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Crude and Visceral




Title: Crude and Visceral
Type: production note
Date: April 23rd, 2021

My first attempt at video editing is a crude and visceral affair. It was constructed through a variety of methods on a single VHS tape over the course of a couple years in the late 1980s. There's no semblance of a coherent program, and it was never aired on any television station.

1. Froggy Went a-Courtin' — a bizarre juxtaposition: we see Ollie North testifying before Congress (recorded live from C-SPAN) but we hear a primitive heavy metal parody of “Froggy Went a-Courtin'” performed by one-gig joke band Gett Laïd
2. The “Udder” Story — a home movie shot by my mother in 1973, reworked here with wildly inappropriate music
3. Butt Mall — my dormmate Adil Butt of Pakistan interviews shoppers at the County Line Mall, twenty years before Borat
4. Only Forgotten Son — after we shot the mall video, we took the camera to downtown Indianapolis and turned the mic over to some men hanging out in a public park; for selected transcripts see “Conversation with a Homeless Man 1 & 2”
5. Joe's Turd — my first video collaboration with Joe Nickell, inspired by a text from End Product: The First Taboo

Notes on the production:

North testified before Congress in July of 1987. The first “convulsion” was constructed then, when I was home for the summer after my freshman year of college, playing around with my component stereo and the VCR at my parents' house in Greenwood, Indiana, trying to discover what was possible by recording audio from one source and video from another. I probably dubbed music over the farm scenes at that time, possibly on another tape.

I'm almost certain we used BCAT equipment for the shoots in Indianapolis; people are dressed for warm weather; that makes the summer of '88 the likely time for those shoots.

The mall footage is interspersed with the farm footage, meaning I must have edited them at the same time; there's a “split edit” where the audio changes before the video, probably my first; the video edits are smoother, indicating I was learning to use the machines at BCAT, as a warmup to the production of “Tree Worship” in the fall of '88.

Brian Jones and Toast were also involved. I think Toast helped with the camera in Indy and Brian with the turd shoot but it's all rather hazy.

The credits appear to be shot in my dorm room in Greene Hall, which means the whole thing was likely completed in 1990 at the latest.

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Today's date: 2023-09-27