My fascination with the seamy side of American culture is on full display in ROX #36. I made a trip with my fiancé to a timeshare condo in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a couple friends, and I pointed the camera at every grotesque, kitschy, offensive, crass, excessive, or downright ugly display I could find. We visited Brookgreen Gardens, but that's barely a blip in this 36 minute ramble. The video is preoccupied with roadside kiosks, shotglass slogans, and dirty toilets. The overall effect is not unlike a descent into hell, a swirling vortex of chaos, a place where capitalism runs amok, as Xy aptly observes.
It all plays out to one of the most bizarre soundtracks imaginable. Thank mnortham for that.
Other musical moments are strewn throughout. We meet some buskers on the strip, just three guys with three guitars “kicking back on the grass like dumbasses,” who perform a little impromptu blues number for the camera. Later, we catch a Rod Stewart impersonator at a poolside party, one Mick Mako by name. If you listen carefully, you can hear him call out to “security!” between verses. It's not clear what was going on there, but it cracks me up every time. You can also hear Xy singing “Country Roads” on the car ride back home. Hang around for the very end, after all the credits have rolled, and you'll encounter some freak singing an operatic ode to the vending machines at a rest stop in Kentucky. He's a complete random stranger, and our paths will probably never cross again, but it's one of my favorite moments.
Other notable incidents include a mishap with an unbalanced table (resulting in several broken bottles of booze), a certain someone peeing in the elevator at the Jamaican Motor Inn, and of course the infamous frozen jellyfish. Just keep in mind, the jellyfish was already dead. No jellyfish were harmed in the production of this program.
This is one of two “vacation” episodes which were produced over the summer of 1993, and which were only televised after we'd kicked off our second season. (The other vacation episode was ROX #35, in which J journeyed to North Carolina. It's strange we never made the double Carolina connection.) All the video for this episode was shot before we moved in together to that big house on Dunn Street, and it was probably the first program I edited that summer, so in a way it almost seems to me like a leftover remnant of our first season.
We shot the framing sequence in the basement of 701 S Lincoln, where Xy lived with Geraldine for a year. As is perhaps evidenced by the glistening sheen of perspiration on J's dome-like brow, it was a sweltering hot day. (It may have been the 4th of July if memory serves, which is usually a scorcher in Bloomington.) That may account for our general torpor. We sought the basement in a desperate bid to beat the heat, but to no avail. The only relief comes toward the end of the program when Geraldine dispenses frozen treats, her only appearance in the series.