Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Boys Consider the Top "8 Customs of Kansas" / Plus, Local Hipster Band Makes Good! / Also: Robot Art!

The Kansas Sampler Foundation (whatever that is) has released another meaningless list, this one called the top "8 Customs of Kansas," and the boys were delighted to find their beloved "Rock Chalk Chant" made the cut, along with "ordering a soda fountain treat," "riding a carousel," and "displaying an ethnic handicraft" (readers, we're not making this shit up...feel free to Google).

Chip: "I do love the Rock Chalk Chant, nonsensical as it is, but for my money it lacks the passion and hostility of 'Rip his fucking head off!'"

Richard: "When all is said and done, I'll always be partial to the Arkansas chant of 'Wooo Pig Sooey!' That's how we call our Hogs!"

Chip: "I can't believe that the list of customs forgot to include 'going to Quinton's at Tuesday night to check out the ass.'"


Larryville hipster bands all desire the recognition of a nationally-known hipster record label, so it's with great pride that we announce the Old Canes' new album has just been released by Omaha-based Saddle Creek (home to Bright Eyes, Cursive, etc).

A recent Pitchweekly profile describes the Canes as "Lawrence's answer to Neutral Milk Hotel" and terms the new album "an eclectic, lo-fi carnival ride, punctuated by oddball instrumentation, such as wind chimes and what sounds like rain through a drafty window." The band's lead singer, Chris Crisci explains the recording process: "You get the guitar and some vocals down, and you might be happy with it, but it's when you put the tambourine on it... — that's when it really becomes something amazing."

Richard: "Right. And I'd go so far as to say that nothing can be amazing without the inclusion of a tambourine. Now why can't the Transmittens get signed to a hipster label? Pay attention, K Records!"


On a recent weekend Richard found himself outside the Percolator art gallery talking to former Mayor Boog Highberg.r (their first official meeting!). While Boog related a juggling demonstration he used to give as a way of explaining anarchy ("when you drop the apples, it represent chaos"), Richard found himself staring intently at this large picture of a robot in the front window. Is it art, or isn't it?

Richard: "Anything with a robot in it is art, except for Michael Bay's Transformers films."

Chip: "What about Short Circuit 2?"

Richard: "Art."


And by 'Hogs' he means 'Women' said...

Transformers may be the most important movie of our lifetimes. And I am fairly certain we should extol it's virtues. As such, let me reprint here a stirring critique of TROTF by Armond White so everyone may bask in genius:

WHY WASTE SPLEEN on Michael Bay? He’s a real visionary—perhaps mindless in some ways (he’s never bothered filming a good script), but Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more proof he has a great eye for scale and a gift for visceral amazement. Bay’s ability to shoot spectacle makes the Ridley-Tony-Jake Scott family look like cavemen.

Who else could compose a sequence where characters (albeit robots) go from the bottom of the sea to another planet in one seamless, 30-second, dreamlike flow? That transition typifies the storytelling in this sequel to 2007’s Transformers.

Teenager Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), on his way to college, is drawn back into the first film’s battle between mechanical aliens. Sam innocently acquires the secret code of the aliens’ cosmic history—something to do with his American kid innocence and appreciation of middle-class life’s abundance.

Based on the original 1980s Transformer toys by Hasbro and subsequent TV cartoons and comic books, the Transformer movies expound on this cultural plenitude. Their fascination with technology—the way common objects rearrange, expand or shrink as if having a benevolent or malicious life of their own—drives the stories.

Bay is an ideal director to realize this peculiar genre, which remakes the surfeit of adolescent commercial media as a means of multimedia gratification.These cars, trucks, motorcycles and planes—both human-friendly Autobots and dastardly Decepticons—metamorphose fast, but their transfiguration is like the mechanical toy descriptions in E.T.A. Hoffman: fantastic and uncanny.

Bay’s post-nuclear version of Hoffman’s The Nutcracker stirs emotion from our pop culture, industrial experience then connects to ancient spiritual myths (like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). It’s too much the production of industrialization to be considered magic, yet Bay’s sheer fascination with seeing is impressively communicated.

In the history of motion pictures, Bay has created the best canted angles—ever. The world looms behind a human protagonist with the enormity of life itself. (My favorite: a windblown Megan Fox facing the audience as a jet fighter slowly, majestically glides behind/above her). Bay already has a signature: the up-tilted 360-degree spin (gleefully parodied in Hot Fuzz). Here, he flashes it whenever Sam kisses his girlfriend.

Bay photographs Fox and luscious/vicious rival Isabel Lucas like pin-ups—a pop culture joke encompassing what every young girl, post-Madonna, is told is OK. (They’re girls “with options” as Sam says.) There’s still advertising porn in Bay’s soul, but it’s so expressive of the media norm that it’s funny—proof we’re watching nothing more than fantasy.This commercialized life force “Cannot be destroyed, only transformed,” as a Decepticon warns.

Transforming is the capitalist dream of rebranding. It’s not transcendence—thus, the need for the basic sci-fi story of good vs. evil, where Revenge of the Fallen alludes to the story of Lucifer.

Transformers doesn’t simultaneously critique pop culture like Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers, Paul W.S. Anderson’s Death Race or Joseph Kahn’s near-miraculous Torque (none of Bay’s mechanical anthropomorphism matches the wit of how Torque’s human characters live through their vehicles), but there is satire in Sam’s roommate Leo’s (Ramon Rodriquez) Everynerd chatter: “The Internet’s pure truth! Video doesn’t lie!”That breathless naiveté indicts Transformers’ target audience, yet there’s something in scenes of an overturned carrier ship, of alien assaults on the Great Pyramids or Sam’s Clockwork Orange torture that is close to wonderful. Bay’s skills have found their appropriate subject now that he’s abandoned fake history (Pearl Harbor) for fantasy.

--Breathtaking. Simply Breathtaking!

nog on film said...

Haha...yeah, I think I read something about Armond only giving positive reviews to the most preposterous things (just to get attention, I suppose?). Some of this stuff sounds exactly like our fake criticism:

"Bay’s post-nuclear version of Hoffman’s The Nutcracker stirs emotion from our pop culture, industrial experience then connects to ancient spiritual myths...".

--it also sounds like a Pitchfork review (but about movies!).

Anonymous said...

Dear Hogs,

please summarize. I didn't check this fuckin thing so I could read half of Dr. Noggy's theatre PhD dissertation.

No, I'm fucking Anonymous said...

Dear 'I'm too fucking lazy to probably finish this line',

Oh shit, we lost you already.

Fucking kids and hogs... I mean women. (Kip women, but still women nonetheless... You know toilets were designed and named (porcelain) in a fashion after a lady pig's hoohah. Might explain why Kip is so frequently up to take yon shitty!)

--Yah. Happy fucking Sunday to you, Mr. Shitty.

nog on theatre said...

If I had it to do over, I WOULD write my Ph.D on the Transformers. Then America might be interested!

A Juggalo said...

Let's do it!

The definitive book on the Transformers... by Michael Bay.