Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Had a Car Once

Yes, it's true.  Boxxy has no ass! 

If I was 20 years younger, it would be the first time Catie had ever dissapointed me, but I'm far too old to be thinking about Catie's ass, so I'm actually relieved. Indeed, if I was 20 years younger, the petite little thang she shakes in that instantly iconic scene would certainly stir my blood, but I'm pretty much unaffected.  Until the jump cut, when she turns around!  Those eyes can still make my old heart hurt.

I can't say enough about "I Had a Car Once".  If FOAR EVERYWUN (or any short youtube video) can be called a masterpiece, IHACO can be called a masterpiece, albeit in the more conventional, more complex mode of the aNewHopeee channel, which is now firmly established, in my opinion, as Catie's better channel.

(Am I sure about that?  No, I'm never sure about anything, and, to be honest, I haven't been paying much attention to Boxxybabee lately.  If I'm going to be blogging about Catie, I'm going to have to give the recent Boxxy a much closer look.)

The thang-shaking is only the second most arresting moment in this video.  The most arresting moment, of course, is Catie's full-throttle rage at a guy who apparently tries to initiate a physical confrontation with her.  I will tell you frankly, I find this moment to be as scary as it is funny, and I can't tell how much of that is Catie's intention.  On this much, trust me: Catie's videos are more sophisticated than most people think, and always have been.  This is a woman who read Shakespeare as a child (I was thirty when I discovered Shakespeare) and you should expect a certain level of complexity, nuance, and irony.

As played by Catie, the guy certainly looks scary.  For me, something about this guy evokes the hitchhiker from A Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  By the way, it's FUCKING impressive for a cute little sweetie-petitey like Catie,doing her own makeup, to convincingly play a male character who is really menacing.  There's so much great stuff going on in this video that you can almost overlook that.

And what the fuck is he doing?   What kind of man tries to pick a fight with a five foot three inch woman?  To hear Catie tell it, he's a "big boy".  What is his endgame?  Did this really happen?  I don't like to think about it.

Catie does something very interesting here.  She talks about the guy not being a threat, and then she acts a little crazy, a little hyper, a little driven.   If you're thinking about it, it makes you wonder if she's really got a handle on how much danger she's in.  That makes her beautiful rage ironic and frightening, and maybe a little funnier, because of the sense of danger.   I'm reminded of the beginning of FOAR ANT, when Catie says: "My name is Boxxy, and I love a lot of people!" and then she gives a crazy look to the camera, that undercuts everything hilariously.  I know Catie said she wasn't acting in these early videos, but I think she was acting when she said it.  As formidable as she is when she is raging at the bus stop, she's the only one in serious danger here, and she's taking it way too far.   As a rule, someone who's backing off is going to talk tough, and as long as they're backing off, you should let them.  I've seen someone get his arm broken for making that mistake.  So the whole time she's calling this guy a piece of shit, there's an implied undercurrent of danger and vulnerablity that I find terrifying and heartbreaking. 

If you've ever created anything, you know that even if Catie didn't consciously intend for the viewer to feel frightened for her, it could still be something genuine, transmitted through the unconscious or just something real that is captured that the artist didn't see.  She is so compelling in that moment!  I want to hold her, while protecting my face.   I don't want anything bad to ever happen to her, not ever, and I know that I can't do anything about that.  James Baldwin wrote that the essential truth about life is that it is "unutterably beautiful, because it is unutterably tragic".  Catie has captured that truth for me.  Did she intend that?   I don't think it matters all that much.  She wanted me to have an experience that would be my own.  This is fucking ART, dude!

And she's just so beautiful!  Her hair and outfit make her look tough, but she also looks fragile, pale and painted like a porcelain doll.  This is not Boxxy; this is not random.  Catie's look is always carefully chosen, and this time it's perfect for the tough, brittle persona she's trying to project. Her T-shirt, while on one level the most nerdy bit of clothing imgaginable, evokes "West Side Story", and images of choreographed street violence.  In the next video, she'll don the look of a perverse child-woman (Jon Benet Ramsey in reverse) for a bawdy discussion of  "My Little Pony"!  The week after that, she'll look soft and sensual, and she'll bake the sexiest pizza I have ever seen on youtube, or anywhere else.  It doesn't matter that no one in their right mind wears a sweater to make a sweater.  All that matters is how much you want touch that fabric.   Oh, these are heady days for the subscribers of aNewHopeee!

Nothing I'm saying about danger and tragedy is meant to imply that IHACO isn't also really funny.  There's a whole lot of great timing and comic nuance thoughout this beautiful performance.  Every moment is just delicious.  I could eat the pause in  "but... I doubt it.", with a spoon.

If there's anything here to criticize, it's the guy who wants to help Catie with her oil.   Maybe this is a California thing, but the last time I saw a guy with a toothpick in his mouth was probably before Catie was born.  Catie's a sharp observer of male behavior in the larger sense.  The oil thing, the way the guy at the bus stop challenges her and backs off, it all rings true for me, and the use of makeup for the physical transformation is REALLY good.  But the mannerisms are a little corny.  Eventually, when people start taking aNewHopeee seriously, Catie is going to be criticized for all the belching, sneering, toothpick-chewing, crotch-grabbing and drunkenness of her male characterizations. Misogynists love to characterize feminists as "sexist".  Hey Catie, let's see you play a dude who is not disgusting! 

She's got a great future, and it causes me severe butthurt to think of all the great Catie Wayne performances I'm going to miss on account of being dead. Goddamn it.

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