Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Rapt in the Closet

Just in case you haven't had the chance to see everyone's fave R&B singin' alleged pedophile R. Kelly's musical Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 1-12, this is an official reminder to go out and rent it. A while ago intrepid journalist/DVD masochist Christie brought this over and a bunch of us watched it... while drinking, of course. The Internet buzz is true, as it's one of the most unintentionally hilarious cinematic stinkbugs to smear the pop-culture windshield in a while.

Imagine: a 12-part music video detailing – with unprecedented soap-operatic melodrama – an insane tale of love-triangles (actually, more like love-polygons), gangstas, cops, coming out of the closet (both literally and metaphorically), shoot-outs and midget-related infidelity. Kelly stars in it, narrates it through song, and sings all of the character voices. The best part of is how over-the-top and obvious it is. We see Kelly pull out his berretta as he sings “I pull out my berretta”; a cop car with its light on pulls up behind him and he croons “woo-ah woo-ah woo-ah, here comes a policeman"; a midget appears and he belts out, “It was a midget, a miiid-get!”

The performances are every bit as delirious as the lines, which include, “I pull back the cover and oh, my god: a rubber… rubber… rubber… rubber… / And now I’m like, ‘Well, well, well, what the BOOP is this?’ / A condom in my bed – you better start talkin’ BOOP / Before I take a match and burn this mother-BOOP-er down!” And yes, he actually sings the “BOOPS.”

I was inspired to write a post about it after coming across this hilarious review of the DVD on Amazon:

A surrealist masterpiece, December 6, 2005


Luther Clement "rububula" (new york) - See all my reviews

Trapped in the Closet is a a work of unadulterated, if perhaps unintentional, genius which rests comfortably alongside the work of
Bunuel and Dali. What begins as a stereotypical melodrama quickly escalates into an epic farce which gleefully subverts our conception of what is possible and impossible. Lines like "he's opening the dresser / I pull out my berreta" and "then the midget takes his inhaler out" elevate R. Kelly's meisterwerk into storytelling genius. The subtle touches, like the fact that the midget has asthma, or that the Cop's wife is allergic to cherry pie, are like the details in a Bosch, giving life to the hellscape of modern life and revealing to us, in an age when we find ourselves drawn increasingly apart, that we are all connected in ways which may never be revealed to us, until we are forced into the closet by the unexpected arrival of a one night stand's spouse. R. Kelly's narrative interludes, delivered from inside the closet, remind us of the intent of the artist in orchestrating events, and casts R. Kelly into the mold of a sympathetic but ultimately helpless creator. By revealing to the audience both his control over evetns and his ultimate helplessness, he reminds us strikingly of Humbert Humbert in his asides to the jury.
Also, the most important thing to remember while watching is that R. Kelly peed on a 14 year old girl.

You gotta love that punch-line at the end.

I also found the first five chapters on it on Google video, which you can and should watch here. Plus I discovered a remake of it using the SIMS (part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; and part 5). And don't forget the South Park parody, hosted in its entirety here.

Although, the Google vid offers a nice taste, the compression is the pits, and the funnier parts of this 43-minute opus (apparently eight more chapters are planned) comes in the later chapters – namely when the asthmatic midget is introduced. Rent it or download it; you'll laugh so hard you’ll piss yourself (hopefully not on a fourteen-year-old girl).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Piss and Garlic

That was the smell of Edmonton on Thursday – at least the miniscule part of the city that is the bathroom of Blues on Whyte. More on that shortly, though.

Alana and I were back in town Thursday night to Monday afternoon for our friend Kirk’s wedding. We caught up with the stag party around 11pm, at the Black Dog. The upstairs was overcrowded and sweaty but awash with boozy smiles and beer-stained blue and orange, despite the Oiler’s loss. Drunks shamelessly wearing cardboard promo hockey helmets, smashing back $3.75 pints of Grasshopper and talking over the DJ’s electronic set; it was totally Edmonton: fuck pretense, bring on the cheap liquor and funny hats.

Next stop: the Strath’ (on the way, the drunker of our number screamed “REGINA” – Kirk’s home town – at the top of their lungs to strangers, which could’ve caused a fight, but thankfully resulted in random people joining them and changing the chant to – you guessed it – “VAGINAAAA”). I’ve always dug the ancient swighole’s low-rent VLTs and windowless stained walls atmosphere, but Christ, I’ve never had a glass of the draft and not regretted it. The ridiculous urban legend is they were once busted for recycling beer from the urinals, because the booze tastes that bad, like the worst draft you could buy at a regular bar cut with Clorox and stirred with a vinegar-soaked sweat-sock. I stopped at two glasses.

Kirk, who’d been drinking since that afternoon, did the bar’s signature shot: tequila slurped from half of a hollowed out pickled egg. That’s hearty drinkin’ by a guy wearing fuzzy handcuffs, a bridal veil with plastic penises on it, plus a shirt with testicles drawn on it, who’s carrying a purse, and has a remote controlled dildo in his pants that vibrates his sack to a crescendo of painful protests every time someone turns it on.

Last stop of the night was Blues on Whyte, the time-worn sister bar of sorts to the Old Strathcona but with live blues and a separate room for VLTs. This is where things began to unhinge. Glasses were broken, drinkers were scolded every five minutes by the bouncer for taking pics in the bar, some weird-ass old guy sat down at our table and didn’t say a word, and a large sombrero was passed between revelers who looked they were wearing red-eyed costumes of themselves made from Keith Richards. But this is Edmonton, and there were weirder, drunker things going on. In the bathroom, for example.

Piss and garlic were the smells that greeted me in the can. The piss was obvious but the garlic was coming from an Army and Navy bag on the counter. It was full of Kielbasa sausage, which its owner was attempting to sell to some poor dude who just wanted to wash his hands (as Tenacious D sings, "My kielbasa sausage has just got to perform!"). The salesman probably would’ve had an easier time selling sex toys on a slaughterhouse floor, but that didn’t make his determination any less dogged. Shockingly, the other guy wanted nothing to do with this sausage party.

Illicit Meat Vendor: “C’mon, help me out here.”

Guy: “For the last time no.”


Illicit Meat Vendor: “OK, then… can I have some change?”

Guy: “I don’t think so.”

[angry mumbling and fist shaking]

I once had a junkie try to sell me a wheel of cheese at a bar in Vancouver near East Hastings – if they could’ve found someone with a trench coat full of crackers there coulda been a helluva cocktail party.

Anyhow, our own party wound down with the requisite trip to the Funky Pickle for pizza slices better than out alco-stunned taste-buds deserved. Despite not drinking all that much, I awoke the next morning with one of the worst hangovers in recent memory. It felt like the back of my skull was trying to give birth to my brain, and there was a motocross in my guts. Either I got poisoned or, as Edmontonians love to remind those of us who’ve moved to Toronto, I'm getting soft living in the East.

If Whyte Ave (party central) can be considered an amplified microcosm of my hometown, than it’s the dogged absence of class and unabashed partying that makes the place both endearing and, at a certain point, poisonous; a place where you’re never sure if a drunk stranger will offer an embrace or a punch in the face. I’ve seen the worst side of humanity turn that street into an asphalt shit stain, but that night, perhaps buoyed by a warm weather and a beloved sports team in the play-offs, it was good times all around. Don’t get me wrong, either – Toronto’s a prime cut of livin’, but you can’t help but miss the home-cooked party. I guess Edmonton really is like piss and garlic…

Actually, no, that’s the dumbest simile I’ve heard. But the “biggest small town in the world” can be pretty fun sometimes, and made me wish I’d been there Monday night for Oiler Gras. Go Team!