Set the controls for the heart of Branson, MO

Author: Josh  |  Category: music, nonfiction

Let’s assume you are familiar with the technicolor dungstorm that is the american scenic byway attraction circuit. Like me, you’ve already visited the 90-foot shirtless Santa in Scarville, VA. You probably wondered, as I did, “Who is Jesus’ favorite down home style country comedian?” Well, you learned all that and more while watching hi-def Jerry Clower footage at Jesus’s Favorite Country Comedians, provided by IMAX and the Impact, GA chamber of commerce. You’ve driven your nitrous-boosted Buick Skylark to Tonsure, MA and spent two glorious days touring Milton Bradley’s “Livestock Processing Land.” Like me you fell in love with the concept of Slaughterhouse-based edutainment in general and the HungryHungryHippos Hoof Removal Dance Party in particular. Day after glorious day you search and invariably find examples of American madness and deformity, complete with entrance fees and gift shops. Museum dedicated to the clothing of serial killers? You bet. Ice cream stand / Fully operation pony express office? Check. After a while, though, these kinds of roadside attractions start to look like just one more plastic monkey in a larger barrel of plastic monkeys (Milton Bradley on the brain, I guess). It’s time to step up your game…raise the stakes…use a cliche about increased risk.

What if there was an entire town devoted to wunderkammen-style attractions. An entire community fueled by deformity, brain malfunction and sequins. The universe has seen fit to provide just such a place– Branson, MO.

Behold! Fiddle Master Shoji Tobuchi, performing at the Shoji Tobuchi theater

with the help of various Tabuchis in residence!

Marvel as this sorceress stretches her leotard to its absolute limit

gesturing mechanically towards magical stage pieces!

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Baldknobbers, HO!

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Try in vain to wrap your feeble brainmeat around this

religio-countryandwestern-patriotic masterpiece!

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A radio show you should be listening to…

Author: Josh  |  Category: music

If you are not listening to Plastic Tales from the Marshmallow Dimention, you should go there now and lock your earholes on it. As a rabid fan and universal arbiter of all things strange, awesome and otherwise mind-blowing, I suggest you check it out. It’s a show at WNYU (which is littered with great music and general programming, by the way). Only rarely do I listen to an entire episode and NOT hear something completely new to me.

I remember the exact moment I realized this was no ordinary radio program. I heard an incomprehensible but magnificent psychedelic love ballad/crazy all naked musical tragicomedy/john phillip sousa tribute electro cover band so odd I couldn’t listen to it directly. Actually, until that moment I didn’t know I even had peripheral hearing, but if I listened directly, the music would fade like faint objects in a night sky. I hurried to the playlist, hoping to track what lost bit of 60′s-iana I had recovered. It turned out the track was only a couple of years old, and in japanese (which only partially explains the incomprehensibility of the lyrics).

Every show is like being a human cannonball in some drug-addled circus. But rather than being fired into a net, you climax each of your performances by being launched into unaired american bandstand footage from a parallel, much cooler, universe.