Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Ouroboros of Inspiration and Hard Work

People often talk about how they do their best writing or art when they're in the dumps. I think that might actually be bullshit. To be an articulate individual or artist you sort of have to be in the right space to get those articulate words out.

I went to a poetry slam Sunday night and someone did a piece about how what motivates them are all these stormy things, none of which I can actually remember, but possibly they might have been emotional devastation. And maybe rain. Or maybe I'm just saying rain and that wasn't actually the example. But definitely, the main source was some type of emotional tribulation that was devastating and whatever other adjectives that sort of go with that. Well, I don't buy it. My hunch is that a lot of creative people do their bet work when they're working stuff out, maybe journaling the bullshit out when they're upset, fine, but the best quality work is when they're able to think coherently. That whole thing about the moody artist is fine, of course, I mean art/writing/creative arts/fine art, a lot of people who do those things have artistic temperaments of course, but if you actually talk to them, the ones who do higher quality work, they will tell you that they don't do very good work when they're manic and crazy and out of their minds and out of control and emotionally devastated -- they do the best work when they're going back down of the extremes and getting down to business. That whole bit about the artist inspired by Bronte-ian rain and gloom and all that -- I don't buy it. I know this from experience. I feel like I have a [retty artistic temperament but my work is shitty when I'm not myself. And the catch 22 is that you might feel like if you're creating whatever it is that you need to be creating to feel fulfilled, if you get out of practice, you're unhappy. But then if you're not stretching the work/creative Work muscle than actually, you become out of shape, and it's hard to get back into it again. Just like exercising. I heard Janeane Garofalo  say on a Citizen Radio podcast that just like you exercise the rest of your body, your brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised. And the suggestion that she suggested was yes, do keep that copy of Mother Jones in your car so that when you're waiting in line in your car for a car wash you do have that something to read, so that if you don't have time to exercise your brain with stuff than at least you have that. Actually, I'm not 100% sure she actually gave the exact example with Mother Jones and the car wash, but she gave some example that was kind of like that. (Once again, my ridiculous undocumented source of "I heard somewhere" is at work again, which a prof friend of mine said that was kind of funny and interesting, like that seemed very indicative of our  Google-era version of source documentation.) Anyway, I do actually have a copy of Mother Jones  in the trunk of the car and I did once read it while waiting in line in the car for either an EPA inspection or a car wash, so maybe that was why I ace the example I gave, but whatever. The point is that Janeane Garofalo is right; we do need to keep the brain muscle fit. And it's the same thing with writing I think: your best work is probably done when you're really working your brain at it's top level peak of performance, not when you're down in the dumps and feeling uninspired. I mean sure, that's what journaling is for, and some of the best pieces of literature can be inspired by trauma of course, but I think the best writing is done when someone is really working that shit out, trying hard, thinking it through, then if they do it often enough, it gains some momentum, then you get inspired more, then you do better work, steamrolling. But I suppose the opposite of steamrolling is "Ulch, hard to get moving, I feel uninspired, I don't want to work on this, this sucks boring I want to go out and play" etc. etc. etc., just substituting your brain for body or vice versa, both are true.

Look, I'm not saying that you should wait to work on stuff when you're feeling good. Writing stuff or working on whatever your art is, that stuff can help make you feel good. But the stuff you start with is going to suck, especially when you're trying to dig yourself out of a hole of misery. My first draft of anything sucks even if I'm not digging myself out of a hole of misery, often because I'm just trying to barf it all down at once since my brain moves faster than my body and frontal lobe can, so I am at a constant loss to get it all out and articulate it before I lose it; in fact, I lose about 95% of the ideas I have for points I want to make, but I can't move that fast. My moments of inspiration are when I'm nowhere near where I can get it down and I have so many of those moments. My blog entries are starting points for stuff I write for zines and journals and websites for people -- they're not the greatest gems but they do help me get some ideas down to germinate, marinate etc. I do it all for you, all 8 people reading this! I have heard comedians say that they use blogs for that purpose -- they try out material there. (I think I might have hear both Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins say that. I think.)

