28 Feb 2012

A Shy Guy’s Approach

"Can I bum a cigarette?" The shy guy finally approached me after moving around me for a while.
"Sure! Do you need a lighter?" I looked for my lighter and then handed it to him with a smile.
"Thanks." He started smoking without saying more.

This is the end of the conversation.

"So he must be straight, otherwise he will try to carry on the conversation." I told myself I got the wrong message, which could be true since my gaydar is quite broken. 

However, I found that he did not leave but stood right in front of me. He seemed nervous and not sure about what to do next. I looked at him and wondered whether or not he would talk to me. He kept looking to his right, and it seemed like he was avoiding me. Then my dear friend came back from the bathroom. Naturally I quietly told her about what just happened, and she started to check this guy out, quite boldly. Still, he did not leave; neither did he make any effort to look at us.

Then his friends showed up. Though he seemed to relax a bit, he did not really talk to his friends who acted like it’s their first time clubbing. Since we were at the corner where the foosball was, I thought he must be waiting for his friends to play the foosball. This was confirmed when the manager of the club showed up to open the foosball and checked the jammed slot. Since I had never seen the inside of that machine, I said, "Wow, it’s my first time seeing this." Finally he looked at me with a big smile on that cute face. Still, no conversation! I told my friend he’s not gay, but she insisted that he is and is interested in me.

He still stood in front of us for a while, and then his friends called him to join them, still in front of us. These two other boys looked pretty gay. Tight T-shit with skinny jeans and Converse baseball boots, they were truly twinks. It seemed like they were teasing him or something, but I could not tell since the music was damn loud. Except that big smile to me, he avoided us, but my friend caught him peeking at us when he had to turn his face to his friends. Then he disappeared!

Later my friend and I went dancing, and when I was quite immersed in the remix of the 80s music, I saw him standing on the far right looking at my direction. But, you know, it’s quite impossible to ensure whether he was looking at me when I was submerged in all different kinds of flesh and blood. But I found that whenever I got the chance to look at where he was, he was always there, smoking, looking at my direction. I told my friend that maybe she was right about him, but still I was not sure. I could not pick up any clues that could confirm his gayness. His outfit was so boring. A gray polo shirt with a small hole on the right arm, overly loose jeans that made his legs look short, brown working boots, along with his scruffy face and messy hair, all these made him look like a real lumberjack, not a cute one that one would see in the movies. Despite these, he does have a good looking face, one that reminds me of those cute French or Italian actors.

Not long after we went back to where we were for a rest, he wandered to our area again, but this time he did not stay but carried on his wanderings around the club. Later when he came again, he accidently looked up and met my gaze. I guess he was a bit shocked coz he gave a quick nod with a nervous look on his face, and then he very quickly turned himself and walked to the chair that was a bit far from us. I do not know whether or not he intentionally chose that chair coz the chair was facing me. The funny thing was he sat facing the bar rather than me, and once I caught him looking at me, he swiftly turned his head back to the bar direction. Not for long, the staff of the club came and took the chair away, so he had no alternative but sat on the built-in sofa that faced our direction. Still, I locked my eyes on him with a smile on my face, which I thought a welcome sign that might get him to approach me. But unfortunately, neither did he make the move nor look at my direction again. He sat there for less than a minute and then stood up quickly and walked to the dance floor. Even though he walked away and stood with his back facing us, he was still in front of me.

Nothing actually happened, and I still do not know who this person is and whether or not he is interested in me. All I know is that this person could not be straight and he is very shy. Straight guys don’t bum a cigarette and then do things like that. Also straight guys always check out hot chicks rather than ignore them completely. There were couple girls actually sending him the very obvious sexual signs, but he totally overlooked them, treating them like air. His other friends checked us out very boldly whenever they walked past us, and that might be a sign that they knew about something.

