WARNING: What you are about to see will amaze, delight, and possibly cause you to make a closet full of gem sweaters. Straight out of the Midwest, the following artist has been sweeping the nation, rapping about everything from zombies to gold pants, breaking down the barriers that divide us by turning people of all types into Junior Gems. Blog readers, meet Leslie Hall!
Leslie Hall is more than just a rapper, singer, dancer, crafter, fashion designer, and curator of the world's largest Mobile Museum of Gem Sweaters; she is also an inspiration. Through her unique (and always glamorous) style, catchy party jams, and midwestern diva attitude, Leslie and her friends (the LY's) have created a new style of music and living that the aspiring MC and feminist in all of us will be able to appreciate. Come with me and let's explore the wonders that are Leslie and the LY's.
To whet your gem sweater appetite, here is an amazing video and song about making crafts:
Leslie Hall got her start as a performance artist and fashion icon in her hometown of Ames, Iowa. (You can read some history here and see Hall's first-ever television appearance here.) However, her internet celebrity really began with her Mobile Museum of Gem Sweaters, where she collects, models, sells, and names hundreds of gem sweaters. If you're lucky enough to attend a live Leslie and the LY's performance (which a few of us Bitchies were able to do recently) you're likely to see a fair portion of the crowd rocking these bejeweled beauties in Leslie's honor.
From the sweater museum, of course, came the music career. (Isn't that always the way it goes?) Leslie started making music with some of her friends in Ames under the name Leslie and the LY's. Producing most of their beats in GarageBand, Leslie and the LY's music truly demonstrates the magic that can come from DIY production (if you've got the right amount of sparkle, that is). Check out this video about killing zombies to see what I mean:
Part of Leslie's appeal is that she hasn't lost her midwestern pride, or her midwestern sensibilities. She can usually be seen rocking a gem sweater (naturally), big hair, and bright blue eyeshadow. Far from trying to hide her womanly figure, Leslie chooses to highlight it by wearing sexy metallic leggings while she performs her gymnastic dance routines. In fact, she has her own fashion line called Midwest Diva, where she makes flashy spandex outfits (by hand, mind you) in every size. The leggings are available in her online store Hefty Hideaway, at live shows, or at Fat Fancy, a Portland-based underground boutique that specializes in plus-sized hotness.
Of course, a glittering DIY jewel like Leslie Hall does more than just make music, gem sweaters, and fabulous spandex. Leslie is also a spokesperson for net neutrality. You can see her explain her reasoning for supporting the cause at We Are The Web, and if you do nothing else today, take a minute (or two and a half, actually) to watch this:
Leslie Hall AND the Tron Guy?!? My day is made.
So for those of you out there who need a little pick-me-up, a little sparkle, and a little fun in your life, look no farther than Leslie and the LY's. Not only is the music outta sight, but the message of creativity, DIY independence, and acceptance of all styles is something we can all feel inspired by. Leslie and the LY's are on tour now, so if they're coming to your town, trust me -- you don't want to miss it.