BlackBook Media’s Inspiration Today! Festival: A Rundown

Though a tad befuddled when our free passes failed to materialize, Jeff and I nonetheless woke at the crack of dawn Saturday morning and made our way to Cooper Union. We have no problem financially supporting what must be the preeminent assault on innocuity [yes, that is a word…or ‘mediocrity’ but I use that word way too much]. Luckily, we ran into J.T. Leroy scalping passes and scored a pair for eight bux.

It should come as no surprise that we were primarily interested in the “Mirth Will Save The Earth: Contemporary Comedy” discussion. Moderated by David Cross, the speakers were Zach Galifianakis (“Comedians of Comedy”) and Maria Bamford (“Comedians of Comedy”). I can’t think of a collective better suited to represent every nook and cranny of contemporary comedy. I heard rumors of Blackbook’s fear that the breadth of the panel might be too much for the Inspiration Today! audience, that they were going to keep the title/subject (“Mirth Will Save The Earth: Contemporary Comedy”) but cancel this lineup in favor of Eugene Mirman interviewing himself (via iMovie) about the wonders of clever wordplay.

Maybe that would have been a good idea. We left the presentation confused and exhausted. After eating our pre-packed lunches in the stairwell, we made it back in time for the DJ Spooky-moderated “Illbient Celebrates 13 Years At The Forefront Of Experimental Music” discussion. DJ Olive had to cancel at the last moment, and his seat was filled by a stack of tattered, mid-90’s back issues of Wire. Instead of dialogue, Acoustyk aka Manny Oqeundo aka MegMan (one-time member of the Byzar collective) William Parker, Matthew Shipp, and David S. Ware silently engaged in a knitting circle which eventually produced a bootleg BodyGlove wetsuit for remaining participant, Vernon Reid (it was his birthday).
On Sunday, the two of us returned to catch the discussion between filmmaker Harmony Korine and skater/poetry-slammer, Mark Gonzales. We left out of boredom when Korine announced that he would next remake the 2002 Jennifer Lopez vehicle Maid in Manhattan and cast the film exclusively with terminally-ill, petting zoo ticket takers, adulterous shortwave radio enthusiasts, and members of various musical acts…Fuck, I’m Dead, Hafler Trio, Defecation, Supersilent, Panzerchrist, Growing, Beherit, and Sunburned Hand of the Man.