This some impressive acting talent. His very expressive face tells us everything we need to know about Pete Dunne. He says he likes to hurt people. We don't doubt him. Even when he says it calmly, we believe it even more. He isn't out of control; he isn't a beast. He's a high functioning psychopath, and that's the most frightening person he could be.
Dunne carries all his belts like animals he's killed with his bare hands. He even carries them in his mouth, again, like an animal with a trophy.
Even his outfit constructs his character. He was a very basic wrestling outfit, and a sleeveless vest that looks like he stitched it together with animal skins. When he makes occasional appearances on NXT in normal dress, he wears well tailored outfits, suits or vests with ties. He looks civilized and sexy in a primitive way. He's like a thug from a 1940s film noir who would slap around his mistress for giving him sass. And though I find abuse of women nauseating, there's something hot about this fantasy.
His attitude is never snotty; he simply doesn't give a fuck what anyone thinks or does. He never screams about being disrespected because, well, everyone respects him. He insists upon it.
Dunne doesn't need to say or do much to convey all of this: watch him in the ring, watch him walk down the entrance way, watch him look someone up and down. This kind of talent is extremely difficult to have. Having such a fully developed character such as Pete Dunne has, and at such a young age, is impressive.
And, of course, he's amazing in the ring. He's young and has more talent and charisma than wrestlers who have been doing this ten years longer than him (and he's been doing this since he was 12). In ten years, he could be running the wrestling world.
I first experienced him, truly experienced him in full character mode, during the WWE UK Classic. The WWE classics are all great wrestling, but the UK Classic is tight, well structured, and the wrestlers are fun as fuck. And of course you get Pete Dunne. Below is the final match in the classic between Dunne and Tyler Bate, who in his own right is dazzling.
The best match of the WWE UK Classic: Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate
Sometimes, the entrances are the best part.
One of the greatest pleasures I have watching wrestling are the entrances. In Wrestlemania, the entrances are bigger, grander, full of pyrotechnics and costumes that are beyond the scope of every day episodes of RAW or Smackdown. In New Japan Pro Wrestling, the G1 Climax or Wrestlekingdom are the great events which inspire the best, most gorgeous outfits and regal entrances. As for Lucha Underground, it seems as if every day is a day for pagentry, as the lucha style of wrestling is full of color and high drama. And all of it is delicious.
Below is a brief collection of my favorite wrestlers and their gorgeous pageantry. There are many more I could have added, such as Sasha Banks, Bailey, The New Day, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, and Becky Lynch. The list does go on and on. These few are the ones I especially love.
Finn Balor, WWE
I mention Balor first not because of his 0% body fat physique, but because of the body paint. I've worked with body paint in theater productions, and it is extremely time consuming and always on the verge of being rubbed or sweated off. What Balor and his artist achieve is continually stunning. Yes, most of the paint gets rubbed off on wrestlers, but it works with the character. Balor enters as the demon, a force that he taps into like a superpower. At the end of the match, the demon has been exorcised, almost washed clean away, and once again he's Finn Balor.
Listen to me recite the first 18 lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in the Original Middle English
The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer (1340(?)–1400)
WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote 1
The droghte 2 of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich 3 licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 5
Inspired hath in every holt 4 and heeth
The tendre croppes, 5 and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, 6
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye, 10
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages: 7
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes, 8
To ferne halwes, 9 couthe 10 in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende 15
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke. 11
Why do I know this?
The Canterbury Tales are a collection of stories told by a group of people making a pilgrimage to Canterbury, England. Each night, one person in the group tells a story. Some of the stories are very, very dirty. These opening lines, however, are not.
When I was in high school, my English teacher had us memorize the first eighteen lines. She didn't bother to wait until we asked why we needed to memorize and recite Middle English: she told us.
She said, "It will make you fascinating at cocktail parties."
Look at all the potential sexy characters for my action figure erotica. At the top of my list: Stephen Hawking, of course.
I listen to this song daily as I work. The music is by Zach Hemsey, who is extraordinary in his own right. Usually when I listen to a song from YouTube, I don't watch the video, but this one is an exception.
The video is cobbled together from scenes from the second or third 300 movie (it doesn't really matter which). It has the comic book aesthetic that makes the movie seem more like animation than live action. There's no voiced dialogue, but I get the main idea of what the movie is about and who Artemisia is. And she is an absurdity.
A list explaining the origins and inspirations for Pia Palladino
1. British mentalist and illusionist, Derren Brown.
Brown is in a different category of magician than David Copperfield, Chris Angel and Penn and Teller. This is how Wikipedia describes him:
Brown does not claim to possess any super-natural powers, indeed his acts are often designed to expose the methods of those who do, such as faith healers and mediums. He makes clear in his performances that all of his apparent abilities, which manifest on stage/screen as feats of memory, intuition, mind-reading and control of other objects/people, are achieved through a variety of psychological means, such as hypnosis, suggestion, cold reading, misdirection, and showmanship, and in many cases he will often give detailed explanations of his specific methods during or after the performance. In some performances he also uses his techniques to explore issues of personality such as fears and motivation.
Brown's psychological focus is infinitely interesting to me. I've watched almost all his shows and what finally struck me was when I finally grasped the concept of vision. We see the world in a specific, narrow way. And it is on the outreaches of this vision is where magicians work. This caused me to question my own vision, and my own desires to want to believe certain things.
A German businessman documents his affair with his secretary: the art of anxiety.
The photographs and notes came from a suitcase that was purchased at an estate auction. The identity of those involved are unknown. All we know about the woman photographed was that her name was Margret, she was married and 24. The businessman was 39 and also married. This happened between 1969 and 1970.
