The release of Miley Cyrus’s new album, Bangerz, on Tuesday is the perfect opportunity to revisit the erstwhile Hannah Montana’s one legitimate artistic success of the past six weeks—and no, I’m not talking about her decision to go freebuffing on a wrecking ball. I’m talking about the cover art for Bangerz.
Do you know what twerking is? It’s okay if you don’t. Big Freedia Queen Diva does. Freedia, a.k.a. Freddie Ross, is one of the heavyweights of the New Orleans “sissy bounce” scene. Openly gay and often referred to with feminine pronouns in performance context, Freedia is a talented MC widely credited with popularizing bounce music beyond its Louisiana origins. After Miley Cyrus’s salacious performance at the MTV Video Music Awards—prominently featuring the young star’s rendition of the dance move known as twerking—Freedia was the authority to whom the nation looked for answers.
In the 1986 film Caravaggio, director Derek Jarman achieves the nearly impossible—he turns the juicy, scandalous story of the rowdy, licentious, murderous, bisexual, drunken 17th-century Italian painter Caravaggio into a stupefying bore. It’s a sign of a real cinematic stinker when you can’t wait for the paintings to appear. When they do, you can see how Caravaggio performed magic with light and shadow to yank us right into his canvases. In Death of the Virgin, the corpse of Mary, swollen and stiff with rigor mortis, is illuminated from above, as if God is shining goodness on her. The scene is blasphemous and profane, even to our 21st-century sensibilities (the model is said to have been a prostitute), but it’s hauntingly spiritual, too.
Britney Spears caught it. So did Madonna. Even Michael Jackson had a turn. Now the Beatles are getting the Glee treatment in a two-part season premiere, airing Thursday, September 26. A good Beatles tribute is no easy feat. Many have tried, few have succeeded. To better understand what Fox’s pop music sitcom phenomenon will be up against, I delved into Mediander Connects to find the best and worst Beatles tributes in television and film history.