Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WITCH COUNTDOWN #1: The Wicked Witch of the West

I almost let Halloween drift by without paying tribute to one of my favorite iconic characters.

The Witch. 

There are big ones, small ones, fat ones, and tall ones. I've been called one, felt like one, and look like one frequently. I've cast spells like one, had 'em bounce back on me like one because I wasn’t doing it right, and felt regrets like one ... even if it's only regret for having my hair messed up by the open window in the van. In corporate, there were times when I had to act like one, so naturally when I got home I caught hell for being one because I couldn’t change gears quickly enough.  I’m glad that isn’t a current issue.  My friends wonder if I used to be one, and I have at least one hater out there who maintains the belief that I truly am a witch. 

Looking beyond the word's negative stigma, I firmly believe that deep down, every woman is a witch, in a kitchen-y/healing/intuitive kind of way (granted many women have simply forgotten this), and every witch is wise. I've done a number of artistic pieces reflecting that belief, as well. Like the tarot, witches and witchcraft inspire my art because categorically they peek into the mysteries of womanhood and strive to explain its secrets.

So, with that introduction, I'll begin the Sapphokinesis Halloween Countown right here with one of my all-time favorite witches.  Ponder The Wicked Witch of the West from the acclaimed “Wizard of Oz”.

At first, this Evil Tyrant of the Silver Screen seems to be a one dimensional, monochromatic parody of evil.  She was perpetually doomed to play second fiddle to the effervescent Glinda, who will forever reign as a gay icon. I mean, you can't walk down the Castro in San Francisco without seeing Glinda's condescending smile beaming down at you from a greeting card. If you’ve seen Kristin Chenowith perform recently on television, you know what I mean.  Then, author Gregory McGuire helped us get to know The Witch in his book, "Wicked". Once that became a broadway musical,  The Witch got a name.   Elphaba and her personal mythos became an icon shortly thereafter, and that iconic status reverberates frequently in the newest crop of musical draemedies, like “Glee”. The song “Defying Gravity” is an anthem for emerging personalities everywhere.  It was an anthem for me.

She was a modern woman, this witch, who was unable to recover from a broken heart. When she got hung up on the wrong thing so intently that she tortured pathetic Dorothy over it, she simply couldn't swing back.

And what was it she got hung up on?  Booze, drugs or sex?  No.  It wasn't even a man.

It was shoes.

A pair of ruby slippers.

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