Underground Film Journal

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Music Video: Torsten Kretchzmar: Plastix

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 18, 2011

Like a cross between RuPaul and Kraftwerk, German electro-pop diva Torsten Kretchzmar puts a discofied gender twist on the old Waitresses’ hit with his “I Know What Girls Like.” Like Kraftwerk, Kretchzmar does his best to obscure his identity mostly with a creepy special effect that puts his singing lips on hairdresser practice mannequins. Yes, he knows what girls like and they’ll either be completely horrified by his ice cold persona or they’ll be romantically intrigued by this man of mystery. We’re guessing the latter.

As a huge fan of the original song and video, “I Know What Boys Like,” especially of singer Patty Donahue’s inability to lip sync and ubiquitous cigarette — sadly, of course, she died young of lung cancer — I never thought in a million years that anybody could top it. But, here we have Kretchzmar with an impossibly catchy remake featuring music by Men of Sport.

Bald man observes singing mannequin wearing sunglasses

And the video is disturbingly creepy. The singing mannequin head totally freaks me out, but not quite as much as the plastic sheeting covered walls, hung like it’s one of Dexter Morgan’s murder rooms. Plus, with bald attendants wielding ancient, rusty hair dryers like torture devices, this was obviously shot in a hair salon for the criminally insane.

But, who is Torsten Kretchzmar and why isn’t he a bigger superstar? Well, he doesn’t truly exist. Or, maybe he does. Kretchzmar is the performance artist alter ego of Steffen Frech, the German-born, San Francisco-based media artist. (He’s credited as the director and producer if you stay until the video’s end.) But, who’s to say where a person ends and his glamorous persona begins? You can see examples of Kretchzmar’s live multimedia performances in this video.

You can find out more about Kretchzmar at his company’s website, GUMMI International, and watch more videos on Vimeo and YouTube.