Another friend of mine told me that I played my cards all wrong. Maybe I did play my cards wrong, but what else I can  do when he is so shy! If I did act more aggressively, then I am sure I would scare him away. It is so difficult to deal with a shy guy. But honestly, except for his bad taste for clothes and the lack of style, he is such a cute shy guy.

7 Feb 2012

Madonna, the Real Queen: 2012 Super Bowl halftime show

When Madonna talked to the audience in her interview with Anderson Cooper, she said "I have eight minutes to set it up and seven minutes to take it down and twelve minutes to put on the greatest show on earth." (Read Here) Yes, she did it, and that 12 minutes are not just fabulous and innovative, but truly qualified as "the greatest show on earth."

Many would argue against this statement, and as you can read from the comments on Youtube. Those who dislike the show criticize her for lip sync as well as lame dance, and there are even comments saying that she represents some kind of dark occult that might have endanger the social norms. The last critique is ridiculous. If you want to view the pop culture through such standards, then there is no pop culture. Can you imagine living in a world of drought, just like the middle ages when the "orthodox" religious beliefs rule everything? But even in that period of time, festivals were still allowed and the pop culture was lively among laymen. Those who believe in such standards probably detest the fantasy world of Dante or Rabelais, and they probably hate the Carnival of Venice, the Rio Carnival, and the Mardi Gras in Sydney or New Orleans.

As for those who criticize her for lip sync and lame dance, they have been too harsh on her. She is 53, and putting on a show this grand is never easy. For those who have never perform on stage, they would not know how difficult it is to sing and dance at the same time, particularly on a stage this big. Go ask a Broadway musical performer! In fact, the last song Like a Prayer was a live performance, and even though I do think Madonna is not a great singer, she did it quite well. I do agree that her dancing movements are less powerful than she did before in her concerts, but the varieties of dance and the incorporation of acrobatics, marching, as well as cheerleading enrich the overall performance marking Madonna's innovation and creativity.

Except Give Me All Your Luvin (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.) is the new song from MDNA (2012), the rest is famous and catchy old songs. Vogue and Music are so popular that even the non-fans of Madonna would be able to sing a bit of them. When old songs are performed, naturally they bring about nostalgia, which certainly helps create the desired ambience. According to Fredric Jameson, this nostalgia marks the weakness of postmodern arts, that is, its inability to represent and fashion the contemporaneity (see Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, 21). However, this 12 minutes show is a nostalgia with a reshaped form in which bold innovations are inserted to renew the old images of these songs. In other words, Modonna's world of Roman soldiers, Greek gods, cheerleaders, acrobatic performers, street dancers, choir singers, as well as marching ensemble is a world of multifarious artistic forms, and none of these component parts is irrelevant to or detached from the modern lifestyle:  the cheerleaders and marching ensemble in Glee, the Greek gods and Roman soldiers from the latest Hollywood films, the world-famous acrobatic performance from Cirque du Soleil, the street dance that everyone enjoys on Live to Dance in the US or Got to Dance in the Uk, and lastly the church choir whose singing can also touch those who are not a member of Christianity. Everything is identifiable and easy to capture for those in the auditorium or in front of the TV.

Multifarious pastiche is the nature of contemporary pop culture, but Madonna's creativity and sincerity turn such a pastiche into a fine artistic expression. The ensemble is not simply an arbitrary combination of forms. Each component part is placed carefully in relation to the overall performance. This is why they do not contradict but complement each other, and the ensemble not only charms the crowd, but also confirms their mental image of the contemporary pop culture. Thus, this successful portrayal of the modern life and entertainment renews Madonna's old songs and the nostalgic ambience is replaced with the passion of the cheering crowds. Her creativity makes her the real queen of contemporary pop culture, a true icon for twenty-first century pop fashion. Some might want to compare her with Lady Gaga, but the truth here is "Madonna is irreplaceable." She has passed the phase to use grotesque or bizarre performances to legitimize her status. Now she renews herself from her own past. She evolves from within, and this is why she is amazing.