Sunday, January 6, 2008

El Hogar de Alaska

In my favorite Almodovar movie, Pepi, Lucy, Bom y las otras chicas del monton, Spain's new wave sensation, Alaska appears aged 16 as a punk rock teen who seduces a downtrodden housewife from Murcia, the video is of her singing a love song called "Murciana" - the lyrics are priceless. She is still performing, now with Fangoria, and is remarkable for supporting gay rights and for dressing in a fabulous 1980s way even today. In the most camp article ever to appear in HOLA and there is a lot to choose from, Alaka and her husband Mario (who is also her manager and looks a bit like Marilyn Manson with less make up) were featured in the home decoration section of the magazine. Every issue opens with a spread revealing the posh estate of some petty aristocrat, international celeb, fashion designer, former supermodel, millionaire and the like. People like Donald Trump, Isabel Preysler, Oscar de la Renta, Tita Thyssen, lady Di's brother, the owner of the Freixenet champagne company, etc.

Usually the homes are either Swiss style ski chalets, French Louis something style palaces, preppy chintz-laden type, something conventionally officially "tasteful" and expensive and usually very very tacky. Sometimes you get over the top campy like the home of Dolce & Gabanna. But most of the time, it's aristocratic-aspirational style. So it was truly fabulous to open my HOLA and see the Madrid home of Alaska and Mario. Somebody at HOLA must have a sense of humor and got the couple's campy parodic take on the pretentious and hackneyed section. The home's silver kitchen which looks like a morgue was described by Alaska in the accompanying interview, she said it was inspired by Warhol's Factory.

We also saw his and her bathrooms: hers in a neo-Keane big-eyed painting and Barbie theme all in red, and her husband's, wallpapered with photos of Elvis.

But the best of all was the paradigmatic living room shot. Alaska totally worked the traditional HOLA lady pose. But she is reading, and the coffee table is full of, vintage Spanish porno magazines from the period after Franco died, when porno proliferated with the end of censorship. The best part is that one of them has the fabulous Bibiana Fernandez on the cover - Bibi formerly known as Bibi Andersen, has appeared in several of Almodovar's films and is Spain's most famous transgendered person. Alaska's TV set features a video of the famous series "El Coraje de Vivir" which was like a telenovela featuring a cancer-riddled Lola Flores telling her own life story, complete with VERY dramatic re-enactments. She had been accused of tax evasion, so the story is that she made the series for Spanish government TV to pay it off.

At the far left you can see Lola Flores' face on the TV screen.

Here are clips from Coraje de Vivir:

from there on You Tube you can see more (you will want to, there is NOTHING better than Lola Flores)

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