Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP ElizabethTaylor - You showed us how Diva was done.

I always particularly admired Elizabeth Taylor. When I went through my initial classic movie obsession (circa 1999, to be heavily revisited again in 2004), I seriuosly nerded out on countless library books about all the golden era sirens... and her stories were generally far more interesting than anyone else's. Perhaps because girlfriend was always in charge. There was no helpless damsel in Elizabeth Taylor. No preyed upon starlet who couldn't wait to meet the approval of a dubiously intentioned studio head. No "au naturel" bullshit anti-glam girl-next-door marketing angle. She was a straight up megastar, and one who actually accepted and understood the extent of her potential and power. I think this is rare. I also think that this is what made her such a strong voice... one that was actually heard.

Of course the flipside of this is that it also made her a D-I-V-A. The tortured love affairs, the candid responses to controversial headlines, the insistance that the breakfast table be dressed to match her outfits everyday while shooting... but she knew her worth. Enter celebrity branding. She was the OG!!! Think about it. You basically aren't famous now unless you have a perfume. Even frickin'AKON has a bloody perfume. Not so dumb that Lizzy... cuz if there's one thing that keeps selling long after the hits fade away, it's a smell that people associate as "theirs". Hey, I bet it's what'll keep Britney in Doritos... cuz I'm not sure if the music thing is really working out for her lately.

But I digress. Liz was an innovator. I perhaps admire her most for her work in Suddenly, Last Summer, a controversial film that is close to my own heart both for its anti-homophobia subtext and its out-and-out protest against the use of nerve-damaging treatments for psychiatric conditions. At the time these topics were of the greatest taboo and I applaud her for her fearless portrayal that defied the censors.. her incinuations gave them no grounds to cut out even the most obvious of dual meanings from Tenessee Williams' brilliant script. I really can't tell you how much I enjoyed that picture. I watched it early one Winnipeg morning, after a long night, at the age of 16. I'll never forget it.

So yeah. Basically Ms. Taylor was a brilliant, passionate and talented performer as well as an innovative business woman who was uncompromising in her political stance, her own artistic vision and her loyalty to her friends. IN THE FRICKIN' 50s!!! An until today. Pretty much the dopest. Oh yeah, and she was a BABE and she enjoyed that shit instead of denying that her babedom had anything to do with the rest of her life. So in other words, Liz Taylor was my hero. Amd those who know me know I don't really plan on getting married.... but I'm pretty sure that if I was the marrying type, I'd probably do it 8 times. Helloooooo...... dresses and flowers and sparkly things? Yeah. Bring it. As she once said "Big girls need big diamonds".

The Toronto Star said today that Elizabeth Taylor was an "accidental feminist". Uhhh... Star peeps....I think you accidentally forgot to replace the word "accidental" with "LEGENDARY".

Huge love to you Ms. Taylor. May the next world be so lucky.

With great & deep respect,