Sunday, July 13, 2008

Omega Recoil at the Fire Arts Festival

Tonight I went over to West Oakland to see the Fire Arts Festival, and particularly to see Omega Recoil's "Rat Scientists" performance.


It's a really fun bit of absurdist theater, in which giant rats in lab coats conduct experiments on "human" subjects beneath a giant upside-down Tesla coil. That's right, monkey boy: beneath an upside-down Tesla coil!

Beyond that, the amazing thing about the festival is all the fire. Fire looks really good. Really big flames look really good. But I actually didn't see much of anything that I'd call "fire art." Not because the art itself is the typical aesthetically immature Burning-Man-Outsider-Art sort of thing - of course it's that, and more power to it.

The reason is that it's "art with fire" instead of "fire art."

Ooh, what about a giant metal tricycle... WITH FIRE?

How about large-breasted women standing in front of.... FIRE?

Or maybe a big meditating Buddha made out of scrap metal.... WITH FIRE?

Or how about some flying trapeze artists, risking life and limb on a giant scaffolding... WITH FIRE?

To be fair, I did see a couple things that seemed to deserve the name Fire Art. There was one thing that seemed to be just a metal bucket with a flame in it. Assuming it didn't later turn into a whirlygig machine-art dingleberry WITH FIRE, then it's probably in the clear. And there was a guy who had a square column about a meter high, on a pedestal, with a fire in it, melting something on the outside. That probably qualifies too.

In that sense, the Omega Recoil show really stood out. It was fun, it wasn't self-important, it was frankly a whole lot more death-defying than any of the fire games, and it was actually about Electricity and the Tesla coil. (Presumably as a condition of participation, some wooden chairs caught fire while the hu-man subjects were basking in their electroshock mating ritual.)

(Disclosure: I live with John Behrens and Fearghal O'Dea, so I probably would have said something nice about the Rat Scientists even if I didn't like the show.)


The coil at rest.


Art With Fire.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Double your IQ or no money back.

I saw this today on Facebook. I wonder if Mr. Gate is really that smart.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down deserve as many blog posts as there are bloggers to post them, so here's one more.

I bought the two albums available on iTunes and have been listening to them a lot lately, and they continue to grow on me, especially the earlier one. There's no way I could ever stop digging "Big Kid Table" -- in addition to being awesome, it was my introduction to Thao, when I saw her perform it solo at the Utah over a year ago.

But lately I find myself listening to both albums back to back while working, and I think I have a new favorite. But it's a secret, in case I change my mind.

If you're looking for some good new music, and above all smart, witty music, check out Thao. Plus she's smokin' hot, which is always a nice complement to talent.

Labels: ,