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Chase Johnsey leaves Trocks; Joins ENB


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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't say all Russian male ballet dancers fit the mold of macho/athletic. Vladimir Shklyarov is often praised for his feline grace and classical line.

 

Edited by canbelto
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29 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I wouldn't say all Russian male ballet dancers fit the mold of macho/athletic.

Leonid Sarafanov is another. Check out his crop top:

I don't get a sense that the old stereotype of Russian ballet machismo is felt to be quite so necessary anymore. (There are of course those like Polunin who remain, but there's more room for variety now, it seems.)

Edited by nanushka
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Yes,  they're all beautifully graceful,  but it's definitely masculine grace.  Tsiskaridze is in a class by himself,  especially when he teaches,  with that magnificent hair of his held back with a headband.  Or when he models.   No negative judgment on my part.  He's a  great,  great dancer,  but markedly effeminate.    Evidently the Russians have a taste for it,  or don't seem to notice it at all.

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When I was visiting a friend in Tallinn, we visited another native Russian speaker, and in the background was a Russian cable channel re-running a holiday variety show program.   On a scale of 1-10 for camp, drag, older women co-hosts that made Tammy Faye Baker look demure, and male co-hosts who could teach Liberace a thing or two about bling, it was a 15. And this was a mainstream channel from Russia.  Granted, that was before anti-gay laws were passed, but that didn't make the appeal go away, if it has been banned or toned down since.

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Camp? Two words: Filipp Kirkorov. Any music video will do, though I won't pollute this board with that degree of trash.

There isn't a single type of male dancer in Russia any more than there is anywhere else. There are pure aristocrats and there are thumpingly macho socialist-realist hero types and others somewhere in between. Dmitry Gudanov never danced Spartacus. Igor Tsvirko will never dance Prince Siegfried. But it would completely inaccurate to think that Tsvirko is typical. Companies have as always needed more Siegfrieds than Spartacuses. 

Although yes, costumes for Solor are almost universally awful, whether it's the Bolshoi's infamous jeweled pajamas or the Mariinsky's even more infamous crop top.

What did Middle America make of Liberace or Siegfried and Roy? Did it also fail to notice? (Sincere question.)

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10 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

What did Middle America make of Liberace or Siegfried and Roy? Did it also fail to notice? (Sincere question.)

I don't know Siegfried and Roy, but (mostly) Middle American women LOVED Liberace.  From the Wikipedia article on him is this paragraph about "The Liberace Show":

Quote

The show was so popular with his mostly female television audience, he drew over 30 million viewers at any one time and received 10,000 fan letters per week.[39] His show was also one of the first to be shown on British commercial television in the 1950s, where it was broadcast on Sunday afternoons by Lew Grade's Associated TeleVision. This exposure gave Liberace a dedicated following in the United Kingdom. Homosexual men also found him appealing. According to author Darden Asbury Pyron, "Liberace was the first gay person Elton John had ever seen on television; he became his hero."

The article also says he was a devout Catholic and politically conservative, much like Zeffirelli.  I would not be surprised if that came across and mitigated the flash.  But it wouldn't be the first time that people find someone appealing and charismatic, when the most obvious things about them contradict what they'd articulate as their deeply held values.

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As I remember. Liberace's shows were the television equivalent of B movies – they were on local tv and syndicated tv but never on the big networks. His was always a kind of Las Vegas act for tv and Las Vegas seemed to be where his biggest popularity was. Also it seemed to be in the tradition of vaudeville like Joe E Brown or Milton Berle, who did lots of drag routines with Martha Raye, the equivalent of "low comedy." Liberace was able to pass by making it self-parody. Other more genuine performers ran into trouble – like Johnny Ray. Not so sure if Liberace helped advance what was then called Gay LIberation or set it back by being the go-to gay norm. 

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There was nothing particularly effeminate about Siegfried and Roy,  although their audience probably assumed that they were a couple.  Liberace was a very good pianist,   but the world is full of very good pianists.  His capes and blinged out piano were part of his shtick,  a way to set himself apart.  People loved his fabulousness.  If he had tried to play a straight hero,  madly in  love with his leading lady,  it would not have been taken seriously at all.   

