Thursday, August 31, 2006

Buckethead videos

Here's Buckethead in a not-terribly-instructional guitar tutorial.



If you know Buckethead only as that guy who played with the latest crappy version of Guns n' Roses, you have a lot of learning to do. He's a treasure of contemporary American music. Also, he wears a bucket on his head.

There are dozens of live clips of him on Google Video and Youtube, and 37 concert recordings at archive.org. (more)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Basquiat on TV Party

Here's a very young Jean-Michel Basquiat being interviewed (I use the term "interviewed" very lightly) on TV Party.



TV Party documentary and best-of series

Garfield 1989

Okay, I'll say it. I kind of like Garfield. I'm sure it's almost entirely childhood nostalgia (I remember watching the animated version pretty regularly, even into my teens), but the strip makes me laugh at least once a week.

But I just recently came across a one-week series of Garfield strips that made me completely reevaluate my relationship with the comic. These are so bizarre you might almost think they're a hoax. But they aren't.

(Click the image for the full series.)

One week in October 1989, Garfield apparently woke up to find his home abandoned, and went on to question his life. No punchlines, and way more captions than newspaper comics are supposed to have.

These have been posted all over the internet (third and fourth links are particularly unsettling), with the rather macabre explanation that Garfield is dead. I think that's a huge stretch, but they may be odd enough to make you wonder whether Jim Davis is more than a shrewd marketer who doesn't write his own comics.

While "researching" this "blog" "post," I discovered that there is a huge Garfield subculture on the internet, all revolving around one question: "If Jon can't hear Garfield, does that mean Jon is completely freaking insane?" Not one, but two blogs are dedicated to photoshopping Garfield's thoughts out of the comic, to demonstrate Jon's perspective.



Taking the idea a step further is the site Arbuckle, where comic artists submit their own reimaginings of Garfield comics, sans Garfield's thoughts. Many of these are astounding in their utter humanness, considering the source material.




But the best Garfield-related website (and maybe the best comic-related site ever) is Permanent Monday, where an extremely dedicated blogger writes a short essay on every Garfield strip. It's equal parts visual criticism, Cartoonistry 101, and snarkery. How could someone not love this?

For those unfamiliar with Garfield shorthand, those puffs of smoke and drifting hairs in panel three do not mean Garfield has spontaneously combusted, so much as dashed off the table quickly.

Jon normally asks Garfield to carry in groceries for him? As long as you've accepted that your cat understands and emotionally responds to English, has opposable thumbs and walks upright comfortably, you might as well expect it to help around the house. The imagined sight of Garfield assisting Jon putting the groceries away in the kitchen cupboards, his furry hands clutching canned vegetables and opening the crisper drawer creeps me out though.

This joke eliminates from the narrative space half of the characters involved, the more visual and action-oriented perspective on the story, and poses its only half-catatonic on-panel cast to prevent any facial expressions. Not only that, but the only moment of kinetic action is dumped into the gutter between panels. Davis marries a joke about the sudden disruption of prolonged stasis, with a staging and timing that twist into agonized positions to avoid any depiction of action and excitement. Though the punchline is Garfield's frenzy and mad dash to the food, the rhythms of the panels show us only Garfield dozing and an empty table... depicted as a straight line across a blank field. Let the surface of the water be never unstill.

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