Friday, February 27, 2009

The Notorious Ira Glass

This morning as I opened all my applications I did a restore session with firefox as it quit prematurely when my computer ran out of juice last night.

Then I went to iTunes and decided for the first time in years I needed to listen to some Biggie Smalls to start my day. I hit Life After Death and have a surreal experience. As the spare rim shot opening riff of "I Got a Story to Tell" drops, I hear Ira Glass saying "You know when you think about it the idea of April Fools day is just absurd. A day set aside to admit it's fun to deceive each other. This notion is so disturbing, we have to quarantine it on its own day."

It fits perfectly and I'm amazed. I know Ira Glass did a bit on how he was referenced on the TV show The OC, but he was sampled by The Notorius BIG. What forward thinking! What irony! And to sample it from a show about compulsive liars. What was he saying? The message was layered so deep. As I untangled it, I realized the album came out in '97 and TAL began around 1994, so he was a serious early adoptor. In fact, the episode of TAL he was sampling from didn't come out til 2002, making my barely awake head bump on that.

Suddenly, I realize I'd found the Liars episode of This American Life yesterday and put it on pause, but never played it. I'd forgotten I'd had it as an open window and it started it from the beginning when the machine restarted.

But I dig that Peanut Butter and Chocolate combo. I've often thought of myself as an innovator through integration. I've never been the best writer, the best director, the best composer, the best performer in the world, but as for the best writer/composer/director/performers out there, I do pretty well. I did pretty well.

5 years ago I decided I was too diversified and I put a sign up on my wall that said "Energy Unfocused Disperses". It sounded Newtonian. And I liked it more than the mush inspirational shit they encourage you to put on the walls in The Artists Way.

But in amputating the other aspects of myself, not only has a serious part of me withered, but my special ability to steal from multiple sources and recombine in a unique way was arrested. I've tried to figure out how to make a name for myself in TV or film, but I'm trying to fit molds that exist instead of taking on the mediums on my own terms with my full arsenal. They certainly don't make it easy for someone to use all their skills. but when someone like Seth MacFarlane breaks through with Family Guy and lets fly his animation, his story telling, his joke writing, his singing and acting all at once, you've got a powerhouse who just signed a deal for a reported $100,000 million. Not to say one is measured by one's income, only that it's possible to exercise all one's talents and be appreciated in the wide wide world.

OK. while I loved the juxtaposition of Ira and Biggie, I've pause Mr. Glass and skipped ahead to goin' back to Cali. "See some nice Breasts in the West". OK. It's not the most brilliant line in the world, but it's hysterical how he emphasizes the line in and empty measure. And you can hear his pleasure at the sighting. And you can picture a Extreme Close Up on a rainbow bikini on Venice Blvd. shaking it to the drum circle and the cut back to Biggie thrilled at the giggle. You can't do it too often, but I love when artists musically choose what they want to stand out lyrically. It's so revealing. One of my favorites is Rufus Wainwright in "Poses" he slinks in this line that he doubles vocalling on the caps "I did go from wanting to be someone, now I'm DRUNK AND WEARING FLIP FLOPS ON FIFTH AVENUE." It's the only line in the whole damn song he doubles vocally with a lyric and a harmony and it bursts out from, the speakers yelling. "Me! Me! Listen to ME! I'm the key to the rest of this mess of syllables."

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