Archive for April, 2010

“Miracles” by Insane Clown Posse
Miracles” on Slate
There’s almost nothing to say after the SNL sketch

–but I will slog on, pointlessly:

When I first encountered the Insane Clown Posse video for “Miracles,” I couldn’t help but think of it in terms of the concessions that subcultures must often make in favor of art that caters specifically to the subculture in question. I’m talking about Stryper. Smaller niche = smaller talent, usually. But “Miracles” is a song that many people insist is a parody on the first listen. Almost everything about it is what you might call ‘deliciously bad’—that perfect overlap of earnest and horrible that somehow manages to create a kind of pleasure for the aging & rapidly curdling sensibilities of Generations X and later. “Camp” is a sort of cultural Stockholm Syndrome that manifests itself in generations that are exposed to crappy, witless entertainment during their formative years.

I was curious: “Exactly how much quality must one sacrifice to satisfy a desire for content that is exclusively geared for insanity/circus training/outlaw status?” –But I totally missed it. The laughably stupid rhymes in Miracles are not an example of the best that crazy outlaw clowndome has to offer. It’s really more like when Michael Jordan tried out for the 1996 US Olympics Women’s Figure Skating Team. Or when GWAR made an entire album of ballads. Or when Sting rapped. Miracles exists in that garish space that is created when someone takes confident, blundering steps outside of their artistic wheelhouse. Another example is, “any song by Meatloaf.”

Insane Clown Posse’s forehand is syncopated descriptions of violence. They could give you 100 rhymes for “eviscerate” in under a minute, but the seemingly naive way that Violent J and Shaggy get mystical about perplexing natural phenomena—that they stubbornly insist are “miracles”—is genuine naivite to the forces at work in the world around us. Their sense of lobotomized-Thoreauean wonder at even the elemental aspects of nature is pure animism.

We live in a cyclone of information. It’s damn near impossible to get to your late 30’s with this kind of “innocence”— if you will—to the kinds of knowledge that most people accidentally build up like ear wax. Shaggy 2 Dope is a living, breathing, Cargo Cult walking around under Brooklyn’s LaGuardia flightpath. He’s a miracle.

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Here’s a great little trailer for Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’s new book, Instructions, made all the better by Neil’s voice over.

I’m re-reading The Sandman Companion by Hy Bender, which, for me, now ranks up there in my ‘invaluable insight into creator’s minds” library as The Onion’s Tenacity of the Cockroach, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Pressfield’s The War of Art. If you’re a Sandman or Neil Gaiman fan, I cannot suggest it enough. Bender’s summation of each story arc, his critical insights, and concise conversations with Gaiman himself give great insight into both creator and creation itself, especially if you believe (as I do) that Sandman was one of the great works of the 20th Century.

Been meaning to mention Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book for quite some time as well. Absolutely worth checking out. Between that and Coraline, bloke had quite a year. The man’s a force of literature.

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Here’s a little animation I’ve been working on for about a month, using the audio from a stand-up performance I did in January at Room 5 in Los Angeles.

I know. Fourteen curse words in 3 minutes 50 seconds (they are bleeped out in case anyone’s worried ’bout work). I’m not proud of it. But I do think the overall piece turned out ok.

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If it’s not movin’, click on the image for the awesomeness.

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I cannot wait to see this. The scene in the trailer where Banksy scales the wall effortlessly to escape the cops is tre´ Ninja.

This, to me, is the purest example of art needing a valve. When people will risk criminal prosecution to exercise free speech, creativity, and really, hard-ass-work, I think there’s a pretty compelling case for the world always getting its prophets when it needs them.

It’s just a ride.- Bill Hicks

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Great short in which New York is attacked by 8 bit arcade characters.

My favorite (of course) are the Donkey Kong and Tetris bits. Could use a little Sinistar and Kangaroo, though.

UPDATE: I was given the following comment below from the One More Production Company- my apologies. I’ve embedded the official version now. Questions arise about how much anything can be official when you’re using characters that are other people’s intellectual property, but I’m assuming One More has permission from Nintendo, et al. I’d be surprised if it’s simply a Fair Use deal.

Regardless, it is truly stunning work. Sorry, Karen and One More!

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Ran across these the other day, which are a ton of fun. It looks like Steve creates these in Illustrator, with the random scan of background ink-painted foliage (if he’s doing the ink painting himself, I’m truly impressed).

My favorite is the Han and Chewbacca one.

If you dig this sort of thing, I’d highly suggest checking out Sesshu‘s work. Staggering stuff.

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Malcolm McLaren died yesterday. Never was a Sex Pistols man myself (I’m a follower of St. Joe Strummer- I’m a Clash man), but I’m not above tipping my cap to someone who cuts that wide of a cultural swath. I’ll be raising one to McLaren this weekend.

Over at the Caledonian Mercury is a nice little list of Six Things Malcolm McLaren Thought Of Before You Did.

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“Hey, I’m a bunny!”

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Scott Thill did a nice interview with Alan Moore over at Wired, in which he discusses a number of things, primarily his Zine, Dodgem Logic. Mr. Moore seems to be melding the “global/local” movement, into something he calls lobel– basically, producing his ‘zine, marketing it globally (via Mr. Moore’s already considerable fame and interest in his “brand”), then taking the profits and donating proceeds to local charities. Pretty cool.

The following observation was what struck me:

…I would like to see a situation where people finally got fed up with celebrity culture. Where people started this great democratic process in the arts where more and more people were just producing individually according to their own wants or needs.

It is possible in this day and age to make very low-budget films, using technology that the pioneers of cinema would have killed for that is relatively cheaply available down at your local electronics store. The means of making music or art are more in the hands of the people than they ever have been before. I think it would be great to see an end to the big entertainment companies in whatever industry, whether it be music, cinema or comic books.

I’d like to see people actually get angry about the quality of the material that they are having shoved down their throats. It can’t be good for us. And I would like to see people responding to that by basically following the old maxim that if you want a job done right you do it yourself.

This, to me, is what’s terrifying Hollywood (and rightfully so)- why watch King of Queens (I realize the pointedness of that question) when that kid with the weekly hilarious show he shoots in his garage in Iowa has another episode up? And he’s sponsored by his local bike shop? And it’s funnier (albeit not as nicely lit) than any clunky sitcom on tv?

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