Friday, January 21, 2011


by Dane Youssef


"Something else I'm getting tired of in this country is all this stupid talk I have to listen to about children. That's all you hear about anymore, children: "Help the children, save the children, protect the children." You
know what I say? Fuck the children!

They're getting entirely too much attention. And I know what some of you are thinking: " Jesus, he's not going to attack children, is he?" Yes he is! He's going to attack children. And remember, this is Mr. Conductor talking; I know what I'm talking about.

And I also know that all you boring single dads and working moms, who think you're such fucking heros, aren't gonna like this, but somebody's gotta tell you for your own good: your children are overrated and overvalued, and you've turned them into little cult objects. You have a child fetish, and it's not healthy. And don't give me all that weak shit, "Well, I love my children." Fuck you! Everybody loves their children; it doesn't make you special. John Wayne Gacy loved his children. Yes, he did. That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is this constant, mindless yammering in the media, this neurotic fixation that suggests that somehow
everything--everything--has to revolve around the lives of children. It's
completely out of balance.

Listen, there are a couple of things about kids you have to remember. First of all, they're not all cute. In fact, if you look at 'em real close, most of them are rather unpleasant looking. And a lot of them don't smell too good either. The little ones in particular seem to have a kind of urine and sour-milk combination that I don't care for at all. Stay with me on this folks, the sooner you face it the better off your going to be.

Second, premise: not all chidren are smart and clever. Got that? Kids are like any other group of people: a few winners, a whole lot of losers! This country is filled with loser kids who simply...aren't...going anywhere! And there's nothing you can do about it, folks. Nothing! You can't save them all. You can't do it. You gotta let 'em go; you gotta cut 'em loose; you gotta stop over-protecting them, because your making 'em too soft.

Today's kids are way too soft. For one thing, there's too much emphasis on safety and safety equipment: childproof medicine bottles, fireproof pajamas, child restraints, car seats. And helmets! Bicycle, baseball, skateboard, scooter helmets. Kids have to wear helmets now for everything but jerking off. Grown-ups have taken all the fun out of being a kid. What's happened is, these baby boomers, these soft, fruity baby boomers, have raised an entire generation of soft, fruity kids who aren't even allowed hazardous toys, for Chrissakes! What ever happened to natural
selection? Survival of the fittest? The kid who swallows too many marbles
doesn't grow up to have kids of his own. Simple stuff. Nature knows best!

Another bunch of ignorant bullshit about your children: school uniforms. Bad theory! The idea that if kids wear uniforms to school, it helps keep order. Hey! Don't these schools do enough damage makin' all these children think alike? Now they're gonna get 'em to look alike, too? And it's not even a new idea; I first saw it in old newsreels from the 1930s, but it was hard to understand, because the narration was in German! But the uniforms looked beautiful. And the children did everything they were told and never questioned authority. Gee, I wonder why someone would want to put our
children in uniforms. Can't imagine.

And one more item about children: this superstitous nonsense of blaming tobacco companies for kids who smoke. Listem! Kids don't smoke because a camel in sunglasses tells them to. They smoke for the same reasons adults do, because it's an enjoyable activity that relieves anxiety and depression.

And you'd be anxious and depressed too if you had to put up with these pathetic, insecure, yuppie parents who enroll you in college before you've figured out which side of the playpen smells the worst and then fill you with Ritalin to get you in a mood they approve of, and drag you all over town in search of empty, meaningless structure: Little League, Cub Scouts, swimming, soccer, karate, piano, bagpipes, watercolors, witchcraft, glass blowing, and dildo practice. It's absurd.

They even have "play dates", for Christ sake! Playing is now done by appointment! But it's true. A lot of these striving, and parents are burning their kids out on structure. I think what every child needs and ought to have every day is two hours of
daydreaming. Plain old daydreaming.

Turn off the internet, the CD-ROMS, and the computer games and let them stare at a tree for a couple of hours. Every now and then they actually come up with one of their own ideas. You want to know how to help your kids? Leave them the fuck alone."

Georgie made some good points. My turn?

He’s always been funny and a lot of comedians/artists lose their edge as they get older. But being a cranky bitter old man…. well, comics are like that anyway. So this only fueled his energy.

Yeah, like a lot of old folks, he’s bitching about all the new changes… how things were better “back in his day.”

Old people hate change. But there’s a lot of truth to what he says. As an old guy, he hated the fact that at one time old age was worshiped, revered, idealized. And now, he worked enough to reach old age… only to find out that getting old has become a sin by today’s standards. Cruel, huh? Children are wild animals… and maybe are supposed to be. They all form gangs and come in hordes to gang-rape the weakest member of the group. One that’s scared of different. It’s like prison. Children embrace conformity. In their own way, there are bad as adults. We’re all wild animals, really.