I'm just saying, don't believe the shit about the tortured artist doing their best work at their lows. I read some diary or something by Hemingway or Arthur Miller or someone like that (white American contemporary male writer? I don't know who exactly or where I read it.) Anyway, they admitted that this was true. Is it only true for white American male writers? Probably not. Anton LaVey or maybe Aleister Crowley said something about magic: "The first step to opening the door to psychic magic is actually opening the door." The thing is, I don't really remember the whole quote or which of those guys it is, so in my mind it's like "The first step to opening the door magically with your mind is to open the door. Like get up and actually open the door. With your actual hands. Hello? Is anybody actually in there? I really have to pee. Hello? Are you OK? God daminit I have to pee so fucking bad, what the fuck are you doing in there? Also! I am not 100% sure if I should spell magic with a c or a K or both!"

Also, I would like to add that it's not like emotional devastation doesn't make for good art or writing or whatever. Of course it does. Full on novels and movies and wars are inspired by tragedy and love and devastation and gloom and doom. (Love creates war, that is, if the Liz taylor version of Cleopatra is correct, anyway. I saw this recently.) I remember reading that one of the producers of This American Life (not Ira Glass, someone else) said in some interview somewhere something to the effect that they look for stories to do on air stuff that has some sort of narrative where the protagonist learns something, and that essentially what every story ever really is, is a coming-of-age story. The more I thought about this the more I agreed with this; whenever you learn something about yourself or the world, you grow a little. And then I thought about comic book super hero origin stories. They are pretty much always coming of age stories: Spider-Man, and the white web jizz and the learning about power and responsibility, Rogue with the touching stuff, bla bla bla -- although I see these ideas about puberty-onset super powers are NOT original thoughts on my part I see.

 I like this idea that pretty much any narrative is a coming-of-age story, because we never stop coming of age. We become people  as life goes on. Growing never really stops, unless something SUPER fucked happens like you get hit by a bus and become comatose and come out of it brian damaged, but even in that attempt to get better you keep growing, just in a different way. Well, or I suppose there's the damage done by fuckedupness and evil, or maybe you fell in a toxic vat of whatever. (Sidenote: I just looked up The Top 10 Super Villains Of All Time and here was the ad at the bottom of the screen, which, if you're into comics I think you will appreciate:

Besides the obvious X-Men wheelchair reference I also enjoyed that the other related searches were "World Domination" and "World Destruction." Also "World Eater."

OK but so anyway, I did once hear Ira Glass say that we are hardwired to expect narratives, and I think this is true. Not that the sort of creative endeavors I do are necessarily narrative-oriented, but I do agree that possibly, narratives are what compels us to make art from our devastation. But the point is not that you should wait to get inspired by some grand force of compulsion struck down from the gods or wait to get inspired at all. Good art, writing etc. -- that stuff comes from hard work, multiple drafts, editing, etc. -- and it's hard to do that stuff when you're in grief and panic mode. That stuff can get you started but it won't carry you through redrafting of the work and all that stuff you need to do to make it compelling for anybody else except yourself. I'm not saying you should make art for people that you yourself don't like -- you should be your own audience and for people that are of your mold, but I am saying that if you're doing art that you want anybody else to like, it has to be more compellingly universal than masturbatory, and you don't create high quality writing or art when you're in the worst possible space to be in.

(Sidenote: While looking through a tattoo artist's portfolio a few days ago, I saw that the artist had done a tattoo on somebody that was Ira Glass' face, glasses and everything, in front of an American flag. That's hilarious. I wonder if it he got it himself? Ha ha ha ha.)

OK,s o here's what I'm asking people to take away from this:
1. Don't Bullshit What Your Real Inspiration Is
2. Don't Wait to Get Inspired.
3. Get to Work to Get Yourself Inspired.

Should I tweet that? Should I get bumper stickers made? Is there a reason why random things are in capital letters?

