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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Did Baby Imagine Johnny's Return to the Hotel?

In my previous post, titled Deconstructing Dirty Dancing, I provided information about a new book of that name, written by essayist Stephen Lee Naish. I still have not read the book, but I read the reviews that were available.

A couple of the reviews indicate that Naish argues that the final dance scene was a fantasy.
Hayley C. Rather
I found the author’s analysis of the end of Dirty Dancing utterly fascinating. I’ve watched the film numerous times and I’ve always thought that the ending was just super romantic and a perfect end to the film. Naish considers the idea that the whole ending was just a fantasy that Baby was having, it was what she imagined happened and that really the love story between her and Johnny was over when he left Kellermans earlier in the the film. I actually see that this is entirely plausible and it has made me really think about whether this is more likely than how I’ve always viewed it.

Hazel Smoczynska
The biggest revelation for me, however, was Naish’s suggestion that the final scene is interpreted as fantasy. It had never occurred to me how my own nostalgia for the film had blinkered my interpretation of it, which has always been as a straight narrative. Naish persuasively argues that Johnny driving away is the ‘real’ ending of the film, pointing out the signposts that indicate we are leaving reality and entering cinematic fantasy courtesy of Baby’s imagination.
I have not read Naish's arguments for this idea, which is novel and thought-provoking. I grasp the idea's plausibility.

In two previous articles of my blog here, I wrote about Dirty Dancing and the musical genre.

1) Is Dirty Dancing a Musical?

2) Recorded-Music Technology and the Musical Genre

In those articles, I discussed the concept of diegesis, which is used to analyze movies. The diegesis is the story that the characters are actually experiencing. The diegesis does not include background narration or music.

For example, in opening scene of Dirty Dancing, the Houseman family is riding in a car as on older Baby is narrating about the year 1963 and so forth. The family's presence and activity are diegetical. Baby's narration is non-diegetical.

As another example, the movie audience sometimes sees characters put a vinyl record onto a record player and then dance to the music. On these occasions, the music is diegetical. On the other hand, there probably are moments -- I would have to watch the movie again to find some -- when music plays subtly on the soundtrack to affect the audience subconsciously. Such soundtrack music would be non-diegetic.

Dirty Dancing includes one remarkable scene depicting Baby's imagination. She is learning from Johnny to dance to the song "Wipe Out". A record player is not visible but must be present. As the music continues, Baby continues to practice her dance alone, outside. A record player cannot be present, so Baby must be imagining the music.


The music that Baby imagines while outside can be analyzed to be in a fuzzy region between diegetic and non-diegetic. The music is diegetic because she actually is conscious of her memory of the song and is dancing to it. The music is non-diegetic because it plays aloud only for the movie audience's benefit, in order to portray her mental activity. The soundtrack music could be eliminated from this outside scene, and the movie audience still might understand that she is imagining the "Wipe Out" song.

The "Wipe Out" scene gives the movie audience an insight into Baby's imagination. Baby sometimes imagines music that is not really audible.

Sometimes the movie provides views and sounds that do not really exist in the diegesis. Rather, these views and sounds are provided for the audience's benefit, to portray Baby's mental activity and provide insight into her imagination.

============

With the "Wipe Out" scene still in mind, let's now think about the scene where Baby and her parents are sitting at a table and watching the talent show.

https://mywifemademewatch.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/dirty-dancing/
Baby and her parents watching the talent show
in the movie "Dirty Dancing"
Baby is depressed for various reasons. Johnny has left her. Conversation with her parents is boring. Her stupid sister is getting all the attention for performing in the talent show. Baby's dancing days are over.

Baby is wishing that her teenage-girl life would be better. She should be the center of attention. Her intelligent altruism should be recognized and appreciated. Everyone should see that she is pretty and charming enough to attract a handsome boyfriend. These are the thoughts that preoccupy Baby as she sits at the table.

Then the following amazing event happens. Watch it critically, looking for elements that are unrealistic and implausible.


Did it really happen? Or did Baby just imagine that it happened?

Until this amazing event, the entire movie was realistic and plausible.

Furthermore, the movie's life lesson was strict. Baby and Johnny were mismatched. Their relationship was doomed. He had departed, and no matter what had happened, he ultimately would have departed. Baby had reconciled herself intelligently to that life lesson. She would go to college and devote herself to the studies that would eventually enable her to help society. After college she would marry a suitable man who would be accepted wholeheartedly by her parents.

Then suddenly, however, this amazing event destroyed that life lesson. Baby and Johnny were reunited. Her parents loved Johnny. Her life now would now enter in a new, fantastic course, full of dance, with wonderful Johnny.

======

On May 16, 1986, while the Dirty Dancing script was being finalized, the CBS television channel broadcast a notorious episode of its popular television series Dallas. This was the ninth season's last episode, and each season ended with a cliff-hanger.

In the cliff-hanger ending on May 16, the show's star Pam Ewing wakes up one morning and hears someone taking a shower in her bathroom. She goes to the shower stall to investigate. She and the television audience are surprised to see that the person taking a shower is her husband Bobby Ewing. Everyone was surprised because Bobby had been killed a year ago -- in the eighth season's cliff-hanger ending.

Bobby had departed from Pam forever, but now he returned in an amazing event.


The mystery of Bobby's return was explained on September 26, 1986, in the first episode of the tenth season. This explanatory episode was broadcast during the middle of the filming of Dirty Dancing, which took place from September 5 through October 27, 1986.

The explanation for Bobby's return on Dallas was that Pam had dreamed the entire ninth season while sleeping that night. Pam had an extraordinarily vivid imagination.

Both Pam Ewing and Baby Houseman had vivid imaginations, and therefore they both experienced the amazing returns of their beloved men who had departed forever. Maybe the air was full of imagination in mid-1986.

The "Family Guy" Version of the Final Scene


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Deconstructing "Dirty Dancing"

Last month, in April 2017, Zero Books published a book titled Deconstructing Dirty Dancing, written by Stephen Lee Naish, who is described as follows:
Stephen Lee Naish‘s writing explores film, politics, and popular culture and the places where they converge. His essays have appeared in numerous journals and periodicals, including the arts and culture magazines Candid Magazine, The Quietus, Empty Mirror, 3:AM, Everyday Analysis and Scholardarity.

He is the author of the essay collection U.ESS.AY: Politics and Humanity in American Film (Zero books) and the forthcoming book Create or Die: Essays on the Artistry of Dennis Hopper (Amsterdam University Press).

He also records drone and experimental music as Cities in Snow.

He lives in Kingston, Ontario with his wife Jamie and their son Hayden.

http://www.zero-books.net/books/deconstructing-dirty-dancing

I have not read the book.

