The Reason: Her MASSIVE CREATIVTY of course! Her lyrics are a mix of clever, edgy, sexy, odd, and fun. The girl knows how to put on a show! Smashing booze bottles, gas masks, pianos a blaze, bikinis and Indian headdresses… these are just some of the things she has brought to her act. She approaches pop music in a very theatrical way and I applaud it.
Bonus: When rumors sprung up that she was a “he”, her reaction to take it all in stride. In an Australian interview she said: My beautiful vagina is very offended. I’m not offended; my vagina is offended.” When questioned if she was embarrassed by the rumors she added: “I’m not embarrassed. I sold four million records in six months; I’m not embarrassed about anything. I think this is society’s reaction to a strong woman. The idea that we equate strength with men and a penis is a symbol of male strength, you know, it is what it is. But like I said, I am not offended at all, but my vagina might be a little bit upset.”
The Reason: I don’t know if I can pin point one sole reason why Amanda Fucking Palmer made it on my list. As if coining the phrase “punk cabaret” wasn’t reason enough, she is talented, smart and a total rebel. I love that she has stayed close to her roots by staying in Boston. I love that she has a reoccurring gig with the Boston Pops Orchestra. I love her burlesque/ cabaret style while performing. I love her music. I love that she “hosts” a “real-time party on the internet” dubbed “Losers Of Friday Night On Their Computers” aka LOFNTC. She’s the only person on the planet that can get away with tattooed eyebrows. I love that she tweets back and forth all day long with her fiancé Neil Gaiman. Furthermore I love that she doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks.
Bonus: Her stunt at the Golden Globes sealed the deal. Not only did she pull off her bloomers on the red carpet, but she got full on naked while her fiancé smiled adoringly at her. Awesome.
The Reason: Ms. Crabapple stumbled on a creative goldmine! She was able to successfully market the arts to alternative subcultures by incorporating their respective interests. She has done exactly what I hope to do with my theatre company. She has worked as an illustrator for Marvel Comics, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playgirl as well as 8 books including her own “Scarlet Takes Manhattan,” and “Dr. Sketchy’s Official Rainy Day Colouring Book.” Not only does she find inspiration for her art in Burlesque, but she also performs burlesque from time to time. Did I mention that she is only 26.
Bonus: Her accomplishments inspired my Thesis topic “How to Market the Arts to Alternative Subcultures.” I am working on making it more specific but in any case Dr. Sketchy’s and Molly Crabapple were my inspiration.
The Reason: I’ve always liked Conan O’Brien… I’ve always thought he was extremely funny, but to be honest I never gave him much thought. I certainly never would have put him on a list of people who inspire me. That is until his last show of The Tonight show. Not only did he make the tough decision to step down in order to save The Tonight Show, but he gave the most gracious, optimistic, and inspiring speech I’ve heard in a long time. It doesn’t take much to make me cry, so clearly I cried like a baby when I heard it, but more than that, his speech, in a way, gave me strength. The content of the speech is below, but I suggest you click the link and watch the clip, because its even better that way.
“Before we end this rodeo, a few things need to be said. There has been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can’t say about NBC. To set the record straight, tonight I am allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, The Late Night Show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over twenty years. Yes, we have our differences right now and yes, we’re going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible.
Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we’ll find a way to make it fun.
And finally, I have to say something to our fans. The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism- it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen…”
Bonus: The last part of his speech is the most important part for me. I think it deserves to be repeated. “Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism- it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen…”
The Reason: So I guess it’s not “cool” to like Gala Darling anymore. Ha! I really don’t care. This girl is fierce. First of all she has awesome style. Secondly She has an amazing blog that really focuses on what she calls “Radical Self Love.” Her blog kinda changed my attitude a lot. In addition to my husband, her blog inspired me to make the leap from blogging occasionally on myspace to creating my own blog on wordpress. Her “Things I Like Thursday” inspired my “Confetti Friday.” The idea behind both of these weekly lists is to focus on the positive things that happen during your week instead of dwelling on the negative. What I have learned is that when you switch to this type of thinking you start to notice that the positive always outweighs the negative.
