Monday, June 6, 2016

(WAY Over the Top Alert!!!) ' TONETTA 'AN AFAIR WITH YOUTUBE '


' TONETTA 'AN AFAIR WITH YOUTUBE ' 



First, my conscience and sense of civic responsibility insist, NO, demand that I issue a "Way Over the Top Alert!!!" for this video (actually, I just made that thing up, but it is needed here, I promise). And while I'm at it, I think that a "Caution, Celebration of Poor Taste, in Progress!", and a "Highly Pigeon Hole and Categorization Resistant"' warning message would be a good thing, too. And to beat this bit into the ground thoroughly, I'm going to issue, as well,  a "Narcissistic Exhibitionism Masquerading as Art" alert to help establish some sort of context in which to appreciate this video.

By the way, I first heard about Tonetta from Joe Rogan who mentioned him reverently on his podcast. And, as a dedicated listener, I made a mental note of the glowing praise Joe heaped on this guy, who truly is an iconic YouTube Star (at least in my mind). 

While I'm throwing praise, admiration, and appreciation around, I'd like to say that I think that Andy Warhol would have embraced Tonetta as some sort of kindred spirit; actually 2 kindred spirits in the guise of digitally co-joined twins. I mean, Warhol "collected" a posse of appealing, bizarre freaks who loved being on camera (or on canvas) and who delighted in being given the opportunity to parade their panache, sexuality, and outrageousness in front of whatever camera Andy pointed at them. Back in the pre-Internet, dark days of media, he managed to get these outpourings of "look at me, look at me, I'm here, I'm here, fear me-despise me-love me... PLEASE!" shown in galleries as "personality" canvases, in theaters as "underground movie" art films, and in print as illustrations in his own print magazine, Interview. I think Andy would have swooned at the possibilities of YouTube as a vehicle for people to realize and indulge their need to be stars. He'd  see it as the logical extension of the way he used his own media prowess to make famous the performances of his stable of notable personalities. But Tonetta is something else, he is at the same time, simultaneously the freak in front of the lens and the visionary artist behind the lens telling the world "Ooh! You simply have GOT to see this!.. It's simply too much!" Yes, YouTube has empowered Tonetta to go Andy one better!


By the way, Tonetta's music isn't bad at all, either. In fact, I pretty damn well love listening to it. It appears that he creates his music personally, from scratch using some sort of low cost software available for personal computers. In fact, I think it's a great example of how today's ubiquitous technology, created for and aviailable to Everyman can be tapped to produce some excellent  tracks. And, as if its catchy beat and tone aesthetics weren't enough, there are those lyrics of his; here's a sample...

Havin' an Afair with YouTube

Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair....

I'm havin' an affair with YouTube
I'm fuckin' the ass of xxx (it?)
It strikes me down
I get back up
But now YouTube knows xxx (to quit?)

Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair...

Kids come in under an alias
11, 12, 13 years old
They sign in as adults, yeah
18, 19, 20 years old...

Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair....

The brilliance of Tonetta's vision truly shines through in the video we see here, though. For it's in the video that it all comes together and jells, overwhelming us with a synergy of bits and pieces of things created, borrowed, and blue, all the while aping the well established format of the music video, a format that by now is a deeply ingrained cultural icon. And just as Warhol took icons like food can labels and cheap supermarket checkout lane purveyed tabloids and turned them on their head to produce Pop Art, it would appear that Tonetta has appropriated the MTV style music video, sent it up, and rendered it into what at the same time is both campy high art and an unquestionable excuse for him to expose himself to anyone who'll look. Did I get that right, Tonetta?

But as androgynously sexual and overtly prurient as Tonetta tries to impress the viewer that this video is, at the end of the day, there's really nothing even remotely obscene about it. You hear the music and dancing to it is Tonetta, naked to the waist, nipples painted black; he has a short, white golf skirt/diaper-like thingie covering his tush, crude black makeup of some sort indicating an Oliver Hardy bit of a mustache and framing his eyes like a diver's mask, hair up in a cannibal's bun... a freak in his element, for sure, but as the Beatles say in their Strawberry Fields song, "nothing to get hung about!"

Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair....

I'm havin' an affair with YouTube
I'm fuckin' the ass of it
The Community Guidelines don't mean dick
They're all full of shit!

Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair....

In fact, the low rent production values, the shower curtains strung across his bedroom as a backdrop, the (what is that? a) flashlight prop in his hand to stand in for a microphone, the cheesiness of it all elevates it, adds to it, makes it so perfect. 

Narcissus would not only understand, he'd be jealous of this guy's chutzpah, talent, and the technology that's available for him to capture his je-ne-sais-qua and share it with a world that has yet to fully discover and fall in love with it. Yeah, Tonetta's having an affair with YouTube and he's invited us voyeurs to watch. He's...

... Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair,  Havin' an affair....



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