SB Tunes: Janelle Monae
I literally cannot believe it has taken me this long to feature Janelle Monae on these pages, as she is the quintessential Spectacular Bitch. She has a consistent, unique and powerful sartorial point of view. A lot of women look like her, but she doesn’t look like anybody. She is sexy, but on her own terms. She’s insanely talented but she’s not a diva. And she can sing. And dance. Like a mother fucker.
Monae has nailed the androgynous black and white look, but over the years manages to tweak it and shift it around so that she always looks like a million bucks. Whether she’s in a tuxedo or Spanish toreador bolero, her clothes are tailored to hug her lovely shape and she just might be the reigning queen of the crisp white shirt. She has so honed her aesthetic (chic, dapper, tomboy) and her palate (black, white and red) that she never misses. Ever ever ever. And I read somewhere that she always does her own hair and make-up.
It takes a lot of restraint and, frankly, cojones to stick with a uniform when you could have ANYTHING.
She just released this fabulous single off her upcoming album, Electric Lady, and it features yet ANOTHER SB – they mysterious, mercurial and all around tremendously bad ass Erykah Badu. Let me tell you, there is nothing not to love and adore about this song and video. It’s not often in life you get a two for one like this.
Enjoy Q.U.E.E.N. Because you know, the booty don’t lie.
Previously on SB: SB Tunes – Betty Davis
SB Tunes: Tegan and Sara
For this week’s SB Tunes, I offer you Tegan and Sara – Canadians, indie-darlings, twins, tomboys, pixies and all around cool chicks. I heard them interviewed on the radio recently and they are super down to earth and sweet, but also really thoughtful, eloquent and real about their process for making music. Always intrigued by the how of it all, I sat in my car until they were through describing their long-distance over the internet music collaboration. Fascinating.
Their latest album, Heartthrob, is intentionally more pop sounding than their old stuff. I’m sure there is many a dour and humorless hipster out there shaking his or her fauxhawk at the demise of Tegan and Sara, but I love it. I love the fact that they are taking a chance and expanding their sound and trying to capture a new audience while being deep, smart and musical enough to hold on to their old fans – yours truly firmly included.
After all, a little artfully used auto-tune never hurt anyone and I would argue it can be as effective a dancing lube as tequila. Screw all those sardonic hipsters. The pixies win. See for yourselves, SB friends.
Previously on SB Tunes: Gwen Stefani
SB Tunes: Bowie
This week was a good one for androgyny and music.
David Bowie (honorary SB who happens to have a penis) released the video for his new song, The Stars (Are Out Tonight), starring his doppelganger, the ethereal and bizarrely beautiful, Tilda Swinton.
Not only was this love at first sight for me, it was love at first listen. Which I cannot say about the new song of a certain other honorary SB who happens to have a penis (hint: Prince). Screw Screwdriver. It’s terrible. Brother, where ever did your sexy funk go?
This, however, sounds like vintage Bowie. Dancey and synthy with a menacing, guttural undercurrent. And the video is quite excellent – sexy and creepy, beautiful to look at and yet, slightly disturbing. So good.
My friends, the Thin White Duke has still got it. Enjoy.
Ask the SB: Watch for the Girlfriend
Q:Yes I am already Christmas shopping.
After a layoff my girlfriend is returning to the work world with two new careers in real estate and event planning.
I thought a nice watch would be a good gift for her, better than pulling out an iPhone during a meeting. I am not familiar with trends in women’s watches and wondered if you had any suggestions. She is not a dainty girl, so tiny faces and skinny bracelets are not going to work.
A: Can I tell you, sweet Michael, how much I adore you male SB readers? Y’all are the most thoughtful bunch of mo’ fos. It warms my heart, really. And I’ve been fretting about you and your question, Michael, because I know Christmas is approaching faster than a fat lady on ice-skates and I’ve been sitting on your questions for, er, a while. Mea culpa, but here we go.
I’m not sure I can tell you which watch to buy for your girlfriend, since I’m not sure what your budget is, but I will say that your “not dainty girl” is in luck. The trend in women’s watches is big and menswear-inspired, which is perfect for her build.
I will tell you what I told the bloke buying the engagement ring and the bloke buying sunglasses: take your lady. If you wish, do a little reconnaissance ahead of time and have a handful of potential watches set aside, ready for her to choose from. If there was EVER an accessory to get right, it’s a watch. Not only is its very raison d’être to be looked at, it has to feel right on her wrist.
I don’t know your gal’s taste, but I can tell you a few things about my own. I like a large watch, but nothing gargantuan. That trend will be gone soon and you’ll want something with staying power. Don’t go too much larger than a half dollar and make sure it sits relatively flat on the wrist.
Unless she’s going to take up scuba diving, celestial navigation or arctic exploration, you don’t need or want all that garbage around the circumference of the watch. No numbered bezels and also, unless it’s what she really wants, no gems. I can’t stand a watch that’s encrusted in diamonds. I know that smacks of sour grapes, but it’s true, darling – I swear.
Along those lines, I like a simple face in white, silver or black. I am not a fan of Roman or oversized numerals, in fact, I prefer no numbers at all, just those little sticks. And for the love of God, round not square – unless you’re buying her a Cartier, in which case WELL DONE!
I prefer a metallic bracelet because I like my non diamond encrusted watch to slide around my wrist a bit, but leather is fine and purely a matter of personal preference.
My last thought would be, whatever your price range, buy a watch that is made by a company that has always made watches. In other words, don’t get her a Michael Kors watch or a Mark Jacobson watch. I don’t like it when designers try to put their grubby fingers in pies where they don’t belong.
Good luck, Michael, and happy shopping!
Pictured Left to Right:
Seiko 5 Automatic Watch on sale for $152
Swiss Army Victorinox Classic on sale for $795.00
Alpha Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Quartz – good luck finding it for less than $2,000.
SB Tunes: Michael Jackson
In honor of MJ’s birthday this week, I offer you the one and only for this week’s SB Tunes.
I must confess that I drank a bit of vino blanco in his memory while I shimmied and shmooved around my living room to the entire Off the Wall album. OK, maybe I didn’t exactly do that (I exactly did), but I DO love me some Michael. It’s like dancing catnip.
I love this picture because it captures Michael at the hight of his Thriller-era Spectacular Bitchdom, before he went off the rails, poor dear.
And I love this video because it captures Michael before he even got near the rails. I don’t think a tuxedo has had that much fun in the history of tuxedos. That boy had some moves.
Don’t stop till you get enough.
SB Tunes: Annie Lenox
Androgynous, theatrical and utterly transfixing – I L.O.V.E. Annie Lenox.
As one half the cooler-than-cool synth pop duo, Eurythmics, Lenox has always brought her own personal style to her music and performances. She has pretty much consistently rocked the pixie since the early 80′s, in various shades of red, orange and platinum blond.
She messes with our perception by cloaking that womanly bod in men’s garb, by offsetting the short crop with glammy make-up, by opening that wide, beautiful and borderline obscene mouth and wrapping us up in a powerful contralto voice that lingers and haunts.
Scottish soul. Spectacular.
Photo credit: Jean Baptiste Mondino
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