Inventing Bowie

I could pick any part of Ian Baruma's The Invention of David Bowie in this month's edition of The New York Review of Books, but I think Bowie's role as a performer and actor–in the broadest sense possible–is particularly relevant:

Kemp taught Bowie how to use his body, how to dance, pose, mime. And it was Kemp who introduced Bowie to Kabuki. Kemp was fascinated by the onnagata tradition of male actors playing female roles. Kabuki is oddly fitting to Bowie, a theater of extravagant, stylized gestures. At climactic moments the actors freeze, as though in a photograph, while striking a particularly dramatic pose. Bowie never became a great actor, but he did become a great poseur, in the best sense of the word; he always moves with peculiar grace. Without the influence of Kemp, he might not have made the next step in his career, merging rock music with theater, film, and dance. They put on a show together called Pierrot in Turquoise. Bowie learned how to use costumes and lighting to the best effect. Sets would become ever more elaborate, featuring images from Buñuel movies or Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.