I adore Lady Gaga. And I think she’s at her best when she’s gaudy, luscious, over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred, straight up insane. And good god, does she go there with the music video for “John Wayne” off her latest album Joanne. It is glorious. Enjoy!
When I was in college, I was involved with the Yale Children’s Theater as an actor, director, producer and costume designer. One of the goals of the YCT was to demonstrate to kids that they too could put on shows. To that end, our plays were simple. They were adaptations from children’s books, such as Where The Wild Things Are, Winnie the Pooh, and The Stinky Cheese Man. They were performed in a room on the kids’ level, not up on a stage. The props, costumes and scenery were constructed of simple materials. We involved the audience as much as possible. And you could see the results: the kids were eager to play with us, to be part of the show, to come up to us afterwards, excited to ask us questions about our characters. I like to think some of those kids went home, put together costumes from their closets, painted scenery on old sheets, and performed their favorite stories for their parents and friends.
Pomplamoose (the musical duo of Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte) operates under a very similar premise. Musically, they mostly do imaginative covers of popular songs (although I also recommend their original music! Check out “Bust Your Kneecaps” and “Don’t Stop Loving Me.”) But it’s their videos that really set them apart. In most of them, they make a point to show the viewers exactly what’s going on. If you hear it, you see it. Dawn’s layered vocal tracks are represented by multiple windows of her recording the tracks played at the same time. Conte is shown playing the keyboard, or the guitar, or a rhythm instrument, whatever is heard. Sometimes there are shots of Dawn laying down an instrumental track as well. The resulting quirky videos are entertaining and inspiring. The musically inclined can feel like they can DO this, and may well fire up their computers and pick up their instruments to give it a shot.
The video above takes all that one step further, and adds visual magic to the musical. It’s a clever trick, projecting the images onto foam boards and other white surfaces. The fact that they show you, step by step, how they do it, doesn’t detract from the awesomeness. It just inspires you to go and create your own. It’s wonderful.