Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rosa Helikopter…More Hobby-Level Anthropology

Every one remember the send up I did of the German Show Exrtra? (If not, it’s in the archives not too far down). Here we go again: more delightful investigations of a culture different than ours. It’s learnin’ time, kiddies.

My MySpace Buddy, Electric Boogaloo has an MSN name Rosa Helikopter. She always has a cuh-razy screen name, so I didn’t think much of it. But eventually, I had to ask about it.

She said it’s this song she jumps around to. I told her to be careful with her jumping, lest she wind up like that “Numa-Numa” kid…but you know, a hot Amazonian, half-naked version…so, ok, NOTHING like that kid. She sent me the .mp3 (after I purchased the CD, drafted a letter to RIAA asking permission, and offered to carry the band’s luggage for a few gigs).

And this song is amazing; it is so goofy and funny. And because it is not in English, it is somewhat hard to tell if it’s meant to be. I have no context here. And in fact, they do go to the poignant place a little as far as tone goes…hmmm. I really need to know what they are saying.

It’s strange in that I got a pretty vivid insight into the German TV show, but this song is confounding.

It seems to be a song that is a declaration of love or friendship to an anthropomorphized helicopter. And it’s mostly happy, but there is an ironic sadness or at least melancholy. Or maybe the narrator is a helicopter. Or it’s a metaphor. So is this geared at adults? Or is this a children’s thing like the slew of anthropomorphized trains, trucks, boats, and other stuff that serves as opiate to the toddler masses?

Context afforded me nothing, so let’s Google.

Boom. Several sites with lyrics…all in Swedish I think…and so does Boogz. I recognize Rosa Helikopter and that’s about it. Well, at the end I notice they are not hollering “Tilde” but something else. And this makes sense. I mean who isn’t a little in awe at the power of the ~ to turn regular Ns into Ns with kind of a “Y” sound attached? Well, I would figure the Swedes—that’s who. They don’t use it. They have a whole host of other strange characters over their letters that magically transform pedestrian sounding stuff into exotic things. The ~ merely serves as a trifle of a curiosity to them.

Google informed me of another lead, however . As is the case with so many of the ordeals in my life, I often find an earthy comfort in the consort of 16-year-old Swedish girls. What can’t they do? It turns out that a 16-year-old Swedish girl, and fellow MySpacer has the VIDEO (Hee!) on her profile. This should clear up all kinds of stuff…Right.

Wrong! It only added more questions. Well, certain rudiments were answered: Through context, I could tell that “Helikopter” was in fact “helicopter,” I mean you never know, but there was a helic(k)opter in the video. It could have been a false cognate though. It could have actually meant a small type of inland field grazing-pony with horns and the ability to breathe fire. But most lieky not.

I do believe there has to be a deeper, metaphorical meaning to this Helikopter business. There must, if there is any order to our universe. God Doesn’t Play Dice! (Cause he’s a figment of the imagination.) Or it’s part of a Swedish idiom lost to my USA ears. “You’re as sexy as a Helikopter!” or “You’re as shrewd at business, and posses a command of actuary tables never before seen in anyone…like a Helikopter!” I don’t know.

One of the main questions the video prompted: when did the Olsen twins hit Sweden? The singers look just like those two scamps…almost exactly, right down to being jailbaity-looking(actually they are more Jenbennnet Ramsey than Olsen—Ewwww. How old are these kids?), and over tired, and coked up, and bored, and not wanting to be there at all as if they were too cool for school. But, unlike their State-side doppelgangers, they wore bulky, “mission accomplished” flight suits instead of slinky cocktail dresses. Instead of letting their flaxen (that’s a fancy word for yeller, right?) hair fly, they wore mammoth flight helmets that made them look kind of like Stewie from Family Guy. And instead of the carefully applied makeup of the Olsens, they wore football player-esque thick lines under their eyes. And when they danced, it was like watching the poor kid in Christmas Story try to move, thanks to their cumbersome flight suits.

Ok, too many other questions to address. I broke down and emailed the 16-year-old girl. And though it may put me on a Swedish Sex offender list, it might also too yield the answers I need to the questions that plague me like…some sort of plague.

