Stuffography Joanna Stingray: 10 Years in Video


Joanna Stingray: 10 Years in Video



by Maik & Dzhubchik (etc.)

First impressions belong to Dzhub-shamelessprocrastinator-chik, Jan. 20, 2000:

...but our video, found by the eagle-eye of Mimoza in the St. Petersburg (the Brighton Beach store) discount rack, contained all of Stingray's "Greatest Hit" (also "Never Seen on MTV") music videos. You gotcher buff-boy prisoners laboring in boiler-rooms. You gotcher vinyl police-captain-Queen hats. You gotcher dry ice and spotlights a-roilin'. You got Dzhoanna in between clips standing in front of some leafy-green vegetation talking in Russian about herself and work.

And at the beginning, you got J.S. and B.G. in a high-key, all-white segment chanting "Come Together." Oh yeah—for $3.50, you got me, Babe.

Dji is now the proud owner of this delicacy. I say he get his scanner out and show Maik the goods.

Further Impressions belong to Dzhub and Maik, who, fortifying themselves appropriately, go skinny-dipping with the Stingray (March 31, 2000):

Dzhub: My god, she's paying people to paint their naked bodies black and white!

Maik: She obviously has more money than we can possibly dream of.  

Both: We can't understand a word she's singing. We think it's English.  

Maik: The sunglasses are starting to get on my nerves. She could be blind. Maybe that's the big secret here.

Dzhub: Now she's going through her Cyndi Lauper phase. With black glasses.

Maik: The production values are beyond reproach. Which is why we are annoyed.  

ВНИМАНИЕ: We almost had a Boris sighting in the Cyndi Lauper song. We had to go back through it frame by frame (which is an experience Maik recommends for a young psychology PhD looking for a dissertation topic in the area of non-harmful states of delusion). There's a dude in a top hat and purple coat playing guitar who looks "wicked" like Boris, but through careful carbon chin-dating methods, we have determined it's not BG. At least, we sincerly hope not. Please, no. It's not.

Okay, enough of this shit. Maik has renamed it "Ten Years in Videos No One Has Ever Seen."

Thus endeth this review.

However, Maik weighs in again with excerpts from his forthcoming magnum opus:

Zap!!!: The Unauthorized Biography of Joanna Stingray

Joanna's Career


Where shall I begin?

She was born in a shotgun shack deep in the heart of Beverly Hills, the world center of the entertainment biz. So it was an almost inevitable step that she begin her career in perestroika-era Leningrad. The city had survived everything from polar climate to Nazi seige ... but could it survive Joanna? No, druzya, of course it could not. Her vinyl pants achieved what neither revolution nor war could achieve—Joanna taught Russia how to rock.

Her early marriage to Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee quickly dissolved when she met Lonesome Kasparyan, and their partnership quickly became legend...Kasparyan turned Joanna into the Female face of Rock & Roll for most of the 80's and 90's. Her early composition "Come Together" was just the beginning of a fruitful pairing that would end only 12 years later with the Bittersweet "Let It Be"...

Joanna's breakup with Yuri instigated a period of intense creativity with saw Stingray win an unprecedented string of 8 "Best Artist" Grammys and a coveted Charter Membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Her career in movies began when she wed Sean Penn, marking the beginning of her "Naughty Girl" phase, replete with industrial bustiers and S&M undertones...Her downward spiral in the years that followed has been exhaustively documented elsewhere...suffice it to say that she survived her Trial by Fire and re-emerged triumphantly with her landmark Private Tantsor comeback album.

Shortly afterward, her triumphant return to Russia made "Top Ten News Story" lists around the globe. Her current hip-hop/R&B experiments are yielding exciting results, though her recent involvement with Puff Daddy suggests that JS's "Naughty Girl" phase may not be over yet.

Presently, however, her focus is on her film career. In addition to the Greatest Hits and Sunny Days blockbusters, her Oscar-winning turn in The Color Purple showed fans a more sensitive and vulnerable Joanna, and her current smash, Girl, Interrupted proves that—as amazing as her career has been so far—we may have only scratched the surface of the pop cultural phenomenon known as Dzhoanna Stingray.


Dzhub inquireth:

Things I want to know about Dzhoanna, and becoming the next Pat Benatar of Russia:

1. Are there difficulties inherent in maintaining a two-level peroxide blond treatment in the former Soviet Union?

2. Lipliner—да или нет? Darker than the lipstick shade, or a subtle "nude" tone? Influence, if any, of Stingray makeup techniques on young слабые девочки?

3. Was Dzhoanna perhaps behind the vinyl pants craze among late Soviet-era rocker? Perhaps even a cross-continental shopper? Or is vinyl sort of a universal fabric, and what are the ramifications?