The book's webpage includes several reviews, and here are some excerpts:

------

Liza Palmer, Managing Editor of The Moving Image, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Film Matters, Contributing Editor of Film International

... In this broadly researched and accessible text, Stephen Lee Naish sets out to deconstruct and unlock a film that has haunted him for decades, and argues that Dirty Dancing ... is a union of history, politics, sixties and eighties culture, era-defining music, class, gender, and race, and of course features one of the best love stories set to film. Using scene-by-scene analyses, personal interpretation, and comparative study, it's time to take Dirty Dancing out of the corner and place it under the microscope. ...
-------

Will Brownridge, Toronto Film Scene
Naish looks at the film through a new lens. By exploring the political subtext, the way the film celebrated women at a time where this was a rarity in Hollywood, gender, class, race, and how Dirty Dancing was a perfect blend of the ’60s and the ’80s, Naish will make you think a lot more deeply about the movie.

He breaks the film down scene by scene, picking some of the larger moments as well as the tiniest bit of dialogue to make his points. It’s not only a wonderful look back on the movie, but a fantastic way to see the themes many of us have probably missed.

Coming in at under 100 pages, “Deconstructing Dirty Dancing” is also a very brisk read. Naish doesn’t slow things down with overly intellectual text. There’s no need to have completed your thesis to enjoy the book.

However, Naish doesn’t just offer a surface level reading of the film either. He’s even bold enough to compare the film to David Lynch’s Blue Velvet in a mostly convincing way. While I’m still not completely on board with that comparison, Naish does manage to point out the similarities with certain characters effectively. ...

He looks at how the film was able to capture the hearts and minds of people by exploring the way it fit so perfectly into the culture of the ’80s, even though the film is set in the ’60s. The problems presented in the film were things that may not have been as large in the ’80s, but they were still problems we continued to face. Class, gender, and race are still incredibly relevant social problems, so Dirty Dancing continues to be a film we can look at now, 30 years later. ...

Naish finally makes Dirty Dancing more than just a “chick flick” that is overlooked. Whether you’re a huge fan of the film or not, I can’t recommend “Deconstructing Dirty Dancing” more highly.
-------

Hayley C. Rather Too Fond Of Books
..... This is a wonderful book for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the film as it really does look at all the key moments, and allows you to re-live them. I liked the descriptions of some of the deleted scenes from the film and the discussion on how they may or may not have added to the storyline had they have been left in – it’s made me want to buy the special edition DVD so I can see those deleted scenes now!

Occasionally there are really interesting references to other studies that have discussed Dirty Dancing, and I would have loved more of that, but it has led me to look at the bibliography at the back of this book ...

I found the author’s analysis of the end of Dirty Dancing utterly fascinating. I’ve watched the film numerous times and I’ve always thought that the ending was just super romantic and a perfect end to the film. Naish considers the idea that the whole ending was just a fantasy that Baby was having, it was what she imagined happened and that really the love story between her and Johnny was over when he left Kellermans earlier in the the film. I actually see that this is entirely plausible and it has made me really think about whether this is more likely than how I’ve always viewed it.
------

Ylva Schauster, NetGalley
.... In his book, he [Naish] explores the topics of gender, class and transitioning from child to adult that can be found in the movie.

He even compares Dirty Dancing with a movie by David Lynch. That may sound a little crazy and I was wondering how he was going to do this. But his argumentation is comprehensible and a lot less far-fetched than I feared it might be.

He takes the reader through the movie scene by scene, explaining quickly what happens in that scene before analysing it. That made it easy to follow even though I watched the movie only once some time ago.

In the end, there's a short essay on his personal experience watching Dirty Dancing several times in his life. I really appreciated a male's perspective on what is considered to be a movie that only women like. ....

Another thing that I thought was interesting was that he showed how the lyrics of the soundtrack correspond to the story because I hadn't paid attention to that.

Now I'm looking forward to watching the movie again and finding some new details that I hadn't noticed before. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes or even loves the movie. It might also be helpful for students that want to write a paper on Dirty Dancing or movie analysis in general.
------

Hazel Smoczynska, ThePloughmans Lunch
.... I’m probably quite a tough audience for a book on Dirty Dancing. Naish’s basic premise is of Dirty Dancing as a story about the loss of personal innocence that reflects the societal loss of innocence in 1960s America. It may not be a staggeringly original one, but it’s a valid argument which he reiterates through a scene-by-scene interpretation of the film.

He highlights some interesting parallels with Lynch’s Blue Velvet, another film which exemplifies the innocence lost in the transition from childhood to adulthood, the corruption of the American Dream and which stylistically draws on the distinctive early 60s and late 80s periods.

I was particularly struck by the suggestion that Penny’s interception of Dr Houseman during the merengue class he and Baby attend symbolises the role she will play in coming between the two characters.

Similarly, the idea that Plight of the Peasants, the book Baby is reading at the start of the film foretells her own critical reevaluation of the role of class plays in her life I found fascinating. I’d never even noticed the title of the book before ....

The biggest revelation for me, however, was Naish’s suggestion that the final scene is interpreted as fantasy. It had never occurred to me how my own nostalgia for the film had blinkered my interpretation of it, which has always been as a straight narrative. Naish persuasively argues that Johnny driving away is the ‘real’ ending of the film, pointing out the signposts that indicate we are leaving reality and entering cinematic fantasy courtesy of Baby’s imagination. ....
------

Kristine Fisher, GoodReads
Many, many philosophical interpretations in addition to the plain-Jane synopsis/behind-the-scenes info that other movie-related books usually offer. Lee Nash does a full, scene-by-scene watch-thru of the movie and intersperses his writing with input from the screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein, and other cinema writers; particularly Michele Schreiber and her book, American Post-Feminist Cinema.

I really enjoyed the reference to Dirty Dancing as being "Star Wars for girls", commonalities between it and that of the movie Blue Velvet, Schreiber's interpretation of the plot as being First Meeting / Courtship / Consummation / Problem / Resolution / End (with the Transformation being love as a transformative agent for someone to become a better version of themselves), the character Robbie being a Randian Egoist and a literal Fountain of water being poured on his Head, Patrick Swayze's belief in Johnny and Penny's relationship being the one that lasts after the events of the movie occur, and deleted scenes that would've changed an audience opinion against Johnny or Neil Kellerman.
------

Alfie Brown, University of Manchester and Editor at Everyday Analysis
This is a remarkable achievement. Using a single film as a case-study, it asks the reader to re-think their own relationship to cinema, calling into question the narratives, memories and assumptions we construct through and about popular culture. This unique and innovative analysis offers a great deal to any reader, from the film studies professor to the occasional cinema goer. A must-read book or anyone interested in popular film.

===============

The book can be ordered at the webpage. The paperback's cost is $11.95, and the e-book's cost is $7.99.

