What a relief it is to find a couple of tart pop stars careening from cult status to crossover sensations. The videos (and songs) of the moment are radically different but fundamentally have much in common.
Hippychick by British groove-
house group Soho is a polyrhythmic take on '60s nostalgia. The joke of the song is its thoroughly modern sound, a funky beat layered over the echo-chamber guitar pattern from the Smiths' How Soon is Now? The video is a surprisingly lively performance clip of Soho's women vocalists trading slogans, drum riffs and knowing, wide-eyed glances.
Betty Boo presents herself, complete with Marvel Comic-style graphics, as a superhero for urban upstarts. In her self-directed video for her single Doin' the Do, Betty Boo shakes things up at an uptight private school.
With her simple black bob and ample, muscular body, Betty Boo is the antithesis of airheadedness, striking a pose and an attitude and becoming instantly lovable.
Wake up and smell
When MTV execs revamped Awake on the Wild Side (7 to 9 a.m. weekdays), they booted Our Lady of Perpetual Nightclubbing, aka Lisa Edelstein, back to the dance floors and bars of Manhattan night spots. Edelstein's husky voice and authentically mussed hair are missed . . . especially by me. I loved being able to spend wild nights on the town vicariously (and without the hangover) when Lisa would relate her many adventures in New York City's clubland.
New Wild Side host Andrew Daddo is a cold fish by comparison _ he fluctuates between shamelessly huckstering for MTV-related paraphernalia and playing the reserved British dude.
One of the most interesting Daddo doodads to report on is his bizarre adversarial relationship with MTV News reporter John Norris. Whenever Norris shows up on the Wild Side set to pass on the results of his latest confrontations with the likes of Martika or Donny Wahlberg (from New Kids on the Block), Daddo does everything to confound Norris short of busting a 2-by-4 over his head. On one broadcast last week, Daddo interrupted Norris so many times that the intrepid gossip gatherer was not able to finish his report before the end of the show.
Is there too much testosterone in the air, or is this what happens when cultural giants collide?
In our bustling
bay area clubs
The long-awaited video for the Pet Shop Boys' new single So Hard is about to be released. Directed by Eric Watson (who was also behind the camera for the PSB clips for West End Girls, Suburbia and What Have I Done to Deserve This?), the clip was filmed in the north England town of Newcastle. Look for it to make a local premiere at Tracks in Ybor City.
On the hip-hop and alternative fronts, expect video work to accompany new albums by Moev, Tackhead, Monie Love and HWA (Hoes with Attitude). Also, Skinny Puppy fans shouldn't have to chew up the furniture for much longer before getting visual aid in support of the Canadian industrial trio's latest opus, Too VIDEOS 3D
But what's the word in the here and now? Not much. Video distributors recognize that the pre- and post-Halloween weeks mark maximum alcohol consumption and cavorting periods for most club-goers. Start looking for another crop of new club videos come mid-November.
Meanwhile, would all VJs please make a fiery full moon sacrifice of the following overplayed and thoroughly unwelcome clips: Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails, Fun to be Had by Nitzer Ebb, Come Home with Me Baby by Dead or Alive and anything even remotely connected with Jimmy Somerville and his various stints with Bronski Beat and The Communards.
X-amining the X
VH-1 takes the intellectual high road in November with a program examining the end of a movie industry institution. The other video network will unveil Death of the X at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 on a special edition of FLIX, its entertainment magazine with incomparably named mannequin/host Wendi Tush.
Death of the X examines the movement to extract the X from the Motion Picture Association of America's movie rating system, which culminated in the creation of the new NC-17 classification. The program will include a commentary by Chicago Sun Times movie critic Roger Ebert, a longtime opponent of the MPAA rating system, as well as interviews with artists who have found themselves at odds with the ratings board.
Among them: actors Fred Ward and Maria de Medeiros, stars of Henry and June, the first film to receive the NC-17 rating; and Pedro Almodovar, director of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Don't take any
What does it mean? Explain the strange doings that begin next week on the normally wholesome Nick at Nite cable channel.
Starting at 8 p.m. Monday and continuing each night, every night until 6 a.m. Nov. 4, Nick will broadcast 140 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. These showings will include the rising star performances of Charles Bronson in There Was an Old Woman and Robert Duvall in Bang! You're Dead as well as appearances by really important actors such as Dick York in Vicious Circle and Jack "Photocopier" Klugman in The Mail Order Prophet. Be on the lookout for Vic Morrow in A Little Sleep.
The perfection of the Hitchcock marathon is marred only by the absence of Shelley Winters from any episode.
Diehard Double Indemnity and Caine Mutiny lovers will want to tune in to the Nov. 6 and 9 segments of My Three Sons. Fred MacMurray, who recently told a biographer that he hates dogs and children, shows off his smarmy side in Birds and Bees and Instant Hate. In the former, MacMurray's Steve Douglas character "explains things" to son Chip; the latter shows Steve at war with meddlesome neighbors.