”The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props,
the audience that lifts you when you’re down.
The headaches, the heartaches, the backaches,
the flops, the sheriff that escorts you out of town.
The opening, when your heart beats likes a drum.
The closing when the customers won’t come.”
What’s the name of those birds?
The ones that steal everything that glitters? The black and white ones, you know the ones; What’s their name? Anyway, at Lujon we are just like those feathered rascals, excavating visual culture in the amiable search of all-things glitter: It would have been blind at the very least of us not to get our filthy claws on a topic such as show business, wouldn’t it?
To be precise, a particular moment in camp history caught our greedy eyes and that is of Ethel Merman singing “There’s no Business like Show Business” in the namesake movie from Irving Berlin (1954). A moment that not only features the performer emerging from what presumably are blue velvet curtains wearing nothing but a white dress with gloves and diamantes, but that can also proudly boast a fine piece of music too: As many of you are (Yes, indeed), I have always been familiar with the song, but I only recently had the chance to actually listen to it very carefully, and taking in the whole meaning of the lyrics, embracing it as some of you would do with a life-size carton of Cher (Yes. Indeed). A song which themes are about both the highs and lows of a performer’s career and are so poignantly characterised by Ms. Merman’s effervescent rendition that it comes easy for us to fall for it.
A piece of music that, if I remember well, accompanied the closing credits for Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” (1979) after its tragi-comical ending piece, originally cementing my fixation for a business that plays so dramatically with an artist’s passion for its craft. I sometimes shyly draw connections between show business and the fashion industry, a correspondingly fascinating dream-making machine that is also not empty of stories of success and glamour as well as failures and, sadly, loss.
Lujon is a magazine about fantasy in fashion, about the creation and personal interpretations of fashion personas, and what better subject for us to tackle if not the gilded aura of show business? To focus on the enduring appeal of the Hollywood starlet as well as the rawness of the drama student? To point our covetous beaks to its lights and its glamour as if we were animals on the hunt.
If only I could remember the names of those God-forsaken birds! What’s their name?! You know the ones, the black and white ones.
This issue of Lujon Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Joan Rivers, Elaine Stritch and Lauren Bacall.
By Matteo Sarti
Originally published on Lujon Issue 2