Archive for December, 2010


Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Cricket, being German, wanted to go see Rammstein in concert. Rammstein, for those of you who do not know, is a German industrial band. All their songs deal with death, misery, sadness, rage and sex. No rainbows, no flowers, no koalas. They had one big hit in the US with “Du Hast” (“You Have”). Rammstein doesn’t like the U.S. at all, so this is their first tour here in about 11 years. Cricket was super-excited. So I bought him tickets (Madison Square Garden sold out in under two minutes!) and we went. We were seated about two rows from the ceiling, so all my pictures are not-so-great. Luckily, other people with better cameras took pictures as well, and I found them on the internet to sprinkle amongst my crappy shots. Here’s a picture of the band for you.

First of all, there were the fans. Almost all white people, mostly dudes. A great deal of black garments, especially those oversized black canvas pants with tons of zippers and latches. A lot of t-shirts featuring Slayer, Lamb of God, Metallica, etc. An ABUNDANCE of piercings. One guy had multiple piercings on his hat. (I wanted to ask him if it hurt, but I didn’t feel like getting killed.) Cricket, in his tasteful zip-up jacket, and me, in my dorky puffy coat, were not the ideal audience. We sat quietly during the opening act, CombiChrist, while people around us drank copious amounts of beer and yelled stuff. And then Rammstein came on (and immediately Cricket and I were in the center of a swirl of pot smoke). Has everyone seen “This is Spinal Tap”? Spinal Tap, the fictional band in the film, was famous for having elaborate, ridiculous set pieces, and Rammstein does the same. They need twenty trucks to go on tour with them to hold all their stuff. And pyrotechnics. Hoo boy. If you type “Rammstein Live” in Google Images, this is what it looks like. FLAMEY.

So, there was steam…

And crazy lights…

And insane amounts of fire.

It’s important to know that I’m not making up anything I say from this point on. Till, the lead singer, comes out on stage for the first song wearing a red leather apron, a hairnet, a red feathered neckpiece, and an apparatus that wraps around his cheek and lights up the inside of his mouth. For the tour, he wears the metal thing that goes into his mouth and lights up, but to film their latest video Till actually pierced his cheek, put a grommet there and wired the light into his mouth that way.

Then, in one of their later songs, the keyboardist, who goes by the name of Flake, comes down and knocks Till over. Till picks up Flake and tosses him into a large metal bathtub. Till then picks up a really weird-looking arm gun and fills the bathtub with sparks. Shortly after, Flake comes out in a sequin-covered suit and goes back to the keyboards, were he walks on a treadmill while he’s playing. None of this has anything to do with the song they’re playing, or any song they’ve ever played, or anything that’s ever happened anywhere, ever.

Then, for the song “Engel” (“Angel”), Till comes out wearing a giant pair of metal wings, which slowly open. Then fire shoots out of the tips of them and sparks fly out of the middle bits.

But, by far, the piece de resistance is during the encore, when they play the song which, for reasons of tastefulness, I will call “Kitty”. During “Kitty”, Till gets on a giant, pink cannon that shoots foam all over the general seating area. Still not making stuff up.

It was a hell of an experience. Aside from the fact that I had to stand the whole time, it was delightful. For pretty much the whole show the guy in front of me was rockin’ the devil-hands, so that was nice.

And the sea of camera-phone lights were beautiful.

The best part was that earlier that day, something called SantaCon had taken place, so many audience members were still dressed as Santa. Very trippy. Here are some pictures of SantaCon.

Here’s a link to their latest video. They filmed it on their travel set, so you can see the light in Till’s cheek, the pyrotechnics, the sequined suit and the treadmill. Also, one of the lines in the song is “barbed wire in your urethra.” Magical, I tell you.

All I want for Christmas is a nap.

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Ugh. I keep forgetting that my work has ebbs and flows, and this time of year is always horrendous. I have had to work so flippin’ hard these past two weeks, I haven’t had time to blog. Or bathe. Or keep my sanity. I do apologize that my posts have been so slackerly, but hopefully the upcoming months will be less work-consuming. I hope.

Now, things I have seen in my travels in New York. But first, there was this sidebar on Buzzfeed.