Penny Johnson was based on Jackie Horner

During 2011-2014, a blog titled Dirty Dancing was written by Sue Tabashnik. She has published the follwing two books:

THE FANS' LOVE STORY: How The Movie 'DIRTY DANCING' Captured The Hearts Of Millions!



and

The Fans' Love Story Encore: How the Movie DIRTY DANCING Captured the Hearts of Millions!


I have not read either book. Maybe I will.

In the meantime, I did read her entire blog, which included an interesting article titled Dirty Dancing Character Penny Was Based On A Real Person Jackie Horner. Here are excerpts.
The Dirty Dancing character Penny was loosely based on the real-life entertainment icon, Jackie Horner. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Ms. Jackie Horner during the summer of 2009 for my book: The Fans' Love Story: How The Movie 'DIRTY DANCING' Captured The Hearts Of Millions!

Jackie spent the summer of 1985 telling Eleanor Bergstein (writer of Dirty Dancing) her story--including going through photos of the era, clothing, and hair styles and telling her various anecdotes from her experiences as a dance pro at Grossinger's from 1954-1986. Check out the Dirty Dancing screen credits and you will see Special Thanks to Jackie Horner.

Here is one anecdote from Jackie: "Shelly Winters, bless her heart, was a dear friend and a Grossinger guest so often. One day she said, 'Jackie, you are going to get hurt practicing your lifts on these hard wood stages. Why don't you come down to the lake with me on Sunday and practice your dance lifts in the lake?'" 
Jackie was involved in stealing vodka-spiked watermelons for staff parties. Jackie taught a couple who was stealing and her partner was blamed for it. 
Sound familiar? Note though that Penny had an abortion and Jackie did not have an abortion--although per Jackie, there were other staff at the hotel who did. ....

Regarding Jackie's dance background, Jackie began taking dance lessons at the age of four and started as a touring professional at fourteen. She was a Rockette and a member of the June Taylor dance company. ....
Jackie Horner still gives dance lessons.

https://villaroma.com/specials/jackie-horner-dance-midweek/

This video shows Jackie Horner dancing in 2011.




The Final Scene Depicted with Toy Bricks

The Glasgow Theatre Blog reports:
Travel and theatre break provider, National Holidays have recently commissioned model designer Elspeth De Montes from Azurebrick to recreate miniature theatre scenes out of toy bricks.

Elspeth built four of the most iconic theatre scenes which took over a month to complete, involving great precision and an incredible eye for detail.
https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2016/04/06/feature-famous-theatre-scenes-recreated-brick-by-brick/
Click the image to enlarge it.
Dirty Dancing – The famous lift, capturing one of the most romantic moments in musical history, when Patrick Swayze lifts Jennifer Grey to the now-classic song "Time of my Life".
The blog page includes also toy-block depictions of scenes from Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Pachanga Dancing versus Cuban-Soul Dancing

Johnny Castle is giving Baby Houseman a dance lesson. Neil Kellerman enters the room. Neil and Johnny discuss dancing ideas for the final evening's talent show. Neil wants to feature pachanga dancing, which he considers to be a new kind of dance. Johnny, on the other hand, wants to feature something newer -- soul dancing with a Cuban rhythm.

http://howtheylooknow.livejournal.com/96293.html
Johnny Castle and Neil Kellerman
discuss the feature dance for the final show  
Neil
My grandfather put me in charge of the final show. I want to talk to you about the last dance. I'd like to shake things up a bit. You know, move with the times.

Johnny
I've got a lot of ideas. I've been working with the staff kids on a cross between a Cuban rhythm and soul dancing.

Neil
Whoa, boy. Way over your head here. You always do the mambo. Why not dance this year's final dance to the pachanga?

Johnny
[Sarcastically:] Right.

Neil
Well, you're free to do the same, tired number as last year if you want, but next year we'll find another dance person who'll only be too happy ...

Johnny
Sure, Neil. No problem. We'll end the season with the pachanga. Great idea.

Neil
[Addressing Baby:] Sometimes he [Johnny] is hard to talk to, but the ladies seem to like him. See that he gives you the full half-hour [lesson] you're paying him for, kid. [Neil exits.]

Johnny
That little wimp. He wouldn't know a new idea if it hit him in the pachanga. I could have told him some new ideas.
The conversation between Johnny and Neil is important, because Baby subsequently advises Johnny to continue to assert his own opinion. Baby's advice eventually will cause Johnny to appreciate her wisdom and courage, which he praises publicly in the final scene.
Baby
Why did you let him talk to you that way?

Johnny
What, fight the boss man?

Baby
You tell him your ideas. He's a person like everyone else.

Johnny
Look, I know these people. They are rich and they're mean. They won't listen to me.

Baby
Why not fight harder? Make them listen.
--------

The Wikipedia article on Pachanga reports that this genre of music and dance emerged in the USA at the end of the 1950s.
Pachanga is a genre of music which is described as a mixture of son montuno and merengue. This type of music has a festive, lively style and is marked by jocular, mischievous lyrics.

In Cuba in 1955, the band Los Papines fused the violin-based music of charanga with trumpet-based music. The name [Pachanga] came about to describe the genre in Cuba in 1959. Pachanga is ... a style of music in Cuba played with violin, flute and drums as danzón, danzonetes and cha cha chá.

... After Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959, the epicenter of Cuban music moved to other islands and USA. José Fajardo brought the song "La Pachanga" to New York.

As a dance, pachanga has been described as "a happy-go-lucky dance" of Cuban origin with a Charleston flavor due to the double bending and straightening of the knees. It is danced to the downbeat of four-four time to the usual mambo offbeat music characterized by the charanga instrumentation of flutes, violins, and drums.
Since the Dirty Dancing story takes place in 1963, pachanga music and dancing was only about four years old (from 1959) in the USA. Neil was suggesting something that indeed was quite new.

Here is a recording of Fajardo's band performing the song "La Pachanga".


Eddie Torres demonstrates pachanga dance moves.


Torres dances the pachanga with Grisel Ponce.


However, Johnny wanted to create something new -- a cross between a Cuban rhythm and soul dancing.

What might Johnny have created? I went to YouTube and used the search expression a cross between a Cuban rhythm and soul dancing, and I found ...

... the Latin Soul Dancers ....


... and Dancers of Habana Compas ...


... and  Carmen la Cubana ...

Fan Fiction -- Dirty Reading

I, Mike Sylwester, wrote this fan-fiction story myself. My format is a movie proposal.

Preface

In the movie Dirty Dancing, non-dancer Baby Houseman learned to dance from a professional dancer named Johnny Castle and subsequently enjoyed a sexual fling with him.