The person who purchased the suitcase put together all of this material and created an art exhibit which was shown about a year ago.
The businessman made notes of their encounters, took many photographs of Margret (none of which are pornographic), and even saved a sample of her hair. I think it's fair to say that the businessman was quite smitten with her.
As for what she possibly thought of him, her expressions are revealing. Sometimes she seems annoyed, challenging, playful, formal, even bewildered as to why he was interested in taking her photograph. Sometimes she seems to be holding a pose simply because he told her to.
He took pictures of her dresses, before or after sex, hanging up unwrinkled, or on the bed in disarray. He focuses on sexual impressions and suggestions. Explicitness is for those uninterested in the imagination. He was fucking her mentally with these notes and photos. He was fucking her memory. Considering that this material has lasted until the present shows that he could not throw the affair away.
There is anxiety in collecting. Once you have one thing you want more, and then more, and then you worry that you'll miss something and you must make sure that doesn't happen. As he photographs and makes notes, he is clutching at Margret, collecting her and their time together. He is controlling it as best he can and saving it for the future, when he (possibly) knows he won't have her anymore. Their affair did last a year.
I get this. I really get this. Having been in this position, anxiety is built into the affair. Time together is precious and intense. The other person almost seems superhuman, a rock star or a demigod. The affair becomes pure joy when together, and when apart you feel a kind of emptiness that is torture and the worst kind of existential angst. You cannot have enough time together. And you cannot realize this relationship in something socially acceptable because, though you talk about leaving your spouses all the time, it will never happen. Because you prefer it this way. You prefer the anxiety, which is as addictive as orgasms.
Or, maybe there's something wrong with me.
I've been watching Dita Von Teese for a while. That sounds creepy, as if I'm a peeping Tom. But don't her photos make us peeping Toms? We catch her in intimate moments, getting undressed or splashing around in a glass of champagne or tied up for unseemly purposes.
It is easy to get caught up in someone like Dita, being as beautiful and naturally erotic as she is. Her come-hither eyes and red lips that have a taunting twist are provocative. I felt provoked. I felt like she was teasing me, telling me to follow her through the internet, through Twitter and Tumblr and find as many images of her as I could. To what end? Well, where I have ended up isn't where I thought I was going: I think there's something wrong with Dita Von Teese.
Benjamin Lacombe deals mostly in fairy tales: Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Madame Butterfly, the Tales of Edgar Allen Poe, Medusa, Ondine, even Marie Antoinette. I classify all these as fairy tales because he has no interest in history, reality, or even, at times, accurate anatomy.
but then there are those pieces which don't find easy classification. Oh, I'm sure with the internet it's possible to figure out in a couple minutes the source of every piece. But I approach these pieces like a scavenger. Things found by chance. For I actually did find them by chance in the glorious landfill that is Pinterest.
I approach the the pieces as if I have nothing except my contemporary understanding of culture, history and literature. These days we are more apt to encounter art this way, out of the superimposed context of a museum.
And there is is a valid and important argument in favor of rejecting titles, authors names, in fact all context so that we may approach a piece of work freshly and freely. It makes the piece more ours because our interpretation personal and unmolested.
Approaching Lacombe's works relatively unfettered has been a horrifying journey into my childhood and has caused me to reevaluate melancholy and my relationships with animals. It has not been pleasant.
The figures uncomfortably fit within their scenes. The animation is obvious: the heads are larger than normal, the eyes extraordinarily large and round: the bodies have the dimensions of what would be defined as "cute". The colors are vibrant, there are adorable cats, the women are dressed lavishly and enviously, and the figures may or may not be dead.
These pieces are quite horrifying, but lack the traditional dread which would accompany it. Rather, the characters in these works have resigned themselves to their story. They have complete hopelessness. They look at us with the last expression a suicide would have.
I've said too much. So much for my quest to create a fresh, free art experience. Enjoy. Or, as at least, try to.
Princesses are a relatively new phenomena. Devised in the 90s, the group was a gimmick designed to bolster falling sales and puff up Disney appeal. It worked to a staggering degree. One cannot go into a Disney store, or any building that has children, without being inundated by pastel tulle, glitter and bejeweled crowns. Being a Princess is an ideal that all girls (and secretly, I'm sure, some boys and transchildren) don't just aspire to be. They already are princesses. They can wear the crowns and tulle and glitter because they are special and magical and one day their prince will come.
Without a moment's hesitation, feminist were all over this like maggots on a dead caribou. They have many great points about the diminishment of a girl's abilities and talents, the hope to be saved by a man, the inability to be in a story that doesn't involve romance and a platonic relationship with a man. Not to mention the emphasis on appearance, the implied sexualizing of young girls, the heavy make up and skinny bodies that provoke speculation that Barbie is a princess herself.
None of that matters at all. If anything, I think adult women are much more obsessed with these attributes than little girls.
All one has to do is search on "Disney Princess" on Pinterest and one's computer nearly has a melt down. Women have taken this Princess obsession to quite complex levels which are intellectually dizzying and culturally amazing.
Artists have created the "What if" Princess. What if the Princesses all had blue eyes (for example)? What if the Princesses were all dogs? What if the Princesses were jewelry?
These are only a few of the examples I found, and it's a long list. I wanted to include as many as possible to illustrate my point. By the way, almost all of these images I found on BuzzFeed. I think BuzzFeed has fertilized this wonderful madness. And I also think this is entirely illegal and the Disney Corporation would react poorly to these manipulations of their copyrighted material.
1. What if the Disney princesses were burlesque showgirls?
I'm Lady Ristretto, writing under a pseudonym. My pseudonym has a pseudonym.