Mark Allen's Top Ten for 5/30/05:
1. My first shows on WFMU.org
I have been doing fill-in shows at my favorite radio station in the world, "The Museum of the Air," WFMU.org. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be involved in what I consider to be one of the most important cultural institutions in our reality. I'm also wide-eyed in finding the crew at the station to be totally great, like a whole new kind of family.
Each show I have done, and will do, will be listed here. I don't really recommend listening to the May 2nd one, as it was just a dry run designed to get me more aquatinted (read: beaten down) by the studio, and all I did was play ho-hum records and say "uh..." a lot. Up there all alone in that studio at night. I felt like Adrian Barbeau in that isolated radio station that she had to climb that rickety, long staircase to get to on that little rocky peninsula in that little coastal town in the film THE FOG (for me, the late-night residents of Jersey City as the roaming, hook-armed, mist-enshrouded ghouls). "If anyone can hear me... stay away from the fog! FOR GOD'S SAKE STAY AWAY FROM THE FOG!"
My May 30th show is more along the lines of what I had in mind... kinda... sorta.
Look for many more shows by me on WFMU in the very near future, and for them to develop into something highly interesting.
Remember, I'm new to WFMU. Much like Sissy Spacek's character in the gymnasium shower scene at the beginning of the movie CARRIE, this is my first time. So don't gang up and taunt... or throw things.
2. Sociopaths - they're gonna make it after all!
Having long suspected sociopathic tendencies within myself, and realizing that the pot calling the kettle black is sometimes the only way towards true enlightenment, join me below, as I look in the mirror and offer a
confession, suspicious rant, public service announcement on the nature of the sociopath, followed by a link to two fantastic articles (by Texas writer Glenna Whittle) from the Dallas Observer about a particularly noteworthy specimen (above) named Sandra Bridewell.
The FIRST defining trait of an upwardly mobile sociopath? Truly evil people don't see themselves as evil, they see everyone else around them as evil. The fact that a sociopath's identifying characteristics and sinister ways may be obvious to others is a moot point. Sociopaths may not know the difference between right and wrong, but the smart ones learn to fake it. They say the best way to pass a lie detector test is to believe the lie as if it were the truth. A sociopath does this like other people breath or turn food into poo... it's natural. All sociopaths live in a fantasy world of ego-centric superheroism, even while forging a road paved with skulls straight out of Hell. This fail-safe method of denial/confidence allows them to seamlessly smother obstacles in their path (obstacles that normal people might take pause with) without hesitation. Hieronymous Bosch's painting "Hell" looks like a sun-laden, green hill-ed Teletubbie landscape to a sociopath - it's their unique perspective. In reality, a sociopath may be a Richard Ramirez-type who goes around sneaking into people's houses at night and torturing them to death... but inside their minds its like they are a sobbing Richard Simmons... helping fat people to regain their dignity. Their ultimate grinning death mask of denial turns their hammer of sick doom into an selfless act of pure kindness ...with a well-deserved bonus "prize" for them in the end. Which leads to...
The SECOND trait of sociopaths? They expect a payoff due to their innate sense of entitlement. They aren't slugs. They have goals. Wanting to help is a means to an end and Karma is as automatic as a vending machine to them. They have a black and white interpretation of the concept "give and take." Whether their goal is a series of carefully staged serial murders that form the shape of a pentagram when looked at on a map, or becoming the top editor of a high fashion magazine, sociopaths dream big, and they aren't afraid to "gift," "give," "help" or "lick major ass" in the beginning stages of any scheme. Acts of selflessness that have high visibility are the first stages in any sociopath's ladder to the apocalypse. Being a good samaritan is a good thing indeed, but to a sociopath it's nothing more than a foot in the door. And if payoff isn't eventually received for these acts down the line, and to their liking, a sociopath's true colors will emerge (which they always keep hidden). Which leads to...
The THIRD trait of a sociopath? Social graces! Social graces are nothing more than the learned ability to conceal. For a sociopathic "go-getter," the primitive predatory instinct to stalk, hunt and kill translates into the ability to imitate, infiltrate and annihilate within the civilized social circles that hold things they want. They maneuver in the shadows and scurry with glee up the evolutionary chain. Some are better at it than others (see Sandra Bridewell linked below). But, much like toupees or well-concealed colostomy bags, it's only the ones that don't fool you that you ever notice, and that end up falsely representing the sum of the whole. Having the ability to shape-shift into innocence even in the most hellish of circumstances of their own design allows sociopaths to be judge, jury and secret executioner to the inanimate objects that are the people in their lives.