The movie refers to a subplot that began before Baby arrived at the Kellerman resort. A professional dancer named Penny Johnson enjoyed a sexual fling with a Yale medical student named Robbie Gould, who was working as a waiter at the resort during the summer. Robbie was an avid reader who recommended Ayn Rand's novels to young females at the resort.

http://www.sankles.com/2014/10/style-dissection-dirty-dancing.html
Penny Johnson crying in the movie "Dirty Dancing" 
Penny ended up crying, and Robbie ended up smirking.

http://www.ivy-style.com/dirty-rotten-scoundrel.html
Robbie Gould smirking in the movie "Dirty Dancing"
This story of Penny and Robbie should be told in a prequel movie, titled Dirty Reading.

Plot

Penny's Admiration for Robbie: At the beginning of the summer of 1963, Penny Johnson arrives at the Kellerman resort with the other professional dancers. The first summer guests have not arrived yet. Resort owner Max Kellerman assembles the dancers and other entertainers in the restaurant for a staff-orientation brunch.

While the waiters serve snacks to the entertainers, Max introduces the waiters. He remarks that waiter Robbie Gould is a medical student at Yale and will give brief lectures about health to the resort guests as part of the summer activities.

A close-up of Penny's face shows that she is obviously impressed by Robbie's intelligence and confidence.

The next day, the first summer guests arrive at the resort. As the guests unload their luggage from their cars, a loudspeaker announces that the day's activities will include a brief lecture about sprained ankles. As a dancer, Penny is interested in that topic, and so she uses her break time to attend the lecture, which is given by Robbie. Penny admires Robbie giving his lecture with exquisite eloquence and expertise.

Book Club in the Bunkhouse: Later, that night, Penny encounters another waiter who is named Billy and who is trying to carry two watermelons on an outside path. He asks her to help by carrying one of the watermelons. He leads her into the employees' bunkhouse.

As Penny enters the bunkhouse's main room, she sees that Robbie is conducting a book-discussion group for the resort's waiters and chefs. She recognizes that Robbie is conducting this discussion on a much higher intellectual level than the earlier sprained-ankle lecture for the guests.

Billy remarks to Penny that she is not supposed to be there, because it's a secluded "dirty reading" book club. He explains that the intellectual employees get together at night to discuss Ayn Rand's philosophical writings.

As the discussion proceeds, Robbie notices Penny. He reads a passage from Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and asks Penny to comment on a passage about valid axiomatic knowledge. Penny tries to comment, but her effort is shallow and silly. Then Robbie asks a female chef -- named Esther -- to comment on the same passage. Esther's interpretation of the passage is profound and brilliant.


As the discussion continues, Esther's remarks reveal that she attends Mount Holyoke College, majoring in Jewish studies. Penny, who only barely graduated from high school, feels humiliated by her own intellectual inferiority, and so she leaves the bunkhouse.

Esther's Departure: On the next day, Penny encounters Esther near the resort's lake and compliments her on her intellect, education and eloquence. Esther barely acknowledges the compliment and seems preoccupied by a private concern.

That evening, Penny is approached near the resort's gazebo by Neil Kellerman, the grandson of Max Kellerman, the resort's owner. As Neil flirts with Penny, she changes the subject to objectivist epistemology. Trying to educate herself, Penny asks Neil whether he has any particular opinions about valid axiomatic knowledge. Neil, obviously ignorant, deflects her question and resumes flirting. Penny fails to flirt back. In order to lighten Penny's mood, Neil invites her into the resort's kitchen for a snack.

In the kitchen, while Neil is looking through a refrigerator, Penny notices Esther sitting under a counter, in darkness, and weeping. Dismayed, Penny excuses herself from Neil and rushes from the kitchen.

Penny runs through the resort grounds and finds Robbie sitting in the bunkhouse, reading a book. Penny informs Robbie about Penny, and he summons a few of his closest friends. Eventually Esther is found and brought into the bunkhouse.

Esther informs Robbie and the others that she has realized that she has become pregnant and so will have to return home immediately to her family. She already has discussed her situation by telephone with her parents. They all have agreed that Esther will be sent to visit "her aunt" but really will be sent to a Jewish charitable home for pregnant, unmarried girls. There she will give birth to the baby, which will be given up for adoption by a Jewish childless couple.

Robbie smirks and remarks that this will be the best solution to Esther's problem. Esther scowls at Robbie and leaves the building to begin packing for her trip home.

Penny's Substitution for Esther: Meanwhile, Robbie and his close friends begin discussing a new problem that had been unknown to Penny. It turns out that Robbie and Esther had been scheduled to lead a book discussion for the intellectual staff members of another resort, called the Sheldrake. The discussion was scheduled to take place in just five days and would cover Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. Robbie had planned that, as part of the discussion, he and Esther would dramatically read aloud several of the male-female dialogues from the novel.

The group discusses which female members of the book club might substitute for Esther, but each possibility in turn is eliminated as unavailable. Then Billy suggests that Penny might step into the role. All the book club's members scoff at the suggestion. Then Billy informs them that, near the gazebo earlier that evening, he overheard Penny trying to engage Neil Kellerman in a discussion about valid axiomatic knowledge.

Billy argues further that the Sheldrake event will not require Penny to speak extemporaneously. Rather, she will merely read aloud some passages from Atlas Shrugged. Because there really is no other choice, Robbie agrees reluctantly that he will train Penny to read the passages.

Robbie's Training of Penny: A series of brief scenes depicts Robbie training Penny to dramatically read aloud from Atlas Shrugged. There are moments of humor as Penny mispronounces words. Gradually, Penny's reading skill improves, but she continues to mispronounce the passage's last word, epiphenomenalism.

As they spend time with each other, Robbie tells Penny about his life. He reveals that as a teenager he had been carried away intellectually by the writings of theologian Richard Niebuhr. Only in recent months has he recognized that Niebuhr was surpassed philosophically by Ayn Rand.

These intimate discussions captivate Penny, and close-up views of her admiring Robbie reveal to the movie audience that she is falling in love with him. He too is obviously falling in love with her.

Consummation: Robbie and Penny travel by car to the Sheldrake Hotel, where they perform their dramatic reading well. The only problem was that Penny hesitated when at the very end she was supposed to read the word epiphenomenalism. Instead, she substituted a definition that she had found in a dictionary -- the doctrine that mental processes are a by-product of brain activity. However, the Sheldrake audience was satisfied because it did not know that the reading was supposed to end with the difficult single word.

Robbie and Penny travel back to the Kellerman resort hotel and report to book club members that the performance went well. Penny receives praise and thanks from the club members. Penny sneaks back into her bedroom and is relieved to see that none of her fellow dancers have noticed her absence.

On the following day, the weather is rainy, and Penny is preoccupied with romantic thoughts about Robbie. Penny shows up unexpectedly at Robbie's cabin. They talk. Robbie tells Penny about another Ayn Rand novel -- The Fountainhead. He pulls out the paperback version and suggests that they together do a dramatic reading from it.

