The Sara Carlson Experience

Remember those mind-blowing Heather Parisi clips we were all gaping at a few months ago? Well, it’s time for Heather to scooch her bedazzled Mickey Mouse-clad tush over on that giant Rubik’s Cube pedestal we built for her.

Make room on the throne, and in your hearts, for another star of numerous 80s Italian television variety shows, the inexplicable Miss Sara Carlson:

I’m just gonna give your guys a minute to process that clip. Deep cleansing breaths, people. Zalright? Zalright.

The commentary on Carlson over at Nobody Puts Baby in a Horner is sharper and better than anything I can come up with at this late hour, with the fabric of my reality in tatters:

I recognize that, in the era of YouTube clips, what probably made sense in a particular time to a particular group of people is reintroduced to the world in a contextual vacuum.  Without meaning, these videos become a veritable playground for camp, a place where the indecipherable message is the first language of ironic detachment and surface aesthetics the currency of visual pleasure.  As such, perhaps I’m inherently biased towards this Fellini meets Lady Gaga pinnacle of unadulterated, uninhibited batshit insanity.

Several more clips and further spot-on commentary from Benjamin after the jump.

Never mind the fact that the 1980s where an inherently bizarre cultural moment for the entire world over.  Never mind the the fact that I’m well aware of the fact that this is Italian television, which makes it seem totally gay when in actuality it’s just European.  This is not an elaborate ruse along the lines of staging the wreckage of flight 815 on the ocean floor so as to deter people from finding Lost Island.  This is a real video made by real people who all collectively agreed together that this was a good and entertaining artistic vision.  This is something that exists, and it is utterly ridiculous.

Behold Sara Carlson’s “Cowgirl Dance,” which I imagine is something like what you’d get if you sent Showgirls and Aaron Copland through a telepod together and out came the cultural equivalent of the Brundlefly:

(Fun with green screen compositing!)

26 Responses to “The Sara Carlson Experience”

  1. Carrie Clevenger Says:

    …my brain cannot process so much silly all at once at this hour. O.o

  2. g0ggs Says:

    the second one looks like the baddies from streets of rage ^.^

  3. Benjamin Says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out, Meredith. I greatly appreciate the kind words, and I’m glad you’re as much of a fan of Ms. Sara Carlson as I am. She really is brilliant to the point of mind-blowing.
    PS: Your site, if I may say so, is quite fantastic.

  4. Stella Polaris Says:

    So… maybe this is because I’m European, therefore totally gay, but I quite like the extravagant costumes, the often ballet inspired dancing and the references to freak shows and expressionism. The “Fellini” part, if you will. Now, the music I could do without.

  5. --Z-- Says:

    For some reason this reminds me of the same kind of wonderful camp that exists when re-watching the Flash Gordon movie. I honestly wish there was more of this in contemporary media.

  6. R. Says:

    Dancing-wise Lady Gaga ain’t got shit on Carlson.
    I actually enjoyed this. Probably because her dancing is just…crazy and amazing. *brain melts*

  7. Nate Says:

    There is no context for the 80’s.

  8. Tequila Says:

    “Life is a game…a video game…”

    That’s some profound lyrical poetry right there.

    Still the cowgirl dance is something of a Hee Haw meets Vegas night club act. It’s not exactly sexy but it does titillate and it’s close to family friendly in that “Mom & Dad are drunk and the kids are on a sugar rush” kinda way. The high kick at 2:05 IS kinda impressive.

    I am just gonna sit here wonderfully confused by it all and very entertained. I wonder if there is a fan club I can join?

  9. Jaye Says:

    Wow. The “Cowgirl Dance” is more Showgirls crossed with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but I see your point.

  10. Mer Says:

    Benjamin! You’re amazing. I love your blog, it gives me the cackles. I’m deeply honored that you approve of Coilhouse!

    Stella, I actually adore the music! But then, I have a fetish for old, disco-slimed Italian synth weirdness. And in that third clip (the “Warrioress” one) that second song that kicks in around 1:20 is straight up Cabaret Voltaire industrial level hotness! I’d totally do the rivethead donkey punch dance to it.

    I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself, but you guys have seen The Apple, right? Sara Carlson is only thing that could make that movie campier and more amazing than it already is.

  11. Nadya Says:

    This made my morning. True poetry in motion!

