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March 26, 1992 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-26

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc.-March 26, 1992

Sing it, Oochie-
Coochie La-La-La
"Whoaaaa, Nellie!" Heed yells in amazement, gaping at Karyn White's
figure, so well-delineated in her music video "Walkin' the Dog."
My apartment-mates and I sit around the television set and absorb the
squalor. It's a late Monday night of video decadence, a great opportunity to
observe how sex sells records.
"Hold on now," T. says. "She ain't never been that hooked before."
"That's 'cause she wears so much black," Ken adds in, ever so observant
of such meager details.
Two more music videos follow: The incomparable "Uhh Ahh" by Boyz
II Men and "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" by a trio of lascivious, but fine, singers
called TLC.
"Uhh Ahh" is slightly astounding for the singers' use of less words in the
chorus than Johnny Gill's "My My My." The fellas from Boyz II Men can't

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sing at all, but thanks to producer Michael Bivins they've got an overblown
video for their song and more video vixens than you can shake a remote
control at. We see them standing in a dignified manner around a bubble bath
that is filled with young nubiles. The performance is a howler, but the Boyz
press on, blowing suds into the camera and trying very hard to look wistful.
The women from TLC contend. that they ain't too proud to beg for
something that they call their own. Dig that. As T. announces very loudly,
the flirtatious, dark-skinned lead singer has it goin' on. Rapper Left Eye
stands out for a number of reasons, one of which certainly being the rolled
condom she wears over her left eye.
"How old are they?" Ken asks.
"They look young," Heed interjects.
"I could show 'em some tricks."
"I don't think you could show them any tricks," Heed responds ironi-
cally. 4
The next video is MC Brains' "Oochie Coochie." The latest of a string of
Biv Entertainment artists (that's Bivins' label, in case you didn't know), the
not aptly-named Brains follows suit by (supposedly) exploiting the
audience's repressed urges.
This one is just brilliant in its perversity. There is a plethora of scantily-
clad tarts, undulating across the screen and singing this insipid chorus,
"Oochie-Coochie, La-La-La! Oochie-Coochie!"
"He's doing push-ups! What kind of symbolism is that?"
Brains' boy tells him to stop popping the crap and drop some names.
He enthusiastically does, and we even get a visual representation of what
his hits look like: an extensive display of Brains' oochie-coochie playmates,
synched in with the roll call and way too sexy for this video.
I guess we're supposed to assume that the women on screen are telling
us, "We've been hoed! We've been used and we're proud!"
Yet Brains is just as formidable a ho, peering at us over a tea kettle in a
ludicrous pose, then smiling as he pours hot fluid over a woman's half-
naked body.
. "MC Brains is going straight to hell," T. says, annoyed by this show of
wackness.
"Perhaps," Heed adds in.
"He certainly is a modest fellow," I observe. The video ends, but the
exploitation continues on through the late night. I can't decide what's more
offensive: what these women are readily doing to themselves, or how the
artists and directors degrade sex itself, just to sell records.
Okay, so it's the latter.
T. makes an interesting point: as banal as this capitalistic use of naked
women is, it continues to this very minute and doesn't seem to be going out
of style anytime soon.
I pass out on the couch thirty-five minutes later.
As far as I can remember, my most memorable dream includes the
women from TLC, a brass waterbed, a bottle of CD cleaning solution and a
cash register.