Of course, Robbie's selected passage is the description of Howard Roark sneaking into Dominique Francon's bedroom and raping her there. As Robbie and Penny read the passage, they both become sexually aroused and ultimately engage in sexual intercourse.

False Accusation: On the following day, Max and Neil Kellerman discover that a dozen watermelons are missing from the hotel kitchen's pantry. The Kellermans investigate the circumstances and gradually eliminate all possible suspects except the waiter Robbie Gould. All of the other waiters and kitchen workers have solid alibis, because they all were at an employee dance party in the bunkhouse, where they posed for a group picture. The only employee not seen on the photograph was Robbie Gould.

The Kellermans fire Robbie. He packs his luggage into his car and drives away.

Later that day, the Kellermans conduct a staff meeting and inform all he employees that they have fired the waiter Robbie because he stole a dozen watermelons from the pantry. A close-up view reveals that Penny is struggling with her conscience. Then she stands and announces that she knows that Robbie is innocent, because she was having sex with him in his cabin during the same time when the watermelons disappeared from the pantry.

Shaken from their certainty about Robbie's guilt, the Kellermans challenge the employees to help investigate further. Soon a hotel maid discovers the dozen watermelons in the closet of the hotel room of an old couple, named the Schumachers. Then the police department is invited to investigate, and detectives discover that watermelons have disappeared from the panties of other hotels where the Schumachers have vacationed.

Robbie's Return: The Kellermans phone Robbie, ask his forgiveness and invite him to resume working as a waiter for the remainder of the summer. Robbie agrees. He returns and works again as a waiter. He glories in his exoneration.

In addition, Robbie resumes conducting the meetings of the employees' "dirty reading" book club. Penny attends the meetings and tries to participate, but her comments are superficial and silly. The others dismiss and even snicker at her comments. Robbie does not support her comments. He even seems to discourage her from expressing her opinions. In general, Robbie treats Penny disdainfully.

A series of brief scenes show Penny and Robbie growing apart. She skips book club meetings and then eventually stops attending at all. She spends more and more time time -- and then all her time -- with her fellow dancers.

Penny and Johnny: Penny bonds emotionally with fellow dancer Johnny Castle, but there is one problem between them. Johnny knows that Penny has had sex with Robbie, because she had announced it at that staff meeting about the missing watermelons. Johnny hates Robbie so much that he fears his fury will cause him to suffer impotence if he tries to have sex with Penny. Johnny decides to keep his relationship with Penny platonic.

Nevertheless, Penny and Johnny enjoy their platonic relationship. They decide to collaborate on developing the choreography of a dance for the resort's last-night talent show. The dance will be a combination of Cuban rhythm and soul dancing.

A series of brief scenes shows Penny and Johnny trying to teach the dance to their fellow hotel employees, most of whom are poor dancers.

At a couple of moments, close-up views of Penny's face reveal that she seems to be suffering from nausea.

In the final scene, the employees are practicing their dance, but still poorly. Penny tells them they should not not about their dance moves. Rather, they should just express their feelings and use their muscle memory. She coaches them:
Stop thinking about your dance steps. Just feel the music's rhythm and let your subconscious brain guide your feet. It's just a matter of epiphenomenalism.
This time, Penny's pronunciation of that word is perfect! The employees practice the dance one more time, and this time they do it perfectly!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Recorded-Music Technology and the Musical Genre

This article elaborates on my previous article Is Dirty Dancing a Musical?

In Dirty Dancing the characters dance to recorded music. The characters do not sing lyrics, but the recorded artists sing them.

In 1963, music is recorded on vinyl records. The movie audience sees characters put vinyl records onto a record players. When the record players are not visible, the movie audience understands that they are present. The dancing in the ballrooms at the Kellerman and Sheldrake hotels and in the staff workers' "dirty dancing" room is done to powerful record players that are not visible but must be present.

Such recorded-music technology was not commonly available before the mid-1900s. Movies such as Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof and The King and I could not have depicted characters placing vinyl records onto record players and dancing to the music. Musical-quality instrumental music could be provided only by orchestras, which are provided to the movie audience in three main ways:

1) The orchestra is celestial, and the characters hear the music magically. For example, in Oklahoma the characters at the rural train station sing and dance to the instrumental music of an orchestra which certainly cannot be present. The characters must hear the music.


2) The orchestra is merely on the soundtrack. For example, the Fiddler on the Roof characters in the woods are running around and singing in a woods, where an orchestra certainly cannot be present. However, their movements and singing are plausible without an orchestra. If the orchestra music were eliminated from the scene, the scene still would be believable. Therefore the audience can understand that the instrumental music is part of the movie's continual, subtle musical soundtrack, which is heard only by the movie audience.


3) The orchestra is present to play for a musical performance that is part of the movie's core story. For example, the King and I characters performing their play about Uncle Tom's Cabin must be performing with the accompaniment of an orchestra that is not seen by the movie audience but must be present.


In 1963, when the Dirty Dancing story takes place, record players of small size but good quality existed and could be incorporated into the musical genre. In the following scene, Johnny Castle lives in a rustic, poorly furnished cabin, but there he has a record player that is cheap but good enough for the scene's actions.

 
The record player that the "dirty dancers" use at their night parties might be just as cheap, just with better speakers.


The record players and speakers in the ballrooms of the Kellerman and Sheldrake hotels were among the best that were available to buy in 1963. Those hotels paid expensive orchestras to play for some events, but saved a lot of money by using record-playing sound systems at other events.

As the musical genre has evolved, the improved record-playing technology has been incorporated into stories that take place when such technology is available. The movie Dirty Dancing is an important milestone in this development. In 1963, the lead characters could just dance, without singing, because recorded artists were doing the singing on record players that were plausibly available to the characters.

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Another development in the consciousness of movie audiences was transistor radio, which became commonly available in the 1960s. A transistor radio could provide music in a place like a bus. A movie audience might imagine, for example, that a bus passenger is playing a transistor radio in this scene from The Graduate.


Music might really be heard anywhere -- even on a bus or even in a beauty salong -- after the mid-1950s, because of transistor radios.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Is "Dirty Dancing" a Musical?

One major genre of movies is the "musical". The Wikipedia article on Musical Film defines the genre as follows:
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate "production numbers".
The lead characters in the movie Dirty Dancing do not sing, but they do dance to lyrical songs played on record players. In that regard, Dirty Dancing is a partial kind of musical.

https://www.123rf.com/photo_16084903_clap-film-of-cinema-musical-genre-clapperboard-text-illustration.html

In Dirty Dancing, the songs do not advance the plot or develop the characters. The songs are period pieces that evoke the early 1960s, when the story takes place.

