tremble clef

Friday, July 07, 2006

Lasse Lindh, "Stuff" (2002)

So, how have you been?

I myself am good! My trip to Chicago at the end of last week was fab; thanks for asking. It was lovely to see my friends, and the city, which I hadn't previously been to despite everyone in my life telling me I-should-I-must-I-will-really-like-it, came just as advertised. Let's see. I went to a couple of museums: the Art Institute, mostly to see the Thorne miniatures (an exhibit, I was surprised to discover, that wasn't just attended by little girls and gay men) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which had Chris Ware, Alexander Calder, and Wolfgang Tillmans exhibits up. In the room with the Calder mobiles, while the guard was out, I seized the chance to bust out a rendition of "I'll Plant My Own Tree." Obviously, I was intrigued by the Tillmans mostly because he shot the Pet Shop Boys' "Home and Dry" video and the album cover of Disco 3 (a pic featured in the show itself, along with the photos of Tony Blair done for Attitude but totally recontextualized for the display, and a portrait of Morrissey. Also, there were cocks). I clearly only relate to high culture through low culture. Speaking of the Pets: leaving Chicago, I hear "I'm With Stupid" over the PA system of the tunnel connecting the L with O'Hare. But I only went to a few record stores, and most of them were named "Reckless." And I hung out in various neighborhoods -- Wicker and Hyde Parks, Andersonville and Boystown -- and they were all great.

But the most awesome thing I saw, I saw at Navy Pier. I know, I know: all the locals turned up their noses when I even vaguely mentioned my interest in that tourist attraction, but I just enjoy seeing the things that revolt the natives. It gives me a sense of what each city considers tacky. In fact, quite disappointingly, I actually found Navy Pier not tacky enough.

With one glorious exception: tucked away in the mall at the pier was the Build-A-Bear Store. The name of the store is pretty self-explanatory, in the tradition of Snakes On A Plane, but let me boil it down anyway. This is where you can buy the skin of a toy animal, bring it up to one of two tanks in which stuffing whirls around as if in a tornado, stick a hose into the gaping orifice of the animal, and then step on a pedal that magically pumps your chosen animal to life. I'm not sure I can think of a more terrifying concept, and if I were a twelve-year-old I would be having nightmares for weeks, and therapy for years. Hell, I'm a little scared right now. I really have no need to see how my stuffed animals are brought into existence, much as I don't need to know how my shish kebabs are cooked. I like my products to be in their finished states; like all good capitalists, I don't need to see the seams, especially when they're literal ones. I guess it's nice to be able to choose the degree of tumescence for your Pooh, but that's hardly enough of a compensation. Even now, a week later after my visit to what I'm calling The House Of Buffalo Bill (sign on their door: "No [Dead] Pets Please"), I still toss and turn in bed at night, wondering when the lambs will stop screaming, Clarice.

2 Comments:

  • So ... Lindh's description of heterosexuality is like what happens in the build-a-bear tank?

    By Anonymous esque, at 8:36 AM  

  • Ha, I posted LL simply because I typed "stuff/ing" into my iTunes library, but I'm not thinking I should have gone down your route of thinking. Although it seems to me a tough one, since building bears is usually a homo undertaking, ba-da-doom!

    By Blogger Brittle, at 10:02 PM  

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