Doctor Who Scarves and Suze Orman

So tonight I went to this really great Doctor Who 101 thing sponsored by the Chicago Nerd Social Club downtown at Tech Nexus.  Before I got to the event I thought, "Mmmm, if you're a fan then you don't really need a DW 101. But probably the only people that know about this event are people that are fans." And it turns out that somebody made some snarky comments to that effect on the Facebook event invite. It was a free event that I had to register in advance for to get clearance to get in because of there being high security for the building it was in, which was strangely appropriate in a "Torchwood" kind of a way (a DW spin-off show). It was in a building across from the Sears Tower. Oh excuse me. The Willis Tower. (I prefer to think of it as the Wesley Willis Tower. And by the way, I am THAT gullible that when someone was circulating a Facebook thing about petitioning that it should be the Wesley Willis Tower I was like "Really? They're really considering that? I will TOTALLY sign that.")

Anyway, this blogger guy did a Power Point presentation about it. Doctor Who, not Wesley Willis. I was thinking to myself that I was sort of a target audience because I wasn't a super huge mega fan, but I do like the series from 2005 and on when they relaunched it. My husband, Joe, has been a fan for like 30 years because he grew up on it. I think he might have been the person that had been a fan for longer than everybody there except the blogger guy who was leading the thing (and shucks! I left his card upstairs -- Joe is sleeping and I don't want to wake him up and go get the card). There were about 12 or 15 people there, and of them, there were 3 women (myself included). One thing he talked about how a lot of the people who ended up working on the show as writers or actors tend to be folks that grew up watching the show, except for the most recent Doctor, Matt Smith, because he's that young. Interesting. He is so cute and baby-faced and adorable but David Tennant is my fave. And the guy doing the talk said that the American DW sensibility tends to be, "Oh Tom Baker, he's that guy on PBS. David Tennant, he's the Doctor." Interesting.

--Wait-- before I go any further I have to tell you that my roommate just walked in and said, "There are some really excellent walrus fights I've been watching. Really excellent. You need to watch them now." This is not unusual for our roommate (named The Nurse, since he is an actual nurse). He walks in and makes pronouncements like this all the time. And I am always willing to listen for elaboration, which as of late seems to result in some bizarre YouTube viewing. So tonight's YouTube viewing with The Nurse was "walrus fight." Walruses get in to some pretty vicious battles with each other and stab each other with tusks! WTF?! That's awful! Bloody walruses? They fight over the ice who gets to stay on it and get some sun! That made me sad. BUT! Walruses are strangely cute. Just you know, not BLOODY WALRUSES.

ANYWAY the guy was talking about the sort of mythology of each of the Doctors on the series, and since most of the people there had been fans longer than I was, they were there just to sort of meet people who geek out about what they're into, which I love (no matter what it's about -- people are at their best when they're talking about stuff they love). I was actually there because I felt like I needed some more info. See, I have a working knowledge of the show because Joe has sort of schooled me and I've seen canonical stuff and he's filled me in on the sort of mythology of the show etc., but it was helpful to get filled in on stuff. For example, sometimes the actors would work with the writers once the writers kind of figured out what the actors' strengths were. Characters were written in such a way to capatalize on that. For example, Tom Baker had actually trained (studied? whatever) to be a monk. So they worked with that to make him more monk-like. (Monkey? Ha.) Also, I had heard that Douglas Adams did some writing for the show but I didn't know what era and for how long. Well it was one year. But I already forgot what era. Bah! Well, I can see into the future of space and time and I see an internet search in my future. Also! Apparently Christopher Eccleston (the ninth Doctor) and DW writer Russell T. Davies had worked together before Doctor Who! (OMG! An exclamation point about that fact! It's because Russell T. Davies is truly a gifted writer, I think, anyway.) When the two of them worked together, they did a TV mini series called "The Second Coming" (which as of eleven minutes ago is at the top of the Netflix queue instead of me having to wait 3 million years to get it because my queue is so long). Aha! So it makes sense that Eccleston would end up being the Doctor.

