Art, indie pop, and the Beer commercial

I’ve always liked the Stell Artois commercials, with their tounge in cheek art film feel, but I’ve been struck by the creative blend of indie pop and art film carnival employed by Heinicken and Bacardi in their two most recents advertisements. As with most commercials, the idea is to get you to buy someting, and of course, all beer commercials want you to feel like you’re in  party. The commercials most certainly play with the party feel, but it’s not a part of superior cool people. It’s a gathering of electic people, and they move through time periods and genres, embracing the Western, the ninja, and the jitterbug, among other elements. Each of these commercials are knowingly set to indie pop songs, Matt & Kim’s “Daylight” and the Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s “Golden Age.” I’m not sure what to make of this phenonmenon, beyond something to do with mashup culture. It’s something I’m still working out.

Matt & Kim, “Daylight”

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, “Golden Age”


Wednesday Happy: Dawn French as Catherine Zeta Jones

A colleague and I nearly fell out of our chairs laughing at this clip of Dawn French impersonating Catherine Zeta Jones. The Welsh accent is spot-on. It’s just too hilarious. I seriously adore Dawn French. I love The Vicar of Dibley, and I’m still trying to figure out a way to teach Dawn French’s goodness.



I have new house keys. It’s odd. Surreal. Exciting. Entirely overwhelming. So much to do and not enough time to sit and process really. It’s perhaps the most adult and most bizarre thing I’ve ever done.


Oliver, of course, couldn’t resist playing with the keys while I took the pictures.

Song of the Day: Vampire Weekend, “Oxford Comma”

I’ve had this song stuck in my head all day. I looked it up this morning in order to play around with doing screen captures from a video for a few of my composition students who are doing photo essays, and I found myself humming/singing it in the halls. (Not good given the language, but also wildly appropriate given the language.) At any rate, I’d never seen the official video before. I was struck by the Wes Anderson echoes. Even the chapter titles seem to be drawn from The Royal Tennenbaums. I like the concept of being in some odd revolutionary outpost from the 1970s. I also like the self consciousness with the tracking devices. It doesn’t try to hide that it’s a music video. In fact, it revels in the incoherency of the whole genre, creating a pastiche of themes. I think Vampire Weekend gets criticized, unfairly, for this self knowing pastiche. The thematic link to Wes Anderson is deliberately. His aesthetic, one borrowed from François Truffaut, French New Wave Cinema, and the color palate of the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, is one we’ve given a sort of odd elite artistic credibility. It’s a form of elitism. Vampire Weekend borrows this credibility with great elan, using it to fuel their real social commentary on the inanities of such elitism.

More Royal Wedding Fun

I knew there was more than one reason why I loved my phone carrier. I’m just totally impressed with the lookalikes they hired. This video, by T-Mobile of all things, is like a double bout of mocking: both the Royal Wedding and the wedding dance video that went viral several months ago. (Glee borrowed the idea for the wedding between Finn and Kurt’s parents.) Sadly that video was staged; for a while there everyone thought a real wedding party had choreographed a dance down the aisle. Hat tip David Farrier/ @davidfarrier

Observer Royal Wedding Tributes

I’ve posted here and here about the upcoming wedding between Kate Middleton (I’m not calling her Catherine; no one call her Catherine) and Prince William. As readers of the Electric Telegraph know, I’m not exactly interested in the royal wedding beyond it’s identity issues and, of course, for the completely over the top kitsch production. How can you not like badly done Franklin Mint commemorative coins, painted china, the Windsors in legos and as knitted figures. It’s all just soooo bad. The Observer has a whole series of alternative wedding tributes that range from the indie kitschy “Mistress England” by the band Emmy the Great to Tim Key’s highly absurd wedding poem. (Sadly, the Observer doesn’t have a convenient, embeddable link for WordPress.) Enjoy!

Collecting and uncollecting

I’ve–almost–bought a house. I close on Wednesday, and the final walk through is Monday. For a variety of reasons, mainly practical, I’ve resisted really packing until the papers are signed. Partly, I don’t want to jinx anything. My superstitious side is pretty strong about these sorts of things. Partly, my apartment is small, and dismantling it while also finishing up this semester that’s been such a relentless marathon for everyone would mean weeks of living with boxes, something I hate. (Seriously, the whole school is gasping from exhaustion; it’s the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced in my 10 years teaching.) But, now that I need to start packing, I also find myself uncollecting stuff to a certain extent. I’ve cleaned out the closet, and I’m sending off things to people. Mostly knitted stuff for babies that are coming this year. I’m passing books off to people, and making sure user manuals to things like the TiVo are in their proper binder so I can re-set up my life in a new space. A space that I own. It also means a certain amount of collecting–boxes, paint and formica chips, ideas and concepts.

“The house protects the dreamer.” Bachelard’s poetic response to the concept of the house has long resonated with me. The house is a space for daydreaming, but it’s also a space of day dreaming. I’ve long collected dishes and colors and ideas for when I had a home of my own, painting in my head a life lived in a dream space not yet realized. I’ve also long been collecting books about space and houses. Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa, a book I’ve adored since high school begins “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” The film version repeats that phrase, “I had a farm in Africa.” It’s a deliberate echo of loss since the narrator no longer possesses the farm or the life she began there. But it’s also a dreaming phrase; “I had a farm in Africa” is imbued with potentialities, of different narratives and dreams. Frances Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun has a similar beginning: “I am about to buy a house in a foreign country.” What follows is an account of renovating Bramasole (and what joy to have a house with a name, and such a name, “to yearn for the sun”) but also of how Mayes and her husband build a life there, transplanted from their lives in San Fransisco. Both of these are ostensibly travel narratives, but in fact, we travel to try out lives in other places, to see where we can imagine ourselves living. Frances Hogdson Burnett simply rented or bought homes where she wanted to go, lavishly setting up new lives for herself in the English countryside, New York City, Portland Place in London, Paris, Italy, and the Caribbean. The constant writing to paying for these lives exhausted her, but she never once thought about giving up her lives in these different spaces. She understood that having a house in a foreign clime reshaped your dreaming, provided prospective. I’ve embarked on this journey, even though Fort Smith is not a “foreign” land, I do feel it’s resounding differences from my roots in Dallas. I am transplanting myself to this new soil. I am buying house between the Ouachita and Ozark mountains.

More Oliver

Emily and Oliver and Michou, all at once.

Oliver, paper writing with me.

Oliver hanging out on my backpack

Oliver, still trying to help me write. Michou has learned to just sleep on the books and not try to be in the lap while the writing is occurring. It’s safer that way. Less likely to be in the way of furious typing.