Saturday, August 17, 2002

Ain't Satisfactionin' Me

Here's something that's never happened to me before: I have an Elvis song stuck in my head. I heard the remix version of "A Little Less Conversation" on the radio for the first time a few days ago and really liked it; now it's at #1 on the Billboard charts. And now both MTV and VH1 have it on all of their count-down shows (where they condescend to actually play music videos... remember the olden days, when they played music videos all the time? Ah, Ye Goode Olde Days). I liked the remixed song a lot, but I love... ahem, LOVE the video! Dancing in boxes never looked so good! And the editing is amazing. There's this one blond guy in a black Mod suit... so sexy! I want to be that cool when I grow up.

But hey, what's with all the Elvisness going around these days? Did he die again? Or is it an anniversary? (Quick Google search reveals an Elvis Presley official website, which gives me the much-sought answer).

Can it have been 25 years since he took that final crap? I remember so clearly when he died, people went nuts. All the local stations played Elvis movies nonstop for weeks. All the radio stations played Elvis songs nonstop for weeks. People, including my stepmother and her sisters, cried and mourned and carried on for weeks. Back in those days, there wasn't nearly as much merchandising available as there is today, but I distinctly remember seeing commemorative plates and posters all over the place. And all I could think of was, "What's all the fuss?"

And now, twenty-five years later, I still don't know what the fuss is about. I never understood how Elvis became such an icon. I never understood the whole idolization of Marilyn Monroe or James Dean, either. Okay, so Elvis' music was pretty cool, he had his image and persona and whatnot, and for whatever reason he was certainly very popular. But I don't see it. He had a lovely voice and a certain sex appeal, but his music doesn't seem to me all that different from other music of the time. His movies were awful, poorly written and badly acted, trite plots constructed around not-very-convincing musical numbers (such as the Elvis film that's airing today on AMC, A Change of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore... oh, the horror). Unlike Marilyn and James, he outlived what beauty he possessed, becoming a sequined caricature of himself. So what's there to worship? Why is he an icon? Why do people still get all worked up about him? I just don't get it.

But then, I don't understand why so many people watch Survivor, either. I guess I just don't have my finger on the pulse of popular culture.

But still, I just love that video! I mean, a good beat and a great video have been known to rescue the tiredest of old standards (just look at the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, or Shirley Bassey's uber-cool remix album), and DJ JXL's beats are really compelling and fun, beautifully orchestrated to the original music for maximum ooomph.

In other news, I have been rather obsessed this week with adding to my Beefcake collection. Not only have I scanned favorites images from most of my "art" books and my second-hand collection of old Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, but I've been hunting online beefcake wherever it can be found. I have a pretty good amount of it uploaded already, and several more megs of images to sort through later. So you can look forward to seeing plenty of yummy post-punctuation in the coming weeks and months. Or, if you like browsing, you can look through the new Beefcake archive here.

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