I can’t believe you all read this without having seen the video. CLEEEEEEK!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I offer no explanation

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cool Shoot Today

I met Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. She was as cool as can be, down to earth and funny. Oh, and tall.

We fired up the Hi Def Camera, and had us a high time filming away. She was so professional. It’s cool to work with someone who is used to the camera. So often you get Mom and Pop store-owners who do commercials and are stammering messes of amnesiac, flatulent, snippy, jittery lameness. (Not all though. I love all my clients!)

Fave part of the day? She matter-of-factly stated, “Engine Studio’s got it going on.”

Look for PSAs she did for Cease Fire to air soon. And it is paradoxical and seasonal that as I type this, I find Rockford had its first murder of the year. Support Cease Fire. Let it be the last murder of the year.

Note Paul Harvey Oswald looking on in the background.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Render Intermezzo #1

Thanks, to Final Cut, AfterFX, GoLive, or whatever, sometimes I have to stop working because my computer is busy chomping away at rendering or uploading next generation media and shit. Yep, I’m getting what my good buddy Kevin calls “the blue bar tan.” This is frustrating, but good in that I can take naps, fix food, grab a quickie, or possibly even upload a little blog for youse.

Now that’s truth in advertising.

Or at least working a niche market.

Every now and then I pick up Script magazine, or I think it’s technically Scr(i)pt (precious, no?). There are some cool articles (and since there are seldom nekkit people in it, that’s really all I read it for). Nestled in between these articles are tons of ads. You got several promising to make you a great writer, several agents that will get you read (who knew it was that easy?), these guys mugging it up who will make you funny, and all these other lies…right out of the Hollywood dream factory.

But one green shiny truth that I thought was interesting was an ad selling absinthe.

Now, in your specialty mags, you usually get very specific, niche adds. Like in my computer geek mags, you don’t see Bacardi ads; you see ads for firewire, not fire water. (HEEE!) In hardcore sex mags, you don’t see ads for anything but hardcore sex stuff…so I hear. And likewise, you only see those hucksters who will get you an agent, and make you a staaaaaahr baby! in Script magazine.

So how would someone frame an Absinthe ad in a writing mag?

You start by an out of context Oscar Wilde quote:

“A glass of Absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of Absinthe and a sunset Dude, my hand…it’s so big, and it makes trails…and I think I’m a little gay.” NOTE: Italics added for emphasis and making the big funny happen.

As fatuous as the Wilde quote—or at least its usage is—the copy generated by the company itself is even more of a chortler.
“Our Absinthe is known for promoting a lucid, reflective and creative state of mind in those who drink it.
It is made using the same original French recipe adored by some of the world’s most notorious artists and writers including can Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway and Bob Dylan.”

This is so wrong on so many levels. I mean, I love me my drinking, and I like Absinthe, I even tried to get some for the progrum party, but to sell the stuff as an idea generator for the hacks, uncreative, and the washed up…well. That’s how abc after school specials are made.

This reminds me of “come to flavor country” or I guess, “come to creative country” only worse. It reminds me of old Lucky strike ads that claim there were health benefits to smoking.

And come on, have you ever been sober around someone totally drunk or stoned? They may think they are witty and charming, but they just repeat themselves and are boring and awkward.

If you aren’t creative without the stuff, you won’t be creative with the stuff. Natural fact.

But if you want to order some—they guarantee shipping even though it’s the original recipe and it’s illegal in this country go to absinthescript.com.

Ok, render is done…on to the next thing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Drunk PBS, or Springtime for Gay Hitler

One time, I fell asleep to PBS, and woke up to Telletubbbys. The Baby in the sun sent me into the kind of terror that is reserved for bachelors who don’t like kids who are hung over and seeing babbling babies floating in the sun. It was bad, confusing juju, friends. It was a defining moment that helped make me what I am—a horrible, broken shell of a dude, who shuns the sun, human contact, and grace and beauty in general.

But, we as humans, we are a resilient lot. We adapt, we evolve, we—dare I say it—heal. That’s what we do. And, I was getting back into the swing of things…until last night.

