Tuesday, 22 May 2012

R.I.P. Summer & Warda

Donna Summer died on Thursday. I knew her songs but I never realized they were all by the same person. And did you know she lived in Germany for years before making it big? Here my top 3 Summer songs, including her most fabulous performances.

1. Bad Girls

"Toot toot, Ahh, Beep Beep!"

Donna looking ferosh in a sequin jumpsuit and crazy-fly sunnies. She moves like Posh Spice in the Wannabe clip, but she looks so disco Grace Jones it works.
(And who are the three gals in the background??)

Bad Girls 1979 - The Donna Summers Special

Appropriately misogynist ending.

2. On the Radio

You gotta love the little acting intro. And that wink at 0:21.

Donna Summer - On the Radio, 1983

3. Love to love you Baby

A tad repetitive, but so seventies sexed-up it could be the soundtrack for Deep Throat.  This performance on the Soul Train includes a meek interview with Donna - good girl gone bad.

Donna Summer - Love to Love you Baby (Soul Train) 1976

"Hot Stuff" and "She works hard for the money" are great songs too, but you already knew that.

More importantly, Warda Al-Jazairia died last week too. Warda was Franco-Algerian, but a massive star all over the Arab World who embodied President Nasser's Panarabic dream. 

Here my favourite clip of hers, with nature stills that are every hipster graphic designer's dream.

Warda: إسمعوني

And a live performance of Batwannes Beek ("I miss you"), including a full orchestra and mass hysteria from the co-ed audience.

Warda: Batwannes Beek

R.I.P. Habibis. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

William's World

Globe to Globe - the World Shakespeare Festival is on. Richard II in Palestinian Arabic? Troilus and Cressida in Maori? Each of William's 37 plays is performed by a different theatre group in their native language.

I went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream in Korean this week. Ferocious grimacing on painted elf faces, quirky wooden instruments, and many bum-rubbing jokes (is that a Korean thing?). I am not sure William would have dug it, but the culture combo was pretty magnificent.

Korean Theatre Company Yohangza, in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. (AFP/William West)

Here my top picks for the upcoming weeks:

- Antony and Cleopatra by pioneering Turkish group Oyun Atolyesi
Romeo & Juliet by Grupo Galpão: Leo meets Brazilian Circus
Coriolanus by famous minimalist company Chiten from Kyoto
Macbeth in Polish, with influences from Almodovar and Lynch...

Polish Macbeth: Teatr Kochanowskiego.

Standing tickets 5 pounds. To be, or not to be there.


Also, here an interesting article from the Guardian, on why the festival is cultural imperialism.