Sunday, May 16, 2010

Orderly Noise

"Alas, poor Yorick, thine music sucks." Text message from the BF halfway through last night's noise rock concert/reality show taping at the Knitting Factory.

This is going to be a bit heavy on the vitriol.

You don't realize how well the subway system works in New York City until it breaks down. Last night, I took a bus, a train, another train, and another bus to get from my apartment to the Knitting Factory. It took me an hour and a half to go four miles because the F and G trains were out of service, but in different places, with an uneven outness overlap, which can be described by the mathematical theorum: F^G=F(c*B)/G(V-2c) where B is Brooklyn, c is the speed of light, and V is a wandering variable equal to the number of fuck-yous coming out of the MTA at any given moment.

It's not even a journey worth making. The Knitting Factory is in that hipster shithole, Williamsburg. I know Williamsburg is considered one of the better neighborhoods in Brooklyn--and considering that I lived in Bedstuy for a year, I'm not in any position to judge shitholes--but I look at all those shingle-covered houses and chic pubs and ironic beards, and it just makes me what to punch someone in the throat. The only way you can get me to go to Williamsburg is if you pay me.

And the Village Voice was paying me to go, so I went--and walked right into an MTV reality show. That's not a euphemism for getting felt up by the lighting guy in the vestibule. An MTV camera crew was actually there shooting footage for this reality show starring a Pratt student. The network had bribed a bunch of people with the promise of a free concert to come to the Knitting Factory so that it looked like their Star was attending a hot, sold-out event. They shuffled these extras around to heighten the illusion of a packed house, which made me laugh, because there were actually less people there than usual.

Yes, reality shows are staged. Sorry if anyone's world just shattered to pieces around them. You can go cry under a shelf in the bathroom now. I'll wait.

The cameras made it really difficult for me and the other Street Teamsters to do our thing because we didn't want to get in the shots. My life is difficult enough without having to explain a split-second MTV reality show appearance to my friends and family. Plus, it's difficult for me to get into my perky saleswoman persona when I'm being devoured by pity for the subject of a reality show. The Star stopped by our table to sign up for Voice email alerts and get a free mustache, and even though I knew that she'd made the choice and probably actively scrambled for her role on the show, I couldn't help but think that nobody deserves this. To be followed by five cameras when you're hanging around the club--knowing that everyone else in the room is only there to fill in the blanks of your fake life--being constantly surrounded by seething film school graduates who have shelved their dreams of documenting elephant migrations and natural disasters in developing countries because the only work they could get was on an MTV reality show--ugh, the existential angst of the situation was so intense I nearly conceived of a masters thesis in media alienation.

I probably would have enrolled myself in graduate school via my partner's iPhone right then and there if the music hadn't been sucking my will to live. Music at the Knitting Factory has never exactly blown me away with its genius and originality, but my g-d, at least it was never four sets of noise rock before now. I wanted to stand up on my stool and scream, "It's just noise! It's just orderly noise!" That's all it is, amelodic, atonal screaming and grunting and pounding, the soundtrack to Hell, and not the good kind of Hell in Dante's "Inferno," with Florentine artists and Roman poets. More like the music from the Hell of Upside Down Stupid People, where the only food is honey flavored ham jerky, and flaming drops of Mountain Dew and Zima rain down every day at six, just in time for "Jackass" reruns. That Hell.

Three hours was enough of that for me. I pleaded sickness and ran screaming into the night, where I threw myself into a yellow cab because the thought of struggling through another hour-long round of bus-train-bus-train at midnight in Brooklyn was just too much. So half of my paycheck from that evening went to cab fare, leaving me with barely enough left over to do my laundry.

Here's hoping Monday night's Village Voice Off Broadway Awards Ceremony doesn't leave just a huge, gaping wound in my soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment