In some regions of Ghana, it is typical for the shape and style of a coffin to make a personal statement by reflecting the profession, interests, or characteristics of the deceased. The mother of many children, for example, might have a coffin in the shape of a hen with chicks. In this case it is a Nike sneaker, a symbol of status and modernity in the late 20th century. As people make the transition from one world to the unknown next, an object (a coffin) representing another object (in this case, a shoe) provides comforting familiarity.
Coffin in the Form of a Sneaker (1990) by Paa Joe was Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.
Backstory: It’s not always easy to lure me out of the Chickpad on a weeknight, but just last evening I hopped the M21 bus to Houston and Elizabeth Street to hang out at a listening party for the new album by some band called Motion City Soundtrack — a group of unwashed-looking guys pushing thirty who sing songs about what it’s like to be 15 years old and have “problems.” Aside from the fact that the party was held in a place where you have to make an appointment to custom design your own over-priced Nike sneakers, attendees were promised an “open bar” and snacks, so it really could have been any crappy band and I would have been there, because free food is free food.
Motion City Soundtrack
The upcoming new album by Motion City Soundtrack turns out to be pretty much the typical “Poppy-Punk-meets-Emo” fare by your garden variety signed-to-Epitaph band that wishes it had the nads to be Bad Religion. You know: not horrifying but not anything I would ever listen to if I wasn’t being paid to write about the drummer. I will say that the production is top notch, being that the songs are alternately produced by either Ric Ocasek or the team of Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne). So you know they threw down a few bucks to get the thing recorded. I sincerely wish these guys some good fortune in selling lots of copies of this album, the name of which escapes me at the moment, because I might even be into their music if I wasn’t in my forties and didn’t have my shit completely together.
Oh, and speaking of the free food, can I just say that I was served what was definitely the single most delicious cheeseburger I have ever eaten in my entire life? I’m not even exaggerating. That burger was so fucking awesome, I’ll be talking about it for the rest of my life. When I’m on my death bed, the last word that slips from my withered mouth will likely be, “cheeseburger….” Mmmm…Count on it.
But I digress. What I really wanted to blog about today is Hey Paula (Thursdays at 10:00 PM on Bravo) the new reality TV show starring professional train wreck and washed-up has-been, Paula Abdul. I happened to get home from the party early enough to catch the debut episode and it was just insane. Jesus god, this show is so ridiculously, desperately heinous, it makes Britney and Kevin: Chaotic look like The Sopranos by comparison. If there was ever any doubt that Abdul – whose histrionics and incoherent babbling have made American Idol almost unwatchable to me — is a pill-popping lunatic with, at best, a tenuous grasp on reality, this show blasts that doubt to smithereens. I can’t believe she actually allowed cameras to follow her around and immortalize her on film acting like an overwrought, pathetic loser. It would almost be sad if she hadn’t volunteered to let the whole world (or at least those with basic cable) witness behavior that makes a freak like Courtney Love seem like the paragon of self-control. You can bet I will be watching this show every week until they take it off the air, because Hey Paula must be seen to be believed.