CLOSE

The Late Movies: Leslie Hall, Rap Queen of Iowa

Leslie Hall is what Wikipedia describes as "an American satirical rap artist and front-woman for the band Leslie and the Ly's and the operator of what is best described as a 'gem sweater museum.'" I asked around and was told by THREE friends, "Oh yeah, Leslie's kind of famous." She's been on Yo Gabba Gabba!! Looking at her videos, I'm stunned that we haven't given her the Late Movies treatment yet. So strap yourselves in, stuff's about to get awesome.

"Tight Pants / Body Rolls"

This video is remarkable for at least three reasons: the surprisingly elaborate green-screen work, the impressive costumes, and an actually catchy song. Leslie describes the song as follows (I've reproduced the typos and punctuation verbatim -- it's all part of the awesomeness):

Watch out.. this song is about forest people who dance in tight clothes. be sure to stick around for about 2:18 those are slow motion body rolls. study those abs.. i'm isolating and really getting good for live show entertainment i plan to bring it. I'd like to comment on my skin tone. That is Iowa see-through skin. while indoors watching tv and crafting you tend to form a shade of pink - white- then pale - then followed by a clearness with blue veins running every which way. The costome seen in this video is my mom's KILL BILL insperationed. Because its been playing on tv latley. she had to get a colonoscapy and so she watched them and relized maybe I had the power to kill bill. ( in dance form of course).

Apparently you can buy the song from iTunes or on CD.

"Gravel In My Shoe - BACK 2 BACK PALZ"

Not a rap, but kind of wonderful. The lines delivered by the "Ly's" are truly impressive. Example: "I'm lookin' online and I'll see what I find. And I hope he's better than you because you make me miserable."

"How We Go Out Version 2"

Sort of like an alternate-universe version of Salt 'N Pepa, in which they're from Ames, Iowa. Sample lyrics: "On the way to the club we pass a Dairy Queen / You stop cause it you know it means so much to me / We take the back seats out of your mini van / Now we roll like a hummer or a full size sedan."

"Zombie Killer Revisited" (ft. Elvira)

With guest vocals from Elvira, and cameos in the video from Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank, from the documentary American Movie.

"Craft Talk"

For the craft people in the house.

"Razzle Dazzle Dancey Dance" (Yo Gabba Gabba)

Leslie teaches us a dancey dance involving "glitter hands." Which in my day were called "jazz hands." But in my day, we didn't have half as much razzle nor dazzle.

Lots More Videos

Check out her YouTube channel. Warning: you might be at it all day.

Her Website

You owe it to yourself to check out the official website for the band as well as Leslie Hall's other official website, which feature such gems as Weddings in Iowa By Leslie, a series of wedding packages. Don't think, just click. Trust me.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Chloe Efforn
arrow
Animals
John Lennon Was a Crazy Cat Lady
Chloe Efforn
Chloe Efforn

John Lennon was crazy about cats, and though he owned a couple of dogs (Sally and Bernard) over the years, he was better known for getting by with a little help from his feline friends.

1. ELVIS

Growing up, Lennon's beloved mother, Julia, had a named cat after Elvis Presley, whom Julia and John were both crazy about. The Lennons later realized they had misnamed Elvis when "he" gave birth to a litter of kittens in the cupboard, but they didn't change the cat's name based on that small mistake.

2. AND 3. TICH AND SAM

He had two other cats as a boy growing up in Liverpool: Tich and Sam. Tich passed away while Lennon was away at art school (which he attended from 1957 to 1960), and Sam was named after famous British diarist Samuel Pepys

4. TIM

One day, John Lennon found a stray cat in the snow, which his Aunt Mimi allowed him to keep. (John's Aunt Mimi raised him from a young boy through his late teenage years, and he affectionately referred to her as the Cat Woman.) He named the marmalade-colored half-Persian cat Tim.

Tim remained a special favorite of John's. Every day, he would hop on his Raleigh bicycle and ride to Mr. Smith's, the local fishmonger, where he would buy a few pieces of fish for Tim and his other cats. Even after John became famous as a Beatle, he would often call and check in on how Tim was doing. Tim lived a happy life and survived to celebrate his 20th birthday.

5. AND 6. MIMI AND BABAGHI

John and his first wife, Cynthia, had a cat named Mimi who was, of course, named after his Aunt Mimi. They soon got another cat, a tabby who they dubbed Babaghi. John and Cynthia continued acquiring more cats, eventually owning around 10 of them.

7. JESUS

As a Beatle, John had a cat named Jesus. The name was most likely John's sarcastic response to his "the Beatles are bigger than Jesus" controversy of 1966. But he wasn't the only band member with a cat named Jesus: Paul McCartney once had a trio of kittens named Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

8. AND 9. MAJOR AND MINOR

In the mid-1970s, John had an affair with his secretary, May Pang. One day, the studio receptionist brought a box of kittens into the recording studio where John and May were. "No," John immediately told May, "we can't, we're traveling too much." But she picked up one of the kittens and put it over her shoulder. Then John started stroking the kitten and decided to keep it. At the end of the day, the only other kitten left was a little white one that was so loud no one else wanted it. So they adopted it as well and named the pair Major and Minor.

10. AND 11. SALT AND PEPPER

John owned a pair of black and white cats with his wife Yoko Ono. As befitting John's offbeat sense of humor, many places report he christened the white cat Pepper and the black one Salt.

12. AND 13. GERTRUDE AND ALICE

John and Yoko also had two Russian Blue cats named Gertrude and Alice, who each met tragic ends. After a series of sicknesses, Gertrude was diagnosed with a virus that could become dangerous to their young son, Sean. John later said that he held Gertrude and wept as she was euthanized. 

Later, Alice jumped out of an open window in the Lennons' high-rise apartment at the Dakota and plunged to her death. Sean was present at the time of the accident, and he remembers it as the only time he ever saw his father cry.

14., 15. AND 16. MISHA, SASHA, AND CHARO

In later years, John also owned three cats he named Misha, Sasha, and Charo. Always an artist at heart, John loved to sketch his many cats, and he used some of these pictures as illustrations in his books.

This piece originally ran in 2012.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
The Time Sammy Davis Jr. Impersonated Michael Jackson
Getty Images
Getty Images

Sammy Davis Jr. was known for his impersonations—check out his rendition of “As Time Goes By” as 13 different people. So when he hit the stage with Jerry Lewis for a 1988 TV special, he decided to show the audience that his talents weren’t just limited to acts from his era.

Though he briefly mentions Rod Stewart, his main target was Michael Jackson. Davis and Jackson were extremely close; when Jackson was just in his twenties, he would often show up at Davis’s house unannounced to immerse himself in the archives, a room downstairs that contained videos of Davis’s performances over the years.

“Michael Jackson is more than a friend," Davis—who was born on this day in 1925—explained, while also alluding to the fact that the King of Pop borrowed some dance moves from him. "He’s like a son.” And then he launched into this impression:

Jackson returned the favor during a special on February 4, 1990, in which Hollywood’s biggest stars gathered to honor Davis, who was celebrating six decades in show business:

Sadly, the anniversary show was the last time Davis would perform in public. Though throat cancer had mostly stolen his voice by this point, Davis let his tap shoes do the talking. He died on May 16, 1990—just three months after the tribute aired.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios