Ain´t Got No/I Got Life

“Aint´got no/ I got life” is a song, written by Nina Simone, released in 1968 and best known from the musical “Hair”,

I never really knew, if I like the song or not.

On one hand, it´s telling you, that no matter how miserable, lonely or poor your life is, its still worth living and the song gives some of the 60´s vibes, when the young generation was hoping and fighting for a better world.

But  on the other hand, the song also gave me some questions.

Is it really enough, just to be alive without love, friends, family, knowledge or a home?

Without a sense, work, a function?

There are some people, who can easily survive without perfumes, sweaters or shoes.

Some without any possessions at all.

But it´s not easy to live without some of the most important human needs like social contacts, a sense in life and a safe place to stay.

At this times, in the middle of the world wide COVID-crisis, we need save homes, a function and social contacts- even if they´re only virtual for the moment- more than ever.

And one of my self-chosen functions is, to make humble little doll-plays…Could have gone worst…

So I started working on the analysis of this song a few days ago.

Some of the lines in the song weren´t easy to bring into a picture…Mostly because I didn´t have any matching props or possibilities. (How to show a liver or a tongue at a doll without making a real big mess? And what about “ticket and token”? )

So I had to work with symbols a few times and  I´m not really completely satisfied with the result, but I did my best, as always.

Some other parts of the song´s lyrics literally “screamed” for a satire. And others, I wasn´t convinced with. So I had to bring in my own thoughts about it.

This time, I worked a lot with nude dolls…My consequence of the  parts, where we are told,  that the person in the song got no clothes, leads to the fact, that she simply must be nude….But don´t be afraid, I won´t show anything disturbing.

Another reason why, was that I wanted to focuse on the songs content in some parts and skip everything, that could distract.

The “liver” is actually a plastic steak and as you can see “made in Thailand”.

Some of the scenes are very simple, others made with more effort.

That makes sense, because some parts show the poverty of the woman, others  are about the many parts or her (and in my version also his) body. I wanted to show that as good as possible.  But also with a hint of irony sometimes.

Another question was about freedom.

Freedom is one of the most important things for a human being.

But is freedom everything, if you got nothing else?

I wanted to show, that freedom in itself might not be enough for most of us, that´s why I made the scene with the free, but homeless man. Maybe a bit hard to chew, I know.

Another point was “Nobody can take away” and “I´m going to keep it”.

It´s not our choice alone, if we can stay alive. There are illnesses, accidents or natural disasters. And far too often, other people make the decision,  to take away another humans life.

So I couldn´t agree with that and made the “gun scene”.  I wanted to be “drastic”, but didn´t go into a splatter, don´t worry.

When I had to do the parts with “arms” and “legs”, I had some pictures from showgirls in 1930´s chorus-line movies in my head. I tried, but it turned out to be a chaos instead of a straight line….The reason was the different articulation of some of my dolls. Not every doll is MTM!

Curtain´s up!

Ain´t Got No/ I Got Life

I ain´t got no home….

Got no home 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ain´t got no shoes….

Got no shoes 2

Ain´t got no money…

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Ain´t got no class…

Got no class 4

Ain´t got no skirts….

Got no skirts 5

Ain´t got no sweater…

Got no sweater 6

Ain´t got no perfume…

Got no perfume7

Ain´t got no bed….

Got no bed 8

Ain´t got no man…

Got no man 9

Ain´t got no mother…

Got no mother 10

Ain´t got no culture…

Got no culture 11

Ain´t got no friends…

Got no friends 12

Ain´t got no schoolin´…

Got no schoolin 13

Ain´t got no love…

Got no love 14

Ain´t got no name…

Got no name 16

Ain´t got not ticket, ain´t got no token…

Got no ticket got no token 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ain´t got no god…

got no god 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, what have I got?

Why am I alive, anyway?

Yeah, what have I got

Nobody can take away?