I got home, a good amount buzzed and turned on the TV. And, it was like waking up to the baby sun thing all over again. But, it was going to sleep to a German knock off of friends.

Where do I start?

The name of the show, as far as I can tell, is “Extra” but I don’t know really. It was the only word written in English. This is where I’m a bit like a cultural anthropologist type…a cultural anthropologist who was drunk. I had to reverse engineer things on the account that I don’t speak that language. So, bear with me as I sort through clues, context, and body language. And I could have imagines some stuff that wasn’t really there because: drunk.

At first glance, it is “Friends” on the production value level of “You Can’t Do that On Television,” and they could only afford 4 principles, instead of 6. Weird because when The British Show, “Coupling” co-opted the basic premise of Friends (loosely speaking anyway), the made it substantially better in every way. With “Extra” or whatever it’s called, not so. It reminded me of a production put on by junior high people. Junior high people who were angry with their audience and held them in contempt. It also didn’t seem to pull off the far less entertaining “Perfect Strangers” vibe. You know that show where Bronson Pinchot tried to turn a 2-minute Cameo in “Beverly Hills Cop” to a several season run on Network TV.

The premise seemed to be that An American was abroad in Germany, and had a wacky roommate. Hilarity no doubt would ensue. You could tell he was an American because he had a shirt—no foolin’—that said “American.” And he spoke English every now and then (in a weird Germanized version of English that sounded not at all American), and it looked like her tried to affect a stammering quality to his German…or maybe he was just a shitty actor.
Side note, about the only joke I got was when the American threw his bright red shirt into the laundry load of whites, and—wait for it—made the whites pink!!!!!!!! Are you rolling in the floor? Are you?

The other absurd premise they wanted you to believe is that the American and the wacky German roommate were straight. At one point, in English, they holler, “Girls, Girls, Girls!” then hug and make out a little. These two Eurotrash, Thom of Finland poster boys are not fooling anyone. As far as I can tell, they are not even trying.

I couldn’t understand stuff, but I actually could. They must have seen my drunk, non-German-Speaking ass coming because they often pantomimed stuff. It was like old Vaudeville, but instead of being done by old Jewish people, it was done by foppish caricatures of their former mortal enemies. Where as the old Jews ruled at the vaudevillian pantomime, seeing the Germans do it (with an ironic lack of precision) is much like seeing white people dance or do the blues, or “sizzle” their words.

I got that the American Phoned home…kind of a device to sum up the episode, to tell the possibly drunk-on-thick-beer, Teutonic audience what the moral message of the story was, and quite possibly because they saw Doogie Howser do a similar thing when he typed stuff at the end of his show to sum up what we all learned.

I figured out that they were trying to go on dates—allegedly with women; I knew they were trying to prepare the American for the grueling, demanding precision necessary to be a very gay German Waiter. And apparently these fresh, never-before seen scenarios bristled with fresh, never before seen jokes. I guess. I mean like I said, I couldn’t understand the actual language. But the audience (or laugh track) bristled with fresh, precise laughter.

The only thing that actually giggled me is how eerily similar our own language is to theirs sometimes. When American guy killed some chick’s plant, she held it aloft and hollered in a guttural, un-feminine baritone “Planten!” That cracked me up. To that end I think I kina know German. Cause whenever I try to emulate the speech of our Black Forest buddies across the pond, I just add an N on the end of words. I also learned that we Americans need to be better with plants. We should get into agriculture in our country in some form or other.

Ok, there is more I can say, but why? Just try to watch it yourself. It’s weird.

Also, I want to throw out a disclaimer. While I intend to berate the fish in the Barrel that is the show, I really didn’t mean to be anything more than playfully jabby toward the Germans. But much like the African American may use the N word, I am 1/4 German, so I can make fun of those guys a bit. I don’t feel I need to apologize to the world at large, and don’t mistake this for altruism. It’s just that German women tend to be tall, and I like tall women. Have you noticed? Any of them out there want to help me heal? Or at the very least explain this damn show?

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