Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cultural Decay: TONY Edition #7

And so, Time Out New York (TONY) has once again hit the stands.  You know the drill: inane criticism, lead-footed irony, poor reportage… So, let’s get to it.

On page 54 (the Your Perfect Weekend section), we find: “Even though Keith Olbermann is starting his new gig as the host of the relaunched Countdown with Keith Olbermann on June 20, it’s unlikely that he’ll delve into the show too much tonight.  Instead, the former MSNBC talking head will discuss humorist James Thurber, who regularly penned pieces for The New Yorker before his death in 1961.  Olbermann isn’t the only one celebrating Thurber tonight: New Yorker contributors Calvin Trillin and Robert Mankoff will also be there, as will Thurber’s daughter, Rosemary.”  Now, your correspondent is second to none in his admiration for Olbermann.  I once met him where he presented on a forum dedicated to humorists Bob and Ray, where I was happy to shake his hand and call him a true American patriot.  However … is this notice really about Olbermann?  Is this, just perhaps, really about James Thurber?  And wouldn’t TONY have been more correct to say something (albeit briefly?) about Thurber?  And perhaps even Trillin and Mankoff?  Perhaps TONY should file this under a brand new section, called Bury the Lead.

Best by Day on page 58 includes the Underground Rebel Bingo Club, which reads “London import Underground Rebel Bingo Club dispels the notion that bingo is for losers and old people.  This raucous party, which will take place in a secret Gramercy location [?], involves burlesque dancers, trippy prizes (like LED-covered umbrellas), and drawing all over strangers’ bodies with brightly colored pens.”  Suddenly, losers and old people look very appealing to us.

Same section, page 71, details Reverend Billy and the Church of Earthalujah, with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir.  There, “Anticonsumerism activist Reverend Billy brings his chorus to Housing Works for a performance to celebrate the release of his forthcoming book, The Reverend Billy Project: From Rehearsal Hall to Super Mall with the Church of Life After Shopping.”  Wait a minute … doesn’t that mean he wants us to buy his book?  No matter; gospel music has the delightful side-effect of shutting down all normal brain function.

Art on page 77 has two treats for us this week.  First off, we have David LaChapelle, “Raging Toward Truth.”  Here we are told, “The famed photog tries his hand at collage, using his own ripped-up images as material, as well as watercolor and drawing.  The show’s centerpiece is a large-scale take on Raft of the Medusa, the 1818 masterpiece by Theodore Gericault.  Instead of starved sailors, however, the benighted vessel in LaCahpelle’s version is crewed by naked fashion models.”  The puerility of this supposition is just too easy to comment upon; have we really descended from making masterpieces ourselves to playing vapid Post Modern tricks on the few we legitimately have? 

Same page, we have John O’Reilly, “Recent Montage.”  Here we are told “The artist’s photomontages blend elements of Old Master art with softcore homoerotic pornography.”  Once again, insert your own joke here.

More next week!

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