When we did "Beat It," Michael came in the van with us to scout locations. I remember saying, "I'm hungry, let's stop for a pizza." Michael said, "Oh good, I've never had a pizza." This is a 25-year-old man who'd never had pizza. Now he wasn't accessible like that. He was a superstar, but then he became a deity.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution is a hugely readable and fun new oral history of the first decade of MTV. Veteran music writers Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum interviewed many of the era's major players, putting a microscope on the biggest, weirdest, and most memorable videos of the time, and [Pitchfork is] thrilled to present the following excerpt.
From performing in a concert
for Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, to serving as background music for the shock-and-awe bombing of Baghdad, Lionel Richie
is much beloved throught the Arab world. A Nightline
piece, and an upcoming GQ magazine article (via NPR)
examine the Lionel of Arabia phenomenon.
"Sloppiness is my palette." Neal Medlyn
is the self-proclaimed "Paris Hilton of Performance Art"
who looked for "bits and pieces of coolness in normal things or in anything" when he was growing up in small-town Texas. Now performing regularly
in New York City, Medlyn played a nude Dubya shacking up with Karen Finley
's nude Martha Stewart in George and Martha
(here's a review
and another review
; photos NSFW). According to the 2000 Austin Chronicle profile
(written by his future wife
) Medlyn came off as a lunatic in his early performances, many of which were sparsely attended, and involved "music, little routines, and group activities, like having everyone sit in the dark and listen very closely to a song he likes." Medlyn has performed, with Kenny Mellmann
, a show of R. Kelly songs
(watch him performing one
; Google Video); he loves
(NSFW) Lionel Richie (whose songs he finds strange and beautiful; watch mpg here
); and he wrote a book inspired by his own buttocks
(NSFW). Medlyn is currently doing, with Carmine Covelli
, a somewhat Peewee Herman-ish video series for Nerve
called Neal Medlyn's Land of Make-Believe
(NSFW; videos depict group sex, performed by various animal puppets). Here is a 2004 interview with Medlyn
. And Medlyn has a Myspace profile