Friday, November 16, 2007

Personal YouTube Night. Vol 3

I know you were just dying to see more of my YouTube recommendations. You weren't sickened, fascinated, compelled, and/or unsettled enough by my last list of videos. So here I am again sharing some of my favorites. I have a lot more where these came from. (I'm not sure whether that's a warning, a promise, or a threat):


1. When I first had the idea to search for some vintage HR Pufnstuf goodness, I knew I was going to be entering the land of the surreal. Anyone who is a kid in the 70's remembers the garish colors, and the rather menacing life-sized costumed "things" that inhabit the work of Sid and Marty Krofft. Even stranger is the interaction between the fantasy creatures and their earnestly human co-stars. These links are for a show called The Bugaloos. I don't imagine that it ran for very long, but these music segments are great documents of the ethereal "trippiness" of this particular era.

Watch the Video
Watch the Video
Watch the Video

2. Here's the theme for another Krofft production. This seems like a real stretch for a continuing series. Thank god they had Charles Nelson Reilly and Butch Patrick (of Eddie Munster fame!) on hand to "keep it real". I'd like to have been a fly on the wall at the brainstorming sessions that came up with this loopy stuff. What a wonderful world we would live in if only Sid and Marty had acquired the stature of a Walt Disney.

Watch the Video

3. Of course, everything good has to eventually get co-opted by the "man". How would you like to see your unique creations shilling bad fast food products? Well, apparently Sid and Marty didn't feel too good about it when they saw the derivative characters that the McDonald's corporation came up with. Fortunately there was justice in the 70's. The Kroffts filed suit for copyright infringement and won, proving that there was indeed something rotten in McDonaldland. Anyway, here's a commercial propagated by the evil burger empire:

Watch the Video


4. I couldn't possibly leave you with that kind of bad taste in your mouth. Here's the perfect antidote to the crass commercialism demonstrated in that last entry- it's The Banana Splits!!. Of all the Krofft productions, this is by far the one I remember watching the most. The reason for the lingering effect is likely its maniacally catchy theme song. Watching this clip is like being on a particularly speedy acid trip. It's manic, silly, and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What's with that freakin' elephant? Could watching this sort of thing have given me brain damage? Where's Tipper Gore when you need her?

Watch the Video


5. While we're on the subject of adolescence, let's shift the tone just a bit. Here we have excerpts from a batch of seedy CK Jeans advertisements. Calvin Klein was notorious throughout the 80's and 90's for the controversy provoked by their television commercials. But these ads specifically cross a sacred line in our society- they are clearly intended to suggest a cheap porn shoot. That might be acceptable if the models were over the age of 18. Obviously these young folks are still kids, despite their naively brazen attitudes. The sleazy tone of the man behind the camera is what pushes these beyond the bounds of decorum. One wonders whether Larry Clark had anything to do with this campaign. Of course Calvin Klein profited greatly from all the publicity generated by the moral outrage. I wonder how these would go over now.

Watch the Video


6. On a more sublime note, there's the case of painter Louis Wain. This English artist was best known for portraits of large-eyed, anthropomorphic cats. As people who know me well can attest, I am a huge fan of the feline species- so at some level I can appreciate Wain's early work. But in my opinion, Wain's output became increasingly compelling as he developed a severe case of schizophrenia. In the following video you'll see the progression of his art, as his traditional subjects became disassociated from reality and began to approximate fractal geometry. It's a fascinating peak into a disturbed mind. Incidentally, some suggest that Wain's mania was caused by the onset of toxoplasmosis- which is a parasitic infection that can be contracted from cats.

Watch the Video

7. Years ago I had a cassette tape of a Reggae Sunsplash concert held in Jamaica during the early 80's. I had never had much exposure to the genre before, and so I was surprised by the range of styles presented on that recording. Everyone knows Bob Marley, buy how many have ever heard EEK-A-MOUSE? To my pre-teen ears, there was something captivatingly authentic about his rambling and loopy vocal delivery. When I came across footage of the early EEK-A-MOUSE, I was overwhelmed with nostalgic pleasure. Then I explored further, and got a glimpse of his current incarnation, which is not nearly as magical. Both clips follow...

Watch the Video
Watch the Video

And with that, I'll be on my way. But have no fear... more than likely I'll run into writer's block soon, and I'll do another YouTube post to cover my lack of inspiration.

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