The FOURTH trait of the sociopath? Life is a stage! Sociopaths are born extroverts, but they avoid the spotlight during "working" hours. Acting is a craft!Ý The old saying "never let them see you sweat" becomes "never let them see you stab." Their goals are a secret yearning for the waves of love that only silent, inner applause can provide - and they are willing to Eve-Harrington-their-way to that imagined standing ovation, while trampling over everyone else's "secret garden." Are you a born "ham?" Thy name is sociopath!
So, SUMMING UP SO FAR: reward for actions in a sociopath's life is a given, guilt is something to project on other people to manipulate them with, revenge by them is nothing more than "helping Karma along," and skulls are crush-able thank you. Of course, this unique concept of right and wrong, and an insatiable need to succeed - can make for some pretty slapstick situations in the average sociopath's life. Which leads to...
The FIFTH identifying mark of a sociopath? A predisposition towards "hair-brained schemes." Again, some are more so than others, but sociopaths are, by nature, idiot savants. They just can't help it. The extreme fast-track is always the obvious choice for a sociopath. Why work your way up the corporate ladder when you can just secretly poison the boss and assume his identity? Why wouldn't that work? Because of their lifestyle choices, everyday hassles get compounded into hilarious horror shows. True sociopaths share as much in common with Genghis Khan as they do with Don Knotts. "Murphy's Law" takes on some pretty strange permutations for them. They feel unfairly oppressed by others and even hassled when accomplishing things... things like oh, say... shooting to death the overly-inquisitive sister of someone they are conning, and propping the corpse upright in the driver's seat of a car in a remote parking lot at the airport to make it look like a suicide. The whole time they are positioning the gun against their victim's chest at just the right angle, and furiously wiping away their fingerprints with Windex, it's all "Dammit... god... geeze! Why is everyone doing this to me?!" ...and then they realize they locked their keys in the car. Trying to maintain dignity in an impossibly undignified situation is one of the keys to comedy, but then again people are funniest when they don't realize they are being funny.
Such is the lurid/compelling tale of Sandra Bridewell. Sandra is a 60-something, ironically lucky, maladroitly crafty, predatory, bipolar, Multiple Personality Syndrome-ish, pseudo-New Age Christian murderer/con-artist/black widow nut job who has left a trail of complex, messy chaos, bizarro clutter and jaw-dropping dysfunction (and a suspicious body or two) in her strange, sad wake. Her run has spanned several decades due to her ability to repeatedly sluice out of the grasp of law enforcement at every last desperate hour. Like a sit-com character from an evil dimension, Sandra seems to always fall just one forged check, one phony plea, and one secret corpse short of becoming queen of the world.
"I'm no longer a slave to sin. I'm fully delivered from the power of sin over my life. Meditation in God's Word will form explosives, it rearranges things. $$$ is looking for me NOW--$10 billion looking for me NOW. Meditate on 'money cometh.' My seed goeth while I'm expecting 'money to cometh.'" "Bring my Boaz to me now!" "AM A MONEY MAGNET - I ATTRACT MILLIONAIRE/BILLIONAIRE MENTORS - I ATTRACT MY DREAM TEAM - I AM A BILLIONAIRE IN CHRIST JESUS - I AM A GIVER, A GENEROUS CHEERFUL GIVER - I ATTRACT MULTIPLE SOURCES OF INCOME!" reads hand-scrawled notes from a notebook found amongst Sandra's desperate, bedraggled belongings - abandoned in the dead of night when the fake trust documents used to finagle her way into multi-million dollar estate were exposed (again!), and the poisoned corpse of an ex-friend was pointing it's boney, post-mortem finger once more in her direction. Sandra Bridewell, despite being still on the loose (and perhaps because of it), seems to be able to turn the world on with her smile, take a "nothing" day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.
Texas writer/investigator Glenna Whitle recently wrote two superb, in-depth, pieces for The Dallas Observer spinning the yarn of Sandra Bridewell's plight to the top. Jaw-dropping, coffee-spilling, edge of your seat reading - highly recommended. Like watching an episode of "I Love Lucy" with Myra Hindley in the lead role:
"The Return of the Black Widow" (first published in January 22nd, 2004)
"Seductress of the Saint" (published December 9th, 2004).
