Let's do this bullet-point style again. Stay tuned until the end for a surprising announcement! (or just read the subject)
• First off, there's a show at Sparky's Ice Cream on Sunday, December 9th (yes, Sparky's is closed, but I have a key). It'll be an early show, like at 7, and the lineup includes Daniel Lutz (performing as Backyard), Me So RAVVEO))) vs. Gungan2Gungan (Gregg and I), and two other touring folk acts. It should be really good, except for Gregg and my set, which should be fantastic. $4 sugdon.
• Cat Jams is proud to announce the release of JAM-038, Brian Blomerth presents OBELISK & MC Cat Genius Live on CAT3. This is Cat Jams' first official DVD release (though I have put out VHSes and VCDs, you're welcome). It represents a crystallization of the OBECAT live show as of summer 2007, as encapsulated in a half-hour single-take performance in the 'gray-screen' studio of Columbia Access Television, filmed and produced by the inimitable volunteer staff; then I itched all the skin off my forearms teaching myself Final Cut so I could layer us on top of our backing video splice track. Guest dancing by Tape Store. DVD also includes bonus features focusing on fashion and kosher food preparation, as well as hidden unreleased instrumentals. Packaging includes a giant assemblable poster-as-liner, designed by Brian Blomerth of Narwhalz of Sound, and a mini-CD with instrumentals of the entire set, so you can practice your parody versions of our songs.
cover art, click for larger: the actual cover of the DVD, when assembled, is the top right corner (the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders visiting the girl in the hospital, and the guy from Crazy Town), and the back is OBELISK eating a baby carrot above Marilyn Manson and a plan that says 'AIR OBELISK' in purple hieroglyphics.
Very limited run of less than 50; if I haven't decided that I'm going to give you one already, you probably aren't getting one. Sorry. I'll have it uploaded to archive.org soon, but it's already on Youtube.
I met Richmond, VA-based Brian Blomerth in person, and totally by coincidence, a few weeks ago at Lumpen's Select Media Festival in Chicago. Emily and I decided to go check out the space, and then it turned out that he was playing there. Weird!
His set began with him laying out a blanket he made with big pomeranian ('pom') faces and the words 'POM POETRY CORNER' on it; he then set out a stuffed pomeranian and an electric candle, and proceeded to sit on the blanket and recite poems he had written about McDonald's to the pomeranian.
Then he jumped up, plugged in his Game Boy Color's audio jack, and began mashing buttons on the Game Boy (his only instrument; I assume he was running Nanoloop or something) and yelling incoherently into a microphone and thrashing around. A few times, he thrashed when he should have threshed and unplugged his Game Boy and had to look around for the cable. He threw the blanket into the small but enthusiastic crowd, who surfed it. The whole set lasted like ten minutes. It was fucking awesome. I know how to call 'em. Brian also revealed to me that the picture of the bulldog wearing a towel is from an ongoing project in which he and a friend set up bogus MySpace accounts as English Bulldogs at keyboards, then attempt (and sometimes succeed) to seduce American Apparel models via Myspace-messaged poetry. Also, Brian talks just like the impression of him that I've been doing for months.
Anyway, here's the DVD (main feature and extras), in the form of a Youtube playlist.
• AND SPEAKING OF YOUTUBE YOU GUYS: So a few days ago I uploaded all the DVD scenes to Youtube as separate tracks. They all sat around, like every video I've uploaded, gradually collecting residual hits from my mom and Chris Boeckmann. Then, for some reason (no, not some reason, the very specific reason of the keyword 'nuts'), the video for 'My Nuts' got picked up by Fark.com and I-am-bored.com, two sites that basically just find dumb stuff and post it and are generally visited between checking hockey news and looking at photos of American Apparel models. In twelve hours, 'My Nuts' went from 15 views to 4000, and earned the first Youtube Honor auto-awarded to a Cat Jams account video, "#69 - Most Linked (This Week) - Comedy" (actually now it's up to 64, but I liked it better when I checked it and it was 69).
It should go without saying that everyone on the messageboards of the two major referring sites had a lot of hilarious commentary to add.
I'm not kidding when I say that I feel my entire professional career has been leading up to this. And now, of course, our video has been pushed down off the front page of these fine sites, and the world has forgotten us again. Maybe 'Lettuce Dance' will get picked up at some point, since that one's actually good. That's how the internet works, right?
• Speaking of stuff that sucks, Chris Boeckmann (ha ha burn) aka Tape Store got cited on Wikipedia. Inscrutably honorific! Indubitably awesome.
• Happening simultaneously across Chicago from Select Media Festival was Heaven Gallery's premiere of Zach McLuckie's (of the Pows, Sabertooth, CAVE) 'Hercrotchules' zine (here writ large into a full group art show). The show included works by, well, just about everyone in our circle of associates, such as Emily Foster, Gregg Lewis, Jason Reamer, Brian Blomerth, Rex McMurry, Gabe Viles, etc. etc. I want you to know that it was the best art gallery show I've ever seen. The fact that it was by my friends didn't hurt; but, in the same sense that I like a piece because it was made by my friend, I like a person because they made a great piece. Everything was attached to the walls with tape, and ran the gamut from carefully composed and constructed large-form classical art pieces to half-finished funny scribbles to printouts seemingly random TV screencaps to found trash and advertisements. And every piece that I saw, I thought to myself, 'Awesome!' And I've thought about them since. What more can a person ask for from an art show? And to see Zach, who used to be a painfully shy chubby fifteen-year-old who screamed in a punk band, at the opening of his first curated gallery show... I'm not kidding when I say that I feel my entire professional career has been leading up to this.
Pooper aka Elisa posted photos from the show, starting here and ending here. And here's a video piece made by Jill Wait, which premiered at the gallery, on a tiny TV by the bathroom, on a loop.
As I've mentioned, I'm moving to San Francisco to take a digital film certificate course, which means that I'm leaving Columbia in the last week of January 2008. I thought about it, and I decided that Cat Jams has always been about Columbia -- I started it to illustrate that the creative communities of small towns can use their artists' nonexistent chance of getting 'discovered' to weed out assholes and to create daring, unencumbered art that would never be allowed in an environment where 'success' would be at risk. And I feel like I've succeeded. I've released nearly 40 weird-ass , challenging, engaging, hilarious magnum opi by 'unacceptable' artists (kids, non-musicians, animals), and I've ensured that every disc / tape / VHS / diskette / .zip file was conceived and executed with a kind of care more often seen in a performance piece or a practical joke than a shrink-wrapped jewelcase. I've made countless new friends and collaborators, and a few messageboard enemies, and I've proudly lost literally thousands of dollars. And I can look back on a body of work, curated or otherwise, that I will be proud of until the day I die, or at least that I can impress my kids with (unless they're assholes, fingers crossed).
In other words, I've proved my point, as far as I care to prove it. And even if I did care to prove it more, I don't think San Francisco would be the place to do it from. I'm looking forward to having new 'deep' subjects to bore people with at parties, and losing my money on new, unforeseen things.
Blanche and I are in the process of organizing a deeply hubristic farewell event and release for the label, slated for somewhere in the middle of January 2008. More info as I make it up.