Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, November 27, 2006

A few of my favorite inspiring things

The new issue of EW has an "inspirations" theme,asking celebs what gives or has given their creative muses fuel for thought. Gwen Stefani(I love the cover photo of her;she looks like a kickass super villian. Just click the title link for a look) cops to being a Sound of Music junkie, Stephen King raps with the Lost boys and film makers Christopher Guest,Anthony Mingella,McG and Catherine Hardwicke have a roundtable discussion on the movies and directors who made them want to lens up.

This got me to thinking about who and what have inspired me,pop culture wise,over the years and still today. So,without further ado,here's a list of my personal inspirations:


HEART: I'm not a High Fidelity kind of music lover but I know what I like when I hear it. Over the years,tough and tender tunesmiths like Pat Benatar,Joan Jett and Pink get my toes tapping and my head banging but the Wilson sisters of Heart are the ones I'd most like to be. Their mix of hard rock with romance can sooth the most savage of beasts,plus they are the original Hair Metal Band,in my opinion. Those girls could whield the hairspray and the mike as well as any guy group did:

BETTE MIDLER:I'm talking old school Bette-the raunchy,rollicking gal who would appear onstage as mermaid Delores Del Rio in a wheelchair and before Cher was even Moonstruck,rocked the silver screen as The Rose. She was bold,brassy and full of good humor. Bette loved to playact the diva(kind of a Miss Piggy made human)and while she still has a great set of pipes,I miss the wacky,anti-Steisand version of her that I grew up with:


V: Many people will name such miniseries as Roots,The Winds of War or even North & South as their favorites but on my list,one of the top slots goes to V. V(and it's sequel,The Final Battle)tells the allegorical tale of alien Visitors who subtly take over the earth in a Nazi like fashion which rallies together a cross section of folks to form a resistance movement. True,some of it is a tad hokey but having a sci fi battle for the fate of humanity on the small screen back then was pretty cool:

A spin-off weekly tv show followed briefly that kept many of the actors from both miniseries,including Jane Badler who played Diana,the most vicious Visitor of them all. Whether she was sweet talking suckers into going along with her evil plans,swallowing down live animals in one gulp or dishing out mind control torture sessions,she was the bitch from beyond that you loved to hate.

I,CLAUDIUS:The first PBS show(besides Sesame Street and other kiddie fare)that I really got into was this adaptation of Robert Graves' novels about the rise and fall of the ruling families of the Roman Empire,as seen by Claudius,an overlooked yet brilliant man who used his physical shortcomings to survive the bloodbath politics of his kin. With such great actors as Derek Jacobi,Sian Phillips and John Hurt as Caligula,this miniseries made ancient history as enjoyable as any soap opera:


FRANKENSTEIN: Boris Karloff was one of the best horror movie actors ever(sorry,Lugosi fans)and his Frankenstein films still hold up today as classics. While Bride of Frankenstein is considered the best of the bunch(I adore Dr.Pretorious),the first film is what started it all. True,Karloff doesn't say much but his body language speaks volumes:

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES: The animated fairy tale that all others aspire to. What I truly love about this movie is the Wicked Queen-that girl is poison! Yes, Snow White and all her forest friends are cute and sweet but the Wicked Queen is evily awesome. She's a determined woman who's not shy about getting her hands dirty to achieve her goals and a stylish dresser to boot:


JANE EYRE: I read this book dozens of times as a kid and while I haven't picked it up lately(making my way thru her sister Anne's Tenant of Wildfell Hall at the moment),my library would feel incomplete without it. Orphans seem exotic to kids who have both of their parents with them growing up(as I did)and to me,Jane Eyre was a orphan survival story,not this big gothic romance.

It is a good love story(if you like gloom and scary first wives rattling around the attic)but it's Jane resolve to face whatever lies in her path headon that really makes her such a wonderful heroine for the ages.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Comedian Fannie Flagg's first novel(later retitled Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man)introduces you to Daisy Fay Harper,a spirited and sassy 11 year old girl in Mississippi of 1952 who keeps her head held high despite her father's get rich quick schemes that backfire with piazzaz,being mocked by Kay Bob Benson(the local Nellie Olsen)and the breakdown of her parent's marriage.

Daisy's sage extends to 1959,when she is competing in the Miss Mississippi pagent mainly to win a scholarship that'll take her to New York. Along the way,she makes some pretty unique friends such as Peachy Wigham,a black undertaker with an albino assistant,Vernon Mooseburger,a boy who went bald before high school and Billy Bundy,a preacher who cooks up a resurrection scheme with Daisy's father. By what ever name you call it,this book is a real humdinger of a read.

Well,that's just a hint of what floats my boat. Please feel free to share some of your own inspirations with the rest of the class. Props and dioramas are acceptable but not mandatory for your presentation.


Pop Culture Diva said...

What a great topic! Here are mine.

ABBA-they are fun and very 70 Euro pop
70s soul-I got this from my dad but I love Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway and the older guys Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding

The Way We Were-I love the idea that love isn't enough to keep a relationship together. Bittersweet.

The Color Purple-this gets more meaningful everytime I see it.

Any musical-I love the musicals especially All That Jazz, Fame and Cabaret.

After School Specials and Schoolhouse Rocks-They shaped my early belief system and taught me that "3" is the magic number.

I wanted to be Nia Peeples for a long time. The show sucked compared to the movie but it fed my love of dance and music.

Jane Eyre-My fave as well.

Robin Brande said...

Lady T, I forgot all about "V"! What a blast from the past.

PCD, I'm with you on After School Specials and Schoolhouse Rock. My favorite was "Figure 8"--such a beautiful song, and loved watching the girl figure skate. I wanted to be her. Also loved "Conjunction Junction" and "We the People" (I still know the words to the preamble of the Constitution, thanks to that).

Books--both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were great--those moody, brooding men who seemed so romantic then, and now seem so high-maintenance I'd run far and fast from them in real life.

Music--The Carpenters, The Beach Boys, Bread, America, and Barry Manilow (do NOT judge me).

Movies--those great Kurt Russell teen/college movies like "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" and "Now You See Him Now You Don't." The kids in those movies always seemed so cool and smart and fun. Also loved any Disney movie involving kids and their pets--dogs, cheetahs, lions, whatever.

I could go on and on. What a fun idea, LT!

lady t said...

I knew I liked you guys for a reason! PCD, I dig ABBA,Schoolhouse Rock(which taught me my 5 times table),Afterschool specials and All That Jazz(Jessica Lange as the Angel of Death was so cool),too.

Robin,I can't mock your Manilow love since I still have a fondness for Copacabana(Manilow does look a bit scary these days-Botox or a nip/tuck?). I had 8 tracks as a kid and one of my favorites was a Best of The Carpenters collection-Karen had a sweet set of pipes,too bad she didn't just eat a sandwich once and awhile:(

One of my favorite Disney flicks was Candleshoe,with Jodie Foster and Helen Hayes-I dug those spunky kid heroine type of movies.