Tuesday, March 18, 2008
A-B-C, easy as 1-2-3? Not quite. Janet Jackson has always stood alone from those other five singing siblings (including the one who brokered Neverland from J.M. Barrie). But with her new album, Discipline, the beautiful, elusive performer steps forward—again—into her own spotlight (and cage). And that S&M headgear isn't slowing her one bit. Within a labyrinthine photo studio in Culver City, California, in a whitewashed room, otherwise unremarkable, a B & D fetishist's arsenal is displayed as if arranged for a tradeshow by the Marquis de Sade. The gear, close to a type once reserved for "correcting" "scolds," "shrewish women," recalcitrant serfs, and persons confusing to the Church, is all laid out for use on Janet Jackson. Her recent album, for which she is currently touring, is called Discipline. On collapsible buffet tables, hanging on fashion gurneys, and draped on walls, there are PVC cat suits, zippered headgear, latex eveningwear, metal-and-rubber bustiers, breastplates, gauntlets, codpieces, feather ticklers, and steel pelvic thrusters, relieved of their phallic attachments. Barbed cowhide whips are fanned out alongside some kind of automaton skull with a full set of human teeth and gums. There is an assortment of padlocks and chains, a bludgeon of some kind, a couple of fearsome hooks "Pinhead" would give the seal of approval, and a fresh coffee, extra large. On the bright side, it appears Jackson will for now be spared the Pear of Anguish and the Ducking Stool. Outside of the room, on fabled Smashbox Studios' blinding-white shooting stage, heavy-gauge chains sway and clang from a recently constructed metal gallows. There is a general clangor of metal as multiplying personnel, a majority large and tattooed, put through the paces more infernal devices. Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition. Enter Janet Jackson, dressed—by nobody’s mother’s standards—in strategic neoprene. She is silent, resigned, as two assistants lock a stainless steel cage around her head, a medieval housewives' bridle from the shiny future. Jackson is immobilized from the neck up, and there is a way to insert a ball-gag—or something—into the casque, should that be necessary. A prop director tests alien-looking keys in a ten-pound pair of shackles, which for certain would otherwise have to be removed with a wad of C4. Satisfied, he carries them off toward the already confined Jackson as more assistants draw towering walls of folded cardboard around her predicament, obscuring it from view, however precariously. A woman rushes by, lubricating a zipper mask while clutching a riding crop in her teeth; she slips into the makeshift keep. Jackson is about to be either violently ravished, or pressed for information, comprehensively. It's no great mystery if the caged bird sings ... "I just get embarrassed so easily," says Jackson. Her voice is delicate, and suited to whimsy. "Sometimes I feel like I'm in the wrong profession. You know, a photographer will ask me to do something, and I think, What? With all these people around, staring? I don't know, I guess it's my insecurity. Maybe when I'm 90, I won’t care, and just stick my ass out. But until I'm comfortable..."
Oh yes, it's very clear that Janet Jackson gets embarrassed easily ... I know I can barely look anyone in the eye whenever I leave the house wearing a head cage. I love Janet but she is deffo a split personality. In face-to-face interviews, she is quiet, demure and seemingly fragile ... and then in photoshoots, videos and live performances she let's her kinky side come out and play. She deffo gets snaps for her bold fashion choices -- after all, she is the inspiration for the term "wardrobe malfunction" (ie. lettin' her boob out during the Super Bowl a few years ago). Many folks have a hard time pulling off rubber ... I think she handles it like a champ. [Source, Source]