I thought it was magical. I didn’t click it. I like the version I have in my head better.

I work across the street from a Mrs. Field’s Cookie-Procuring Facility, and in the window they were displaying this.

Yeah, taking a heart-shaped cookie and flipping it upside-down to make Santa’s face isn’t working. His beard looks like a butt and the blob of red twisty frosting representing his mouth looks like a very special holiday sphincter. Next time, use an oval-shaped cookie.

I also work down the street from Koreatown, where many restaurants and bars and karaoke lounges. One of them had this sign outside.

I think they meant “Happy Hour”, but every time I walk past the sign it feels like a frat boy is yelling at me. “Come in here! You’ll be happy all friggin’ night!!”

In keeping with our wordy theme, I often complain about the unnecessary use of apostrophes, but recently I came across the absence of an apostrophe and it made me equally sad.

Awww. Unhappy emoticon here.

This dress caught my eye and made my day.

It looks like a regular black cocktail dress, but through the use of expensive ruffled ribbon and oddly-shaped sequins, it became beautiful and unique. Hey! People at home! Pay attention! A little elbow grease can turn ordinary garments into fancy-pants evening wear! Heed my words! DIY clothes need not be horrifying! Thank you!

I was on my way to Times Square, and I passed a pop-up Sanrio store in the middle of Broadway. And parked next to it…

It’s a cute little Smartcar covered in Hello Kitty heads! And a truck covered in other characters! So adorable!

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all. I’m off to have Chinese food, as is the way of my people.

Macy’s Christmas windows.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

I tend to only get excited about Saks Fifth Avenue windows and Barney’s windows, but this year I was super-pleased to read this article:

That’s my alma mater, y’all! Since I graduated from the Theater Design Tech program at SUNY Purchase with a degree in Set Design and  I work across the street from Macy’s, I felt obligated to check out my former classmates and their activities. So the other day I sauntered across the street and checked out the windows. Here are some pictures to give you an idea.

They built the whole thing out of paper, which I think is a great idea. I think they did a swell job with the forced perspective and all. They even did the animatronics as well (we’ll get to that later). It bothered me that the characters they built didn’t match the style of the environment at all. I also think that while there are spots where the paperwork is spectacular, there are some spots where they didn’t push far enough with the material. That being said, I can’t judge them at all because who knows how much time they were given or if some Macy’s bigwig came in and gave his opinion and even though it was crap, they were forced to follow it. I don’t know the politics behind the making of the windows. So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. Here are some of the more beautiful paper details.

And there was one window that gave me chills because it looked EXACTLY like draftings I had to make when I was a sophomore. I mean, uncannily similar. And since these people took the same classes as me, it’s very possible that it is taken from those draftings. I had a really rough time at college (entirely my own fault, but still) and it took me right back there, like a ‘Nam flashback.


Each window had some form of animation, things sliding into frame, things sliding out, etc. and my favorite was the village with the tree in the center.

The whole village lifted up, but if the tree didn’t move forward, the hole cut out for it would scrape the paper off the tree, so they have the tree tip forward when they lift the set. It was neat. I made an animated gif for your enjoyment.

Ah, it was delightful. Here’s a picture of the wee children enjoying the experience with their eyes full of wonder.

Hopefully this week I’ll have a chance to run over to Saks Fifth Avenue and see what they have goin’ on window-wise.

A whole pile of random television-related items.

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

1. I do not like football, but I love the little Fox robot that dances on the side of the screen from time to time. If I am forced to watch a football game, the robot is usually all I enjoy.

Robot doin’ his thang.

I have just found out the robot’s name is Cletus. This only further endears him to me.

2. Remember back when I complained about the wallpaper in the Eminem video? Here’s the entry. I guess there must be a discount on that wallpaper for TV decorators, because I’ve been seeing it everywhere. I was watching Scrubs, and there it was. And a few days later I caught a JCPenney’s commercial, and whaddya know, my nemesis Beautiful But Too Expensive Wallpaper is in the background. We meet again. *slitted eyes*

3. I was channel-flipping and stopped upon Hoarding; Buried Alive, and while they were interviewing this woman, I couldn’t stop staring at the thing behind her.