  12. la mome neant Says:

    Oh noo! I am still under shocked at the sight of Grappelli joining her debauchery!

  13. Vivacious G Says:

    Ok, I could only watch about 30-40 seconds of each due to time management issues today, but my reactions to each one were to laugh loudly and exlaim “What the fuck?” And now I’m crying the tears of mirth. Hahaha, thank you, Mer!

    I do like the costumes, hair and makeup very much in the second one.

  14. Road Rash Says:

    These links are so incredible that I think they might have caused a rift in the fabric of the universe and let a little too much awesome in.

    @Mer – The first song in the Warrioress video is Art of Noise (In The Army now). That discovery is not mine, sadly, but my partner’s who has an audio equivalent of a photographic memory. A phonographic memory? The second part full of industrial stompiness is something he’s got to think about. If it comes to him, I’ll let you know.

  15. Salome Says »Blog Archive » Friday Smiles Says:

    […] just when you thought your 80s flashbacks were bad, we get The Sara Carlson Experience which proves no matter how horrible Miami Vice and Solid Gold were, America can’t hold a […]

  16. Mer Says:

    Road Rash, yes! Art of Noise. Of course. I’m still desperate to find out what that second song is, so please pester your partner for me until he coughs up the goods, mmmkay? ;)

  17. Stefan P Says:

    Well I found it quite modern ! I even thought it was a fake thing made nowadays to look 80’s-ish… Strange, yeah, but like has been pointed at other places, not really weirder than american 80’s stuff !

  18. joasakura Says:

    I remember running across the cowgirl clip some time ago, and thinking. “1) woah, LIMBER. and 2) this is the cheesiest thing I’ve ever seen, and I grew up in the 80s.”

    thanks for compiling all of these =D

    (and the Apple was mentioned upthread. Does that exist somewhere on the internets for viewing? I really must see this)

  19. BRN Says:

    How delightfully amusing! BTW, speaking of the eighties, have you guys found Laurie Anderson yet?

  20. Mer Says:

    Does performing with her count? ;)

  21. Mer Says:

    “(and the Apple was mentioned upthread. Does that exist somewhere on the internets for viewing? I really must see this)”

    Dunno, but you can get it new on Amazon for around 7 bucks plus shipping. (I own it, natch. And have bought several more copies as gifts for friends who appreciate True Genius.)

  22. Tequila Says:

    @Mer…Have you seen the classic Village People flick Can’t Stop The Music? It has a bit of everything…

    Steve Guttenberg on roller skates skating through various NYC streets in state so energetic there is no way he was sober…

    The coming together of The Village People in a way so beyond insane it has to be true…

    The most gloriously homoerotic version of YMCA ever that for no real reason has the main actress of the film topless throughout the number.

    Bruce Jenner in questionable fashion choices…

    A commercial about Milk that puts the current drink milk campaign in perspective.

    All this and disco! disco! disco!…right as it was earning a massive backlash thus dooming the film from the get go.

  23. MissSpitee Says:

    Yipes! Mer has discovered Beyonce’s secret choreography inspiration!

  24. DzM Says:

    Mer asked what the tracks in the “army” video are.

    As near as I can tell all the tracks are by Art of Noise and are:

    The Army Now (opening and closing track)
    Flesh in Armour (the “industrial” track)
    Comes and Goes (the slow “fight” track)

    All three are available on the “And What Have You Done With My Body, God?” set and scattered on various other sets (i.e. The Army Now and Flesh in Armour are on “Daft,” but Comes and Goes is not).

  25. lucylle Says:

    These were some of the reasons my parents didn’t buy a tv and invested on a computer ;-)

    Here in Italy, this stuff is mostly forgotten (though, on watching current “varietà” shows and their inane dance routines, you might not tell) but there is a rather interesting phenomenon: this stuff is still broadcasted as filler on state television! Erratically, around 3-4 am you might find clips of eighties and seventies music shows such as these. No commentary, no commercials, only random clips of people singing and dancing. I think they just figured out that the only people watching tv that late are either stoned or sleepless and are banking on it.

  26. TranceMan Says:

    I have only just discovered the Sara Carlson experience!
    Fabulous, Magical, ONE OF A KIND.
    She writes the music, plays, sings, and dances…….WHAT?
    “Al Paradise” was only the beginning.

    I was BLOWN away by her website –

    Her video “Rising To Divinity”……….trance me y’all…………………