But animals have to be cruel, to be merciless. But children… kids are cruel ’cause they wanna be. Adults are cruel ’cause they have to be. But more often than not… yeah, they’re cruel even when they don’t need to be either. But life IS cruel. We can toughen up. We can try to be nicer to each other, make the world a little nicer.

In the end, George’s message is one we all know… “When you’re looking for the answer… look to the children.”

–For The Man Who Save Us The Seven “Deadly” Words, Dane Youssef



For me, there really is nothing more inspiring for me that when the men up there are as beautiful as nearly any ballerina.

There was a time when a man up there defying gravity and other physical possibilities was considered wrong, evil. A destruction of one's manhood.

As a male in ballet meself, it's always a challenge. Just like nearly all the others, I kept it as secret as government documents. What these people did was nothing short of incredible.

I've been taking it for about nine years now. I have danced onstage with our town's School of Dance and College. As a male who has taken ballet for nearing a whole decade (as I write this), I can honestly say... it is just a little bit harder.

Some things just never change. Like how at that tender age in the beginning, it's still just a "girl's only club" and if you're a boy there at that age, you're like an intruder. The odd man out.

Maybe all that will change someday, God willing. Hell, us willing. Boys, don't just cross your fingers. Take arms. Join together, unite and tear down those walls, that barrier that limit us all.

To the pioneers who showed what's possible with a boy in ballet--Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolph Nureyev, Edward Villella, Peter Martins, Patrick Bissell, Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky, Vladmir Malakov, Peter Schafuss, Nikolaj Hubbe, Alexander Godunov--and that's just the creme de la creme of the ranks.

My brothers, thank you for paving the way. And to those who are planning to follow in your footsteps... keep it all up. There is no reason to ever lose hope. Keep up the good faith.

All my love, tendus, pirouettes... and Merde. Endless Merde to you all. Those couragerous and fearless martyrs who made being a male leaping around in pantyhose to classical music a respectable life pursuit, a noble career goal.

--Your humble brother in arms and tights, Dane Youssef

"THE POINTE OF BALLET" by Dane Youssef

"THE POINTE OF BALLET" by Dane Youssef

To all of those out of there, those elite goddesses in the field of ballet... who give themselves wholly to the craft. All for ballet

Ladies, I have to bow my head and kneel in respect to you all, whoever you may be.

The demands to reach excellence in ballet are infinite, aren't they? Up with the sun, strenuous workout from the dawn 'til the dusk, pushing every part of the body to do the impossible. then after, the impossible is reached, it must be continuously worked on, every moment of every day.

Because it's not like any simple talent, it's physical ability. The moment you stop working on it, it all goes away.

Yes, those ladies are not merely professionals. They are soldiers. Their lives of one are endless access.

I can see you bear the war wounds of a professional. Crooked hammer toes, slight blisters, athlete's foot--even blooming under the nails like a lush garden. As we all know, folks--ballet is never merely a hobby. Especially if you want to be particularly good at it.

There are women all over the ballet world who do this. Who must. Many talk of "perfect feet." The ideal feet for ballet, to truly possess feet for professional ballet-- for the ladies in this field, are notoriously deformed---calluses, blisters, boils, warts, damaged nails, athlete's foot, bunions, and on and on and on.

And until those feet are good and strong enough, the pointe shoe must remain just out of reach. An ideal peak goal to be achieved. Like a big juicy carrot a few inches in front of a donkey's face.

It's a rite of passage. Not just to take a big milestone in her life in ballet, but new shoes. Special shoes. Powerful shoes. Every woman love shoes so. And ballerinas dream of the day they get to do those toe shoes.

But beware, those shoes come at a hefty price. And no, I do not mean the pricey cost.

The shoes can cause blisters, bunions, warts, calluses, broken toenails, athlete's foot, splints, arthritis, crooked toes – and that's just the headline.

Still, that's a necessary price one must pay to be part of such a craft. Ballet is sacrifice itself. And the reward is you become more than mortal. Do and feel more in a few weeks than most do in a lifetime.

It is a part of immortal history that Margot Fonteyn was not only a prima ballerina, but was named “prima ballerina absolutta” by the British Empire as well as given the rank of Dame. History looks at her as one of the finest there ever was in the sport despite her notorious “bad feet.”

Yes, that she had “bad ballet feet” is also a part of history–but this is only known to die-hard fanatical balletomanes. You know, people actually in the professional dance industry.