Got no what do I got 19

Got my hair…

Got no got my hair 20

Got my head…

Got no got my head 21

Got my brains…

Got no Got my brains 22

Got my ears…

Got no got my ears 23

Got my eyes…

Got no got my eyes 24

Got my nose…

Got no gotmy nose 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got my mouth…

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I got my smile…

Got no got my smile 27

I got my tongue…

Got no got my tongue 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got my chin…

Gotno got my chin 29

Got my neck…

Got no got my neck 30

Got my boobies…

Got no got my boobies 31

Got my heart…

Got no got my heart 32

Got my soul…

Gotno got my soul 33

Got my back…

Got no got my back 34

I got my sex…

Got no I got my sex 35

I got my arms…

Got no got my arms 36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got my hands…

Got nogot my hands 37

Got my fingers…

Got no got my mfinders 38a

 

 

 

 

 

Got my legs…

Got no got my legs 39

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got my feet…

Got no gotmy feet 40

Got my toes…

Got no got my toes 41

Got my liver…

Got no got my liver 42

 

 

 

 

Got my blood…

Got no got my blood 43

I´ve got life!

Got no got hte life 47

I´ve got my freedom!

Got no got my freedom 45

I´ve got life!

Got no got the life 46

I´ve got the life! And I´m going to keep it!

Got no going to keep it 48

I´ve got the life!!!! Life!!!! Liiiiihhhhhiiiiiffffeeee!

Got no got the life 49

It took 6 tries to make the “Hippie orgia-scene” at the end of the play.

Whenever I had all dolls standing in the right possition, one of them decided to fall and cause a big domino-effect. Finally I gave up trying to work completely without stands and other little helpers and tied 3 of the dolls to the bench in the middle. So they could hold the other dolls. That worked!

And now I could add on the “medias” with their cameras…

Losing my mind

I remember last year…It was a hot summer day and  a friend drove with me along the highway. We played this song and both sang along.

It´s from the musical “Follies”.

Since then, the tunes never really left my head and I finally decided, to make a play about it.

Curtains up!

“The sun comes up- I think about you”

L The Sun Comes Up

“The coffee cup- I think about you”

L The Coffee Cup

“I want you so, it´s like I´m losing my mind!”

L I want you so, it´s like I´m losing my mind

“The morning ends-I think about you”

L The Morning Ends

“I talk to friends and think about you”

L I talk to friends

“And do they know, it´s like I´m losing my mind?”

L I talk to friends 2

“All afternoon doing every little chore…”

L Every little chore 1

L every little chore 2

L Every little chore 3

“The thought of you stays bright…”

L the thought of you stays bright

“Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor… Not going left- not going right”

L sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor

“I dim the lights and think about you”

L I dim the lights

“Spend sleepless nights to think about you”

L Spend sleepless nights

“You said you loved me…Or were you just being kind?

L you said you love me or were you just being kind

“Or am I losing… ”

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“Losing my mind…”

L Losing my mind 1

“Losing my mind….”

L Losing my mind 2

“Losing my mind…….”

L Losing my mind 3

It was a long time, since I last did something  “Art Decó”. I really missed it.

I love to work with my Jazz Age dolls-And so the Devereaux sisters, Velma and my OOAK “Phryne” had their (small) share in the play.

But for the leading lady, I chose Sybarite Magic.

She ist not only one of my favorite dolls, but also has this distant, forlorn look in her eyes,that the song requires.

She´s a bit too much of a bombshell, I know….But I decided to ignore that fact.

The musical “Follies” ist located in the 1920s, so I tried to make my play look as authentic as possible.

Some of the props are vintage, but none from the 20s…A bit Art Nouveau, some from the 1930s and a few from the 50s.

Almost all of the costumes are also made from vintage fabric, trims and lace, most of them genuine Art Decó, but again: No 1920s. But at least early 30s to 50s and some of the lace is around 1900.

Most of the clothes are made from two genuine Jazz Age sewing patterns, taken from original remaining cloth from that era. That simple patterns can endlessly be repeated in variatons of colors,  details and fabrics and each result looks totally different.

Some Art Decó designs were so popular, they didn´t change for decades and survived until the end of the 50s….And still exist in different forms until today.

So I could use my Art Decó stuff without any problem, even if it´s a bit after the Roaring Twenties.

Ok…I confess, the diner is more inspired by the Rock´n Roll era, but acutally, diners never really changed in common.

Some of the interieur and the bar is in a very similar style until today.

It´s not perfect, I confess, but I had only a few hours to set up the play, shoot and put in on my blog. (And the light was far from being perfect again!) So I hope, I´m forgiven.

And YES, there are a few folds in the backdrops….I simply couldn´t remove them, no matter how long they were under the iron!

 

Song by Stephen Sondheim from the musical “Follies”