So there were a few guys there who I wondered where they might  fall on the Asperger Syndrome-Nerd spectrum (I know, this is a highly debated issue as discussed in at least 2 different non-fiction books we sell at work with the word Nerd in the title, go Google that if you need more info, people have written so much about nerds and how they tie into Asperger Syndrome these days there's no need for me to rehash it here.) I kind of thought it was adorable. There was a hilarious moment where two guys had Tom Baker scarf replicas and they unrolled them to see who had the longer scarf, and the minute they whipped those out I hit record on my camera. I feel like this is a comedy sketch that writes itself if you just think to yourself "Size does matter":

And then it was on. One guy had a tiny Dalek he brought and kept pressing the speech button for everybody to hear what it was saying and it was all tinny sounding and we couldn't tell what it was saying, and he just kept pressing it. Then people started whipping out their I-phones and showing each other their DW-related applications: a Sonic Screwdriver sound, a Dalek speak app, a TARDIS sound. I think maybe Joe's Dalek tattoo and David Tennant coat might have topped everybody though. I was ready to whip out my I-pod with the really awesome Parry Gripp Doctor Who song but it was tucked away in my coat so I nixed the idea. Anyway, the show and tell scarf thing killed me. I neglected to announce that Joe used to have one but it got lent out for a friend's movie and never made it back, so I got him a replacement for Xmas. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to document with more photos here:

And then it was time to go. While waiting for the bus I noticed that the way Joe was standing in the bus stop terminal, he was standing in front of an ad with Suze Orman that gave him a um Suze Orman-ish glow, which was killing me, so I took pictures and laughed so hard I thought I was going to throw up, especially because Joe looked like he was Suze Orman in a Doctor Who coat, and it just started to get more and more preposterous by the second:

And then I thought to myself, "If Suze Orman married Bob Rohrman, she'd be Suze Orman Rohrman," and then at that point I actually lost my shit and had to sit down because my stomach was in pain from how hard I was laughing. "I wish I had a megaphone to announce this to the world!" Joe said, "It's a good thing you don't have a megaphone." And then I shouted, "But I do have megaphone! It's called TWITTER!" So of course, I had to immediately tweet that. Then Joe and I decided that if Suze Orman became a doorman, she'd be Suze Orman Rohrman Doorman -- I mean, this shit just went on and on. Threr was some guy on his phone with a hands free device just talking and talking the whole time which we weren't really paying attnetion to but then another guy came over and it wasn't until he shouted, "I see you've got the Air Jordans but where is the Air Jordan?" that we realized that he wasn't some guy on a phone -- he was just a crazy person. And Joe and I agreed that indeed, it has now become somewhat impossible at times to differentiate from a a person talking on their phone from a crazy person. I have always thought that inevitably those 2 things were bound to meet in some poetic way and now they have.

Then on the bus we took off our gloves and I challenged Joe to a duel. I flapped my gloves at him and said, "I challenge you to a duel! But with gloves. Just you with your gloves and me with my gloves, flapping them at each other." We decided that if we were going to have duel, it would have to be at a mutually convenient time. I said, "10:30 tomorrow? Oh no, I have a meeting. How about high noon?" Then when we pulled the string to request the next stop for the bus, I said, "What if the request for a bus stop was like you couldn't really be sure they would stop where you wanted them to? Like it was actually just a request, like when you call up a radio station and request a song and they go, "OK, we'll try to get to your request"?" By the time I got home I was ready to collapse from the whole ordeal but instead ate a Hostess chocolate pie that some houseguests left there.

1:31am! Thank god I am off tomorrow!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Celebrity Autobio vs. Celebrity Bio

