It’s time to Hit Play, folks. Last month, we worked with the good people at Cheap Monday and the hip hop mavens of RSVP 33 on a unique celebration of denim and dance in our Toronto location. We’re keeping the soul train going and focusing on the pop culture gems that inspire us to bust a move. Cue those jazz hands.
Grab yourself a Palm Bay and strap into your best halter top cause we are headed to TAMPA, BABY. Look, Magic Mike is fantastic. I don’t know how to convince you of this if you don’t already agree with me, other than to say just watch it. It’s not at all the film it was marketed as. It’s weird and dark and mostly sad and kind of glinting eerily with the secret truth of Channing Tatum’s considerable acting chops. I could wax poetic about how genuinely good it is for far longer than anyone would be willing to listen to me. There’s a scene toward the end where the eponymous Mike kind of stutter-yells a monologue at his love interest who for her part makes up for a relative dearth of lines with one of the most withering resting bitch faces that has ever been committed to film, and I think it’s legitimately unfortunate that neither was nominated for anything.
Magic Mike XXL is also excellent and is basically the movie the first one was marketed as – vapid, ecstatic, mostly dry humping. It’s also in many ways the world-woke older brother of the two. Where the first movie angsts and speculates and is not without the occasional unfortunate fat joke at the expense of the women it purports to cater to, XXL is a literal ball to the literal wall shameless orgy of the male form as observed and evaluated by women – and a wide range of women at that. For me, the most exciting thing about XXL is the relatively unprecedented (at least in mainstream media) spectrum of women portrayed as gleeful and unashamed spectators, genuinely worthy of the affection and efforts of the men they desire.
Honestly, I wish this entire article was just a comparative analysis of the two.
I’ll stop talking about this in just a sec, but listen: when was the last time you watched Matthew McConaughey in hot pants instruct a baby-faced Alex Pettyfer in the finer points of pelvic hyperextension with the gentle flippancy of a beloved tutor? If it wasn’t, like, yesterday, grab yourself a stack of ones and get outta here.
Ira Glass’s short but sweet interview with writer slash NPR quizmaster Peter Sagal is a fascinating window into the smoke machine that is Hollywood script doctoring. I’m a bit torn because to reveal what this could possibly have to do with dance would be to spoil the story, and it’s best if you listen to Sagal tell this one in his own words. Suffice it to say, another movie marathon might be in order once you’ve listened.
There’s nothing quite like watching someone have the best time ever doing something they are ridiculously good at. Koharu Sugawara is one of Japan’s foremost hip hop choreographers, and her routines are suffused with an infectious glee that makes dweebs like me get the kind of goosebumps usually reserved for Oscar speeches and Ronald McDonald House commercials. After spending the better part of two hours watching every available video of her on Youtube, I have decided to abandon the solitary life of a freelance writer and become a dancer myself, asthma and staggering lack of coordination be damned. Some highlights include her combination to Ed Sheeran’s Sing and her collaboration alongside Rio Takanaka, Hinano Iino, and Yuki Shibuya with Norweigan dance trio Strawhatz, but honestly, just toggle that autoplay button and kickback.
– Shauna Wootton
Featured photograph courtesy of koharusugawara.com