Tuesday, October 26, 2004

this week marks the triumphant return of a britpoppa-written hart, with an exception, a guest review by the world (wide web) famous scribe of kittytext, my spectacular boyfriend. today, we tackle the topics of bjork's "medulla" and christus gardens.

when i was in middle school, i liked "human behavior", but i didn't really get it. i didn't buy my first bjork cd until my senior year of high school, 1997-1998. i had copied some tapes from my sister's then-husband the summer before and finally laid down the cash for the cd's of "debut" and "post". i would eventually skip my prom to see the "homogenic" tour's stop at the capital ballroom. i guess i had "gotten it". this being said, it pains me to admit that "medulla", bjork's current album, i don't get. true, i have only spent the equivalent of a 40-minute commute to work listening to the near entirely vocal album, but it left me sort of cold. when my middle school self was puzzled by "human behavior", it was just the idea of a little icelandic woman being chased by giant teddy bears that got me; i always liked the music. bjork records were never something that had to grow on me (like stuart staples of the tindersticks or the genius of office space), the enjoyment was immediate. i can't say that for this one.

this album is like an acapella concert on crack. and while that's probably what she's going for, i think bjork should have stayed with her lush, orchestral roots. instead, she's tapped the roots's beatbox champ, rahzel. rahzel is the shit, don't get me wrong, but i wish his swan-covered counterpart had gone again to ex-lovers goldie and tricky for inspiration rather than her current flame, the experimental artist behind the cremaster cycle, matthew barney. there are two stand-out tracks on the album's first listen, "triumph of a heart", because bjork probably enlisted the help of chimpanzees to make it (and everyone knows i love chimps) and "ancestors", but in a bad sense because it sounds as though someone is literally dying to make it. for now, i'm going to have to say, make my bjork old school, with phat (machine-made) beats and fuckin' enormous string sections. earth to my woodland pixie, instruments are so not over.

christus gardens
by kittytext
Nowhere on this mortal plane, save for the innermost depths of my own heart, is the glory of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, better honored than at Christus Gardens in Gatlinburg, Tenn. I forget exactly how many shekels admission to this museum costs, but whatever it is, it’s totally worth it, because what you see inside is Jesus and the whole New Testament Gang done up in wax.

I went there with britpoppa and we were the only members of our tour group of ten or so patrons who don’t qualify for AARP membership. I like old people because they are generally polite and quiet. And I can deal with their smell because my nose is chronically stuffy. If you go to Christus Gardens and, by some odd bit of luck, think you won’t end up in a tour group made up mostly of old people, you should wait until some oldies show up. Half the fun of this place is stifling your own laughter while all these old people are looking at the crummy wax figures with no sense of irony whatsoever.

The wax figures aren’t all that crummy, actually. You watch a video in the beginning of the tour that more or less shows you everything inside anyway (I guess the point is to reduce the possibility of shock that an elderly visitor may experience upon seeing something like the crucifixion diorama – the most dramatic diorama of them all!!!). Jesus Christ, this was a good diorama. I actually was surprised that some of the old ladies on out tour didn’t enter a state of cardiac arrest when the lights went up to reveal the pain and suffering radiated off the three wax figures hanging on the crosses at Calvary. There was blood and everything. Jesus looked so sad. It was in his eyes, which, the video told us, were designed and made by a German company and ensured to be "medically accurate."

Mel Gibson should have visited this joint before making that Passion flick. He could have learned a thing or two about realism. Sure, the last diorama, the one that plays a "Hallelujah" chorus and is supposed to show a risen Jesus hanging out in the Kingdom of God, well it was shitty because the clouds of heaven looked like they were fashioned from a truckload of un-spooled rolls of Charmin. But other than that, these New Testament scenes looked totally real.

Still, there are many scenes from the New Testament not represented that should be. A "Jesus and his Bitches" diorama could help to illustrate to old folks how much Jesus loved hookers and also, through awareness, begin to soften prostitution laws in the immediate area in order to start a whole new economy in Gatlinburg.

There is also this big slab of stone with Jesus’ face cut into it in such a manner that, if you walk around the atrium that houses it, Jesus’ eyes follow you. It’s a watchful gaze that would make John Ashcroft jealous. The narrator of Christus Gardens, a creepy, fatherly voice that guides you through the tour of dioramas, also tries to pass off some bullshit story about how this sculpture is ancient and was found in some Italian vault by Christus Gardens’ founder (who created the Gardens after Jesus allegedly saved him from life-threatening illness). But the stone is in too good shape to be ancient and it’s inscribed with some phrase written in English. I suspect it was cut by professionals in nearby Knoxville and that there is another one of these sculptures, perhaps featuring Dracula’s face, in the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum up the street.