Friday, November 27, 2009

Arty Farty Friday ~ Berlin Cabaret Then & Now

As a change from art as in painting or photography, this Friday it's art as theatrical presentation. Sort of!

The mini furore this week following Adam Lambert's risqué performance at the American Music Awards led me to ponder on the artistic roots of the chosen style, which was also apparent through much of the rest of the show. There was a distinct feel of 1920s Berlin Cabaret....updated for the 21st century.

Cabaret involving sexual innuendo and eroticism was a part of Parisian culture for decades. After World War I, in the loosened atmosphere of the 1920s, the cabaret culture spread across Europe, but became particularly popular in Germany, where the Weimar government had relaxed all forms of censorship. Movies such as "Cabaret" and "The Blue Angel" depict something of the German cabaret scenes of that era. Within a few years though, Hitler's rise to power in Germany changed everything. Cabaret's subculture was supressed.

From Berlin Cabaret by Peter Jalevich (Amazon)

Interestingly, during most of the 1920s Uranus (planet of all that's new and inventive) was transiting Pisces - it happens to be doing the same thing at present. In those days though Neptune, planet of creativity, wasn't transiting Aquarius as it is now, it lay in Leo, and for most of the decade in fairly tight quincunx to Uranus, signifying a rather uncomfortable mixture of avant garde fantasy played out on stage. At present Uranus and Neptune are transiting each other's home signs and in semi-sextile aspect, the characteristics of each one blends quite comfortably into the other. Avant garde fantasy is now the norm rather than a why on earth Adam's performance should have caused upset is beyond me. Perhaps he did ratchet it up a notch too far for TV with an audience of millions. Some parts of the USA are culturally, after all, a far cry from Berlin in the 1920s.


anthonynorth said...

A great post. It was an interesting time for entertainment.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ Thanks AN - glad you found it of interest. :-)