3. I know a secret about Goo and you
Apparently I'm not the only one who secretly wishes Stanley Kubrick had concluded his 1964 film "Dr. Strangelove" with the originally scripted ending (an apocalyptically messy food fight between the characters in the war room). "Gunge" is a movement born of outward lust for slapstick, and inward love of the womb. Do I dare make a graph showing the rise of the gunge phenomenon in proportion to plummeting rentals of "Three Stooges" DVDs (which was obviously a secret front for gunge during the prohibition years). But even more daring, do I make the claim that slime is chauvinist?
It may sound like an academic asshole-ish claim; but is gunge actually womb envy? Since its beginning, there have been willing females involved in gunge, but mostly as models in the more sexual/pornographic realm of it. With exceptions, the core drive of the larger, more non-sexual (on the conscious surface) chunk of the gunge subculture seems nurtured by an adolescent testosterone root, coming from a generation raised on Nickelodeon's "You Got Slimed," who maybe caught a late night cable re-run of "Ghostbusters" while coming down from Ecstasy.
Unfairly shackled to the subculture of "bizarre internet sex stuff" in it's early years because of it's nature, gunge quickly passed over the cliched dank basement dungeon in favor of lush, outdoor forests and summertime backyards, under bright sunshine and amidst fresh air (although to be fair, many gunge session seem to be photographed in bathtubs, for obvious reasons). The inner nest is abandoned in favor of the outdoors - the place of hunting and gathering.
True gunge and it's audience seem to barely skim the surface of sexual interaction, if at all - probably due mostly to it's child-humor value system, it's frequent reliance on clowns, birthday cakes, Keystone Cops-style pie fights, kiddie swimming pools and, most importantly, playroom ritual. Complicated sexuality would ruin it. Gunge seems to finally be coming into it's own as nothing more than a mash-up of male empowerment drum circle retreats, and "re-birthing" gone hysterically literal - but at least with gunge its not considered inappropriate to burst out with mocking laughter during the "therapy process."
MaleGunge.com is a typical meeting places that showcases one of the side-effects of gunge: excellently weird photography. I particularly love this collection. Be sure and also check out the gunge fiction, of which "Hotel Gunge" is a particularly noteworthy/Freudian example. Whether you're trying to crash the 13.5 billion year mark in the evolutionary timeline when the collective unconscious was nothing but a shivering amoeba, or you just like that special feeling you get from being swathed in gallons of vanilla cake batter, shaving gel and food coloring - either way, it's probably good brain food to embrace your ectoplasmic entity (just don't tell mommy).
4. Elizabeth (Liz, Lisa) Brady Cabot Winslow - elaborate internet hoax, or a prodigy in many fields!?
Some people one-up the very notion of "Carpe Diem" and instead annihilate each and every day into a super nova of life-fulfilling potential, reaching unbelievable heights. On the other hand some people, no matter how hard they try, just can't seem to catch a break. Some people inhabit both of these realms. While normal slobs are sitting watching cable TV and making excuses, Elizabeth (Liz, Lisa) Brady Cabot Winslow, who has apparently descended from world-wide royalty and the Hollywood elite, has constructed a daily life experience that encapsulates James Bond, Albert Einstein, Wonder Woman, Harry Caul, Laura Mars and Mork From Ork ...at least that is according to her extensive home page/resume/cry for consideration. She doesn't just raise the bar, she lights the ends of it on fire and does a baton-twirling routine with it (that is until she has to flee the stage when a lone gunman tries to assassinate her from the balcony).
How can us "normals" (who neatly slide into type A, B, or C personality pegs) possibly compete with a young, gorgeous, published, jet-setting, famous glamazon heiress spy with a mindbogglingly high I.Q. and who's connected to the world's power elite? According to her, we can't! Naturally, because she is living "...in beautiful, lavish, costly places" and "...owns rare and valuable possessions," we'll be fascinated and "...jealous of me and resentful of my superior brains, looks, glamorous life, TV appearances, beautiful pictures, etc." Who else spends their mornings involved with international C.I.A. intrigue and sizzling high fashion shoots, and their evenings dealing with the daily stress of possessing paranormal powers while discovering wires and listening devices in their apartment?