So I read Growing Pains by Billie Piper (Hodder), 2006. Billie Piper is know for, among other things, her role on “Doctor Who.” But in the nineties she was British top 40 teenage pop starlet with an eating disorder, whose songs kind of sounded like the Spice Girls. She was sort of marketed as a kind of a British Britney Spears. I enjoyed her on “Doctor Who,” but I do very little to follow her now. I loved her so much on “Doctor Who” and cried my eyes out with all of her heartbreaking adventures with the tenth doctor, David Tennant. Sidenote: I do enjoy David Tennant. I made my husband Joe get a suit like his on the show and it always tickles me when he wears it. I get swoony. Not like teenagery but more like I’m like a housewife throwing her underwear at Tom Jones. One year for the holidays Joe gave me a stack of gifts and saved the best for last, which was a wrapped box that included a signed postcard from David Tennant himself! And it said, “To Liz”! Joe said that he wrote David and asked for it and said something like, “I have been a life-long "Doctor Who" fan, and I approve of my wife’s celebrity crush.” Upon receiving this gift I squealed with delight, which was a squeal paralleled only by the receiving of a personally autographed postcard from Corey Hart when I was twelve.
To me!

I was amazed by Billie Pipers’s revelations: Janet Jackson is shy, seven laxatives at a time cause you to be perpetually constipated, a method of filling your stomach if you’re trying to lose weight is eating kleenex. This last one is especially interesting to me because I once read an interview with this guy who claimed to be a “karaoke coach” and he said that you should swallow kleenex to help warm up your voice. I tried it and gagged. Then I dry heaved. I can tell by your reaction that you are shocked and amazed by this information.
I did also recently read a book someone else gave me as a gift called Billie Piper: The Rollercoaster Life of Britian's Hottest Star by Chris Stevens (Michael O'Mara Books) 2006. It was all about her ups and downs of course: her precocious rise to fame as a fifteen year old pop star in spite of her real first love (acting), her having to grow up too fast in the spotlight,  her relationship with Ritchie Neville of the boy band Five (sometimes called rive), her fall from public grace for having the nerve to date a boy in a boy band (why would anyone care? Is there something I'm missing here? Maybe people thought that type of pairing is too precious or something? Why do people even have an opinion on something like that?), her much public collapses in public from exhaustion (and there was some public speculation about drinking/drugs), her rocky romance with her first husband, her entry into acting and then her reboot as a critically acclaimed adult actress in things like "Doctor Who."
Interestingly, I stumbled across a picture of Billie Piper and Madonna hanging out and it totally made sense to me. I mean, I don't know exactly when it was from, but I could see how they would totally know each other. For one, Madonna was married to Guy Ritchie, so there was the British connection. Also, they both were female pop stars. The age between them has to be probably at least 15 or 20 years, and Madonna was older than 15 when she got famous, but still, I could see the bonding. Here's something I find interesting. In Madonna's brother's book (Christopher Ciccone), he said that the first time Madonna went to England, when she was beginning to get famous around the time of her first album, that actually she got booed of stages and they were really horrible to her there. Just a sidetone. Maybe there's something that Billie and Madonna could talk about: having British people hate you at some point or another, whether it's earlier or later. I wonder also though, if they get on the topic if they talk about acting? The thing is that Billie has gotten lots of praise about her acting but Madonna hasn't. In fact, Madonna has been ridiculed for her acting. I don't think she's as bad as everybody says she is. I saw Guy Ritchie's remake of Swept Away and it wasn't as bad as everybody says it is -- I mean, it's cheesy etc. but it's not like the worst movie ever, and Madonna wasn't the worst actress ever in it. People are so mean about her. I heard someone say about Madonna kind of recently (and I don't remember who said this) "It must really suck to be Madonna aging in out culture." I think in one of her songs, maybe one on the "Confessions On a Dance Floor," something like "Whenever people talk about me/they're never very nice." Shit, what song was that? Anyway! Who cares? Not me! The point is, well, poor Madonna, pretty much. However, I kind of feel like Billie has more in common with Britney than she does with Madonna, mostly because of her age she got famous at, since Britney got famous super young too. Madonna seems edgier and smarter and with it at a younger age than pop stars like Britney or Billie.
Interestingly I saw some British television show where they have actors and pop stars and whoever else other celebrities on, and they drive some car around a track and it's some kind of reasonably priced sort of thing (not a sports car-- and that's sort of the gag, that it's some economy car like Ford Escort or something like that I think). And they time each person how long it takes for them to get around some track so many times. And they had David Tennant on (and also Christopher Eccleston on, the previous incarnation of the Doctor on "Doctor Who" before David Tennant. And oh! It was hilarious. They edited it in such a way that the car makes a TARDIS noise when he's starting it). So David Tennant said something about filming with Billie was fun because she was s charming and has the type of charisma that she could ask you to do anything and you just sort of do whatever she wants because you're powerless against her charm. Also this: She jokingly called him "David Ten Inch." Why do I remember that type of silliness? I can't help it.