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When movie experts discuss musical films, they commonly use the words non-diegetic and diegetic. The noun diegesis refers to a movie's core story, without background narration and music.

If music is non-diegetic, then the characters themselves are not aware of and do not respond to the music that the movie audience hears on the soundtrack. In some such movies, the non-diegetic music is an outstanding feature of the movie. For example, the movie The Graduate succeeded to a large extent because of the songs of Simon and Garfunkel. The movie's characters are oblivious, however, to the songs, which therefore are non-diegetic.


Likewise, the movie Midnight Cowboy succeeded to a large extent because of the songs of Harry Nilsson. These  characters too are oblivious to the songs, which therefore are non-diegetic.


Despite the importance of the music in the above two movies, nobody considers either movie to be a musical, because all the music is non-diegetic. The music is not part of the diegesis, the core story.

In contrast, the characters in Dirty Dancing put records onto record players and dance to the songs. The characters are aware of the songs, which therefore are diegetic.

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A movie's music can be diegetic even though the music does not really exist. This below scene from Oklahoma takes place at a rural train station, where no orchestra is present. Nevertheless, the characters sing and dance in close coordination with orchestra music that they magically hear.


In this following scene from Fiddler on the Roof, characters sing and dance, and orchestra music plays on the soundtrack. However, the singing and dancing is coordinated with the orchestra music so loosely that we might consider the orchestra music is non-diegetic. These characters are singing and dancing without being aware of the orchestra music, which is merely accompanying them for the audience's benefit.


Imagine that the orchestra music were removed from the above two scenes. Without the orchestra music, the Oklahoma scene is not plausible -- the characters must be responding to music, which therefore must be diegestic. Without the orchestra music, the Fiddler on the Roof scene is plausible -- the orchestra music could be either diegetic or non-diegetic.

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One method of making movie music obviously diegetic is to show the characters participating in a musical performance. For example, the following scene in The King and I shows characters performing a musical play. They are singing and dancing to orchestra music. The movie audience understands that an orchestra is present near the play's stage and is playing for the characters, even though the movie audience does not see the orchestra.


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The movie Dirty Dancing is a musical, because the characters are aware of and reacting to much of the music. In this regard, Dirty Dancing is different from The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy.

The diegetic music in Dirty Dancing is varied. In a few scenes, the movie audience sees the characters put a record onto a record player and then dance to the music. In a few scenes the characters dance to a record player that the movie audience does not see but understands is present.

In a few scenes, however, the audience understands that a record player is not present. For example, the movie audience hears music when Baby and Johnny are practicing on a log over a brook or in a lake, and the audience understands that no record player is present and so Baby and Johnny do not hear any music. These scenes are similar to the Fiddler on the Roof scene in which the characters' actions would be plausible without any music on the soundtrack.

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In the musical genre, the characters normally sing songs, but the lead characters do not sing in Dirty Dancing. However, the movie is full of lyrical songs, which are heard being played on record players or on the radio in a diegetic manner. For example, the movie audience sees Johnny putting a record onto a record player and then he and Baby dance to the music. Johnny and Baby are not singing, but the record artists are singing.

In the early decades of film, lyrical songs practically never were used in soundtracks, but now lyrical songs have become common. In many such films the lyrical songs are non-diegetic (e.g. The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy), and in many such films the lyrical songs are diegetic (e.g. Dirty Dancing and Footloose).

The evolution of non-diegetic lyrical songs in soundtracks has been outlined by Mark Richards in a blog article titled Popular Song as Performance-Based Non-Diegetic Music.

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In another blog article, titled Diegetic Music, Non-Diegetic Music and "Source Scoring", Richards defines a soundtrack technique which is called "Source Scoring" and which is a mixture of diegetic and non-diegetic music. A scene begins with diegetic movie but then develops into non-diegetic music.

Richards provides an example in the movie The Man Who Knew Too Much. The movie audience sees a scene where characters are listening to a concert performance -- diegetic music. Then, however, the concert music continues to play on the soundtrack as the movie audience sees other characters in another place, and the continuing concert music corresponds to those characters' actions. For the characters in the other place, the music is non-diegetic. This kind of transition where diegetic music continues to play and becomes non-diegetic music is called "score sourcing".

Dirty Dancing includes such a score-sourcing transition. Baby and Johnny are inside a building, and she is practicing to a record player that is playing the song "Wipe Out". Inside, Baby actually hears the music, which therefore is diegetic. A moment later, Baby is outside, far from the record player, but the song "Wipe Out" continues to play. Now Baby does not actually hear the music -- although the movie audience continues to hear it -- so now the music is non-diegetic.


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In a scholarly article titled Is Dirty Dancing a Musical, and Why Should It Matter?, film historian Jane Ferer defines the place of Dirty Dancing in the evolution of the musical genre. Feuer is the author of a book titled The Hollywood Musical and therefore is an expert on the genre. In her article about Dirty Dancing, Feuer describes the diegetic singing and instrumental music.
Dirty Dancing has "almost" no diegetic singing because the diegetic singing it does have is of a limited nature, typically comical or ironic. Lisa's singing with hilarious gestures at the amateur talent show is a prime example.

One could also cite the lip-synching the couple does in the "Love is Strange" number, where Baby mocks Johnny by reversing roles and teaching him to dance. Notably their lip-synching is not performative, because they are clearly singing to the diegetic music on the record player. The number is thus naturalistic, as is the diegetic singing of the Kellerman's "anthem" at the end of the summer amateur show. ...

The song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" has its diegetic components. It starts out emitting from a record player, but as it continues, the sound is clearly studio-recorded -- and not in 1963. The male and female voices of the song stand in for Baby and Johnny; the lyrics narrate their experience, yet the voices are clearly not their own voices. This becomes obvious as Johnny briefly lip-synchs to Baby as they dance, a miming that is not meat to be actual diegetic singing.

As the community dancing evolves, the music seems to be taken up by a diegetic orchestra whose instrumentation and scoring would have been realistic for the Catskills in the 1963. For although the soundtrack is pre-recorded in a studio, the many amateur touches in the scene give it a "folk" quality.
Feuer refers to three musical subgenres that have been defined by film historian Rick Altman.

1) In a show musical, the characters prepare to present a show. The preparations and the show itself provide occasions of singing and dancing.

2) In a fairy-tale musical, the characters travel to an exotic place where people and supernatural beings naturally sing and dance.

3)  In a folk musical, the story takes place in a nation's past golden age, when people still sang and danced in a primitive but charming manner.

Feuer argues that Dirty Dancing includes features of all three subgenres.

** Show: Johnny prepares Baby to dance at the Sheldrake hotel and prepares the staff to perform at the hotel's final-evening concert.