What the hell is that thing? I thought it looked like a startled Uruk Hai. Uruk Hai, in case you don’t know, are these profoundly icky war creatures from Lord of the Rings. Here’s a picture of one.

Still don’t see it? I photoshopped the original image to help you out.

Now? With the ganked-up teeth/buttons? Well, I have no idea what this woman was saying because I spent the whole time saying, “IT’S LOOKING AT ME. MAKE IT STOP LOOKING AT ME.”

4. A while back Snorth introduced me to this playwright named Edgar Oliver. Edgar has the most bizarre speech pattern. I was like, yeah, whatever, he’s a big hairy bucket of odd. And then, I was watching a show called Oddities on Discovery and poof! there was Edgar. It was like a switch was flipped. I am obsessed with him now.

It’s such an unhealthy obsession, I have made an mp3 of all of his dialog from this episode where he rents a strait jacket for his play. I want to turn it into a ringtone or something. Especially when he says, “Yes,” around the 46-second mark. So, so very creepy and awesome.

Edgar at Obscura

Meet the Breeds.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Back a few months ago, before work took over my life, I went to an event called Meet the Breeds in the Javitz Center in New York. It was supposed to have 140 breeds of dogs and 60 breeds of cats. Alas, that was not true: they had closer to 50 breeds of dogs and 25 breeds of cats. AND they didn’t have my favorite breed of dog, which is the Borzoi or Russian Wolfhound. Also, it’s only the second year they have done this, so it was quite chaotic. But I got to meet a whole bunch of doggie breeds I previously didn’t know, and that was exciting. Here’s a brief and extremely late recap.

As I came in, I was greeted by cat agility, which caused me to giggle. Note how well it is going. The cat is just looking at the hurdle. It ain’t jumpin’ for anything. This could take days.

I went up and down the rows, dogs first, then cats, and I came to the realization that both dog and cat owners are equally insane. They owners were allowed to decorate their display space any way they wanted, and some people went as far as they could go. In the Saluki booth, they had an entire Saharan tent, with leather poofs to sit on and carpets and everything. I imagine if they could bring in a camel, they would have. The owners often dressed up as well. We’ll get to that.

I went late in the day, so many beasties were starting to get tired. Like this itty-bitty teeny tiny Chihuahua. It must be hard holding up that giant bulbous forehead.

One of the breeds I was introduced to was the Cirneco d’Etna. Etna is an active volcano in Sicily (when I went to Sicily, Etna was oozing black goop and ash, very thrilling).

Here is a picture of the Cirneco d’Etna. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but his owner is eating a sandwich, and the dog is very interested in the sandwich. I think he is willing the sandwich to float over to him. COME TO ME, he is saying. I MUST EAT YOU.

Another new dog I was introduced to was the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. I love that name. Alliteration makes me happy, and this name has it in spades.

And there it is, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. It was a long day, and the doggie was tired. I might recommend to the owners next year not to match everything to the color of the dog. You don’t want to camouflage your beast, you want it to pop. Perhaps next year, a deep blue-green petrol color garment and pillow. Just a suggestion.

The third breed I was introduced to was the Xolointzcuintli (pronounced sho-lo-intz-queent-lee), the hairless Mexican dog.

“Hairless” is a bit inaccurate, because the dog (which is really sweet, by the way) has a tuft of white hair on the top of its head.

Now, concerning the dressing up: People wanted you to be excited about their breed, so often they would dress up to something pertaining to their breed. For example, there is the Corgi. The Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, loves corgis. So, if you look in the background, you will notice a woman dressed as the Queen in front of a fake castle.

And there is a breed of cat called the Ragdoll. So this owner dressed as, well, you know.

Where I draw the line is dressing up your beast. There’s some breed of cat that is related to the Wild West or cowboys in some way, and this is what the breed aficionados decided to do to them.

Okay, I don’t know much about alotta things, but one thing I do know – you do not put a tiny cowboy hat with an elastic head-holder-thing on a cat AND a kerchief AND then perch it on a saddle for long periods of time. If you do that and the cat scratches all the skin off the soles of your feet while you are sleeping, then the cat is completely justified. In fact, I would suggest we give the cat an award for showing self-restraint and only flaying your feet and not all the way up to your knee. Good kitty.