I'm taking a little break from the weekly MP3 Truffles post because...well because it's late and that sucker takes hours for me to put together. Tomorrow morning I need to be up early and full of pep in order to spend the day helping out at Ye Olde WFMU Marathon.
But I do have a gift for you, gentle blog readers. And that gift is the work of comic genius Brad Neely. Not your typical comic, Neely is a multi-media nut job whose talents include hilariously disturbing single panel cartoons, stand up, theoretical grudge matches, a comedy novel about the Civil War (at least according to the possible misinformation on Wikipedia), and absurdist flash cartoons.
One of those cartoons is a Revolution-era minimalist rap about George Washington's most extreme bad-ass moments. This crossed my path a year or so ago, and proceeded to by played over and over and over again to anyone who would come near me. It has since popped up in film festivals and short programs galore, and pretty much always steals the show. You Tube Quicktime
Just last month a sequel of sorts appeared - this time featuring that hyper-charismatic telepathical knight, JFK.
But all of that is nothing compared to Neely's most notorious achievement. MP3s and the sad, true story after the jump!
I first heard of Neely via a film/standup show he did called Wizard People, Dear Reader. Imagine if you will, a live reading of the first Harry Potter book done over the top of the first movie, though completely misinformed and in a voice spot-on reminiscent of Stephen Jesse Bernstein. "I am a beautiful animal!", shouts the new Harry Potter. "I am a destroyer of worlds! I am HARRY FUCKING POTTER!" Here's a video sample: You Tube Quicktime
Neely did the show live at film festivals in New York, Chicago, Seattle, and his home town of Austin, and even though it is totally disrespectful, Harry Potter fans still loved it. But it wasn't until I tried to bring him to Boston that the shit hit the fan. See, I tried to be good and legal. I booked the film with Warner Brothers, just like you're supposed to. Neely wasn't getting paid, so nobody would make any money. But then...oops...I got a little too excited promoting the show and an ad slip out to the edgy alt-weekly that featured a picture of Harry Potter dropping the f-bomb. This ran alongside a rather randy (and misinformed) interview with Neely.
Somehow, my "underground" promotion made it to the suits. Angry calls and letters came, much hand wringing and fear was instilled, and I had to write an over-the-top apology letter ("It was not my intention to besmirch Harry Potter or infringe upon the Warner Brothers copyright. I did not stop to think that the image and quote would be found offensive. Upon learning of the ad, my boss immediately issued me a written reprimand for my use of inappropriate language and stated that I was never authorized or allowed to use profanity in any promotional materials."). But worst of all, I kind of fucked(!) Neely's plans to tour with the show. He backed off the project and went on to other things.
Even though Neely's star is rising again via his animated videos, I've always felt bad for sort of dropping a lead balloon on Wizard People. And so I share it with you, and beg of you to make your own version at home. Warm up with a few Harry and the Potters songs, then pop on your HP & The
Philosopher's Sorcerer's Stone DVD, turn down the volume, and listen to the gorgeous voice of Mr. Neely re-imagine the whole darn thing.