** Fairy Tale: Baby enters the staff bunkhouse, a secret place of "dirty dancing" at night.

** Folk: The movie takes place in 1963, before the assassination of President Kennedy ruined American society.

Dirty Dancing obviously is a show musical, but Feur argues that the movie fits all three subgenres and is mostly a folk musical.  About the movie's fairy-tale features, Feuer writes:
... Yet Dirty Dancing cannot be classified entirely as a "show" musical. It also borrows semantic and syntactic elements from the fairy-tale musical, which, according to Altman, takes place in a fairy-tale kingdom or hotel, features ballroom dancing, and ends with the return to order of the hotel or kingdom after the couple's class differences have sent it into chaos.

Kellerman's resort becomes the defining fairy-tale element for the film, and the fact that the fate of the resort is tied to the success of the couple locates Dirty Dancing firmly within the fairy-tale tradition of such films as Top Hat. ....

.... the fairy-tale musical [relies] on class difference between the male and female leads ... based ... on the very early musicals with roots in European operettas. Thus, the class differences had little to do with ethnicity and more to do with older, European differences between the aristocracy and commoners.
Feuer argues that Dirty Dancing fits best into the folk-musical subgenre.
Dirty Dancing is one of the most "ethnic" musical ever made (with the additional exception of explicitly Jewish films such as Funny Girl and Fiddler on the Roof.

Dirty Dancing acknowledges its debt to Catskills culture, yet it does so without ever explicitly identifying its setting or characters as Jewish. .... The film gets to have it both ways -- to an audience even somewhat familiar with Catskills culture, it is full of "insider" references, yet to a mass audience, it merely represents class barriers between Baby's family and Johnny. ....

Dirty Dancing ... could take the class issues much further, all the way to setting up an opposition between upper-middle-class, professional, college-educated Jews and the goyim that taught them how to dance at Catskills resorts. Here we are dealing with an explicitly, real, American situation. ...

Many of the numbers in the film ... add to the nostalgia of the folk musical: old record players, hotel orchestras, lip-synching.
I disagree with Feuer's argument that Dirty Dancing fits best into the folk-musical subgenre. She exaggerates the movie's Jewish elements, which are subtle. Also, the movie's music is not caused by the Jewish elements. Rather, the music is caused by the characters' preparing to perform in shows. The movie fits best into the show-musical subgenre.

In her article's conclusion, Feuer writes that Dirty Dancing is an important movie in the evolution of the musical genre:
Dirty Dancing ... can be viewed as a transformation of the traditional Hollywood musical if one wishes to stress continuity over difference. ....

So, what difference does it make to say that Dirty Dancing is a reconstructive, but nevertheless authentic, musical? For me, it has to do with trying to establish a chain of continuity within the film musical genre so that, although one can register shifts in emphasis from diegetic to non-diegetic, from discrete subgenres to pastiched ones, from diegetic singing to diegetic dancing, from deconstructive to reconstructive, one can also see what, for the want of a better time, I would call a very long and continuous tradition in American musical entertainment.

If operetta films in the early 1930s had a lot of non-pop singing and very little dancing, and if dance films post-1990 did the opposite, that does not mean that we can't view them as transformations in a film genre that is perhaps the longest and most enduring of all.
My own opinion is that  the musical genre has evolved so that it now includes works -- such as Dirty Dancing-- where the singing is done by professional singers on recordings that are played by the movie's characters, who just dance and do not sing.

Another such musical in this evolution is Footloose, about which I wrote in a previous article.

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A couple of days after I published this article, I wrote a supplemental article, titled Recorded-Music Technology and the Musical Genre.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yiddish-Speaking Tito Suarez

Toward the end of Dirty Dancing, Max Kellerman is watching his staff performing the song "Join Hands and Hearts and Voices", and the Black character Tito Suarez comes up behind him. The two characters talk, using at least three Yiddish words. Some of the first part of the dialogue is unintelligible. After listening to it many times and reading an amateur transcript, my best guess is that they said something like this:
Tito:
Hello, Landsman, what's the hot tip for the day?

Max:
We're finished. You and me, Tito, we've seen it all -- Bubbe and Zayde serving the first pasteurized milk to the boarders -- through the war years, when we didn't have any meat -- through the Depression, when we didn't have anything.

Tito:
Lots of changes, though, Max.

Max:
It's not the changes so much this time. It's that it all seems to be ending. You think kids want to come with their parents and take fox-trot lessons? Trips to Europe, that's what the kids want. Twenty-two countries in three days. It feels like it's all slipping away.
The Yiddish word Landsman means a fellow Jew from your home town.

The Yiddish word Bubbe means grandmother. (The German word is Oma.)

The Yiddish word Zayde means grandfather. (The German word is Opa.)

Frankly, I cannot actually hear the phrase what's the hot tip for the day or the phrase we're finished. I really think they might be speaking Yiddish to each other, as follows:
Tito:
Hello, Landsman, [something in Yiddish]

Max:
[Something in Yiddish]. You and me, Tito, we've seen it all. Bubbe and Zayde serving the first pasteurized milk to the boarders -- through the war years, when we didn't have any meat -- through the Depression, which we didn't have anything  ....
Max's reminisces with Tito go backward in time:

1) After World War Two, Bubbe and Zayde served the first pasteurized milk to the boarders.

2) During World War Two, Bubbe and Zayde did not have any meat to serve to the boarders.

3) Before World War Two -- during the Depression -- Bubbe and Zayde did not serve any food to the boarders.

Max and Tito supposedly both remember back to the Depression, when "we didn't have anything".

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The character Tito Suarez has a name that is quite non-Yiddish.

The name Tito is a nickname for Titus, a disciple of Paul in the Christian New Testament. Titus was not a Jew, but rather was a Gentile who had been converted by Paul to the Christian religion.

In general, the nickname Tito is Spanish, and the surname Suarez is Spanish (or Portuguese).

The character is played by African-American tap-dancer Charles "Honi" Coles, who was born and raised in Philadelphia. Here is a video of Coles dancing as a young man (he is the taller dancer).


Here is another video.


Here is another video about Coles.


In Dirty Dancing, Coles plays a band conductor, which was not a job that he ever did in his actual life. We can suppose that the movie's choreographers arranged for him to play the movie role as a respectful favor.

http://pyxurz.blogspot.com/2014/04/dirty-dancing-page-2-of-7.html
The character Tito Suarez in the movie "Dirty Dancing",
played by the tap-dancer Charles "Honi" Coles.
The character Tito Suarez conducts a band comprised of White musicians. Since the character has a Spanish name and because the movie takes place in 1963, when Cuban big-band music still was rather popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we can suppose that Suarez and his musicians all are supposed to be Cuban immigrants -- like the Desi Arnaz Band:


Arnaz was the husband of actress Lucille Ball, and their television series about their life -- I Love Lucy -- was popular during the 1950s. Many of the episodes includes scenes of Arnaz performing with his Cuban big band in a nightclub. A band featuring this kind of music would have been enjoyed by the vacationers at a resort hotel in the year 1963.