Every day for Ms. Cabot Winslow is a dazzling wonder, from having her memoirs stolen by the mob and turned into today's biggest cinema blockbusters right under her nose (again!), to outsmarting "crooked meddlers" and "unidentified hostile undesirable oddballs" from the highest offices of Washington D.C. and Vogue magazine, who "...electrocuted me in left ear at a public telephone" to prevent her from publishing yet another New York Times bestseller. "Liz" would probably have become the next Madonna or Paris Hilton is it hadn't been for "The public, who has gone on a crooked crime spree," and who has "...deliberately and illegally ruined my careers and all my endeavors in all fields."
"I have been illegally run over by inferior trash..." concludes Ms. Winslow.
Can an elaborate brag be a cry for help? Vise-versa? Ms. Cabot Winslow hypnotizes us with plausible grace, underhandedly daring us to lob tomatoes at the chip tediously constructed on her shoulder, it's gargantuan size timidly balanced on her pin-boned frame.
I'm surprised "Liz" had the time to create a home page, with all the time she spends doing undercover work for the United Nations, dancing ballet onstage in Russia - and discovering knock-out drops in her mineral water. But hey - some people just really have it together, it would seem.
Whether Elizabeth (Liz, Lisa) Brady Cabot Winslow's home page is an actual window into someones genuine madness, or is nothing more than an elaborate hoax (the internet in a nutshell), to peruse over its maddening, lapidary detail is to nevertheless ponder the path not taken. As the saying goes; "If 'ifs' and 'buts' were clusters of nuts, we'd all have a bowl of granola!"
So don't criticize, resent or try to interfere (you crooked packs!) as you read about "Liz" and her ability to muli-task the rest of us into oblivion ...just stand back and let her happen!
5. "You kids turn down that damn room tone!"
While there's no answer to the philosophical questions laid down by John Cage's classic "4:33," this of course hasn't stopped many artists from taking a hearty stab at a conceptual rebuttal anyway. Some (perhaps without even trying) get closer than others.
British artist and musician David Cunningham takes the natural "silence" of random public and private spaces, and subtly amplifies it to the foreground. Using a location's own real-time audible (and inaudible) "background" noise as a source, Cunningham installs simple equipment (a microphone/speaker/amplifier/noise gate set-up) that records, amplifies and loops the natural sounds refracted within each location, feeding it back to the space itself in real time, re-focusing people's ears to "listen" to sounds in quiet spaces where they might not normally do so. The goal of his Activated Space project is "...to develop and present a series of installations that alter an architectural space to allow its resonant frequencies to become audible and interactive."
What kind of public spaces does he aurally reconfigure? Random elevator corridors in apartment buildings in Birmingham, unsuspecting stairwells of buildings in Tokyo, public squares in Copenhagen, outside the walls of museums in Helsinki, hidden warehouses in Sydney, exteriors of architecture schools in London, city sidewalks, and even British courtrooms have already caught pedestrians, occupants and passersby ears unaware due to his subtle manipulation of their normal acoustic habits. Although some of his work has appeared in galleries, the installations in public spaces are often unannounced, save for a simple place card nearby.
Cunningham documents all his installations at his Activated Space website. Be sure to check out the sound and video clips of his work in action (the one of the confused people in the elevator corridor is priceless).
Now we can all finally hear what Jamie Sommers did all those years (who we all know was the only one not bored at subsequent performances of '4:33').
6. "Can I get you some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers, Extreme Fajitas or Dog Blood?"
In our nauseatingly dumbed-down and meta-hollow times, where the art of rebellion has been diluted with weak imitation and over-repetition, its par for the course to note the practice of the society-aimed prank fading painfully, painfully, painfully into nostalgic blurbscurity. But assimilate not! The absolute genius Rob and his great friends over at the legendary Cockeyed.com are thankfully still carrying the torch of the hilariously rude, even if just on a small scale. Instead of initiating their prank at the geopolitical level... they decided to start at the level of restaurants where the decor consists of street signs indoors, stuffed alligators with sunglasses on them, and waiters who sing you your Million Dollar Birthday Fries. Rob and friends secretly counterfeited a mock-up of a TGI Fridays menu, and sent copies to friends all over the country to slip under the laminated menus of their most despised strip mall TGI Friday's locations, when wait staff and gorging families were distracted by their overpriced globs of deep fried flour.
