Wednesday, February 24, 2010
COLUMN: U2 3D
Someone asked me the other day why I would want a column every week in the newspaper. I suppose there's two schools of thought:
(A): Some people need therapy to overcome the awkward and embarassing parts of their lives. I need YOU guys. I prefer to vent my frustrations through humor and a well-worn keyboard. I'm blessed to have such a wonderful outlet as the Dispatch/Argus to do so every week. It's humbling and magical to think that people like you take time out of YOUR life to read about mine. I'm the luckiest guy in the world.
Or (B): Owning a page in the newspaper that reaches over 100,000 readers is what I like to call Step One in my eventual bid for world domination. There's no problem big enough that can't be solved by a horde of evil minions to do one's evil bidding, and I'm kinda counting on you folks to step up in the evil minion dept.
But if sinister plan (B) stands a chance, I simply cannot be stymied by area businesses in their feeble attempts to wrench fame from my hands.
I'm talking to you, Putnam Museum and IMAX Theatre.
This month, the IMAX is airing "U2 3D," a concert film of the Irish rockers that proved so popular during its first stop that it's back for a second engagement. And, as a novel way to promote the film, the folks from the Putnam IMAX put together a viral video that's making its way around the local Youtube circuit. In this video, they've assembled a rather impressive collection of A-list Quad Citians to lip-sync along to U2's hit single "Vertigo."
Anyone and everyone's on there. Dwyer & Michaels. Jill Green. The guy from Brenny's. Mayor Bill Gluba. Stephanie and Jan from Ross' Restaurant. Matt Hammill. It's a cool idea that works and looks great.
There's just one small problem: I'm not in it. I wasn't asked to be in it. I've watched the video and there's not even one cameo from yours truly.
What gives, Putnam IMAX? I am a Great Local Writer of Local Greatness, a beloved and cherished Quad Cities institution, but I've been left out like yesterday's news. Don't cry for me, Quad Cities. The truth is I never left you. I was right here, waiting for the phone call -- that never came.
There's Ellis Kell. My colleague Jonathan Turner. Bill Wundram and my arch-nemesis (and in reality close friend) David Burke from that (cough) OTHER paper. Yet no Shane. No offense to Mayor Bill Gluba, but surely I'm a more adept lip-syncer. I am, after all, the #13 vocalist in the world on the video game Rock Band. Who else on this list has THOSE kind of qualifications? Dwyer? Michaels? Paula stinkin' Sands? Well, okay, even I can't compete with The Paula. The Paula is a diva goddess and clearly the only human being in the Quad Cities more powerful than myself. Don't knock The Paula.
But it's okay, Putnam IMAX. I'm sure it was a tragic oversight on someone's part, right? Someone whom I trust has been given their well-deserved pink slip by now, no? Or maybe the awesome power of my awesomeness was just TOO MUCH for the Putnam IMAX to handle. My brute machismo IS somewhat intimidating.
Don't worry, Putnam IMAX. I forgive you. And I've come up with a way for you to make it up to me.
First thing's first, though -- can we lose U2? Because they kinda, umm, suck nowadays.
Once upon a time, U2 were a good band. Existing on the sheer fury of Bono's power mullet, early U2 was a wicked force. Remember the iconic scenes of Bono climbing the scaffolding and waving the flag? Or at Live Aid when he jumped into the crowd to dance with the shell-shocked girl. And I'm convinced that the only reason Band-Aid managed to help feed the world with sales of "Do They Know Is Christmas" was entirely due to Bono's spine-tingling "welltonightthankgoditstheminstEEEEAAAAADDDDDDOOOOOOOOOFYOOUUUUUUU!" When you heard early U2, you knew it was a band that stood for something. You weren't exactly sure what that something WAS, but it was entirely impressive nonetheless.
Then Bono cut his power mullet, found those ridiculous glasses, and the whole band went to heck. I have no desire to see them in concert, on film, or coming at me from a 27' screen in three dimensions. I like that Bono still tries to heal the world, but that's because it makes him occasionally stop singing.
Still, I'll put my loathe of contemporary U2 aside for the sake of fame. Just send a camera crew over and we'll shoot a quick 3-D introduction to the film. Here, I've even written the script:
A lightning strike at dawn. As the sun begins to rise, the camera swings to reveal the rooftop of the Putnam IMAX. Atop it stands a long figure next to his trusty motorcycle, which has made it to the roof on the power of sheer awesomeness alone. Like many fine Cinemax movies from times of yore, our leather-clad hero is a renegade biker on a lone search for justice. It is... The Shane.
As the sun strikes his muscular frame, he casts his eyes towards the heaven and yells. "Hoooooooooooo!" Windows throughout the Quad Cities shatter at the sound. A menacing team of ninjas appears. The Shane sighs. It is time. He flies into the air in slow motion like The Matrix. Every time he touches a ninja, they are immediately decapitated and their heads fly in 3D towards the audience. When it is done, The Shane stands triumphant atop a pile of severed ninja heads.
From somewhere down below, action star Chuck Norris yells up, "Thanks, buddy. I couldn't have done that myself."
"No problem, Chuck Norris," says The Shane. "All in a day's work when you're as awesome as me."
The wind whips up, taking with it The Shane's shirt. From all around the Quad Cities, women squeal with delight until the windows throughout the Quad Cities, all of which were replaced during the ninja fight, shatter again. Townsfolk appear with gifts. One of them is an elderly lady who doesn't see the oncoming semi truck...
Lasers shoot out of The Shane's eyes, destroying the semi truck and magically turning it into... a box of newborn kittens. The crowd goes "Awww!" as the camera slowly ascends into the sky, further and further until...
We are in outer space. As the globe spins, we see the continent of South America, where giant mile-long letters have been set ablaze in the Amazonian rainforest. The message: "SHANE IS KING." The end.
Oh, wait. Then I step into the frame and go, "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.... U2... will not be seen tonight on account of they suck. Instead, enjoy me in three dimensions while I play Rock Band, eat a ham sandwich, and compose newspaper columns in my head for two hours."
Or, if you go back up to the top and take it from the (A) school of thought, I can breathe a sigh of relief that the Putnam IMAX crew didn't come a-callin'. I'm so self-conscious that I probably would've died of stage fright. Plus Paula Sands really DOES kinda scare me a little. I'll stick with THIS gig, thanks. I really AM the luckiest guy alive.