"I want to be a pop idol". Oscar Wilde between parody and glam re-invention in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine
The present essay analyses Velvet Goldmine a 1998 film directed by Todd Haynes, in order to investigate how the American director points to the relevance of glam (emerged in Great Britain at the beginning of the Seventies) within contemporary culture, focusing on one of its most relevant aspects, that is the parodic subversion of the normative idea of masculinity which was dominant in the previous decades. Glamsters – that is, such artists as Bolan, Bowie, Roxy Music and Glitter – were able, using such visual signs as make-up and glitter dresses, to construct (on stage) a hybrid gender identity, which sharply contrasted with the normative masculinity of many 1960s musicians. Employing a methodological approach in which cultural studies, literary studies and neo-musicology speak to each other, the present analysis establishes a strong connection between Oscar Wilde and glam culture – a relationship established by Haynes himself in the very first scenes of the film – which nevertheless the present essays defines in a more specific way, considering the film as a whole as a glam parody and refashioning of Wilde's epopee, one in which Wilde's images and aphorisms seem to question with their complexity and their desecrating value the present age.
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