TV & Radio Appearances - December 1998

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WHFS Top 99 Songs Of 98
December 31, 1998

    Radio station WHFS 99.1 FM in Washington D.C. counted down the top 99 songs of 1998 on New Years Eve. Toriphiles Tim Altman and Justin John told me that Spark was #44 on that countdown!

"Righteous Babes" UK Documentary
December 22, 1998
Updated November 6, 2000 with more info!

    A documentary called "Righteous Babes" aired on Tuesday night, December 22, 1998 in the U.K. The 1998 documentary, by Pratibha Parmar, is a study of influential women in the music world of the 90's, including Sinead O'Connor, Ani DiFranco, Chrissie Hynde and Tori Amos. Parmar's point is that feminism is alive and well and addressing a new generation through these performances.

    Here is a description of this documentary from Women Make Movies Film and Video Catalogue, where you can purchase this documentary:

    In this new documentary, acclaimed filmmaker Pratibha Parmar (A Place of Rage, Warrior Marks) explores the intersection of feminism with popular music, focusing on the role of female recording artists in the 1990s and their influence on modern women. Parmar argues that, far from being dead, feminism has thrived and expanded its reach through the direct, aggressive, and revolutionary medium of rock music, and through the role models of performers like Madonna and Ani DiFranco. Intercuting performance footage with interviews, Parmar explores her thesis with some of the most outspoken female musicians, feminist theorists, and journalists of the UK and US, including Sinead O'Connor, Skin (Skunk Anansie), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Camille Paglia, and Gloria Steinem. The Righteous Babes offers a searing and timely critique of the commercialization of feminism through 'Girl Power' Spice Girls style, ditzy Ally McBeal and her trans-Atlantic counterpart, Bridget Jones. With critical insight and candidness, this powerful and timely documentary demonstrates the vibrancy and relevance of feminism to women and young girls today. Essential viewing for feminists, post-feminists and anti-feminists alike.

    I have a brief report about the program from Toriphile Chris:

    Tori was on tv over here in the UK the other day on this one off program called "The Righteous Babes". It had different people and journalists and writer singers/songwriters ( such as Shirley from Garbage, Ani Diffranco and Skin from Skunk Anansie) talking about feminism and rock music. anyway there were little interviews with the different women and i thought i'd copy out what tori had to say, you didn't get to hear the questions just this:

    "You know as with all girls when they start to masterbate, they think their hands are going to fall off. And that was my worst fear, because as a piano player its like O NO! if its between masturbating and playing the piano... it is a tough decision actually!"

    they played a little of Me and a Gun and then tori said

    "and its a song about surviving a rape ummm... i got so many letters from that and still do"

    "I don't know if i'll play me and a gun now at every concert because something has really shifted for me ummm and where i am now.... i feel like we have honoured that screaming voice that needed to be heard and now its time to honour some other voices"

    "there are so many women writers who are bitching about hanging onto feminism, and you know its like - this is like a stale pussy man, come up with something else, wash it, transend, get wings become the thing you are speaking about in your speech"

    then they played a little of Precious Things

    "for feminism to really work it must transend the catagory. If women want to have equal rights it has to become not segregated in the speech. You talk about your experience as a woman its not compartmentalised under a heading"

    On November 2, 2000, the Dallas Observer reviewed this film and they said:

    The topics of commercialized feminism and pop music are seriously underserved by director Pratihba Parmar's 50-minute documentary about the rise of female musicians in the '90s. Pratihba throws the word "feminism" around without ever acknowledging the near-endless variety of permutations it can take. There's much distance between, say, Gloria Steinem and Camille Paglia, Courtney Love and Madonna, all of whom are interviewed or profiled in this piece without a clear sense of where they stand on the spectrum. Indeed, certain commentators are assigned to discuss particular women-artists without acknowledgment that they've dissed others in the same documentary--Steinem has criticized Madonna in the past but is not asked to assess this documentary's near-unanimous assessment that she is a genius (nor is Andrea Dworkin, a veteran anti-porn crusader who drops in to comment on women's bodies' being peddled like roast beef but is not consulted on what she thinks of the Madonna video prominently featured in this production, "Open Your Heart," where the singer cavorts in a peepshow). If The Material Girl does possess divine inspiration, it's applied to the job of commodifying herself in an ever-changing market--yet the Spice Girls are only half-facetiously referred to as "the apocalypse," and for what? Commodifying feminism. Apparently, their sin is that they aren't even half as good at a sales pitch as Madonna is. Interviews with Ani DiFranco, Chrissie Hynde, Tori Amos, Sinead O'Connor, and Garbage's Shirley Manson are seemingly edited to root out thoughtfulness--the producers cut away before these women get a chance to say anything meaningful. The peculiar exception is Tori Amos, an artist known for full-moon-crazy, rambling interviews. Snippets of her haunting, harrowing song about being raped, "Me and a Gun," are delivered a cappella. With uncharacteristic directness, Amos seems to be dismissing the filmmakers when she says she's suspicious of women who "bitch about hanging on to feminism." That, she claims, is "stale pussy, man." Don't spend all your time talking about it, she says: "Be it." Sing it, sister.

Rosie O'Donnell Show
December 22, 1998

December 16, 1998
    Toriphiles Kim H. and nayad tiffany inform me that Tori appeared on the program Real TV on December 16, 1998. The show airs in the U.S., but I am not sure if it is syndicated or local to the California area. They showed more footage of Tori when she appeared on the show Trial By Jury in 1989. Here is a report from Kim H.:

    Tonight, December 16, 1998, Tori appeared on the cheesy 'real video' tv program REAL TV. I spotted Tori during its opening credits, so stayed tuned in just in case. By the hairdo and the flat lighting, it seemed to be from her appearance on that court-reenactment show during the 1980s.

    And it was. At the end of REAL TV, Tori was the subject of their REAL TV QUIZ. It was the same 1980s show from "Before they were Stars" (where Tori's character is on trial) except they showed more footage. It showed Tori on the witness stand, and the announcer's voiceover was saying, "Can you guess who this is ?" and that 'as the character she was claiming to have been raped', "interesting, because that is the subject of one of her songs".

    Then they showed her yelling "Stop it ! I did not kill Jack !" or something like that. Then they showed the same clip as "Before they were Stars" did, where the judge pronounces her innocent and she looks relieved. Then, the answer was shown: "Grammy winner and incredible piano player, TORI AMOS". They showed a still from the tv show, and a still of Tori in the royal-blue dress she wore to the Boys for Pele Grammys.

"What the Hell is this?" On WFNX, Boston
December 13, 1998

Tori Interview On WRRV Radio In NYC
December 13, 1998

    Toriphile Marc (the remix kid) sent me a transcript of an interview that he heard on the show The Edge on the radio station 92.7 , 96.9 WRRV based in NYC on Sunday, December 13, 1998. The interview was over the phone and they played various Tori songs as well.

    Read the transcript of the interview..

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