Friday, February 1, 2008

Sonovachicken & Angels

Recently, a couple videos that I was involved in years ago have popped up on YouTube. The first is Sonovachicken by Piotr Tokarski.

This was filmed in an abandoned house that my roommate found somewhere around the corner from where we lived in Humboldt Park. For mysterious and unknown reasons, the inside of this house had a four-foot deep carpet of junk that spread over every room. Amazing junk! Typewriters! Sewing Machines! Film Projectors! Reel-to-reel tapes! Books! It was as if someone took an entire pawn shop and dumped it in this house for storage. Judging by the calanders, clothes and pornography that was strewn around, I would guess that all this crap was discarded around 1979. Aside from a couple syringes on the back deck, the place surprisingly had not become a junkie hideout. The only occupant was an old sick dog who would meekly raise his sad eyes up at us and walk away, hobbling over the piles of garbage. The building must have been heavily fortified for years and the only reason why my roommate found it was because they had started to tear down the surrounding wood fence for the building's demolition.

My roommate, who was a compulsive junk collector, made daily treks to the house, hauling home many treasures. He would often stay there until morning, digging through the depths of garbage. I only visited the place a couple times because honestly, in addition to it being in a real shitty neighborhood, the place was spooky. The basement seemed to have suffered a fire at one time, the plaster walls were peeled and cracking and every surface was covered in filth. There were still remnants of past occupants such as a suit hanging in the closet, dishes in the cupboards, and a kitchen table set up with chairs.

Another derelict building stood beside the junk house but it was inpenetrable. My roommate was determined to break in but could not find a way. He eventually laid a long plank out the window, connecting the two buildings. According to him, the sight inside the second building was more beguiling than the first- old clothes packed every room, a sea of moldy fabric almost as high as the ceiling. Unfortunately, no junk treasures, just clothes and mold spores.

This video is a funny little homage to the house, I suppose. I come home, beat the hell out of a chicken and hug the wife. We shot it in a couple hours...Piotr directed, I did the organ music and Wheat edited the sound and visuals.

The garbage paradise only lasted a couple weeks and soon the house of piles was bulldozed into a pile of rubble. Aside from a couple rolls of lost film and this video, we unfortunately did not document this peculiar dump.

Next up is a music video for Angels by Bobby Conn directed by Usama Alshaibi.

This video features plenty of mugging and facial cortortions by me. I can't really say I like narrative in music video so much, but this is such a ridiculous parody of early 80s videos that I can forgive it. And I look pretty good before I became all fat and bloated.

I was excited to take part in a Bobby Conn project as he has been a big inspiration to me since I moved to Chicago years ago. I first saw him perform with an ad hoc group opening for The Make-Up. With the band's mutant funk and Bobby's psychotic caterwauling, they blew the kitschy and derivative Make-Up off the stage. Bobby's music and aesthetic has changed over the years, going from no-wave/prog clang and clamor to David Bowie sweet balladry but he has always managed to bring his demented take to the table.

I had worked on a couple videos and films with Usama before (such as Fairyland). Usama and his wife Kristie used to run a small film festival called Z Film Fest that would focus on sexually deviant experimental shorts...something you don't get much of in the conservative Midwest. Usama recently finished up the documentary Nice Bombs about his travels back to his home country of Iraq amidst the turmoil of occupation.

1 comment:

craoman said...

I really like the first.
I founded an old forsaken castle to. But there was an english painter who lived in illegaly.
I visited it with my girlfriend, we founded scraps of canvas and a fresco on the wall. Some néonazis paint in red few svastika on the paint.
It was really scary.
But your junk house remember me it.