For brand-new single "Glass & Patron," House Mother-in-training FKA twigs brings some real-deal voguing into her zone, perhaps the first instance of real-deal voguing in a mainstream video since Madonna's "Vogue." (The occasional suicide dip in the odd Lady Gaga or Christina Milian video doesn't quite grapple up to this level.)
But this here is new-way voguing at its finest, most undistilled, and its HARDEST, in the "hoard" pronunciation of the word: the dips are pin-sharp, the hand magic is fluid and and the duckwalks are tuff as a brick-shithouse, particularly in the case of Twigs, who's as athletic a dancer as they come. Over a jackhammer riddim produced with Boots (Beyoncé's "Haunted"), twigs casts herself as a whispering, sensual commentator—"one, two, three, now hold that pose for me"—but in her interpretation of a familiar vogue-runway construct, she's giving commands to both her dancers and a potential lover, drawing on the twisty power dynamic she likes to mine in her music. I also enjoy this song because she and Boots made a song that is in the spirit of ballroom house, complete with crashes exactly where a dancer might want to drop the most drama (twigs's dual musician/dancer talents surely helped in this case), but it does not blatantly rip off styles by, or make uncredited gestures towards, ballroom-house producers like Vjuan Allure and MikeQ as so many others do. (Ahem.) Also, twigs is putting in work, which is respectable.
In this video, she's also cast as a literal mom, giving birth to a length of multicolored chiffon that then transforms into a cadre of gorgeous brown dancers in various states of birthed ecstasy. They represent interpretations of twigs herself, a vast and beautiful display of gender non-specificity and the lack of need to even get specific. And I know you feel me when I say that every bish in this video is fucking fierce.
Related: the virgin scarf birth reminds me of something very specific, and similar. In 2013, I interviewed RuPaul's best friend Michelle Visage, as a sidebar to a feature profile I'd done on the legendary drag queen. When I asked her about her favorite early memory of RuPaul from the '90s, she recalled a chiffon-vag performance by the Lady Hennessey:
There was a performance artist, Lady Hennessey — a woman who used to perform with us at Susanne [Bartsch]'s party. And by perform I mean, she would get up on stage, light her bush and her tits on fire, and shoot milk from her nipples. She never stopped lactating. Every time I saw her onstage, I would duck and cover. I remember vividly she used to do this trick where she'd tie up 100 feet of stockings into little knots, and run 'em up into her vagina. And all of a sudden Ru comes out, and she hands it to Ru, this disgusting end of a stocking. I'm sure Ru was drunk or high or something, but he pulled it and ran across the whole club over everybody's heads. And I am just like, disgusted. And Ru says, "Hayyyyy," with his Afro and his little short miniskirt, like, "Hayyy, holla!" I was like "That is a bitch I have to get to know."
Thank you to all the queens in the history of New York City for giving us this beautiful form of expression and keeping on in the face of unspeakable adversity, co-option, and bullshit.
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