10 June, 2009

KISSing Paul*

...I can give it all to you baby/ Can you give it all to me?...

No, not this kind of kissing.

It was mentioned to me recently that my foundation might be a tad thick and a little light in color, which is 100% true, and 100% deliberate. Clown makeup is not for the faint-of-heart.

I was with my family at a Bill Bateman's restaurant not too long ago, becoming more and more certain during the duration of our visit that this was a restaurant that couldn't make up its mind what it wanted to be. The menu said 'wings!' The decor said 'diner!' and 'sports!' and 'rock-n-roll!' which together failed entirely to form any sort of cohesive identity. (This is not entirely off-topic; I'm getting there). One of the decorative rock posters (which included the globally classic Queen, and the classically local Good Charlotte), the one that fascinated me, was of course positioned behind me, so I had to get up to look at it.

It was the KISS poster often referenced as "Faces", in which Gene Simmons holds the band name/logo in his hands. Now, I know a good bit about makeup, and have pals who teach workshops on the subject. I want to look at the makeup. I figure I won't see much what with retouching and whatall, but here I am, and why not, right?

So I'm inspecting this poster in great detail, and you can't see it on the web, and I'm sure those of you who owned one of the original first run prints of the poster have long since thrown them out/lost them in the move/sold them on eBay, so you have no immediate way of verifying this but as I looked at that iconic portrait, I began to see that Paul Stanley had nice, clean makeup, a well-done job, whereas the other boys looked liked they'd started sweating before they finished applying. I've seen KISS imitators do a more technically perfect job on the makeup than the blurry-edged finishes represented elsewhere on that poster. I've often thought that perhaps Alice Cooper had the right of it: making it smeared and runny on purpose to begin with, so when it turned out that way mid-concert, it looked like deliberate design. I can't speak to Insane Clown Posse (despite carrying one in my car wherever I go) and their makeup, but in the photos I found, they seem to be completely unpowdered.

Understand, I'm sort of a perfectionist about this. The whole family is. We have to be. You never know when someone's about to snap a prize-winning shot, so our makeup, even in the sweltering outdoor conditions, has to be perfect.

Marceau himself covered a multitude of sins and wrinkles with his white makeup, and it was difficult to tell that he was incredibly old until you were close to him. In fact, the makeup makes it nearly impossible to tell how old (and in some cases, what gender)anyone is. The photographer comments that "...all 4 of the mimes were young girls...no older than 15. they smiled all the time." I appreciate this. I truly, truly do. My son, however, not so much.

So, hooray for makeup, that makes boys into girls and vice versa, and turns cougars into jailbait. Hooray for KISS, who did it well.

I couldn't tell you whether Paul's clean finish was due to the simple design, better technical execution (each member of KISS did his own makeup), less inherent sweatiness or finer-pored skin, but Paul Stanley, I salute you and your mad whiteface skillz.

And I know (ask me how) that if I DID kiss you, that no, I wouldn't get white makeup all over my face.

Unless I had it there already.

(I Was Made For Loving You; KISS)

*This post dedicated to Abi, who rocks.)


Abi! said...

I feel so loved!

I never put much thought into who did their makeup best. Granted, back in the day, Ace & Peter's motor skills were a bit, um, impaired. And Gene's make-up is arguably the most complex, giving him an excuse. However, when it came to his first time in make-up, current drummer, Eric Singer, did have Paul apply his make-up. So, perhaps there is something to Paul being the make-up guru. Coincidentally, Paul's also been plagued by the greatest number of gay rumors.

But, yes, makeup is amazing. And kudos to Bette Davis and here Baby Jane character who, rather than mid-concert foresight, inspired Alice, who, in turn, inspired the boys of Kiss.

Cybele said...

Glad you liked it. This has been in the works for awhile, but your interest in KISS spurred me to go ahead and write it NOW.