Rob and pals co-opted the latest in food photo styling techniques to replace Atkins-friendly burgers with photos of sticks of butter wrapped in bacon, made the disclaimer on the Atkins Soda to read "*Disclaimer: contains no animal blood," and switched the blurb under the Buffalo Wings from "Awesomely outrageous!" to "...so good you'll want to throw them up and eat them again!"
The results? Well, Rob and his minions have indeed carried out their plans nation-wide... and documented it... but there appears to be no VH1-sponsored riots at Disneyland just yet. Nevertheless, its warm and centering to see that, despite perhaps having to start back at square one again with this generation's sense of the sinister upheaval, the wide-grinning spirit to fuck with the moronic is still rooted in people's hearts. Viva McRevolutione!
7. "Information is the currency of power" vs. "Getting information about the currents of power (co-opting your brain)"
Did you file for U.S. Patent 3,951,1344? Are you a secret supporter of MKULTRA and H.A.A.R.P.? Are you involved in a worldwide plan driving a subliminal force secretly programming sleeper agents like Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley, Timothy McVeigh, Sirhan Sirhan and David Koresh?Ý Is tinfoil your nemesis? Are you actually sending radioactive waves into my brain right now to command me to type this? Let's break the ice and get to know each other. MindControlForums.com has created a Totally Anonymous, Untraceable Questionnaire for Electronic Harassment/Mind Control Perpetrators for us, so we can finally communicate with each other in a format my conscious mind, and other witnesses, are more familiar with. Please answer the questions to the best of your abilities (or to the extent that your overlords will allow). If you're unsure of what to say, please refer to other responses for guidance. Might be good to get a few things off your chest before you enter that secret doorway inside my closet wall and ride that aluminum tube elevator down into the hollow Earth back to your Gray and Reptilian wife and kids, or your job in the assembly line at the secret radio transmitter tooth implant factory (I know you're chummy with my orthodontist, why can't we have that kind of close relationship?) Please just let me know what's on your mind before you put stuff in my mind.
8. The Vivisectionist's Monster Mash
Take a hallucinatory, glue-fumed, nostalgic stroll down memory lane with Ed Moore's gallery of vintage Aurora Monster Model Kit instruction sheets... as well as other ephemera from an era where "dripping blood" typeface was di rigeur, and Vampira's airbrushed cleavage caused more than the dead to rise. The black and white model instruction sheets, with their vivisectional horror icons and M. C. Escher-esque complexities of lines, arrows, grafts and chart intersections, are works of art in themselves, suitable for framing. How old do you have to be to understand something this complex? Perhaps huffing itty bitty jars of model paint and tubes of lemon-scented super glue puts it all into crystal clear perspective. I remember I actually had one of these kits as a little kid (I think it was the Wolfman) and I couldn't bring myself to paint over the glow-in-the-dark plastic, for some reason it seemed blasphemous. Ed's site has tons of info on the artists responsible for the "look" of Aurora and other model companies' product and packaging.
Mark Allen's Top Uh...
1. Limbo deluxe platter
For those of you gnawing on Kleenex in frustration over my lack of updates, you can find a new strain of a new vein of activity by me here, and more specifically here (for just my posts). Unlike the barren womb that is often my inexplicable "Top Ten" format - the preceding linked WFMU blog (which is a genuinely great blog to begin with) has deliveries by me almost daily. I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate the two in a way that doesn't end up looking like some deranged, blind, dyslexic person's late-night Dr. Frankenstein experiment.
"Hey Mark... why don't you finally switch your site over to a typical blog format?" says everyone. SHUT UP! STOP SAYING THAT! I'LL KILL YOU!!! I'LL KILL YOU ALL!!!! So before I commit mass reader-icide and also figure out how to make the two formats meld properly... bask in the bi-polar!
Aaaaand... while I have all y'alls attention... how am I doing you ask? Why simply grand. So let me give you the usual run-around and talk only about the things that I want people who look at this page to know about (in the most friendly and lovable way possible, I assure you).
I recently rented Shane Carruth's much-talked-about film PRIMER (2004) which I found to be absoluteluckinantastiwesome. I totally, totally, totally loved it. Of course the fact that the whole thing was filmed in my hometown might have something to do with that. You know how zombie-fied nostalgic I get about my hometown of Plano, Texas. *sigh*... everything looks so golden in the rearview... especially when you're gazing at the rearview through a movie that was made in the present, about people who travel into the future (my conundrum in a nutshell).
