Sunday, November 30, 2008


I can't believe I just found out that Laura Branigan died FOUR years ago. I had absolutely no idea and I am quite shocked.
It's really sad, especially considering she was only 47. The first song I ever heard by Laura Branigan was her version of "Gloria" for Flashdance (even though I never understood why it wasn't included in the soundtrack) and then of course came "Imagination" which had just an incredible sound and was the background music for one of the most artistic shows performed by Alex during the movie.
I just found out about it while youtubing some of her videos, I was quite curious about the one for "Self Control" because I had never seen it before (remember, I used to live in a communist country in the 80's). I love how videos in the 80's were so artsy.
Regarding her looks, I'm not a fan of her wardrobe, but I think she had a beautiful face, incredible angles, typical of that era. Like the brunette version of Kim Wilde. Perhaps it would have been cool to see them perform together.

Eyes, hair, face, image, all must be preserved...

Still life displayed forever, no less than she deserved.
Aging: it has come to be a frequent topic in my conversations. As I mentioned before, I am approaching thirty, I'll be turning 29 in April. Last night, at a birthday party, eye soothers, facial creams and other sorts of hope-infused ointments were part of what I discussed with my friends, along with Flashdance, nostalgia, remembering how all of us had met, and the breaking news of my blog (I haven't told that many people about it yet but I have now included it in my web info on Facebook).
To add on to the topic, I was watching a Madonna special on TV, and it included a recent post-plastic surgery interview. Now, in order to create some background for what I'm about to say, I need to make clear that I'm a HUGE Madonna fan. Ever since Dress You Up (which means I was about 4 then). I love her. I was lucky enough to see her up close during the Confessions Tour where she grabbed my hand at the end of her perfomance of La Isla Bonita and made my trip from Lima to Boston (especially for the concert) worth every penny and more.
OK, so I love her, and I will definitely have posts in the future just about her, but after watching this interview and her "new" face, I think she's made it clear that she is now officially old. It's a certain look, the high cheekbones, the eyebrows, something about this "young" appearance that comes across as a clear statement that she has reached a certain age. I don't know if I'm being clear here, but, I no longer look at her and say "wow, she looks amazing for her age" because plastic surgery just makes those calendar blocks evident. I'm not against plastic surgery AT ALL, I might go through it myself in the future, but I hoped Madonna would stay looking fabulous and plastic-surgery-free forever. That just goes on to show you how hard it is to please everyone when you're a public figure.
On the other hand, after thinking about all these things, I couldn't help but watch some clips of one of my favorite movies ever, Death Becomes Her. I seriously consider this movie a masterpiece, from the AMAZING performances to the script to the humor, I can't help but laugh like crazy every time I watch it. It's one of those movies that if you had to make a selection of highlights, you'd probably end up selecting 95% of it.
The opening is just hilarious and Meryl Streep confirms the fact that she is one of the greatest and most versatile actresses of our time. The set, the decoration, the choreography, the mix in musical styles and, of course, the lyrics to the opening song make this scene kitsch to the max (please pay attention to the feathers coming off her boa) and part of that 95% I was talking about.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


It's been almost a month since my last post, I've been extremely busy these last few weeks. What brings me back to my blog is a sad piece of news : the death of legendary Peruvian singer Yma Sumac.

It's been exactly once week since she passed away and I felt the need to write a post on her. I remember listening to her music when I was around seven or eight years old. My parents introduced me to her music and I remember one specific record (we're talking long play here...), I don't recall the actual album name, but I do remember listening to it and staring at the picture of this colorfully made-up woman and a parrot in the background. I think I stared at it mostly because the picture of her was the only sort of evidence I had that the amazing sounds I heard came from an actual human being. Her claim to fame is based on her amazing voice range (five octaves) and for being a pioneer in the mix of typical Peruvian music with jazz and other genres. Though she received a lot of criticism for this by musical purists who were unable to share her vision and appreciate the kind of exposure she would give Peru, her drive for innovation made her a star in the rest of the world. She is the only Peruvian artist to have her name on the Hollywood walk of fame.

I think Yma Sumac is probably Peru's most least-locally-recognized-icon (did that make any sense?). This is quite ironic, my parents used to tell me how back when we used to live in Europe, they'd introduce themselves as Peruvians to locals at dinner parties and one of the first things they'd mention would be her name, yet when I came back to Lima and mentioned her name to people I met, all I'd get in response would be an intrigued face.

Yma's music is one of the very few things that have kept me linked to Peru throughout my life. This may sound a little weird, but I've always had a sort of nationality-identity-crisis (if I keep on coming up with these hyphenated expressions I'm going to have to create a special dictionary for them). My father is Peruvian, my mother is Uruguayan and I was born in Romania, I've never felt 100% from just one place, but this will the the topic for a future post.

In 2006 Yma Sumac came to Peru for a series of belated homage ceremonies. It was at the one held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that I was actually able to meet her. This came as a totally unexpected gift, so as to call it, I had already come to terms with the fact I would never be able to see her perform and least of all even meet her.

She was dressed all in pink, hat included, and wore transparent lucite platform sandals. It was a very brief moment, a one I will cherish forever. I was finally meeting and holding the hands of the woman on that record cover.
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