Thursday, February 23, 2012

East is East

Today's birthday gal took my febrile brain in the direction of all things vampy, while earlier this week, dear Bill revealed that he, like me, has spent some time in the Land of the Rising Sun.  Well, to me, shady ladies and Japan add up to only one thing:  1968's Black Lizard, one of the greatest psychedelic transvestitite musical thrillers starring Yukio Mishima ever made.

Here we see the leading lady, as it were, of Black Lizard, Mr. Akihiro Maruyama, albeit in a different kind of drag.  Dating to 1962, this clip clearly captures a very specific - and deeply unsettling - moment in Japanese culture, one in which Beatnikiana meets The Mikado in a dark alley on the way to a Robert Wilson opera.  While I first traveled there 25 or more years later, it's pretty much exactly how I felt the entre time I was in Japan - certainly a much more accurate depiction, at least to me, of that particular form of anomie than that snoozefest Lost in Translation.

I really find this number very odd.  How would you describe it?


  1. Describe it? I don't think I can even process it. There must be a part of my brain missing that covers Take Five geishas.

  2. "The Mikado" meets Commes des Garcons?"

  3. I absolutely LOVE Black Lizard, and also Black Rose Mansion, they are simply delicious!

    By the way, have you ever seen this? If not, make sure you do. You'll thank me later.

  4. While I'm thrilled to be thought of as a globe-trotting, international employee, i must come clean. I worked for the Japanese in Warren NJ which is, as best I can tell, the land of the rising McMansion.