In the film, the library that the two main characters plot and plan their time-traveling plans (in really only about three scenes), is in actuality a very real diorama backdrop for my insular childhood. This is one of the original, old buildings at the Richardson Public Library - a library that I used to spend like, one day a week at for four whole years of my very, very young life. Built in the 1970's, the building's in/exterior is a grandstanding showcase of the future-think of it's day - a masterwork of industrial carpeting, open spaces, white overhanging balconies, dripping ferns, globe light fixtures, Mexican tile floors, orange-interiored elevators with dark wood outer doors, yawning skylights and bizarro-amorphous 70's pod chairs coupled with weirdo-shaped couches framed by massive aluminum bookshelves (very LOGAN'S RUN - which was also filmed in Dallas during that orange, yellow and silver era). My mom used to drop me off at the Richardson Public Library when I wasn't playing sports (always) and I would spend hours wandering around the sparsely populated art book section on the second floor. I would check out and read books about performance art, spending my time gazing at the photos inside of naked girls on top of Volkswagens getting spaghetti dumped on them, or pictures of Chris Burden laying inside a bag in the middle of a busy highway, or documents of German freaks having orgies inside fresh bloody carcasses of cows (in front of seated audiences of Swiss art patrons who would pay top dollar to see such stuff). I would also peruse Charles Adams and The New Yorker cartoon collection books (massive, hardcover volumes with clear plastic outer protective covers covering the dust jackets, which crinkled and popped loudly when you moved the pages). Then I would sneak over to the periodical shelves and pull out The Village Voice and get my cheap thrills looking at the postage stamp-sized black and white ads for the XXX Gaiety movie theater showings. So as you can see, even before I hit the age of ten I was utilizing my public library to the fullest extent, which has turned me into the well-rounded, well-read individual who's typed-in and uploaded cathode ray binary words your eyeballs and brains are processing this very microsecond.
See how the future and past can all come together and make you realize time is not a line but a dot? Just like... in PRIMER!
Where was I? Oh yea... in the film PRIMER. The way the plot of the film unfolds is ingenious, and is a very econimical, real and creepy way of telling a sick science fiction story (a story that Hollywood would have told very differently). But before I get on the subject of what I'm really supposed to be telling you about, I'll let you know that PRIMER as a whole captures every lobotomizingly bland detail of every urban non-scape, every nuance, every looks-best-at-dusk sprawl of the environment I was raised in. The house the main character lives in! That garage! That alley and the high fences! The storage space! The concrete courtyards! The 7-11s! Industrial carpeting! Overhead fluorescent lighting! Drywall! *swoon!* Each scene was like an eyeball-oasis for me. Will I ever shut up about the Jacques Tati-esque beauty of my hometown of Plano, Texas? NEVER!
Anywho... the totally excellent PRIMER and it's energy also reminded me of Peter Fonda's forgotten, obscure, dreamily-surreal hippie techno flick IDAHO TRANSFER (1973), which I also recently saw again and loved, loved, loved, loved. LOVED!
Speaking of other things to sit on your couch and stare at: I was recently alerted (via once again by the culturally eagle-eyed brain of my friend Brian) to the value-system-raping comedic talents of British comedian/actor/writer/TV producer Christopher Morris, who (amongst other things) is responsible for the BBC 4 TV shows BRASS EYE and NATHAN BARLEY. Both of these shows are so apocalyptically hysterical and ingenious (and of course only available in the US on bootleg) that when I was watching them I laughed so hard that my brain matter started to expand from the pressure and ooze into my sinus and jaw cavities (ruining my Johnny Depp-like cheekbones). I haven't gotten this excited about a British TV show since "League Of Gentlemen" or "The Office." I almost bled from my palms! Bled brains from my palms (take that Jesus!)
