The Unbearable Tightness of Being in Polyester Pants: Three Dog Night – “Eli’s Coming”

Three Dog Night Eli's Coming

Note: This is a performance clip from a TV special, something I normally don’t mess with, but after watching it I knew I wouldn’t feel good in the morning if I let this one go. It’s from 1972, and that alone should explain everything that’s about to happen. Here we go…

We start out with a blurry image of what might be the drummer, followed by blurry images of anonymous hands playing a piano and tuning a guitar. Are we standing in line at a methadone clinic? (To be fair, the blurriness is probably the degraded quality of the film and not the result of some artistic director proclaiming “we must open with blurriness!” and then taking a defiant drag on a clove cigarette.) Then we get a shot of one of those Troll dolls (you know, those old-school asexually naked things with fuzzy hair) stuck on the end of a guitar, and I start to get nervous.

Then we pan over to the person holding that guitar, and I’m not trying to pass any judgment, but based on the facial expressions he’s making, he’s clearly stoned out of his mind, or at least has severe focus issues. But it’s all good, because we soon cut to somebody singing the opening bit of the song, and you forget all about drug usage because this singer’s hair is quite stunning. I’m not sure what he was going for with that look, but I hope he found it. Then we zip over to another singer (I have no idea how many of them we might meet)  and this one is wearing an even more expressive hairdo, one that Cher would later use during that artistic part of her career when she wore a thong whilst straddling a big gun on a battleship.

Okay, we’ve got another vocalist, this one upping the hair challenge by sporting a mustache that could rake the leaves off your front lawn. Oddly enough, he can’t help but giggle during his lyric delivery, which I take as another sign of recreational inhalants, but many of the women in the audience take as a cue to start screaming in worship. Since I was only 7 at the time of this video, I’ll just assume there were things going on in the world that I was clueless about as I played with my G.I. Joe and watched violent Saturday morning cartoons.

Mustache Man starts messing with the crowd, throwing in some “wooh!” noises, encouraging folks to scream some more so that it drowns out the song, which is kind of sad because he really has quite a nice voice. (But I think he knows that.) He throws in a cryptic Tiny Tim bit of falsetto flourish and then he passes the vocal torch to yet another singer, this one wearing a startling mini-vest thing that looks like something you would put on your Streetwalker Barbie Doll and not on your G.I. Joe. (Unless Joe was raised in Venice Beach.)

This magical vest causes the music to really ramp up, and we cut to the audience to see how they are enjoying things so far. I would say that they mightily approve, especially the one woman who appears to have just had a spontaneous orgasm. We head back to the stage, where all 140 lead singers are posing in a head-to-toe camera angle, letting us know that the Theme of the Day is overly-tight slacks that highlight your crotch. Just to make sure we understand this theme, the Cher-Hair Guy grabs the waistband of his pants and pulls them even higher, helpfully letting the world know that he hangs to the left.

We get some more audience reaction shots, and I do believe that this has now become some type of religious ceremony, with folks raising their hands to Jesus, or at least signaling to the traveling beer vendor that they are a bit parched. We have a brief re-visit to the stage and then we’re back in the audience, where everyone has been inspired to rhythmically clap with a frenzy that would cause psychologists to widen their eyes in alarm and smile in satisfaction, knowing that their client list is about to grow.

Stage again, where the camera appears to be zooming in toward the Mini-Vest Guy, a development that forces me to take another swig of vodka as reinforcement against what might happen. Mini-Vest proceeds to wiggle his hips in a manner that I would think is ill-advised, but based on the audience reaction, there was apparently nothing sexier in 1972 than somebody shifting from foot to foot like they have seriously got to pee. (This also might explain how Nixon managed to get re-elected in 1972. He always looked like he had bladder issues.)

Then some of the 280 lead singers start raising their hands in the air, officially transitioning us from a mere concert into a frenzied praise celebration. (I guess everybody is quite happy about those tight pants.) The Cher-Hair Guy is the most invested in this bit, flailing his arms like there were some vicious jalapenos in the bean dip, and causing Mini-Vest Guy to glance at him like “does it always have to be about you? Didn’t we discuss this on the bus coming here? And stop pulling on your pants, we get it, you have a penis.” Or something along those lines. I wasn’t there and nobody forwarded the meeting minutes.

Another quick shot of the audience, reminding us that none of the women in 1972 yet had access to the hair-styling products that would later allow Farrah Fawcett to dominate the planet, and then we focus back on Mini-Vest. He’s now whipping one arm downward like he’s in the final stretch of the Kentucky Derby, urging his stud horse to triumph over the other studs. (I think he’s trying to be sexy with this mess, but it doesn’t appeal to me in the least, probably because I already had no intention of sleeping with someone who considers vests an aphrodisiac. But judging by the euphoric reaction of the women (and a few of the men) in the audience, they are clearly prepared to be ridden across the finish line in a frenzy of flying dirt clods. I guess you had to be there.

And I guess the cameraman relishes the fact that the audience is on the verge of massive sexual satisfaction, because he happily records more shots of people clapping and waving their hands as they approach the Big O, or find salvation in the Lord, or both. Whatever it is that they are doing somehow resulted in the creation of disco music a few short years later. No wonder plaid polyester suits became all the rage about this time. If a man in a mini-vest can help you find your g-spot, anything can happen.

And that’s how we wind down the video, with the 360 lead singers doing their thing, an apparently mesmerizing performance that totally enraptured thousands of people before cable TV was invented and allowed people to find peace and sexual redemption without leaving their homes. There’s a final shot of the audience members thrusting their hands in the air in a manner that would later become required movements by people attending mega-churches where nobody knows your name, and then we close out with Mini-Vest on the stage warbling the last bits of the song.

