Harper’s is also ailing—”readership down 35k, newsstand sales plummeting” but still funded by the MacArthurs. (Wow: according to that NYT article, Harper’s has 18 people on full-time editorial staff. That’s an awful lot.)
C & D Two guys who will remain pseudonymous reason together about new music “product”
Originally published in Arthur No. 27 (Dec 2007)
DAN DEACON & JIMMY JOE ROCHE Ultimate Reality dvd (Carpark) C: State-of-the-art psychedelic film with music composed by electro-dance party joker Dan Deacon and visuals by Jimmy Joe Roche, two guys from Baltimore’s Wham City operation. It’s constructed from clips from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career—Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, Predator, Junior—collaged and layered and doubled together into something altogether overwhelming at 35 minutes in length. D: This is Arnold’s mind on drugs. Arnoldelic, baby! C: Absolutely gorgeous, seriously funny, weirdly poignant and possibly seizure-inducing. This is a landmark work. It’s the first time someone has taken the stuff those Fort Thunder and PaperRad dudes were (or are) doing—bright color-saturated, warped psychedelia incorporating pop iconography—and thrust it forward into a new realm of…of…beauty, really. Watching this right now is for me like seeing “Wonder Showzen” for the first time, or Chris Morris’s “Blue Jam”: a breakthrough on many levels, by somebody pretty much out of nowhere. D: [reading from Arthur Magazine office rolodex] Or Baltimore… C: [mischievously] Hand me that. Let’s make a phone call. [Dials on red phone…] Hello? [In Howard Cosell voice] Yes, this is Arthur magazine. We are seated here drinking kratom-powered smoothies having just watched “Ultimate Reality,” and we had a few questions for the filmmakers. [turns speaker phone on] So, Jimmy, what exactly is Wham City and you guys must know the Fort Thunder guys, right? JIMMY JOE ROCHE: Wham City—the space—was a dingy, insane warehouse, then another one. Me and Dan and Dina and Adam and some other kids lived together at SUNY Purchase, all graduated in 2004, and we had this sort of unfigured-out energy. We knew we wanted something, we had a vision undulating out of control, and those guys wanted to move to Baltimore, because it’s cheap as hell. It seemed like it was a potential void where someone could come in and do art, totally fresh.