Anyway, of course David Tennant is my fave Doctor but as much as I enjoyed Rose and Billie Piper, the truth is that my favorite companion for the Doctor was Catherine Tate's Donna Noble. She was hilarious and charming in a totally different way. Am I interested in reading a book about her? Well, if it fell in my lap, yes, but actually I'm reading so many other things right now that even if I wanted to there's so much on deck.

I wish I had something intelligent to say about the way Billie's autobio differs from the bio written by someone else. Sure, there are differences, but nothing particularly salacious. As an avid read of celebrity autobios I am more interested in approaching celebrity autobios in a way that I've been toying with. Hear me out here: so I took this class in college about Charlotte Bronte. We read some of her books sure, but we also read a biography by Elizabeth Gaskell about Charlotte Bronte. The teacher told us to try to forget the book was a true biography and just look at it like it was a book of fiction, and that we should consider thinking about and writing about and talking about it that way. I found that a difficult thing to do at the time but now I can see how that would be very easy as I look back now. So if you approach the idea of taking any genre and fleshing out the conventions, you can see what is some sort of universal commonality in the books of the genre. So as I think back on that, I can see how that would play out in the world of thinking of celebrity autobios as a genre. I feel like there would be a lot of similarities between the conventions of celeb autobios and the idea of the pop star "rise and fall" movies that all pop stars eventually make -- the sort of thinly veiled "here's my story" celebrity origin story, as if it was a comic book super hero origin story (which is pretty much a coming of age narrative); I did a post about this when "Burlesque" came out, if you want to back track to that one -- about the conventions of the inevitable movies pop stars make. Anyway

The idea is to think of celebrity autobiographies in that way, as a sort genre with certain perameters. What are those parameters? Well, there's certain things that a lot of celeb autobios have in common: the rise and fall, potential rags to riches, the elaboration of how one practices their craft, the hubris that leads to delusion and then losing of some sort of sanity (whether through drugs or exhaustion or emotional turmoil or tragedy or pueblo disgrace or failed relationships etc.), the comeback, the aging, the giving back to the community, etc. I think I may need to marinate on this idea of what those sort of rules are, as if there's a template for considering the study of writing about celeb autobios in some sort of meaningful way.

The new season of Doctor Who starts on the 23rd but the fact is, we don't have cable, and I hate watching stuff on my computer. So that means I either have to wait it out for the DVD or find somewhere to watch it that's not a computer and has comfortable seating. And snacks. I gotta have my snacks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Britney as Muse vs. Britney as Machine Vehicle Thing

So Britney Spears will be in Chicago July 8th. Perhaps I will have my first actual expereince seeing her in concert. It's not like I haven't actually seen footage of her live shows on every single tour. The intenet is an amazing place; people post entire shows on their cell phones, from every angle. But what I'm talking about is less about seeing her live and more about me actually being able to film people in the parking lot to do a Britney Spears Parking Lot. Or maybe nobody cares about her anymore. OK, all eight people following this blog! Anybody wants to come with me, here's the info!:

Britney Spears Announces North American Summer Tour - BRITNEY SPEARS: "July 8 Chicago, IL United Center"

Does she ever take any time off? In a recent book I read about her the author was talking about how maybe the reason she seems to be touring so much on the last couple albums is because peraps she's under a tough love contract with her record label. Or maybe she's making up for lost time for not touring during the Blackout period,. I love that it's  the name of the album is Blackout because then one can say "the Blackout Period" which is totally fitting for that era of her career, her meltdowny era.

