Our Top 10 Favorite Performances/ Performers and Posters about the Performing Arts – A Whimsical and Totally Personal List

1. Favorite long-time performance artist: Queen Elizabeth II.

She’s 86 years old, seems to have a rollicking sense of humor and an incredible sense of duty, and evidently (if the latest issue of Town and Country is to be believed) she likes RAP music. Yup, rap music.

Lady Gaga Meets the Queen
Lady Gaga Meets the Queen!

A photo shoot I would have liked to see…
(I can hear the courtiers trying to explain to Her Majesty just exactly who this freak of nature is…)

2. The Triplets of Belleville – a small and somewhat obscure QUEBEC movie (yippee) that I love love love. It’s animated, has an amazing score and is such a hoot. You can rent it, most likely find it online, but here is a trailer

The Triplets of Belleville

3. Charlie Chaplin in the Great Dictator – There are certain film-makers who have the ability to use both skill and satire to get their points across, and none was better than Charlie Chaplin. At first glance his movies often seem facile, but when you look at them as both comic masterpieces and contextual satire, they take on entirely different meanings.

The Great Dictator starring Charlie Chaplin
The Great Dictator Starring Charlie Chaplin!

In his 1940 movie called the Great Dictator, Chaplin gives a speech (full text of it can be found here )

“We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in:
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little:
More than machinery we need humanity;
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

4.Melody Gardot. Anywhere, anytime.

Melody Gardot

5. It is often said that Rene Gruau and Pierre Brenot are the fathers of the French pin-up. Their women are sexy, saucy and just a little scary – kind of like Catwoman on steroids. When I was a little girl I used to love Catwoman and I still think that Lee Merriweather (and later, Halle Berry) are a couple of the sexiest villainesses I have seen in quite some time. Very entertaining.

Musidora - Gruau
Musidora – Rene Gruau
Lee Merriweather as Catwoman
Lee Merriweather as Catwoman! Meow.

6.There seems to be a newfound fascination with Bollywood dancing. Whether it stems from Slumdog Millionaire, or from the growing Indian ex-pat population, I love it and think flash mobs dancing to ragas in the streets of Montreal is something we should look forward to.

Pakistan National Dance Ensemble
Pakistan National Dance Ensemble, 1970s

(No, I am not confusing Pakistan with India, but this poster just came in and I think it’s lovely.)

7.So you’ve got a horse. And some barrels. You decide you need to race around the barrels – at breakneck speed (and I do choose my words carefully), and see just how fast you and the horse can do a barrel-racing course. Don’t believe me?

Masqueraded Horse Rider
Masqueraded Horse Rider – 1920s

In terms of performance, this has got to be right up there… but if you like something more sedate, how about a girl on a horse during the German Art Deco Karneval? She is, to me, the height of elegance, style and debauchery…. I, of course, love her.

8. Weird Polish theater and movie posters: We’ve written about our friend Hans, the Dutchman with the amazing poster collection before. This is one of his Polish masterpieces, and although I didn’t see the production for which the poster was produced, I have to imagine it was something a little offbeat, perhaps a little crazy, and decidedly an acquired taste. Kind of like me. He goes on my list too…

Skorpion Panna I - Kodratuk
Skorpion Panna I (1973) – Kodratuk

9. Toulouse Lautrec made a cancan performer named La Goulue famous with a poster dedicated to her high-kicking abilities. I think the Moulin Rouge must have been THE place to be in Paris during the late 1890s and while time travel is not yet an option, if it was, that would be a place I’d like to see.

La Goulue - Toulouse Lautrec
La Goulue – Toulouse Lautrec

10. If you like it then you should have put a ring on it (wait, don’t get me started…) I love Beyonce, but I think I might like JT a little bit more

The Original vs. The JT version

Not only is he kind of cute, but he’s got a clothing line and he can dance… My kind of guy!

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