Kareoke Culture

Posted by Tim Posada On 9:56 PM 0 comments
Saturday night, my friends and I celebrated our friend J.D.'s exit from the bachelor life by going to a San Clemete Irish pub on kareoke night. I was incredibly fun. We began our musical performaces with an out of tune version of "Minnie the Moocher," sung by Dominic and your humble narrator. The night would continue with "When a man loves a woman" sung by Dom and Jackson, "Time is on my side" sung by Jon Berk and J.D.'s best man Dave. Later, I sang my token cover song "I believe," changing the line "He'll see me a person, not just a black man," to "canadian" at the end. The crowd cheered. The climax occurred after a rather shady rendition of "Baby got back" sung by a large of group of marginally attractive women who reffered to themselves as the Pirates Princesses. Steve, Jon, and myself took the stage to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody"...and then every guy in this side of the pub jumped on stage and joined together in the loudest sing along of one of the most difficult rock songs to sing. It was incredible. I'm convinced the kareoke man hated because none of us took the songs we were singing seriously, or at least as intensly as our two predecessors that monopolized the mic until we showed up and showed them up with our amazing stage presence.

What was amazing was how loud we all were. We were that group that sang to every song. Danced to every beat. And razed our glasses after every singer. We empowered those who would normally feel self-concious on stage. The amazing part was that we were all rather sober, though everyone probably thought we were drunk. This may be a negative, but I'll take it as a positive since we didn't need artificial material to give us energy and comfort to be loud and happy. We're naturally good-hearted people that love others and don't have any inhibitions about what others think. Though I must say that John Englehardt is my favourite drunk. He met a random dude and kept hunging him and eventually got a shot of whiskey from the guy. He also met an fellow seminary student and they each confided in each other about their drunken states.

I couldn't help but wonder about people that do this on a normal basis. This was my first official kareoke experience-or atleast one with music in the background. I wondered if this was place people went because they couldn't get real jobs here. Was this the only place they could truly express themselves without worrying about because taken that seriously. It's like a person that masks their aggression in a joke. Besides us, these people took their oke seriously. These were people that did theatre, choir, and band in high school. This was their tribute to the past. I don't want to sound pessimistic, but there were some people there that just looked defeated. I wonder what would happen if they would have taken that singing lesson more seriously or, at least, gone out for a part at the local theatre. But until that realization, kareoke seems to serve an important part in this culture, giving people their three minutes of fame with the safety of their day jobs. But alas, Blessed Union of Souls would simply remind us that "love will find a way." Perhaps love will lead people into something real beyond kareoke.

Little Children: wow!

Posted by Tim Posada On 8:57 PM 0 comments
Last night I watched Little Children, a film by director Todd Field. Field's films are dark with with a powerful moral core that questions the integrity of suburban life (see also his film In the Bedroom). As I watched Little Children I couldn't help but wonder how this film was not nominated for "Best Picture." True, I felt like I was watching the sequel to American Beauty, but this should not take away from the power of a film that, in many ways, tells the a more compelling story than American Beauty while tapping into the real horror of white, middle-class life. Infidelity, pornography, perversion, isolation, gossip, and day care: this film has a threesome with comedy, melancholy, and beauty. Ben Folds' picture of the rockin' suburbs finds a home in this film, right next to Edger Allan Poe's usual dose of disdain for the complacent and Van Gogh's idea of a good Christmas present.

Little Children tells the stories of an unhappy mother and a stay-at-home dad who are unhappy in their given situations. During this time, a many who was arrested for exposing himself to a minor (probably masturbating in front of a young girl) moves into the area, and an ex-cop, with nothing else to do, makes it his mission to make this "ex-con" feel unwelcome by posting fliers with his mug all over town, while honking at his house in the middle of the night. This character is the scapegoat of the community. In Walter Wink's Unmasking the Powers, he addresses a community's need for a scapegoat (using the story of the Legion-possessed man as his support). A scapegoat serves several purposes. Obviously, scapegoats allow blame to be cast where it should not be cast. However, this man has done terrible things and, to a degree, does not redeem himself right away. But the community's demonizing of him reveals their own fears. The film reveals the secrets of several people in this suburb: a transvestite neighbour, a husband who travels to sleep with random men, people having affairs, women gazing at men they wish they were with instead of their boring husbands, and a husband choosing porn over his wife. The "pervert" is the blatant example of this community's hidden sin. These are not good people. They are petty, arrogant, and uninspired to do anything meaningful beyond join a book club and discuss what they want to see happen rather than cause change.

I find that I left this film angry and confirmed in my hatred of the burbs, but still hopeful. I refuse to allow my family to become a vacuum of apathy that only cares about who's front lawns are properly cared for. The highlight of my week will be spend reflecting on the old days when I felt more alive. My family will not be tied down by the need for a big house. My family will know our neighbours (but this will be in a city context, still no suburbs). Little Children is a reminder of what happens when everyone around you is white-or has been assimilated into the "white" way of life. It's a sad attempt at the American Dream that ultimately ends in some poor attempts at meaning through meaningless jobs or the pathetic idea that life is all about making it to retirement. Pardon the tangent but I really hate how privileged and isolated so many are in this fucking country. While Little Children does not truly offer a way out, it offers hope in a place that, by nature, is bound to tear itself apart. Conclusion: see Little Children, it's better than every film that was nominated for "Best Picture." Sorry, as much as I loved Little Miss Sunshine, but Little Children was a little better.

I have little respect for Relevant magazine. Some time ago they did a film review on the film The Motorcycle Diaries. But this review did not actually discuss anything about the film save the concept of portraying Che Guevara in a possitive way. The review simply tore the film apart for portraying a montrous killer as a young idealist. Unfortunately, such a review only furthers the distance between North American (or western) views on such things this film addresses. It would be easier for us all to simply disregard Che as a muderous revolutionary whose lust for power proved that the CIA was justified in aiding his assassination. It's very western to demonize someone and believe that they were not pure-hearted idealists. I do not know the complete story about Che. What I know is limited to the credibility of those whom wear his T-shirts and this film that I cannot shake.

The real Che and the Che of his diaries may be two different people, but that is not what is important. The Motorcycle Diaries is not about Che, it is about a young potential med student who goes on a road trip in hopes of finding himself and getting some tail, but instead realizes that the world he wanted to take advantage of was too fucked up for another apathetic academic snob to ignore. The Relevant review missed it spent its view hundred words more worried about the messenger than the message.

This is a gorgeous that has caused me to rethink things. Suddenly, I don't to learn German in order to better understand certain cultural scholars, instead I have, once again, heard the call of Spanish and the hope of reading from large body of writers that revealed much about the oppression of Latin America: Che, liberation theologians, and Octavio Paz. I find myself torn by a film. When a bunch of stuck up white people are tyring to say that film is ruining the youth of America, I find myself moved by something those same ignorant/apathetic/don't-know-any- better white people would not even be able to find amidst their complaints.

I've been taking a road movie class, and find that this road movie critiques every other Americna road movie. While it does so in several ways, I find myself stuck on one scene. Che and his traveling companion come across an older married couple traveling and looking for mining work (this is the only work they can get since they are communists). They ask if Che and co. are looking for work, and they say no because they are traveling just to travel. Here is the biggest kick in the nuts (this could work literally as road movies are a male dominated genre) of most American road movies. The road movie is a reflection of western privilege. Only in the U.S. could someone travel just to travel. We dream of being mobile...with our back up plan. People camp and travel because they are forced and we camp and travel for liesure activity. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?