Friday, May 20, 2011

What I Find Funny. Also: I Kind of Have Rachel Maddow Hair Now (Sort of, Not Intentionally)

This has been quite an event-laden week for me. Tonight I went to the Creative Lounge for Words That Kill poetry and comedy slam because Quimby's was one of the sponsors and I felt like I should probably make an appearance. I didn't go to perform, just to watch. The open mic was fine, but what I really enjoyed were the comedianes who performed, one of which I'd actually seen 2 nights ago at the Beat Kitchen for the Chicago Underground Comedy night, and I was actually impressed that he had different material (mostly) for both nights. (But the Chicago comedy scene needs more women! I know of like one or two. And I'm talking standup. I could give a fuck about improv.) And then last night we went to hillbilly bingo at the Horseshoe (the bar, not a casino, duh!), where I won a Sailor Jerry print. I announced loudly, "The reason I know this is a full rig ship? Sugar packets!" Did anybody understand what I was talking about? If you've ever used the sugar packets at restaurants and cafes that have the different types of ships on them then yes, you would know what I was talking about. (I mean that was a million years ago, but whatever. Do they even make those sugar packets with that on them anymore?) And then tomorrow night we're going to the midnight showing of The Room at The Music Box which I am very excited about, having recently been turned on to this Worst Movie of All Time And Therefore The Best Movie of All Time phenomena that is The Room. I won't go into it in case you already know about it, but in case you don't, here's some info at it's Wikipedia site. What this makes me think of is how there are certain things that each of us, no matter how expansive our experience of culture is, we all experience life in such a way that there are certain things that get caught in our web of experience and certain things that don't, all because we experience life in such a way that sometimes certain things won't get caught into our net of experience. For example, certain things never really crossed into my path that I have missed out on that element of culture. So The Room, in spite of the fact that it seemed like a shoe-in for something I would totally be into, I never encountered it until a few months ago, even though the movie came out in 2003. And once I looked into it, I realized that lots of people have made parodies, and comedians I like have made references to it -- and it was awesome, and I was like "Another thing to be into!" Which is always fun of course. Indeed, it is "The Citizen Kane of bad movies" as Entertainment Weekly called it. In fact, that very article was about the cult of that movie. The friends that got me into this movie told me that when people go see the movie live, it's like Rocky Horror, but only in as far as people interacting with the movie. They throw spoons (there's a lot of spoon art in the movie) and so on. I am very excited because lines of this movie have kept Facebook threads on for days with my friends. My favorite though is when Joe and I are walking down the street we'll be imitating Tommy Wiseau (the main character, who funded the movie by selling leather jackets to Korea -- yes, I know this is fucked up -- and on the cover of the DVD he looks like a fucked up Christopher Walken with a super fucked up lazy eye, I know I know, this is crazy) -- anyway, Joe and I will imitate him with this weird wimpy European chamomiled-out "Oh, hai [fill in the blank name of person or thing]" and then snort and chuckle all the way home at how hilarious we think we are. I can't wait! I was afraid that I would get there late because of the insanity that was supposed to be a signing at Quimby's for Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal book. However, the Eddie Trunk event is now cancelled because he had some family-related thing that popped up. I tried to get the word out as much as possible about the cancellation, to avoid the mob that was going to show up (at least, according to the publisher who made us order 150 BOOKS -- I am not making that up).

Also! Just today I remembered that it wasn't until I was in junior high that I pretty much couldn't stay awake for movies. My co-worker and I were talking about The Dark Crystal. He was saying that he had this theory that if you saw the movie when you were a kid for the first time, you probably loved it but if you saw it as an adult for the first time, you probably hated it -- the age you were the first time you saw it has a lot to do with how much you liked it. Well, I remember it always playing in the background at slumber parties but I could never stay awake for a full movie, so I never really saw the whole thing, or at least, not in order, and not enough to really remember it. So, I will need to move it up in the Netflix queue so that I can watch it and see how I like it. We agreed that I would be an interesting anomalous test case.

However, I have been watching Dead Like Me in the middle of the night, episodes on the watch now function on Netflix. Did I talk about this in my blog? I can't remember. Anyway, it's a coming-of-age story TV show that was on for like maybe one or two seasons, with mixed reviews. I remember there being a lot of buzz about it when it was on though -- on the radio and stuff, interviews etc. (I do remember though that someone on Fresh Air said that Mandy Patinkin talked like he was a beat poet and it sounded unnatural. Interesting. He didn't sound too beat poet-y to me. Whatever.) The catch is that even though it's about an apathetic girl who gets killed in an accident at 18, it is still a coming of age story. In death, she is appointed the role of one of multiple grim reapers, who escort people into the next phase of the (after)life.  I like that a main thing about the show is that what it's really about is that even though she's dead, we see her sort of go through the process of becoming a person. (When I was in high school I remember hearing someone say, "We never really stop becoming a person." That has really stuck with me.) This idea of the taking over the "office" of death is interesting. Of course, it is nothing new, and I know plenty of movies and books have touched on this. But specifically, the way they do it in the show reminds me of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, where people take on these offices of things like Time, Fate, Death, etc. And since they're formally humans, when they take over the job after the previous person who held the position leaves, there's a learning curve where they have to figure out what they're doing. And that affects things. So the woman who takes over the office of Fate, she accidentally cuts her strings wrong and Death comes and pounds on her door and gets mad at her. He says that a bunch of people senselessly died, WTF did she do? And so on. Very compelling. I am a sucker for the whole idea of taking something mystical or philosophically big and turning it into something banal and humorous. Why can't I think of any good examples right now? Grrrr. For some reason, what comes to my mind is Woody Allen's Love and Death. You know, Swedish art film/Russian literature made silly and ridiculous.

I guess some of my favorite stuff is really about juxtaposition. I feel like that's the theme that I keep coming back to in things that I find compelling and things that really make me laugh too: robbing a bank and getting caught up in paperwork (wasn't that in a different W. Allen film? Whatever.) -- Heavy metal with ballerinas. Hippos in tutus.

In un-related other news, I walked into Big Hair and demanded a haircut. When I came into work the next day, a customer at Quimby's said that I look like Rachel Maddow:


Rachel Maddow
One last thought: If Saturday the 21st is judgment day, it might happen while I'm at the Chicago Pug Party! Will the pugs get to stay with us heretics? Please?! Please?! Today someone brought in their cutie French Bulldog to the store and it was a little white and pink bunny piggy with a pink leash and I almost cried with how cute it was.

It is 3:34am. Good night/morning.

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