Don – Are Diwano Mujhe Pehchano
In what is possibly the most tiger-centric gangster entrance in all of film history, a blazing Amitabh Bachchan in his prime, playing a street singer posing as a mob Kingpin, proves that intimidation and charm can be two sides of the same rupee. His eyes, hips, and oversized bowtie are in full effect as he courts the criminal underworld, daring even the most sternly goateed man to doubt his authenticity:
Who am I, who am I, who am who am who am I?
I am Don, I am Don, I am I am I am Don!
Strings swirl, horns blaze, and an insistent start-stop shuffle puts a dance floor under three and a half minutes of bombastic affirmation. Our hero spins and gestures his way through the South Asian, Latin American and Western influences that characterizes the seamless mosaic of Don’s cinematic score, reassuring the villains of his infamous name and reassuring the audience of his unmatchable Bollywood talent. A theme song with more volumes of purpose cannot be found; the flowers polka-dotting Amitabh’s wescot on their own are enough to say this much.
Pop Quiz – Who/what is the Velvet Mafia?
(a) an underground organization of criminal crooners, led by the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme
Okay, when you’re ready, scroll down and grade your quiz.
If your answer was (a), you get 0 points. You are wrong.*
*Unless you know something I don’t, and there really is such an organization, in which case you get 1,000 points.
So this wasn’t your standard multiple choice. Sometimes there is more than one answer. And this was the case with this week’s Iron Clef theme. How can someone pick just one theme song? There are so many excellent theme songs, from Nerf Herder’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song to the theme song for It’s the Gary Shandling Show (“this is the theme to Gary’s show, the opening theme to Gary’s show, Gary called me up and asked if I could write his theme song…”). And that’s just in the TV genre! Then you’ve got film, video games…it boggles the mind. After a week of soul searching, I finally narrowed down my entry to the Velvet Mafia Theme Song. But as there are two amazing velvet mafia theme songs, I can narrow no further.
The first is the theme song/intro for the NYC band from answer (c), headed by the previously mentioned giant bald queen, Dean Johnson. In this song, Dean sings of his willingness to sell himself to the alleged gay mafia from answer (b) in order to achieve professional success “If you wanna cross the bridge, you gotta pay the toll. If you wanna make it big, you gotta play with trolls. So pardon me while I go steppin’ out to Fire Island with David Geffen…” Since Dean was actually a manwhore, and was not exaggerating his willingness to get pounded for personal gain, one must only guess that he either never had the opportunity to meet the powerful queers and make his offer, or they reneged on the deal. Either way, the Velvet Mafia may never have made it to the mainstream, but in the NYC queercore scene, they were legendary.
Like the Velvet Mafia, the Bay Area based band Mon Cousin Belge is a band with great talent, hypnotic songs, and magnetic stage presence. Also like the Velvet Mafia, MCB is gayer than a handbag full of rainbows. So when they were offered the opportunity to have one of their songs featured as the theme song for a gay porn made by Falcon Studios, they naturally agreed. The result is, I would venture to bet, the best porn music ever. As thanks, the pornmakers played fairy godfather and lent their film equipment and some clips from their movie so that Mon Cousin Belge could make a music video of their very own for the Velvet Mafia Theme Song, also known as “Going Down.”
So which is the real Velvet Mafia Theme Song? Only the gay mafia knowsfor sure.
M*A*S*H – Suicide Is Painless
What is the purpose of Iron Clef? Is it to prove one’s ability to remember corny, bizarre, obscure songs? Is it to establish one’s pop culture credentials? Or is it just an excuse to share good music? Perhaps all of the above…
At some point a few months ago I downloaded several theme songs from “classic” television shows. Remember Gimme a Break? All In the Family? The Fall Guy? Mr. Rogers? I haz it. These songs are interesting, and induce nostalgia and cringing in equal measure, but I want to choose a theme song that’s just plain good.
M*A*S*H was one of the greatest television shows ever made. Funny, profound, warm, and true. The theme music for the TV show was without lyrics. I heard the original song relatively recently, when I saw the movie (on which the TV show was based). Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics.
The game of life is hard to play
That suicide is painless
No wonder the TV show left the words out!
[Also: Manic Street Preachers did a cover of this song.]
Just vote for the one that’s still stuck in your head.
Category Archives: Nicotina Chevrolet
Present day celebrity trainwrecks wish they could aspire to the levels, the rocketing artistic heights, and even the crushing depths, that MJ takes as a matter of course. Think about it, of all those brokedown Barbie dolls that have been entertaining the tabloids these last couple of years, is there even one of them that can hold a cracktorch to the Divine Mr. J? Follow this madlibs comparison of pop star turned afterschool special vignettes and you be the judge.