Are these models as hip as the designer, Shawn Stussy, who garbs them? Almost, but nobody can top this dude who rode a tasty wave to the top of fashion..,
Urb Armai takesvisiont the streets
His unmistakable razor-slash sig- "The shops that carried the partner Frank Sinatra, Jr., (yes, that's .
by Scott Sterling nature can be seen emblazoned on boards would carry these T-shirts I'd his real name, and no, he's no
anyone from 13-year-old skaters to screen up for the hell of it. I'd made relation to ol' blue eyes) Stussy
S hawn Stussy is as cool and the hippest of the hip rock 'n' some shorts before, and the whole started concentrating on clothes.
creative as the clothes he makes. rollers, such as Soul II Soul and Big thing just sort of happened. In Everything went ballistic from there.
Mellow, unpretentious, and totally Audio Dynamite. hindsight, it's really hard to explain, Over the past few months, Shawn
with it, this is a guy that definitely Stussy started out as just another 'cause it just evolved over a long and his clothes have been profiled in
walks it like he talks it. California homeboy, fresh out of period of time, it was never a a plethora of magazines, from
Over the past ten years, his line high school, trying to make enough conscious effort." Details to Sassy spin-off Dirt, and
of classic casual wear - part urban money to cover the bills and still In the case of Stussy, it was the the line is in more demand than ever.
B-boy, part west coast skaterat - have time to surf. According to the demand that created the supply. I wonder if he feels that his fashion~
has grown into Stussy Inc., a multi- man himself, his cool-cat empire "I had a booth at one of these surf are becoming less exclusive than%
million dollar business. Unlike many was anything but the result of some trade shows, and I showed some they once were.
other surf-inspired clothing lines, entrepreneurial master plan. clothes, and ended up taking a ton of "Oh, I don't know. That's just the
Stussy has endured the test of time, "I always made surfboards, with orders, and kinda went like, shit, nature of the beef. It's like music, ,
not falling prey to the flavor-of-the- the name Stussy on 'em, way before maybe I should do more of this." it's a catch-22. You gotta make
month syndrome. the clothes," he explains. So, along with. his business enough to make a business out of it,
and all you can do is what you feel is
the right thing as far as saturation,
and not getting too much of it out
there, but still paying the bills and
T hough lesser-known and more political, Basement Muntin), a British imperialist missionary who beats her all."
Arts can be considered the late night TV of the tambourine and Hallelujahs her way into power. She In some ways, Stussy is in the
Theatre Department. This week's performance of Nar- controls the masses in a more subtle, but equally danger- same situation as indie grunge,
row Road to the Great North by Edward Bond fits into ous, way than Shogo. Humbert compares Georgeina to rockers gone double-platinum, Nir-
that mold easily. a Bush-type political figure. She's a ruler who doesn't vana - they are totally revered by a
The play centers around the political changes in 17th, appear to be threatening, but because she controls small, exclusive group of people
18th and 19th century Japan, and follows Basho, a poet thought, she is especially menacing. who feel that someone is "selling
and a priest, through his travels in search of enlighten- One of the most critical characters in the play is Kiro, out" when s/he achieves a modicum
ment. But this summary does not do the play's complex played by Mason Haber. Kiro is a naive young priest of success.
symbolism - which is relevant to today's society - who is trying to find answers for his questions about life. s Yeah, exactly! Everybody
justice. The audience often sees the play through his eyes. "As should be goig, all rght man,
Basho, played by Jamie Dawson, is really a personi- he learns, we learn," says Humbert. they're finally making it. I mean,
fication of Bond's ideas about the relationship between Part of Kiro's importance in the play is to help the that's the whole point - to try to
ficaion f Bod's deasabou themake something out of your adult ~
art and religion. Bond is saying, and director Kevin playwright vent his views on religion. As Humbert sees "egy
Humbert agrees, that artists have a responsibility to it, Bond, who is a Marxist, believes that religion has the li'And then when you do, it kind
society. "Artists need to start figuring out what is impor- power to corrupt. On this way of thinking Humbert gets dissed. But you just gotta keep
tant," Humbert says. "The deep-rooted meaning for an comments, "Toworry moreaboutacrucifixorastained- plugging away. So, I'm disagreeing
artist can't be frivolous." glass window than the homeless, AIDS or a capital that the masses, the real masses,
Anothercharacter, Shogo (Steve O'Berski), is a Stalin- building is dangerous." have it, or it would be in every de-
like, violent emperor for part of the play. The character Narrow Road will hopefully open minds to the partment store and stuff. So, all I ca0,
represents those leaders who use openly violent tactics to political atrocities that have gone on for centuries in one do is make those decisions along the
control society. The underlying side to Shogo's persona form or another and continue to manifest themselves way, of exclusivity while still keep-
shows that he is only a product of a society that teaches today. Narrow Road to the Deep North will be per- ing a business afloat in volatile
people a lesson - the right way to get ahead is to use formed in the Arena Theatre March 26, 27 and 28 at 5 times, ya know?"
force. p.m. with an extra show at8 p.m.on the 27th. Tickets are I wonder if Stussy ever finds it 7
Eventually Shogo is replaced by Georgeina (Nanette free. -Jessie Halladay difficult to balance the creative end
with the business end, especially in
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