Welcome to Obsessed, a weekly series featuring everything the KQED Arts gang can’t stop talking about. We’re bringing the conversation from the watercooler to cyber space! This week, we’re freaking out over a Sizzler commercial from the ’90s, an outer-space quilt from the 1800s, the terrible True Detective trailer, and more!
This Sizzler Commercial from the ’90s
This Sizzler commercial from 1991, which recently resurfaced thanks to the magic of the internets, is truly a triumph of advertising. For one, it’s four and a half minutes long. Was that a thing people used to have the attention span for? Second, between the smooth sax music and the soft-focus shots of what appear to be semi-sedated pod people enjoying patriotic activities like jogging, playing with dogs, riding carousels and dating sailors, this thing reads more like a political campaign ad or a Cialis commercial than a spot for a surf-and-turf/salad bar buffet. I’d also like to shake the hand of whoever wrote this song, windchimes and all. “Choices and selections / choices of directions / choices that can add a little freedom in your life!” Hillary, are you paying attention? Democracy is the best.
Leah Rosenberg’s Chromophilia
Irving Street Projects, a new storefront residency in the Outer Sunset run by artist Kelly Inouye, is currently occupied by Leah Rosenberg, an artist and pastry chef with “an affinity for color, stripes, paint and the arrangement of things.” Rosenberg’s project, Everyday, a color, is just that. Every day for her three months in residence, she selects a color inspired by the neighborhood and layers that color over two walls, a square of floor, a table, vase, chair and notebook. The effect is a delightful and continually-changing monotone tableau. As the layers build, the paint takes on physical substance. Already, thick paint icicles dangle from the table’s edges. So far, color choices have included “ocean mist,” “purple crab,” “aqua VW,” “Converse shoe,” and “mint graffiti.” You can stop by most weekdays, 12-5pm, and find Rosenberg in the space through May 30. Lend a hand with a roller, talk color with a undeniable expert and consider repainting your own space the rosy hue of “happy hour.”
This Space Quilt from the 1800s
Since I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with space. Some nights, I stop in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at the moon. Once, a man asked if I was all right. Yes, I am, and would you look at that! It’s just crazy how it controls our oceans and the water inside of us too! He didn’t think it was that crazy. But there are other outer-space fanatics who get it, like Ellen Harding Baker of Cedar County, Iowa. She made this killer quilt way back in 1876 and used it as a visual aid in lectures she gave on astronomy. Over a century later, her out-of-this-world handiwork is in a collection at the Smithsonian. And while we’re on the topic of planets and what not, you should read this piece in the New Yorker that likens Mars exploration to 19th century polar expeditions. </geek out>
The MTV Movie Awards Set
All I know about last Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards is that some bold, happy artwork was framing the whole situation. The entire stage and even the golden popcorn award statues were the work of prolific Australian artist duo Dabs Myla, who are headquartered in Los Angeles. From gallery shows to designs for big brands, they work nonstop. Having met them, I can say they’re the closest you’ll ever get to meeting cartoon characters in real life, and their art reflects their personalities perfectly. I’ve seen them paint 100-foot walls and build special immersive installations at local venues like it was an easy day’s work. It was really cool to see their imaginative world of characters on this mega-massive scale. As far as I’m concerned, Dabs and Myla were the biggest celebrities of that awards show and MTV is relevant again. See more photos and an interview with the artists over at Juxtapoz.
Crazy Jewish Mom
I’m the parent of two children and, though they’re far from being oversensitive teenagers (my daughter is 3 and my son is 6 weeks), I’m already preparing myself for what will inevitably be my shunning as they grow older. One of the benefits of being a parent is the right to harass your children, driving them nuts in harmless ways, just like my parents did to me. If your kids are teens and they’re not telling you to “like totally quit it” on a regular basis, you’re doing something wrong.
This is why I love Crazy Jewish Mom. Beyond the great jokes with Jewish themes—“SPAWN SERIOUSLY Easy on the Wine… Save some for Elijah”—what’s being documented is a mother-daughter relationship that anyone can appreciate. The references to her daughter as “spawn,” the boyfriend-hunting even when her girl isn’t single, the constant reminders that she needs to do kegels… It would be maddening for anyone, but it’s also the sign of a loving (and hilarious) relationship. I’m looking forward to my own version of that. Until then, I’ll soak up the fact that my daughter runs to hug me every day I come home from work.
The True Detective Season 2 Trailer
Like many humans, I fell headlong in love with True Detective last year—its bayou horror, its stonking soundtrack and the opportunity it provided me to crow over the fact that I predicted what is now officially termed the McConnaissance™ back in 2011 after watching The Lincoln Lawyer. In the interim, I developed the sneaking suspicion that True Detective wasn’t actually as good as I thought it was and adjusted my Season 2 expectations accordingly. But in my wildest dreams, I never thought it could look this bad.
Seriously, what is this trailer? Why is this awful ballad playing? What acting style is Vince Vaughn quite literally straining for? Why is Colin Farrell a) sporting a mustache the size of a bobcat and b) weeping in every scene? I haven’t even mentioned the total absence of dialogue that suggests the makers of this trailer somehow couldn’t get the rights to their own show. The whole mess makes me think that Season 2 will just embody the worst excesses of the first True Detective, so here’s looking forward to endless conversations in dark bars, detectives with imploding marriages furrowing their brows over archive newspaper cuttings in basements, and at least one visit to a strip club to track down a reluctant witness. And you know what? I WILL WATCH EVERY EPISODE.
Want more? Check out our past obsessions!