Welcome to the home of the post-post modern artist, writer, and video maker the Obscure.
Wipe your shoes, clear your mind, and play nice with the other children.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Internet Dry Spell

Two weeks ago, I woke up in a new location: North Carolina, South Carolina's richer, snobby, tobacco farming upstairs neighbor. I used to live here back in the day when I had a disposable income, but now, in a post-dot com world, it's a bit tougher than I remember. But the show must go on!

Unfortunately, I've been at the mercy of my Internet provider. You see, this apartment is rather old, so high-speed Internet was like putting a jet engine on a hot air balloon... or something stupid like that. For the past two weeks, while I await the cables and wires and gizmos to be connected, I've been forced to entertain myself without the world-devouring web. Harikari was always an option, but I decided to explore the outside world, and I discovered some scary, weird, indescribable anomalies. Such as...

5. Trees
Man, just look at that gangly motherfucker! It's got arms like eels and a body like a Doric-style column. Where's it's head? Does it have a brain? This Lovecraftian horror can be seen everywhere around here, standing sentry in people's front yards. Sometimes I wander into the wrong neighborhood and there's a whole gang of these things standing around staring at me. I turn around quickly and get out of there. Stay the hell out of those places called nature preserves.

4. Flowers
What asshole thought these were a good idea? They poke up from the ground like traffic cones or tiny lampposts, all bright and frightening. The worst part is that they smell good so you lean over the get a whiff, and then a black and yellow dude jumps out and shanks your face! The knife must be dipped in feces because the stab wound gets all puffy and infected. Avoid flowers.

3. Parking Lots
I kind of like these. There's all these cars lined up in rows with no one watching. Some of the doors are unlocked and there's nice stuff inside, so you go about the aisles trying all the doors like an old game show snatching prizes: an iPod, a GPS, a coffee cup, a wad of napkins, a grandmother, etc. I must have looked at one of those trees wrong because this police man started chasing me. Damn trees. Also, am I the only one who though Ikea was a gigantic Blockbuster Video? It must be the color scheme.

2. Pigeons
Eck, what the fuck is that? RUN!

1. Cows
These people are weird. First of all, their women have four teets! And they're all nudists, which you think would be a good thing, except they all look like furry blimps with stubby legs and four teets. They chew on the ground all day. I'm assuming they eat tiny people like Smurfs and Borrowers. The women are ok, but the men are mean and charge at you with their pointy hair. I would recommend avoiding cows entirely.

Well, my Internet is back, so I've returned to blogging, writing, video producing, and... let's be honest. We all know the Internet is for one thing. One naughty thing that we all watch in the privacy of our own home. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Really Rosie": Remembering Sendak

I've just learned about the passing of author Maurice Sendak. If this is the first you're hearing of it, then I'm sorry you had to hear it from a stoned hipster. My immediate thoughts were of the wonderful book "Where the Wild Things Are" which taught us to go nuts. However, I then remembered another excellent project Sendak was responsible for: "Really Rosie." The aforementioned work is a musical written by Sendak with music by Carole King. It has become a mainstay in children's theater for it's simple but fun songs and delightful cast of characters including self-proclaimed "sassiest girl on the block" Rosie. The story is based on several of Sendak's books including the "Nutshell Library" collection and "The Sign on Rosie's Door."

What I really remember, though, is the 1975 half-hour animated special (that ran in syndication for two decades) that featured only half of the songs, but brought the production to life for the small screen. Here's a clip below (pending Youtube take-down) for your viewing pleasure.

So farewell, Maurice. Thanks for all the words and pictures and for showing us that children's literature can be a true art form. Internet reviewer Oancitizen pointed me to the perfect quotation:

"Please don't go. We'll eat you up. We love you so."
-Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pick of the Now: Ye-Ye

The thing that bothers me most about modern pop music is it's hyper-sexualized image. Now, I like sex as much as the next person (in fact I'm in the middle of an orgy right now, but it's kind of difficult to write with someone's elbow continually hitting my keyboard, so I'll keep this short). For me pop music is meant to be catchy and light-hearted or else solemn and emotionally captivating, even at the most shallow level. So you can see where the problem lies: I don't find music beds and pop-style chord progression arousing. I find rock music, rockabilly, gritty garage, and certain old R&B sexy. That's where the chaos lies. The sexy, sexy chaos. Hell, if I were a club person, I'd add house and techno to the list. But pop music in its classical sense is too innocent sounding to be sexy. It's like getting hit-on by a nine year old. Ick.

Wanting a return to that sexual naivety, I recently rediscovered a style of music called Ye-Ye (aka Yeah-Yeah) which rocketed to popularity in France, Spain, and Quebec in the early 60s. This style of music is notable for its catchy melodies, lightheartedness, and most importantly its aggressively cute European singers. It can be likened to Go-Go style popular in America, but whereas that attempted to be erotic, the Ye-Ye crowd preferred to be naive about it. Yes, the girls were sexy, but they presented themselves as though they weren't. And really, the overall themes seemed to shun such topics anyways.   Francoise Hardy (pictured above) sang about being lonely and wanting to experience romance like all her friends do.

There is something refreshing about finding music like this. It's simple and fun, the kind of sugar that puts a smile on your face. And it's campy as hell. Susan Sontag even mentions Ye-Ye in her essay "Notes on Camp" as a style of music completely composed of aesthetic exaggeration and a departure from seriousness. As she says "the whole point of camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful. Anti-serious." I honestly think Rebecca Black's music would fall into the realm of Ye-Ye style campy playfulness... if it were likably awful rather than intolerably awful.

And now some selections. Links will remain as long as the clips stay on Youtube.