But unless you’re really savvy about the craft, you must ask, “what are ballet feet? What are bad feet for ballet?”

The kind of feet that are best equipped for ballet–high arches, high insteps that will suit jumps, pointe, pirouette, tendus and what-have-you. From being able to arch your foot and being able to balance on the metatarsal.

What this refers to is the fact that her feet had low arches, like “sticks of butter” and her legs were quite short for a ballerina. On a ballerina, long legs and arms are a must. Absolutely necessary as being able to stand up and walk. And Fonteyn’s were considerably short, and yes–flat feet.

Look, I myself have been praised by ballet pros for my very own feet–made for ballet, which I’ve been taking for nine whole years. Take it from someone who’s done the craft and played the sport himself for almost a decade: You don’t just have to be born with it.

If you want the glorified curve in your foot, for it to stand tall and prominent, you’ll just have to work at it. Doing pointe exercise with an elastic band until those arches come up. Mold your feet into the proper shape like they’re made of clay.

Yet this little woman, one Margaret Fonteyn was given the title of “prima ballerina absolutta,” an honor given to the precious ballerinas who seem to be heaven-sent in the profession. Madams Anna Pavolva, Natalia Makarova, and of course, Fonteyn.

Ballet master and innovator himself George Balanchine critiqued the first lady of Royal Ballet herself Margot as, “Hands like spoons, bad feet, can’t dance at all.” But he also attacked Rudi as, “a passable dancer whose problem is he always tries to be the prince.” Mr. Balanchine wanted the only star of his ballets to be his own choreography. Any dancer who’s career and reputation outshone his own made him feel threatened.

He founded a school and company where he was God. That’s why he called his students/employees “dear.” He liked to think of them as his own children. One of those true artistes who was all ego.

Look, kids: Technique is one thing. But Margot had a way of onstage, a charisma and persona that isn’t really taught. Makarova’s technique was flawless. She was born for technique. But technique can be taught. Margot had a way that transcended mere skill or exact body type.

Fonteyn was an icon in her field, regardless of how “proper” her feet (or her short legs) might have been. There is more to the ballet than mere physical dance. She was a ballerina.

So take this to heart, dear friends and readers, scholars of the ballet: the exact body type, feet, etc. is not written in stone or law. While the conventional way increase the odds of you getting classical roles and employment sooner–perhaps–remember, the ones that break the mold are the ones people remember. The ones who are granted Damehood. Absolute Prime Ballerina. Like the gifted lady in this picture.

Remember, dance is an art form. A form of self-expression. And when you are not true to yourself or don’t have the faith, there’s just nothing there at all. No art. No dance. No beauty. No truth.


Still, judging from what I see. It all for good reason. To all those who put themselves through the endless ordeal, this life of nothing but sacrifice and constant testing of medal--yes, you are a ballerina. Those battered, beaten, bleeding feet speak deafening volumes.

--Your Brother in Arms and Tights, Dane Youssef

"THE PLAYERS CLUB" (1998): A MOVE REVIEW by Dane Youssef


by Dane Youssef


And in the film industry. But the movies about the stripping game don't seem to. They never seem to be well-made, or even much fun. Why not? What's going on here? The characters and plot are so non-existent, they fall under the category of pornos without sex.

And who wants to see that?

Such cinema on the art form as "Showgirls" and "Striptease" made one wish the makers had followed pornography by example and not tried to have a plot. Multi-Razzie-winning schlockola only to be enjoyed only on the late-night UHF channel 93 super-cheese corn Ed Wood, Jr. level.

Good readers, take a deeeeep breath of relief that "The Players Club" has a slightly higher-quality of strip than glitzy dives like "Showgirls" and "Striptease." Not quite the British Oscar contender level of "The Full Monty," but not quite a "Striptease."

Written and directed by old-school rap superstar Ice Cube, "The Players Club" is a posh, yet harsh feature dealing with women needing big money really fast and undergo a whole lifestyle change in order to get it. Stripping changes who they are all over.

But hey--everybody needs money. Everyone wants to make more. That's the point of money. Even if you're Donald Trump, every single dollar there is... just isn't enough. We've all heard of the girl who turns trick in order as a last resort.

There are women who get into stripping 'cause they want the worship, the adoration. To control every man in the room--and her career.

But there are those who just need to make a lot of money really, really fast. When we meet Diana (LisaRaye), she's just had a fight with her father over which college she should go to. He throws her out. She leans on a guy for support. He gives her more than that. He gives her a child. Then he leaves with nothing.

A single black woman raising a baby on her own with no means. Such a sad, familiar story. So familiar, it makes it all the sadder.