Is Britney perhaps not relevant anymore? I read a review of her new album in the Onion and they were saying something to the efect like the review I was talking about in my last blog entry, that it's an entity that is the name of Britney Spears recording under that name -- although in the Onion they were slightly more complimentary (I guess) and said that she was more of a muse for other song writers to write for, and she's more of a catalyst-vehicle thing for new songwriters to get their work out there -- it's like she's one big commercial for other people, which totally makes sense if you watch any of her videos for the last album or two or three where a lot of the videos have tons of sponsorship deals. I think in either the NY Popcast review or the Onion review they were talking about how in an era of Lady Gaga, Kei$ha and Katy Perry (women songwrites writing for other people or recording their own self-written songs) perhaps Britney is not part of that group of female song writers -- making her in some way less relevant. Is relevant really the right word?

Anyway, last night I watched Brit's new video for Till the World Ends. Joe peeked in while I was watching it. I said that it reminded me of the Slave 4 U video, all sweaty and people dancing in a sort of moody gritty scenario. Joe said that it reminded him of the second Matrix movie, which I agreed.

Also! I saw Britney's 25 Things You Should Know About Me or whatever in Star or US or one of those magazines, and the most important thing that stood out for me was that she crashed her mom's Lexus in high school.

Her mom drove a Lexus when Britney was growing up? I am surprised because I know growing up they were pretty poor. For some reason I picture it like Nutbush City Limits by Tina Turner. Preposterous of me, I know.

Also, the fact that I have even thought about this is pretty preposterous. What can I say? I'm a walking Twitter feed. Or something.

Is there such a thing as hooking up soemthing to just record your thoughts without you having to actually articulate them? Because that's what I need. Like a mental articulation intern. A thought voice mail. Single celled one degree no-work recording. Bee boop robot. Smart phone.

And hey! One of my favoritest high weirdness distributors Last Gasp (in San Francisco) was selling my zine And now they're sold out, as I see from their website. My contact there told me that there was a lot of chaos when Britney doing a TV appearance there and my zine apparently captured a zeitgeistyness of the moment. They ordered more but by that point I was down to only a few. Aw shucks.

I sent some zines to Australia because Luke at Sticky had contributed to my indiegogo campaign to print Caboose #7 and to send 20 copies of it cost me $75! What the hell, United States Postal Service?! I should just take a damn vacation there myself. Maybe take some digiridoo lessons. And learn how to spell digireedoo. On a dirgible. Or whatever.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More I Remembered About the Britney Spears Femme Fatale Release Party

Britney Impersonator
So when I finished my last post about the release party for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale album I was beat and didn't finish all about it. And I strategically left out some super hilarious shit that was super mean and catty of me and my friends to point out about the goings on of people involved in putting goon the event or performing in it and I'm feeling like it would be mean of me to write about that stuff on the internet where everybody can read it. So I'm leaving out things that I feel like would create some drama.

In my last post I was talking about how I posed on the "red carpet" in front of the "press junket" picture taking thing with my popcorn and soda. Yeah, it was kind of dinky. But I still thought it was hilarious. I feel like they could be companion pictures to the pictures of me dressed up in clothes designed by Britney Spears. My friends Stefanie and Sarah took some pictures with my camera for me and indulged my preposterous stage directions for how to do it.

I'm ready for my close-up.

I had decided to Tweet about the experience in live time, and in the intervening time between my arrival and everybody elses, I downloaded a new Tweeter ap for my Android since the shitty free one I had didn't work so well. I posted on Facebook (yes I had that much time to kill I got there that early. I am a dork.) that I was doing this.

But about halfway through the festivities my phone started to lose juice in such a way that I could tell I would need to be more sparse with my tweets if I wanted the thing to last. It really drove the point home about how the nature of Twitter combined (on a device with a low battery no less) is such that you have have a precise economy of language. That situation lends it itself to sound-bite-ish smart ass-y punchlines, so I had to be very deliberate what I decided to tweet. (It makes me think about what I heard Patton Oswalt say about Twitter, which is something to the effect of how it's a fabulous way to work out material because it forces you to be very deliberate and precise with your writing. I agree.) Anyway, I reassembled my Tweets in the order of how I did them for you here:

* I'm @ portage theater 4 britney spears album release party. I was the 1st one here. The popcorn is delicious.

