hassling the hoff

June 20, 2007

Last night, I made some eh-okay pasta: penne with chopped up raw tomatoes, mozarella and an olive oil-balsamic-lemon juice dressing. I’ll eat the leftovers, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it again. I think I used too many tomatoes, and I don’t like raw tomatoes a lot in that context anyway. Oh well.

I then dove into Squirrel Hill to flyer for Joe Jack Talcum. In case you wanted reason to think I’m pathetic, I bribed myself into doing this in the rain by promising myself a bottle of vodka from the liquor store on Murray if I did a decent job of flyering. I hit the regulars (warm reception at the Exchange, icy stares of suspicion at Avalon, goofy nice dudes at Te Cafe who were already planning on coming to the show, doorway of Jerry’s) then grabbed a bus and made it home in time to watch the majority of “America’s Got Talent.”

Yes, that’s right. You probably know me as someone not easily enticed by the camp/kitsch/irony of stupid reality/competition TV shows. However, I have become a huge fan of “America’s Got Talent” this year. For this I credit:

  1. Living alone without the internet.
  2. The variety of acts featured — this isn’t a bunch of assholes who think they can sing.  This is a bunch of assholes who think they can sing PLUS a bunch of people who belly dance, do acrobatics with chihuahuas, break stuff with their butts, etc. etc.
  3. A pre-rehab Hasslehoff prone to losing his shit at random intervals.

The guy toward the end who sang the Police song made my heart feel warm. I hope he goes far. Same goes for Boy Shakira. His act was awesome in that it brought out two major cultural issues: mainstream treatment of trans people (you heard the competing cheers and boos in a way that doesn’t happen often on the show — the disagreement was intense), and the double standard inherent in favoring someone who’s attractive performing over someone who’s not as attractive. Shakira and Boy Shakira honestly do the same exact act; Shakira is a hot Latina lady, Boy Shakira is a kinda flabby guy. I’m glad Sharon and Piers moved him through, even if in doing so they moved the Hoff to angry theatrics.

The biggest disappointment of the night, though, was the judges’ dismissal of the Tuvan-style harmonic singing banjo guy. He was charismatic and talented, though I’ll admit the combination of throat singing and banjo ditties — especially self-referential banjo ditties about the origins of throat singing — is a bit awkward. But still, dude isn’t far removed from Arrington DeDionyso. And the judges’ treatment of him was a bit harsh, not to mention ignorant. It’s not easy to sing like that, frog-sounding or not.


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