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I speculate that the original screenplay included a Jewish character who was a long-time employee of the Kellerman family and indeed did know Bubbe and Zayda Kellerman as far back as the Depression years. In order to give Coles a speaking part, however, the producers made a late decision to put Coles into this scene, replacing the Jewish long-time employee. When the producers did so, they neglected to remove the Yiddish words and the Depression-period reminiscences from the dialogue.

Then both Coles and Kellerman garbled the Yiddish part of the dialogue so badly that practically nobody watching the movie can understand them, even if they replay the scene and listen carefully dozens of times.

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I will speculate further about this particular bit of dialogue.

I speculate that in the original script, the Jewish long-time employee and Max Kellerman did not speak any Yiddish words at all. During some later point in the script's development, a producer or script-doctor decided to insert a few Yiddish words so that the movie would include at least a tiny indication that the movie was about Jews. But then Coles was substituted for the Jewish actor, which made the Yiddish-flavored dialogue totally absurd.

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Another absurdity in that bit of dialogue is the reminiscence about "serving the first pasteurized milk to the boarders". There are no Kosher rules about pasteurized milk, so this statement would puzzle even Orthodox Jews watching the movie.

The reminiscence seems to be that several years after the war, the Kellermans' business had prospered so much that the cows could be sold and instead pasteurized milk could be purchased.

Even at that post-war moment when pasteurized milk was served for the first time, the Kellermans' business still was a boarding house for boarders. The business did not became a large resort hotel until years later, perhaps in the late 1950s.

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Because of my above reasoning, the Yiddish words do not change my mind that the Kellerman family had descended from German Jews.

Another explanation for the Yiddish words would be that the characters Max Kellerman and Tito Suarez had picked up a few Yiddish words from the East European Jews who stayed at the hotel, and the two characters used those words in a jocular manner when talking with each other.

The Time of Our Lives: Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture

I will buy this book and review its articles in my blog.

The book The Time of Our Lives: Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture was published in 2013. The two editors:
Yannis Tzioumakis is senior lecturer in communication and media at the University of Liverpool. He is the author and editor of five books, most recently Hollywood's Indies: Classics Divisions, Specialty Labels and the American Film Market, and co-editor of the American Indies book series.

Siân Lincoln is senior lecturer in media studies at Liverpool John Moores University. She has recently published her first book, Youth Culture and Private Space, and is working on her second, Rethinking Youth Cultures: A Critical Introduction.
http://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/time-our-lives
The cover of the book
"The Time of Our Lives: Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture"
The Amazon webpage summarizes the book as follows:
.... In The Time of Our Lives: Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture editors Yannis Tzioumakis and Siân Lincoln bring together leading scholars of film, media, music, culture, theater, dance, and sociology to examine for the first time the global cultural phenomenon of Dirty Dancing.

Tzioumakis and Lincoln begin by assessing Dirty Dancing's cultural impact in the decades since its release and introduce contributors in four sections. Essays in "Dirty Dancing in Context" look at the film from several perspectives, including its production and distribution history, its blending of genres, its treatment of race, and its place in the political and visual culture of the 1980s.

In "Questions of Reception, " contributors examine the many ways that the film has been received since its release, while those in "The Production of Nostalgia" focus on the film's often critiqued production of an idealized past.

Finally, contributors in "Beyond the Film" examine the celebrated synergies that the film achieved in the "high concept" film environment of the 1980s, and the final two essays deal with the successful adaptation of the film for the stage.

With the enormous cultural impact it has made over the years, Dirty Dancing offers many opportunities for thought-provoking analysis. Fans of the movie and students and scholars of cultural, performance, and film history will appreciate the insight in "The Time of Our Lives.".
Here is the table of contents:
Introduction / Yannis Tzioumakis

Dirty Dancing in Context. Introduction / Yannis Tzioumakis

Vestron Video and Dirty Dancing / Frederick Wasser

Bringing Up Baby: Generic Hybridity in Dirty Dancing / Tamar Jeffers McDonald

Is Dirty Dancing a Musical, and Why Should It Matter? / Jane Feuer

White Enough / Richard Dyer

Dirty Dancing as Reagan-era Cinema and "Reaganite Entertainment" / Cynthia Baron and Mark Bernard

Dressing and Undressing in Dirty Dancing: Consumption, Gender and Visual Culture in the 1980s / Pamela Church Gibson

Questions of Reception. Introduction / Siân Lincoln

Dirty Dancing: Feminism, Postfeminism, and Neo-feminism / Hilary Radner

"There Are a lot of Things About Me That Aren't What You Thought": The Politics of Dirty Dancing / Oliver Gruner

"You Don't Own Me": Dirty Dancing as Teenage Rite of Passage Film / Siân Lincoln

Heteros and Hustlers: Straightness and Dirtiness in Dirty Dancing / Gary Needham

The production of Nostalgia. Introduction / Siân Lincoln

"(I've Had) the Time of My Life:" Romantic Nostalgia and the Early 1960s / Bill Osgerby

"It's a Feeling; a Heartbeat": Nostalgia, Music and Affect in Dirty Dancing / Claire Molloy

Dancing in the Nostalgia Factory: Anachronistic Music in Dirty Dancing / Tim McNelis

Beyond the Film. Introduction / Yannis Tzioumakis

A Dance Film with Legs: The Dirty Dancing Franchise / Amanda Howell

From Screen to Stage: Dirty Dancing Live / Millie Taylor

Dirty Dancing and Its Stage Jukebox Dansical Adaptation: The Dancing Male in a Teenage Female Fantasy of Desire and Sensuality / George Rodosthenous.
There are no reader reviews on the Amazon webpage.

The scholarly journal New Review of Film and Television Studies has published a book review written by Jade Boyd. Only the first page is available on-line for free.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Dirty Dancing" Crafts at Etsy

The website Etsy sells crafts. The website's search for the expression "Dirty Dancing" results in 16 pages of crafts related to the movie.

For example, you can buy a copy of Baby's pink chiffon dress for $279.95.


You can buy a hand-made mini-notebook for $2.21.


You can buy a watercolor painting for $22.



You can buy a Micky and Mini Mouse 3D Pop-Up Picture for $55.


You can buy a set of six Baby and Johnny watermelon charms for $6.


You can buy a wall clock made out of a "Time of My Life" vinyl record for $24.


... or another such wall clock for $17



You can buy a crochet pattern to crochet a doll set for $6.68.


You can buy a hand-made wristlet for $4.50


You can buy a night-light table lamp for $20.


You can buy a soy wax candle for $4.


Or a watermelon-scent candle for $13.


There's lots more.