The cubby in the lounge, a product of being left alone for too long has been around for three weeks now. The way in which this cave-like, pillow filled window frames our TV I think adds a level of intimacy which previously to the cubby was not there. This got me considering the space in which we watch movies and television. The way in which an audiences’ experience is altered by their surroundings. Generally the space in a contemporary cinema, the room is trying to emulate a non descript, non partial loungeroom-esque feel, with comfy chairs and the availability of overpriced food. The only hall mark of the grand tradition of going to the cinema has become the red curtains, and the often cavernous entrances. Not unlike that of the lounge room cubby. The frame around the screen is bare minimal, often non existent. Purposed to allow you to forget that you are in the cinema, allowing for optimum escapism!
Now contrast this with a girl who sits at home with duel monitors, writing a blog on one and half watching episodes of Twin Peaks on the other. A less immersive experience obviously, yet interesting how the space between the subject and screen influences the complete experience. The difference between watching a horror movie in the dark, after reading about an escaped lunatic in your area and eating dinner with the tv on casually flicked to light fluff news. The screen is ubiquitous in Western, middle class life and yet entirely used by the subject to gratify their own needs.
This week the third last episode of RuPauls drag race aired on logo. An American pay chanel which shows primarily GLBT themed programming. Drag race emulates Tyra Banks’ America’s next top model format. Gloriously embellished, hilariously dramatized and over the top. Drag race is now in its third cycle. Ru Paul spurts catch phrases such as ‘Shantay, you stay you stay’ ‘Sashay Away’ when ever a contestant is asked to stay or leave during the judging ceremony. This program is interesting on so many levels, gender, class, spatial, reflexive, historically, ironically- but for this entry the idea of the inextricable persona of a star versus character. The make-up artist Sutan Amrull appears on this season’s show as his drag ego Raja. Sutan has since been shown to have a relationship with RuPaul and be well known friends with many of the judges. The other contestants have become aware of this over the season and the desperation in their realising that they cant win has become obvious, even if they have tried to edit it out. This has gone so far as having the Wikipedia page which edits the list of episodes complete saying Raja wins. This is the idea that despite editing and reality tv cover ups, what is shown is still inundated by what the viewer knows.
Like watching a movie as a child and then again as an adult, having read about the actors life. Like watching rebel without a cause for the first time as a young child and just enjoying the story. Then again as a teen and understanding the angst, and then again as a young adult film major studying sexuality and enjoying the homoerotic subtext between the Sal Meneo character and Dean.
This weekend I also attended a pop culture expo. I find the curious, unabashed sexuality depicted rather intriguing. Girls who are generally in t-shirt and jeans find the most revealing outfit and parade around in cosplay. (an amalgamation of costume play) this is not as overt as role playing. I tried cosplay for a few years when I was 14 and 15, and now I feel rather removed from the whole scene. Though as an outsider you can view more objectively what is happening. It is almost like a mating dance between young nerdling and nerdess. Granted many enjoy the challenge of making a costume and replicating their favourite character, the obvious enjoyment of being ‘looked at’ is unavoidable as girls pose (boys too, as Bishonen or beautiful boys are swamped by fangirls) Poses are prepared prior to the event, ones that emphasize a part of the costume or characterization which shows how similar they are to the character they are trying to replicate. These people are interestingly from all walks of life. Though many are from the sub species of nerd which we call weeaboos, that is someone who has a predilection for liking all things Japanese. A convention is a place where you can line up for hours to see Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) walk around in cat ears and a bra and have your photo taken by fat old men and it not be weird. You can even buy entire outfits that are of the ‘Lolita style’ (though no good quality Japanese brad, cheap market knock offs at inflated prices are what are found at the conventions) It is fun to pretend you are an intrepid explorer, doing some post colonial anthropological research into this tribe of anime lovin’ internet people. Conclusions are hard to make without generalising. So I wont. I think a documentary or short film could quite easily be based around this world (granted there already are some) there is lots of material and great characters.
Spigel, "television in the family circle: the popular reception of a new medium" Logics of Television: essays in cultural criticism
B. Klinger "the new media aristocrats: home theatre and the film experience" beyong the multiplex: cinema, new technologies and the home
Chris McKim Ru Pauls Drag Race. Season 3
Ray, Nicholas "rebel without a cause" 1955
screen caps from Ru Pauls Drag Race. Season 3