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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Lobotomy Lottery

I recently spent an evening with public access television. If you don't mind low production standards, public access has a lot to offer. I was going to mention dubious content, but that's standard across all television, so I'm not going to single out the lo-fi programming for their choices of topic.

I enjoyed the first program simultaneously with a bowl of buttered popcorn and a can of diet soda. As I switched to channel nineteen, I saw a strange middle-aged man with electrocuted bleached hair, a fake tan, and vacant eyes. He had an enormous chin and his jaw squeaked when he spoke. I believe his jaw must be a metal replacement. This man could chew through a chainlink fence.

He stuttered his way through a monologue about musical collaboration. Behind him a sixteen color screen saver from an early nineties computer sputtered along, likely powered by shrinkrayed convicts on hamster wheels. Although this show was intended to promote the band, it performed the opposite. The other members appeared and shared their mumbling stoner philosophies on life and music. Several didn't know to face the camera and stared instead offscreen at Shalajoramba, the invisible tiki god of topiary. I didn't once hear a song until the closing credits rolled twenty minutes later.

They're called Moist Guitars. Isn't that disgusting? I'd rather listen to a band called Fetus Burrito than anything with "moist" in the title. One guy said, "When people ask what moist guitars means, I tell them it's a yak. A yak. Either you get it or you don't, you know, it 's like our sound. It's not something I can explain, so I say yak."

Well, I don't get it.

Next up came the Other Winfrey Show, which seemed to be clips of local entertainers jammed together. There was a comedienne that told some funny lesbian jokes, a cover band, and interviews at an awards show for suburban nightclubs. I don't have anything nasty to say about it. I liked the show.

Finally came the true jewel of public access programming. Star Performers Showcase! At first I saw a fat guy wearing sunglasses lip syncing to Ray Charles songs while he swam his head, just like Ray. Then he did Stevie Wonder, and he got the neck twisting body language down perfectly for him, too. He went on to cover Barry White and Al Green songs, and this guy was white as fresh porcelain. It was jarring but wonderful.

Next came a strange dance club in a banquet hall. Men and women alike stood in lines facing each other and people took turns charging up the middle to the stage, where they stuck their asses in the sky and shook them like tambourines while the clapping lines hooted and juked. Twenty year old rap music played. One fat girl's tits swept the floor while her enormous rump slapped bystanders, knocking them stupid to the ballroom floor.

After the rap ended they all lined up for the locomotion dance, but instead the song was "Hot Hot Hot" by Buster Poindexter. I was shocked by how many people of different cultures could sing this dubious modern classic with precision until I realized this recording might just be fifteen years old. The guys were separated out and only the women boogied a single file circle, but some sneaky young guys snuck back in, looking around guiltily to see if anybody would bust them for horning in. All of the revellers were seemingly unaware that some practical joker was recording this for transmission.

Finally, real karaoke. Pale sweaty fifty year old men with swaying jowls and thick glasses and suspenders and knobby little hands took turns singing Bette Midler and Jimmy Buffett and Dean Martin. They weren't doing this in a dimly lit bar full of drunks, but instead in a church social room brightly lit. The audience was served chilled fruit medley cups and oatmeal cookies. I'm sure offbrand adult diapers leaked onto metal folding chairs while these dregs of society fulfilled their lifelong ambitions to mimic Jon Secada while wearing a cummerbund. People actually clapped. One poor pre-pubescent boy sang a beautiful rendition of "My Girl." Despite the accolades he received I still think his parents should be shot for exposing him to all those pedophiles.

After this marathon I was exhausted and suicidal.
10:26 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm

11 Comments:

April 12, 2005 12:50 PM, Anonymous Bobby said...

The great thing about public access television, is you don't have to travel far in order to kick the program director in the nuts. Unlike the major networks.

 
April 12, 2005 12:55 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I love public television. Where else could I get the ingredients in primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment of sewage? The plot is a little thin, so they only do 26 weeks a year.

 
April 12, 2005 1:24 PM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

Now that was funny. I needed that. Moist Guitar? That is the worst name I've ever heard...

 
April 12, 2005 1:50 PM, Blogger Anonysis said...

Did you ever see those middle eastern pop videos that are shown sometimes at night? They are funny, shocking, confusing, and, if you have a cocktail or two, fun to imitate. Imagine it!

 
April 12, 2005 2:09 PM, Blogger Lostinspace said...

I don't have a tv...so I suppose I have to live vicariously through your tv reviews. Ha. But Oprah. I do like her.

 
April 12, 2005 2:59 PM, Blogger Bookfraud said...

cable access rules, no doubt about it. too bad i don't live in chicago to see ray charles clone, but maybe you can tape and make a dvd for your readers.

man, "moist guitar" is awesome. combining phallic and vaginal imagery, all in one. "fetus burrito" isn't bad in the offensive category, though "placenta taco" would be my choice. i may have to do a blog of my own on band names.

 
April 12, 2005 3:40 PM, Blogger You've Got What I Need... said...

wow. Karaoke will never be the same again... 50 year old men belting Bette? And that's a bad thing?

 
April 12, 2005 4:22 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Sis, when I lived in Des Plaines I saw the Bollywood pop all the time.

LostInSpace, I just got a TV one year ago next week. I try to severely restrict my intake.

Bookfraud, I was torn between fetus burrito, placenta pancakes, fecal fondue, and umbilical licorice. The notion of a burrito crying while I ate it won easily.

YGWIN, it's certainly an acquired taste. I wish they'd try out that

"Yah-kammo-feen-nah-nay!"

song instead.

"Hey now! Hey now! Hey now! Hey now! Eiko eiko on-day!"

Yeah, That would make my life.

 
April 12, 2005 7:51 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

Man, I love that band, "Moist". Ever heard of those guys? They rock so hard...I dunno what it is, but I think it's the name that reels me in. Moist.

Moist. They play guitars too. Moist: Guitars, Bass, and drums. Yah baby.

-A

 
April 12, 2005 8:53 PM, Blogger krawdaddee said...

i fear the day that my jowls sway.

 
April 13, 2005 9:25 AM, Anonymous jamie said...

"offbrand adult diapers leaked onto metal folding chairs"

brilliant. i loved the whole entry, but that line killed me.

sometimes i get sucked in by this train wreck of a show called "Exposè" on public access. Look for it sometime, you can't miss the aging blonde host in a not-so-flattering miniskirt.

 

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