Okay, the truth is out: Ben and I are kind of weird. This has never been a closely guarded secret, but since we befriended a mannequin head and cast her in a web series, our penchant for the absurd has become increasingly palpable to the masses. Erika Martínez specializes in a surreal brand of comedy, you see, and she will not compromise her artistic vision for anyone. As she likes to remind us from time to time, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson did not amass over 10 million Facebook fans by being ordinary.
So today, in honor of our love for offbeat entertainment, I’m profiling the weirdly wonderful works of a few inspiring artists. This is stuff we dig here in Puebloland–stuff that is bizarre and brilliant and embraces the absurdity of everyday life.
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Chances are you have already seen this video due to a) it being an internet sensation and b) me forcing all my friends to watch it. If not, be prepared to fall in love with Marcel, a googly-eyed shell who will charm you with his odd voice and the tragicomic story of his lint-dog. Marcel is the bestest.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Once upon a time I had a creative writing teacher named Aimee Bender who went on to become one of my all-time favorite authors. She’s an incredible storyteller and I’ve always admired her ability to blend the strange with the not-strange in such a profound, beautiful way.
I recently read her latest novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which tells the magical story of a girl who can taste people’s emotions in the food they prepare. It is dark, funny, surreal, and original, and I’m so glad it’s one of the few books that managed to squeeze its way into my suitcase before I moved to the bookstore-less boonies.
Fun fact: 2/3 of the Pueblo team has at some point lived in Portland (me for an internship and Erika for an unspecified period in the Goodwill on Hawthorne). Last summer a road trip through the Rose City united us for the first time, so needless to say, this quirky town holds a special place in our hearts. So too does the new show Portlandia, a comedy series that caricatures all the zany stereotypes that Portland has to offer: vegan feminists, defensive cyclists, kooky crafters, etc., etc. Some of the sketches are better than others but those that hit the mark are seriously funny.
The show plays Friday nights on the Independent Film Channel. Or if your TV’s in rural Spain and only gets telenovelas and poorly dubbed sitcoms, you can check it out on iTunes.