BRASS EYE (spanning all the way back to 1997) is a fake news show that's hour-long format "investigates" themes like "moral decline" and "animal rights," which span the topics of one whole show. Its relentless fusillade of sickness and 4th-dimensional parody is a luminous wonder. It tramples over sacred political cows that liberals hold dear, which is OK since it's complex tone would probably confuse people who aren't very bright anyway. The re-visited 2001 BRASS EYE SPECIAL, which covered "pedophiles," is truly one of the most dazzling and hysterical things I have ever seen ever, and belongs in a museum of humor somewhere... or a museum of horror.Brian played it for Jim and me at his apartment and we were falling out of our chairs from laughter, and it's all we talked about for the rest of the day. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
One of Morris' other creations, NATHAN BARLEY, is a more recent BBC TV 4 show, and subtly lobs rotten fruit at the exploits of several characters in the "idiot infested" hipster/trend-bogged enclaves of the London music/art/film/alt-media worlds. One character, Dan Ashcroft, is a talented writer helplessly trapped at a Vice-like magazine (called Sugar Ape but spelled with the 'Suga' hidden inside the loop of the R so it just looks like RAPE) who is constantly beleaguered by a bombastic, trust funded, status/edge-addict "idiot" named Nathan Barley. Barley has an internet "prank" webcam show, and is so pathologically desperate to become (in)famous, and is so relentless in his hassling of people, and so incredibly daft and devoid of any sensibility or intelligence whatsoever - that he'll probably shoot straight to the top. Nathan makes Dan's life a living Hell as he continues to enthusiastically fail upwards along the edgy media world ladders to nowhere, despite being oblivious. Towards the middle of the series, you recognize the very good and true Dan as being evil, and the very bad and false Nathan as being innocent. The humor and style of this show is so unique and hysterical - and the things it makes fun of, frankly, I've never seen parodied. The character of Nathan Barley would find the show about him "Totally snog of the curve mate, meta!" which makes me realize the show is poking fun at parts of my own head. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
Did I tell you I'm going this weekend to see my favorite comedian of all time? Neil Hamburger? Yep, perhaps I'll write about it when I return and stop not laughing.
Ohhhhh... and look what I literally just went downstairs and got out of the mail - it's an advance copy of Ed Shepp's new CD! Oh! Oh! Can't wait to feed my ears with this damn fine, meaty, audible, possum! Padding my ears in gleeful preparation... will report on when I get up off the floor from being blown away...
Speaking of ears and possums and floors and blowing away...
For those of you plotting the doom of my relationship (you know who you are!), I can report to you that Jim and I are more in love than ever and are one step away from melding into one robotic blob of flesh that occasionally argues with itself. Jim is actually away, Pamela Des Barres-ing it up on tour with his band (Jim and Jennie & the Pinetops) right now. I miss him soooooo much when he's away like this. My half of the blob is undulating and glowing in the finest display of icky Cronenberg-style throbbing (it's true!). He calls and writes when he can. When he does that, my half of the blob purrs.
In between bluegrass gigs and the frippie ('freebie' and 'hippie') carousel that is the tour circuit in Europe, he's been having the odd adventure. He actually DJ-ed (Jim!) at some "beautiful" town in Germany called Offenburg, with our mutual friend (and his old Fag Bash comrade) DJ Snax, who now resides in Berlin. The band also played at some weird festival where all the German attendants dressed "elaborately" like ancient American Indians... war paint, feathers and all. Huh? So if you're in Europe right now, and want to see a rip-roaring J&J&tPT show, by all means check out their schedule, but be sure and wear your lederhosen and bring a plaster casting kit when you show up!
Upon returning from the Land of Weinerschnitzel, Jim and the gang will be stopping into New York City at the Mercury Lounge on May 23rd for what is their official U.S. record release party/gig (for their new one 'Rivers Roll On By'). So if you live in the Gotham area, and have never seen a stage ignited by the Pinetops, come on down - and be prepared for a firestorm (bring your wooden clogs!). It will be as exciting as a massive hotel fire! Un-for-gettable!
Listen for newly recorded monologues by me on NPR's "All Things Considered," as well as the usual (but new) page-erage in The New York Times and Vice, as well as some other stuff I'll let you in on when the time is wrong.
So... you see? Things I sit on the front of the couch and watch, my boyfriend's band, and going to see gloriously bad comedians, word of advance CDs from friends who are becoming more famous than me ...and then one sentence about some real accomplishments of mine (of sorts). I'm a model for living am I not? I guess life is all about choices, making good use of your time and choosing paths that lead to constructive and wholesome outcomes. They say that... uh... oh God... eek! I have to go! I just realized "C.S.I." is about to come on and I have to get my screen capture thing ready to take photos of Wallace Langham's 60-second episode appearance, and take deft notes, for the upcoming "Wallace Langham Watch" fan page I'm going to be putting up on this site soon!
See how I'm focused? Thanks a lot Richardson Public Library!
Copyright 2005 Mark Allen
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