I was on the road years ago,  performing in Pennsylvania,  when there was almost nothing on TV late after the show but religious programs.  That's when I discovered Tammy Faye Bakker,  before she and Jim got really big.  (And before he was exposed as a crook.)  I was fascinated.  I knew she would be a big star,  from the moment she let the mascara run down her face as she wept for Jesus.  It was camp at its purest.   She became an icon in the gay community because of her acceptance and compassion for AIDS patients,  which was not common among televangelists,  or anyone else at the time.

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6 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

 She became an icon in the gay community because of her acceptance and compassion for AIDS patients,  which was not common among televangelists,  or anyone else at the time.

I never knew that.

33 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

As I remember. Liberace's shows were the television equivalent of B movies – they were on local tv and syndicated tv but never on the big network

30 million viewers doesn't sound like local TV to me, and I remember his appearances on national talk shows.  However, like a lot of performers, his career had a lull, and he decamped to Vegas, where people loved him.  There's even a Liberace Museum, which a friend visited.  It was there my friend bought a gift-shop replica of one of Liberace's huge rings and wore it proudly until he died.  And my friend told me it was manned, so to speak, by older, extremely tiffed long-time uber-fans.

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54 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I was on the road years ago,  performing in Pennsylvania,  when there was almost nothing on TV late after the show but religious programs.  That's when I discovered Tammy Faye Bakker,  before she and Jim got really big.  (And before he was exposed as a crook.)  I was fascinated.  I knew she would be a big star,  from the moment she let the mascara run down her face as she wept for Jesus.  It was camp at its purest.   She became an icon in the gay community because of her acceptance and compassion for AIDS patients,  which was not common among televangelists,  or anyone else at the time.

So loved reading this.

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56 minutes ago, Helene said:

30 million viewers doesn't sound like local TV to metiffed long-time uber-fans.

Liberace didn't have a "coast to coast" network show, as Perry Como and Dean Martin did. He was signed to KTTV Channel 11 in Los Angeles, a local station, and that may have been syndicated to other cities with a week or so delay. It would have been hit or miss if you could have caught him. His show is barely mentioned in the New York Times database. I remember those early days of local TV in LA well, the little B movie studios turned to television, even worked for KHJ as a student news sound man for a brief stint, covered the 1968 California primary: Eugene McCarthy, Sam Yorty, Polansky, the search for the girl in the polka dot dress, etc.

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The time frames for Sigfried and Roy are quite different from that of Liberace, early 1950 vs late 60s. And in that context Sigfried and Roy could have been on the cover of Sergeant Pepper and would have "passed" as one of the eccentric actors there before they would have been thought of as a gay couple. (I remember Mitchell Leisen, the director of the delightful screwball comedy "Easy Living," coming to give a talk in a film class dressed up as a Sargeant Pepper character and how that first impressive of loveable eccentricity gave him cover and overrode the fact that he was there with his young boyfriend. The sixties did offer everyone lots of new options of self-presentation.)

Interesting about Mashinka's cite of the early libel case and Liberace's cruel denial of his true self to the very end. In a way each generation had a different way of coming out – of being discreet or open depending on the norms of the time that formed them. David Sedaris has a painfully funny piece on how careful he was growing up to not betray any gestures to his parents that might have shown he was gay – stiff walk, straight wrists – and years later coming home to find his father being best friends with a very much so out-of-closet neighbor who continually refers to the father as "she" or "that thing." (Not sure if I correctly remember the piece, but it went something like that.)

Edited by Quiggin
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I remember watching Liberace  several times on the Ed Sullivan show, a hugely popular show watched weekly by families all over the USA. I just looked it up. He was on the show 6 times between 1954 and 1970. I think I remember reading about him in TV Guide too when I was a child. I thought he was funny. My mom always commented on his being a fine pianist.

Edited by vagansmom
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