To make ends meet, she gets a job at a thrift shoe-shop. Some strippers come in and tell her there are ways of making more money--much, much more. And in high demand. You're in charge of your career, your clientele, yourself. Diana is suddenly in charge of her own life--and may have all the means she needs.

The club that comes recommended by the strippers is "The Players Club," a ritzy posh gentleman's club it Atlanta, run by a pimp daddy named Dollar Bill. The place is always hopping like a hornytoad on hop with the kind of people you would like to get to know.

"Players" has a lot of the same gimmicks as "Striptease." One can only wonder... did The Ice Man see that movie... just before he wrote up this?

Big black contenders, buddies of the Iceman pop up. The reliable likes of Bernie Mac, Jamie Foxx, John Amos, Fazion Love, A.J. Johnson, Terrence Howard, Big Boy, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister and Michael Clark Duncan.

A lot of this is pretty warmed-over. But despite the blaxploitation roots and intentions, "Players Club" boasts and A-list cast and production values, thanks to the powerful status name of The Ice Cube and New Line Cinema.

LisaRaye gets a C-plus in her lead debut. Cube is quoted as saying he hired some fresh-face newbie actress so as his debut as filmmaker would be the important part, not a big name star-vehicle where the star names get all the notice.

Also green is Chrystale Wilson, making an ideal villainess as Ronnie. In scene after scene, she defines the "dominatrix." And as it goes without saying, the dominatrix dominates her every scene. Now THIS is blaxploitation.

Ronnie is another grand larceny scene-stealer that falls under the old movie saying of "the villains have the most fun--and ARE the most fun."

Bernie Mac takes this comic relief and makes it a plum. In the rich role of Dollar Bill, here is a man who is a club owner dressed like a pimp Don King (which is redundant), speaking like with a lot of philosophical wisdom that one picks up on the street, from the school of hard knocks. Business-wise, deep, yet ghetto.

Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx of "Ray" fame got his start in the biz as a stand-up comic and here as the solid supporting man love interest, the club's DJ Blue, it might've served him (and the freakin' movie) had he had dug up some of his archive bits from his "Def Jam" days.

You wouldn't think the DJ at a strip club would be especially important (Bill even tells Blue that to his face at one point), but he proves to be the very thing that Diana needs--even pulling it all together in the final act.

John Amos and Faizon Love are a buddy cop-pair have that Mutt-and-Jeff shtick going with Amos playing it straight and Love going for laughs. Amos as the ultimate hard cop, never coming close to smiling.

I really did enjoy this more than the last two "Friday" movies and Cube's "All About The Benjamins."

The Iceman himself has a running bit part as Reggie, a one of the regulars at "The Player's Club"--a hired thug and dabbles in some recreational crime for his own sake, like soliciting sex. He's friends with Clyde and Ronnie's brother, Junior.

Though there are times when Cube's stuff feels tired, his stuff underdeveloped. He's credited also as executive producer, which I think means he green-lit his own project. Sometimes, it pays to have an objective eye. Couldn't Cube's old director from "Boyz 'N' The Hood" John Singelton have come on down to give his former "Doughboy" some sage filmmaking advice?

The best thing "The Players Club" does is make a lot of its characters colorful and eccentric while keeping a lot of them fairly human. Cube tries to juggle, not making it a specific genre--but a "life film." His movie is comedy, drama, thriller, and action flick...

"Players" has Mr. Ice donning the solo hat here--as screenwriter, executive producer, director and supporting actor. The likes of Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch did all this. What made them so special? They could.

No classic, no picture belonging on the AFI's 100 Best, no one's absolute favorite of all time. But still worth seeing.

If no else, after seeing this one, you're sure of two things: stripping is a profession that pays big for a reason--there are rites of passage and perils.

You may never think the same again when you hit the strip joints, offer up that dollar you're waving into the air... and just who it goes to.

Despite it's blaxploitation roots, "Player's Club" mostly tries to sidestep a lot of opportunities to exploit or go for the really campy crap that helped earlier "white-stripper" movies get some viewers. But there's some camp here and there--all unintentional, I'm sure. The Cube ain't Spike Lee.

I wish Cube's partner-in-crime Chris Tucker from "Friday" would've popped-up at some point. Tucker is on par with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence as a comic presence.

He's such talent, he's can bring even the deadest scene to life. Ol' Smokey nearly made "Friday" a must-see, he could've made this all the better.

There are times when Cube doesn't capture the energy he needs to. As director, he sometimes seems to be just recording. The camera is on auto-pilot rather than capturing a mood.

And blaxploitation is still alive, still thriving...

--A Believer in Big, Bad Black Cinema, Dane Youssef