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This Week in Beyoncé

Queen B
Five Things We Learned from That Beyoncé Doc on HBO.

Nathan Smith

Workers guide the inflatable pig from Pink Floyd's 1977 In the Flesh tour into Robertson Stadium, then called Jeppesen Stadium.
Courtesy of Bruce Kessler
Workers guide the inflatable pig from Pink Floyd's 1977 In the Flesh tour into Robertson Stadium, then called Jeppesen Stadium.
Even when not giving the camera a come-hither look, Beyoncé is still superhumanly gorgeous.
Even when not giving the camera a come-hither look, Beyoncé is still superhumanly gorgeous.

Life Is But a Dream, the HBO documentary about Beyoncé that was directed and produced by Beyoncé, premiered recently. Basically, our favorite homegrown diva walks us through the joys and anxieties of the last couple years of her life.

The film was hyped as an unvarnished look at Beyoncé's life, but who honestly believed that? She directed, produced and starred in the thing: We see and hear only what she wants us to. At best, it's a trumped-up episode of Making the Video. At worst, it's the exceedingly boring video diary of a beautiful control freak.

5. She hasn't forgotten her Houston roots.

The doc opens with a shot of Beyoncé's childhood home, a nice brick-and-stucco mansion in one of our city's upper-middle-class neighborhoods. She probably owns servants' quarters larger than this place today, but it's clear from the loving, lingering footage of the place that the singer sees it as the cradle in which her life and career were conceived. "That house is my foundation," she says.

4. She's got some daddy issues.

Perhaps no one has played a bigger role in Beyoncé's professional success than Mathew Knowles, and the singer has nothing but kind words for her father. Several times, she praises the music-industry knowledge and business acumen that she learned watching him operate as her manager, including the realization that politeness and success in the cutthroat world of entertainment don't always go hand in hand.

In the doc, Beyoncé carefully couches her reasoning for breaking with her father in a need to achieve total independence as a woman, an artist and a businessperson. That certainly fits in neatly with her favorite artistic themes, but it's obvious that the break has damaged her relationship with her father.

3. She always looks good. Always.

One of the most anticipated aspects of Life Is But a Dream was the prurient desire to see Beyoncé "off stage": i.e., with no makeup, no wardrobe, and maybe even a crooked weave or two. Well, there's no shortage of footage in the film of the singer barefaced, wearing sweaty workout gear or pajamas. If you were hoping to catch her looking even halfway busted in the early morning or the middle of the night, you were shit out of luck.

Whether on a boat with the wind blowing her hair; lying on the couch in her living room; or shooting a casual, confessional-style segment on her laptop, Beyoncé still looks flat-out superhumanly gorgeous.

2. She had a miscarriage.

As much as HBO hyped the behind-the-scenes, off-limits nature of the footage Beyoncé collected for this film, Life Is But a Dream didn't contain a whole hell of a lot of startling revelations. Save for one: Before Blue Ivy Carter was even a glimmer in her eye, Beyoncé suffered a miscarriage — as traumatic an event as can befall a first-time mother.

For the first time, Beyoncé opens up a bit publicly about the excitement she felt when she first heard the fetus's heartbeat in her doctor's office, only to suffer crushing pain and disappointment when that heartbeat stopped.

1. She cuts her own hair, dude.

This is a woman who probably has a team devoted to cutting her toenails, and there she is trimming her own tresses. It takes a hell of a lot of confidence for a star known for her gorgeous locks to take out the scissors and start snipping away in her dressing room.

Stuff You Should Know About

Yoko Ono Turns 80, Is Still Weird As Hell.

Angelica Leicht

Yoko Ono, never one to bend to the rules of societal convention, has got this old-age shit down to a science. Screw bridge club and Metamucil; this octogenarian is putting your grandma's ideas about the twilight years to shame.

True to form, the famed conceptual artist/musician/fashion designer/philanthropist/Beatles destroyer (to a few of you, anyway) didn't spend her 80th birthday February 18 kicked back in her recliner. Spry as hell, she instead performed at the Volksbühne in Berlin.

Don't start covering your ears and eyes in a pre-emptive protest just yet. Yes, a lot of her work has been ridiculous, especially the earlier stuff. But despite some really, ahem, interesting work over the years, it seems Ono has evolved, offering up art that is more than apples with price tags and poorly landscaped crotches.

Believe it or not, Yoko and her electronic-dance remix project, ONO, have done pretty darn well, and she's also collaborated with the likes of Sonic Youth, the Pet Shop Boys and Eric Clapton, to name just a few. She's also had some successful art exhibits of late, gaining mainstream popularity with her "Wish Trees" at New York's Museum of Modern Art, and she's done well to commemorate her late husband, John Lennon, by collaborating on tributes to him across the globe.

I dig Yoko's style. At 80, my grandma couldn't work the tape player in her car, let alone design man bras or drop dance hits. As a nod to Yoko's 80 years on the planet, let's take a walk down memory lane and reminisce on some of her stranger pieces of art.

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