As the satisfied members of the audience finally relax, lighting a post-coital cigarette and tossing a donation into the offering plate being passed about, the 480 lead singers leave the stage and begin searching the phonebook for chiropractors who can help their testicles re-descend after being confined in restrictive pants at the prayer circle…


Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 04/01/13, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.


There’s Something in the Water: Lady Gaga – “Poker Face”

Lady Gaga Poker Face


In the opening scenes, Lady Gaga is dripping wet, climbing out of somebody’s swimming pool. She is wearing odd headgear, some contraption that you can’t get at your local mall, and the assumption is that she was thrown out of a passing alien spaceship because she’s wearing too much eyeliner. (Excessive grooming products can hinder optimal space travel.) There are twin attack-dogs reviewing her movements, but they don’t approach her because she doesn’t appear to have any treats for them, and even if she did, they would be soggy by now, because girlfriend is water-logged.

Then Lady Gaga prances around in her black leather outfit, doing hand movements that signify she either has a rash or is practicing for an infomercial involving cleaning products. Amazingly, her eyeliner does not run, despite the coming-out-of-the-pool thing. She does a lot of naughty hip-thrusting for no apparent reason. It’s probably in her contract that she has to do such, or maybe she just has no control over her loins.

Oh wait, now she’s sporting a blue outfit for the chorus of the song. She clutches her head a lot, while tons of backup dancers appear out of nowhere, and they all gyrate, but Lady Gaga doesn’t have a hair out of place. Somebody needs to cut a bonus check for the stylist, because he hit that, yes she did. You really aren’t anybody unless you can control your own hair. Or have enough money to pay someone to control it for you.

Now there are hundreds of people running about, with once-again black-clad Gaga pretending to play poker and throwing cards everywhere (rude!), then everybody is in their night-night clothes but still humping the air and acting like poker is an aphrodisiac. Personally, I’ve never been that invested in something as small as a playing card or any situation where you have to lie about what you might have in your hands, but maybe I have different goals.

Then we head into another round of the chorus, and Gaga is back in her blue outfit, meaning the poor thing is probably worn out with all the wardrobe changes. (Still, she’s obviously making more money than me, so not much of a sympathy angle on this end.) Then somebody powers up a fog machine, so we can have a nice 80s-era bit of pizazz, even though it has nothing to do with what’s happening in front of the camera.

Oh look, now there are two images of Gaga gyrating and getting moist over a royal flush. Wow, not only is card-playing apparently sexy, but it can cause instantaneous cloning. I had never considered this possibility. (Kudos to the director for partaking in the proper amount of recreational drugs to advance his artistry in just the right attention-getting manner.) I’m sure that Diana Ross will have one of her servants contact him, should she decide that the world cannot survive unless she has a comeback tour.

Now Gaga’s wearing some freaky glasses that somehow channel the MTV feed. Way cool. But then she gets bored with the fancy spectacles and ditches them pretty quickly, much like the MTV audience has done for the last few decades, once management started forgetting that music videos is what originally made them blue-chip on Wall Street. You want your MTV? Keep it.

Wait, now Gaga’s wearing the blue outfit again even though it’s not time for the chorus. What the hell? Did somebody run out of film footage and started to wing it? And why does she keep using her hand to make a circle thing around her eye? Is this her signature move? I suppose it might mean something to her personally, but it pales in comparison to, I don’t know, Michael Jackson’s moonwalk or Eric Clapton doing anything with a guitar.

Before we have a chance to raise our hand and question the wardrobe malfunction, Gaga runs into another room where she proceeds to flirt with some bed-head semi-stud who looks rather stoned. We now have several jump cuts between Gaga, the stoner, the hundreds of gyrating people in the house who apparently can’t find a decent disco, and some startlingly-intimate shots of Gaga basically French-kissing one of the dogs. I suppose the director was going for “artsy foreign cinema” with this angle, but all I got out of it was “the film editor tried to cover up the fact that the director misunderstood artsy foreign cinema”. Let’s just hope that no animals were harmed during the filming of this sequence.

Despite the lack of cohesiveness, Gaga marches on like a trooper, firmly convinced that her insistent willpower alone will make this video a success. This means that we get a lot of close-ups of her various body parts, mainly to show everyone that she enjoys gothic manicures, and that her hair has remained in place, despite the humidity from the pool and the hordes of lost disco dancers racing around the property. (There’s a slight hint that someone may have drowned in the swimming pool during all this debauchery, but we don’t dwell on it because we really don’t know these people personally.)

We have some filler footage with Gaga doing even more odd hand movements, still really invested in doing the circle thing around her eye even though it’s not particularly attractive, and more shots of her frolicking around in outfits that can’t possibly be comfortable, wedged so tightly that a yeast infection is surely on the horizon. And what’s up with the obvious white wig, honey? You paraded it around for most of the video, and I tried to love it, but it’s just not happening for me. It looks like something worn by the child actors in the “Village of the Damned” movie, and a lot of people died in that flick. Is that really the legacy you’re trying to leave behind here?

We end the video with Gaga possibly having at least a minimal orgasm, and/or letting us know that her favorite sports team did something positive. Not sure. Whatever the case, she and her fake hair look completely satisfied, confident that her work is done here and she can now head to the wrap party, ready to be worshipped and handed cocktails.

P.S. What the hell was that metal thing on your cheek during the entire video? Text me.


Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 07/18/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.