of adult life and love.
I pulled into my parents’ driveway, aware that I was now a keeper of those lyrical and musical gifts. I turned the car off, looked over at my passenger, thanked him, and said goodbye to Meat Loaf.
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Whitney Houston was the love of my life, and I do pray to her in jest and sometimes with great sincerity. One particular prayer worked, when I prayed that Whitney’s cousin, Dionne Warwick, would respond to my Tweet, she not only responded but retweeted it - on Christmas Eve, no less!!!