Tag: Nirvana

The Messy Fascination of Repulsion: Blackie, Basquiat, The Widow Party

by on Nov.15, 2010

Some more thoughts about “messy” aesthetics (see Adam Jameson’s comments to John’s Fort Thunder post) and the 1990s…

I often get these chain-mails on Facebook asking me for the 15 most influential albums/books/paintings etc for me. One of the most influential artistic experiences for me was going to a show with the band “Blackie” at the speedboat gallery in St Paul some time in the mid 90s. Nobody’s probably heard of them except for me and my friend Tyler, who brought me to the show because he was friends with some of the band members.

But “band” is not really correct. These were like 10-15 folks in their mid-to-late 20s who played together once or twice a year. And “played together” is not exactly correct either because they hadn’t rehearsed and while some of them seemed to know how to play their instruments, some of them didn’t, and some of them were playing strange instruments (plastic whistles, stuffed birds, their arms). The result: The squirrels bled and we heard armchairs with soft hair on them.

The star of the show was the singer, a guy dressed up as college boy – polo shirt, baseball hat etc – but it seemed to be a college boy in drag. He didn’t sing but recited poems/chants while filming himself and the rest of the band with a toy-looking video-camera. One of the songs ended with the singer repeating “We’re in Spokane/We’re in Spokane/We’re in Spokane” for several minutes while writhing – excited, sweating, possibly horny – on the floor and filming himself straight into his screaming, sweaty face. Definitely: “Body possessed by media.” Sweaty with media.
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