Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Oh, Go Ahead. Cry.

Camp taste turns its back on the good-bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

Sometimes, all you can do is helplessly wonder: what were they thinking?

At other times, though, the question clearly becomes: what were they smoking?

Now, don't get me wrong - I love the singer, in her proper milieu, and the song itself can be extremely effective (albeit in a definite, to borrow from Coward's Private Lives, "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is" sort of way).  Here though, not one single element works, from the basic combination of singer and song to the sweaters on the hapless backup singers.

You can't actually see the gun pressed to the small of Joan Baez's back here, but you certainly can feel it in the way she sings (giving it all the subtle interpretation and inflection of a housewife who's listened once or twice to the Julie Covington studio album), and I would be very interested to know what ensembles her producers rejected as too incompetent before settling on what appears to be the Lake Cayahoga Summer Philharmonic of the Damned, backed by the Random, Anxious Mall Shoppers Singers.

It's almost enough to reconcile me with the caterwauling of that Ciccone woman.  Almost.


  1. The only thing that could save that would be Andrea Martin playing Joan Baez.

    1. Great minds do indeed think alike - when I first saw this, I had a sneaking suspicion that it might indeed be the divine Andrea. If only...

  2. Not Joan's finest moment, to be sure.

    Apparently Meryl Streep was once considered for the title role in the film version of Evita. What a different film that would have been! But the mind truly reels at the possibility of Ken Russell directing it, as was once the plan, with his choice for Eva Peron: none other than Liza Minnelli!