There Is No Cat

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Tuesday, December 2, 2003

The glow of each other's majestic presence

This weekend, I picked up a really cool DVD at Tower, the documentary film Gigantic about the band They Might Be Giants. The band has been kind of below my radar for a number of years I guess. I was aware of their efforts scoring TV shows and writing theme songs, like the theme for Resident Life on TLC and the opening to The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC radio; I think they also did something for some show on Fox. Anyway, I'd heard about the movie a year or so ago, and promptly forgot about it until I saw the DVD and picked it up on a whim. Great stuff! The movie is perhaps a little on the long side and suffers a bit from a paucity of actual footage of the band in their early days, but still manages to make an engaging experience. But I don't know that I've ever seen a DVD so packed full of extras, which really make the thing worthwhile. There are a bunch of music videos from the early days which, as someone who doesn't watch VH1 Classic, I hadn't seen in years. I was really struck by how visually inventive those videos were. "Don't Let's Start" in particular just really drove home some things I was trying to do with my photography for the 26 Things thing, and I think maybe a tracking shot of old light bulbs and tubes in "Birdhouse in Your Soul" inspired my shot for "electric", although I didn't realize that until later. There's also a collection of songs that the band did for an ABC News special put together by my favorite oddball journalist, Robert Krulwich, and best of all, the band's appearance on The Tonight Show, performing "Birdhouse in Your Soul" backed up by The Doc Severinson Orchestra. Absolutely surreal. The site for the DVD is a little weak, but I think that's because they put everything they had on to the DVD, so there was nothing left to put on the site.

I think somewhere in the documentary, one of the Johns mentioned that their venerable Dial-A-Song is now available on the net. So now you don't even have to call from work to get it toll-free! I guess that makes it a bit less subversive.

Posted at 8:25 AM


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This site is copyright © 2002-2024, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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