* They have talent bios of brtney imprsnators. One is named JAX. Yes, all caps and 1 syllable.

http://plixi.com/p/87710740. Me @ recrd release party.

* I bought my raffle ticket. Maybe ill win a big bent piece of cardboard with britney on it.

* Watchg a cover band doing the gogos and tring 2 get us to clap along. I hate audience participation. A cardinal sin.

* What cover band needs 2 lead singers?

* Who puts a flute to dance music? The brit spears military complex.

* An obese man got on stage to talk about his internet radio station.

* Was at world's saddest BSpears new album event. Lazy impersonator, screensaver videos, unsynced Toxic karaoke. And I didn't win the raffle.

Anyway, if you go to see the picture I posted with my phone that my friends took of me, you will notice there is a picture on cardboard near me that says Andrea Eve. She was one of the models that got up and talked about being in a film or her perfume or maybe both. Perhaps she might even have been the one that introduced some of the songs on Britney's album. One of the songs she said was a sequel to another Britney song called "Touch of My Hand." I forget what song she was referring to. I failed to see the connection although everybody knows that "Touch of My Hand" is about masturbation. What else am I leaving out? Oh! The karaoke! So at the end they invited the audience to get on stage and sing a long to a karaoke version of "Toxic." And the karaoke version had the graphics for the words but then also had a video of Britney in the background dressed in the kinda naked-y glittery outfit she wore for part of the "Toxic" video (which I'm imaging might be the outtake or something from when they made the video -- and I remember in one of Brit's making of videos they said it was a closed set because of what she was not wearing for the shooting part of that video.

You may notice there aren't that man people on stage. The annoying DJ guy has his back to the audience and there's the camera guy. And then including me there were 5 or so other people on stage. Excluding staff of the event and other performers there were maybe 10 people there to attend it. 2 of the people standing on stage I bonded with because they were wearing these scarves that have Britney lyrics all over them which I have seen on Britney's website. They were a guy and a girl, and the guy was wearing the same shirt I thought about wearing to the event that I was given as a gift, a huge black tshirt with huge white letters that says "It's Britney, Bitch." It was hilarious. I said to him, "Did you order that off the website?" which is preposterous of course.

I had big plans for the event. I got there early because I was ready to do a Jeff Krulikian "Britney Spears Parking Lot" except that Britney wasn't actually attending the event. Some guy who invited me and my friends to check out his computer shop across from the theater told me that this was (one of?) the only Sony-sanctioned record release events for Britney which was weird. How would he know that? There are so many weird things about that that I don't know where to start on that, but I'll leave it alone for you to think about. He said that one of the guys who organized the event had done graphic design for Britney which also I didn't know what to make of. Were they also the design firm in charge of the screen savers on a loop that were up while we listened to the album? I should also mention that in-between the screen savers this little traffic cone would come up, like it was coming from this person's computer and it had cycled through all the screen savers, and it needed to be clicked on or something.

 I can't believe I didn't think to do that when she actually did come in concert during the Circus Tour. (Which I did not go to because tickets were insanely expensive and also because I pretty much saw the whole show on the internet anyway because everybody posts their footage they took with their phones.) But when she does come, I am so there. I am more interested in the fans, ephemera and mythology of Britney Spears/The Britney Spears Machine then Britney herself as of late. Just this morning I heard Jon Caramanica on the New York Times Popcast talking about Britney's new album and referring to her musical output as being something that is released by Britney in name only: "There is an album that has been released by the name of Britney Spears."

I agree.

I am still deciding my thoughts on the new album. The idea of a "release party" was in interesting to me because the whole thing was released in mainstream media sites out in the open before it was official out. You could actually listen to the whole thing on AOL track by track before it was out.

And oh! Here are all the photos from the event I took, and some that Stefanie and Sarah took at my site on Flickr.