Bonus: Her Podcast called Love & Sequins have kept me entertained during my car trips from Cleveland to Akron and back again. She’s given some really interesting advice. This isn’t just hey here’s my opinion advice. We are talking well researched through advice that spans topic from learning to love yourself, falling in love, fashion, finding happiness and making it stay, and my two favorite a guide to manners for the “modern minx” and the smart girls guide to business…which includes an interview with Molly Crabapple.
Victor D’ Altorio–
The Reason: Victor was my acting teacher a few years ago. He was the best acting teacher I ever had and I’ve been taking acting classes since before I could read. I met Vic after college. I had minimal experience with Meisner training my senior year of college and I was intrigued. Imagine my surprise/ joy at finding Vic on NEOpal. He was an actor/director from LA teaching Meisner in Cleveland. He had made come back to Cleveland because his father was ill and he didn’t want to have to put his father in a nursing home. I was Vic’s student for 2 ½ years. During that time he was a huge inspiration to me. He taught me to take risks while performing, to own my sexuality, to get out of my head, and to be honest. I always thought I was fated to know Victor. He came to Cleveland just as I came back from Athens. And when I finally had to make the decision to stop taking his class (a hard decision to make) I found out the same night that he has decided to stop teaching class. His father needed full time care and so he was putting him in a nursing home and Vic moved back to LA. I guess I always knew that I would never see Vic again, but this November I gotta a real shock. I received the news that Victor had passed away. He was diagnosised with bone cancer. He had made the decision that he would take his life as soon as the pain became too much for him to bare. I’m very sad that Victor isn’t with us anymore he was truly an inspiration to me. But just because he is no longer alive it doesn’t mean that his affect on me is any less. After I finish school I plan to go back to performing. I have made the resolution that I will audition more and get back involved in the theatre world after being away from it for two years to pursue my degree. Thinking of Victor and his influence on me will be what drives me on the days that I’d rather crawl under the covers and watch reruns of Murder She Wrote.
Bonus: Before Victor passed away he kept a blog of all of his thoughts on the acting process and living life with honesty and vigor. Luckily I will have his words to read if I ever forget or if I need a push.
Dita Von Teese–
The Reason: This year is all about Burlesque for me. I want to incorporate Burlesque into my theatre company, so I am soaking up as much Burlesque as I can. This of course led me to Ms. Von Teese. I knew who she was. After all I was obsessed with Marilyn Manson when I was younger. I’ve been following her on twitter reading about her eventful life traveling all over the country including Japan and France. I love her vintage look. Furthermore I’m in awe of her ability to look immaculate even when going to the grocery store see picture below.
Bonus: For Halloween she went as a “normal girl” she got a fake tan and wore a blond wig…When someone was taking pictures she was told to get out of the picture since she wasn’t in costume.
Priceless. Oh and did I mention that she dyes her own hair out of a box. Makes me feel less like crap when I get scolded by my hairdresser lol!
The Reason: I have always liked Jessicka. Quite frankly Jack Off Jill changed my life. I’m not joking. Sure I had already like Marilyn Manson, but Jessicka did what the boys had done for years only she was a girl. Her style of gothic kinderwhore was riot girl meet Wednesday Addams. Her voice was soft and sweet and her lyrics were vicious and clever. When JOJ broke up I was so bummed. I would never get to see my favorite band perform…until she formed a new band Scarling. She remerged a bit more refined. A bit more grown up. Her voice still soft and sweet, her lyrics still clever, but the tone, while still dark, sounded less angry and more hurt. I started following her on Twitter and I find that her and I have a lot in common. But why do I have her on a list of people who inspire me in 2010? A few years ago Jessicka started losing weight at the advice of her doctor. For years she had the same stature as me. She was told she had to lose weight for health reasons and she did just that. She lost a lot of weight and has stopped doing drugs. As a result she has started to get more opportunities to do things outside of just music. She has modeled for Jared Gold, the fashion designer, and she is pursuing her interests in painting. Even though she has lost a lot of weight she is still an advocate for girls of all sizes. She insists that she lost the weight for health reasons and not because of any pressure she felt from the industry. She lost the weight slowly and responsibly. I too would like to lose weight. I want to do it on my terms and not because I feel pressure from anyone or anywhere to do it. Seeing that someone who is similar to myself can do it really inspires me to do it too.
Bonus: She has been brave enough to explore other opportunities and interests outside of music and has begun to see some success.