4. Are round Lennon-style sunglasses available with prescription lenses?

5. Dry ice—easy or hard to find abroad? Would real ice work in a pinch?

The First Church of Dzhrew, Scientist answereth

Short Answers:

Q. Dry ice—easy or hard to find abroad?

In an industrialized (or formerly industrialized) country, it would be fairly easy to find dry ice.

Q. Would real ice work in a pinch?

Sorta depends on what you want to do with it...but the answer's probably "no."

Q. Are round Lennon-style sunglasses available with prescription lenses?


Longer Answers:

Dry ice is solid (i.e. frozen) carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide's the stuff they often use to put out fires. It also makes soda fizz. People exhale it and plants seem to love it.

It's not really hard to make dry ice out of carbon dioxide gas (you basically cool it till it freezes, вот). So it's likely that the people who brought us Sputnik had minimal trouble mastering the technology.

If you just want to make fancy cold cocktails that billow smoke, you can make do with regular ice, but your cocktails will just be regular, cold cocktails (smokeless). If it's the smoke you're after, then, no. You gotta use the dry ice for that.

The fifty-cent word that's associated with dry ice is "sublimation." Ice melts (solid --> liquid). Dry ice sublimates (solid --> gas). Amaze your friends!

As for prescriptioned round eyeglasses a la J. Lennon, they are available in a range of prescriptions, including bifocals and astigmatism-correcting models. The only catch is that really strong prescriptions sometimes require super-thick glass that looks stupid in tiny, round frames.


Dzhrew, Scientist, having left completely open the questions about vinyl, peroxide and lip-liner, your humble redactor (Dzhon) can but offer a layman's opinion:

Re: lip-liner. Russian women have been wearing clown-like make-up since time immemorial. Check out any Hero Worker wall or Soviet-era film. Which came first, Joanna or the mochalka? Easy. The mochalka.

As for the peroxide job, I have no doubt Ms. Stingray was swimming in her element in a land where fire-engine red and ultra-vibrant lavender hair are particular favorites of the 50-something set.

Finally, vinyl is exquisitely uncomfortable and moderately toxic, and therefore a quintessentially Russian material, whatever its real origins. But I'm morally certain Alla Pugachova got there before her.

{Disclaimer in the Interest of Cultural Sensitivity: Most Russian women are hotties and don't need any make-up at all to look ravishing. No Russian has at any time succeeded in looking as clown-like as Katharine Harris, the Bush kingmaker. This includes actual Russian clowns. Americans love vinyl too, and no suburban house in the 70's was complete without a sticky Naugahyde couch in the family room.}

CODA by Dzhubchik

Let's not forget Mimoza's mournful reaction when he found that not all the videos listed on 10 Years... are actually on the cassette.

Imagine young Mimoza's grief as he settled down for an entire evening of duo-toned mullettin', tight-panted twirlin', hack-Russian spoutin', mysterious BG- and Tsoi- alludin', dry-ice explodin', young devushka worshippin', Greenpeace-resurrectin' тусовка, and he didn't get all he thought he paid for. For $3.50. No less.

Mimoza's Rejoinder (It never stops does it? But then, why should it?)

The reasons for my suffering

It's easy. Under # 10 or 12 in the prolific Dzhoanna's oeuvre (by the way, where did the money come from? And why wasn't it spent on buying, oh, a decent distortion pedal for Lyapin?) is listed something called The Tsoi Song. That I was looking forward to. Instead, the closest the collection came to a "Tsoi song" was, of course, an English-language version of "Невесёлная песня," the shittiest песня on Kino's penultimate album—with Dzhoanna, in lieu of a chorus, wailing "Danger" with the second syllable accented as if saying "Tangiers."

{then, Joanna-worship getting the better of him}

Where would Russian rock be without Red Wave?! Where would Russian fashion be without the belated boy-toy look? Where would Russian cinema be without Dzhoanna's turn as a sensitive American girlfriend in Урод? Where would


be? Back in the Belomor-smoke-filled кухня singing Okudzhava, that's where!



Finally, Dji offers an eloquent justification for the foregoing homage to Joanna, ur-Bodhi-mother of us all:

Suffice to say, if you really think about how this site has come about, you'll have no reason to question the attention we pay to Ms. Stingray. Aside from being a presumably still living and breathing (and hopefully still video-filming) person, she exists as a concept, an archetype, a cosmic force which simultaneously describes, denies and reinforces the possibilities that can be brought into being when Russian and American cultural elements collide. Dzhoanna is the Bodhisattva of Russo-American MutoGenoCultural Psychocrosspollination and we are her avatars.