The story of Britney Spears shows how early entry into show business and skyrocketing fame can later lead to emotional Britney garnered public attention and solidifed her pop star status with the release of the single and accompanying music breakdowns and public shame. Britney first gained noteriety as a member of the Mickey Mouse club. In early adulthood, video for “…Baby One More Time,” from the bestselling album of the same name. The stress of always being in the public spotlight eventually took its toll, as Britney endured relationship turmoil, emotional problems, and legal difficulties, all of which were highly publicized. Perhaps one of her lowest moments was captured on film, when Britney’s coochie was exposed for the paparazzi during one of her infamous wild nights out.
Now for MJ:
I rest my case.
As for substance abuse, Michael remains that rare celebrity who we kind of hope is doing a lot of drugs, because really, it would explain a lot. And while he undoubtedly still thinks of himself as a superhero who saved all those kids from the evil drug dealing Joe Pesci in Moonwalker, MJ does admit to his own personal battle with additiction. In fact, he dedicated the album “Blood on the Dance Floor” to Sir Elton John, for his during Michael’s struggles with painkillers. Because he suffers, oh Lord, how he suffers. From that same album, I present you with the first and last word on opiates, from the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.
p.s. You must listen to the bridge to fully appreciate the pathos and beauty of Michael’s experience.
Michael Jackson – Heal The World
To the readers of Iron Clef: before you take your next dose, prescription or otherwise, remember that the power to heal comes from within.
Queen – Bijou
A song for the Non-Resident Indian (NRI), by the Non-Resident Indian: Farokh Balsara. (known by his cooler planet-y name, Freddie Mercury). By all accounts, Bijou is an anthem for Non-Resident Indian-ness. Its instrumental nature mirrors the NRI experience perfectly: not overly flashy but brilliant technically. It is a song of foreignness, attempting to communicate primarily in a language other than English, relying on our ability to sense the meaning first. When the language of home is not enough, the English words are short, simple, and powerful – designed for maximum impact: “You and me are destined/ You’ll agree/ To spend the rest of our lives with each other/ The rest of our days like two lovers/ Forever, yeah, forever/ My Bijou” That’s. Fucking. it. The NRI knows English and how to use it better than we do.
Bijou isn’t a love letter to home, it is a voicemail about surrender left by Freddie Mercury on behalf of all NRI’s abroad. While he masterfully translates Brian May’s phrasing, it is the guitar that delivers the real message: I am not leaving, but I am not coming home either. I will miss you too.
Note: If anyone references ‘outsourcing,’ Kwik-E Marts, or submits Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha, they should be punched in the trachea. That’s just mailing it in.
In Bo Rhap, a Christmas present to fans, the Kleptones blatantly defy their Disney detractors and add one more megamix to the illegal Queen mashup A Night at the Hip Hopera. A dash of Weird Al here, a smattering of Guns and Roses there, and more obscure clips than you can shake a stick at, and you’re left almost yearning for the comforting coherence in Freddie’s original.
Freddie, who was born to Parsi Indian parents (check it) , was a complicated man, and no one understood him but his woman, and his many men, and I think maybe the Kleptones. I mean, who do you think Freddie would side with in the Disney vs. Kleptones debate? Money from royalties cannot buy joy, but chaotic creation and sticking it to corporations can soothe the pain of Christmas-time commercialism.
Freddie, you cannot be replaced. But there is someone who’s still around who may be able to measure up, not to your musical chops, but to your unexpected ethnic heritage.
Chilli, the “C” of TLC, was reunited with her long-lost East Indian/Middle Eastern father on the Sally Jesse Raphael show, perhaps explaining the vague Eastern-ness of this video, which almost rivals the Bo Rhap in labyrinthine structure. Look, she’s getting a boob job! Ack, someone’s gonna beat up T-Boz! Thank goodness they’re meditating on floating pods!
Ideally, one would play this video with the sound off while listening to the Kleptones song (or nothing), because the song itself is rather…fugly.
In the late sixties, as Miles Davis was going off the deep end and exploring all sorts of new sounds and styles, Indian music was beginning to influence various musicians in the United States. While many listeners, both at the time and currently, are put off by Miles’ increased use of electronics, I think it’s great. While recording the 1972 album On the Corner, Miles collaborated with several Indian musicians, notably Badal Roy (tabla) and Khalil Balakrishna (sitar), producing one of his worst-selling albums. Great.
The most prominent use of Indian instruments can be found on the album’s second track entitled Black Satin. Apparently Davis wasn’t really pleased with the sound and ultimately dropped the tabla and sitar from his tour. Nonetheless, this album is a good example of a relatively early Indian influence in jazz and fusion (the operative word being relatively, since other jazz musicians had been experimenting throughout the sixties).
Also (on an unrelated note) for a good time watch: Daler Mehndi – Tunak Tunak.