Happy New Year, Bitches — and welcome to the first Video Clip of the Week for 2019! It’s going to be a great year for some-extra cool songs and clips, I promise. It’s good to be back, though I admit that I am still a little woozy from the Holidaze. For the first three or four days after I returned from a fabulous Christmas vacation in Southern California, I felt like I was completely hungover with jet lag. And during that necessary reintegration into the New York City atmosphere, I had an unusually high number of vivid, hallucinatory dreams that seemed to segue loosely from one to another and another, which left me foggy and disoriented upon wakening, but nevertheless kept me wildly entertained. Dreaming is free.
And it is this desirable feeling of existing in a dream-like state that sealed the deal for me when choosing this week’s clip, which is called “Be Alright” from the Dandy Warhols — a band that managed to cling tenaciously to their major label record deal longer than I think anyone imagined possible. Kudos! Starring actress Jessica Paré, who played Megan Draper on Mad Men, and featuring cameos by all band members plus an assorted mix of their extended entourage, “Be Alright” opens on a scene of Paré seated alone in a dimly-lit restaurant and symbolically squeezing the last drop of wine from the bottle before before she saunters off to the bar for more champagne, and then proceeds to journey from room to room, encountering a formal dinner party, concert, photo shoot, and a recording session. Or something like that. Imagine if David Lynch directed an alt-rock version of Alice in Wonderland.
It turns out that the clip was shot entirely in one location, which is a a ten thousand square foot building purchased by the Dandy Warhols back in 2002 in what was then industrial NW Portland. The Odditorium, as it is now known, is the band’s headquarters, recording studio, and hang out for them and all their friends and fellow artists. The video was written and conceived by the award winning creative mind of Kevin Moyer, who explains, “I’ve been there many times and it is such a cool and ethereal place, full of psychedelia and gothic touches and auras. It just makes your head spin trying to take all of it in as you walk through the unique rock n roll space. What better way [to capture the essence of this music] than to use a head spinning media format to take the viewer on a magical journey through the Dandy Warhols‘ own space and sound, with the new single ‘Be Alright’ making things exactly that along the way.” Well said!
“Be Alright” can be found on the band’s new album, Why You So Crazy, due out on January 25th, 2019 on Dine Alone Records. Preorder the album via their Pledge Music campaign, and receive extra goodies, at This Link! Enjoy!
“The Scariest Sound” As Told by Hop Hop Artist El-P (All Images Courtesy of Joshua Liner Gallery)
Storytelling is an ancient, ceremonial ritual: a vital way of passing down history and information that has become all but forgotten in this hyper–distilled, digital age. San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Fish has reclaimed the art of storytelling in his new exhibit, Listen and Learn, in which Fish’s paintings illustrate the telling of a brief but unique story told by one of his personal acquaintances. A digital recording of that interview is included as part of each colorful and detailed canvas, and while you examine the various images that make up the “big picture,” you get to hear the story behind the visuals in front of you. It’s an extremely unique and rewarding experience. This exhibit reminded me very much of the Stephanie Lempert’s recent Reconstructed Reliquaries exhibit (at the Claire Oliver Gallery) in which the artist built objects from the actual words of her interview subject’s stories. It’s exciting that artists are finding ways in which to add new dimensions to their work and I must say that Jeremy Fish’s unbelievably creative and extensive exhibit at Joshua Liner showcases some of the most unique artwork I have seen in recent memory. The show is a must see, for sure.
“The Last Viking” As Told By Courtney Taylor
While I attended the opening reception this past Thursday, the gallery was so packed with art fans that I knew I’d have to go back another day and spend extra time listening to the stories that accompanied each individual painting to really fully appreciate all that this exhibit has to offer. I visited the gallery again today (Saturday) and spent about an hour walking from painting to painting, sitting myself down in front of each canvas and hitting play on the tiny MP3 device so I could listen to tales from many colorful characters, ranging from Snoop Dogg to Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhol’s, who recount their personal memories of sexually deviant misbehavior at school, and having a tour manager that was more of a secret Rock ‘n Roll Viking, respectively. The stories told are alternately hilarious, far out, frightening, touching, drug addled, or just plain confusing. The unifying factor is that they are compelling stories in nearly every case, and the images that Fish creates to tell these stories are almost alive and breathing.
It’s unusual that the Liner gallery will devote both its front and back rooms to one artist, but in this case the collection is so extensive that Fish gets the entire space. Many of the paintings that fill the front gallery also have sculptural properties in that the canvases are shaped like the object that’s the main topic of the conversation, such as a subway train or hand grenade etc. The smaller, rear gallery is carpeted with lush Astroturf and the walls have been painted to resemble a cartoon forest in which the paintings interact with the background. In the center of that room you’ll find a cluster of whimsical wooden sculptures that add a very cheerful and fun aspect to the exhibit overall. Some of the paintings in the back room have accompanying audio and some do not, so your ears get a tiny break. Ultimately, however, curiosity is going to get the best of you and you’re probably going to end up listening to the audio at every single station. I know I did.
“Books For Burritos” As Told By Aaron Durand
One small downside is that, unfortunately not all of the audio works as it should. I was having trouble getting a lot of the stories to play, and when I asked for assistance from a very accommodating gallery worker, I was told to hold the play button down until I could hear the audio “pop,” then press play. This worked in most cases although there were a handful of stations where the story seemed to get interrupted, or end before the speaker was actually done telling the story. Other problems with the audio included excessive background noise or interview subjects who were too intoxicated to speak intelligibly, which of course had nothing to do with any technical difficulties. For the most part however the stories are clearly audible and easy to understand. A few of them didn’t really grab me, but so many are utterly fascinating and really add so much to the visual experience of the art. For example Kimya Dawson of the band Moldy Peaches tells an enthusiastic though somewhat meandering story about a teenage crush who shows up in her life years later, and ends up as a meaningful FaceBook reunion. It’s a situation that I’m sure a lot of us have experienced, but Kimya really takes it to the next level. If you’ve ever seen her appearances on the Storytelling program, The Moth, you know she’s an amazing storyteller anyway, so it was really great that Jeremy included her in this project.
“Angry Work” By Jimmy Scheine
I also very much enjoyed Jimmy Scheine’s contribution to the canvas called “Angry Work,” which tells the little known backstory of a series of Keith Haring paintings that have characteristics unlike any of his other artwork. Ron English, one of my favorite contemporary pop artists, tells a hilarious and unpredictably bizarre tale about hanging one of his renegade billboards over a busy highway that eventually leads to a multiple car pileup. Another favorite is artist Alex Pardee’s recollection of a comedy of errors leading up to his first art exhibit that includes a breakdown on the highway, a forgotten cell phone, a ticket for littering, a hillbilly tow truck driver and a woefully malfunctioning toilet, that just keeps getting crazier as it goes along.
In case you’re not quite convinced that you need to see this exhibit, you can visit This Link at the Gallery’s website to view selected works and hear samples of the accompanying recorded stories. There’s also a teaser video on YouTube which will give you an idea of how the storyteller’s words create the various seemingly disparate images of the painting.
Jeremy Fish’s Listen and Learn is on exhibit through July 16, 2011 at the Joshua Liner Gallery, located at 548 W. 28th St, New York City. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.