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for March 27, 2002

Peer Praisure
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Gracious, the awards shows are flying fast and furious! Hot on the heels of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony come the Oscars, during which one hears the most astounding speeches. Our beloved Sidney Poitier well aside, movie stars and moguls make nitwitted statements in front of a billion viewers. The whoosh! of falling champagne flutes around the world is almost palpable as the director of Moulin Rouge, say, utters mind-boggling bon mots like, "We didn't want to make a film that referred to the past." Hmm. Hmm. Will you excuse me a second? I'll be right back with the mop.

Many are the opinions of film as art as moments in a culture, etc., etc., and some voices sing the praises of a po-mo casting like non-singer Nicole Kidman in a musical. Traditionally, musicals require the cast to sing like, well, professionals. Our heroine warbles adequately; she's no Julie Andrews, circa 1965. Still, Nicole's is no brave or inspired casting. She's a movie star in a sumptuous setting, take that to the bank. Moulin Rouge is bad art because the words "Moulin Rouge" refer to a specific time and place, which only the costumer noticed. For it to be good art - just for starters - a film can't shrug off when and where it takes place. As a point of comparison, could you make a movie about Frank Sinatra and hire George Clinton to score it, no matter how you adore brilliant Mr. Clinton? You could. And you'd be first on your block to flunk an IQ test.

Back to the Hall of Fame we glide. Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love pondered the list of inductees. On the surface of it, the Hall seems to be making a good faith effort to acknowledge rock's roots, because scanning the list for what's not present is like reading a hospital copy of an Agatha Christie novel with the last page torn out. Then one morning, Your Chrysanthemum woke up singing "Because the Night" and she knew. Some omissions were so glaring, even RayBans won't keep you cool.

Missing, Where's My Milk Carton?
Alice Cooper
Neil Diamond
the Neville Brothers
Joan Baez
Manfred Mann
Lee and Shirley
Paul Williams
Paul Anka
Daniel Lanois

Re-read The List, Rubbed My Eyes, Still Missing:
Louis Prima
Tom Waits
the Sex Pistols
Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople
Steve Winwood
Tommy James and the Shondells

Chubby Checker
Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Leonard Cohen
Link Wray
Dick Dale
Harry Nilsson
Patti Smith
Black Sabbath
Iggy Pop/the Stooges
The Clash
Elvis Costello

Love them? Hate them? There's no disputing their place in history. Moreover, Your Wisteria bets everyone giving the inductee list a look-see conjures up as alarming a list of the missing, different from hers. What went on in those committees that kept Chubby Checker out of the pantheon? Suddenly, those rock historians look dumber than a box of rocks, dumber than an Australian director rewriting French history with American tunes and glossy crimson lipstick. Unless there's a reason why, a pattern here Your Night-Blooming Jasmine fails to discern. Got a smart idea? Your American Beauty would love to hear it while she sweeps up fractured glass.

©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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