Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shy in Hipsterland

Listen, I generally hate hipsterism. And let's just start with the obvious: I'm NOT in the hipster clique, so yes, it's definitely to some extent the hate of the excluded. My musical tastes aren't sophisticated enough, my clothes are not ragged/tailored/couture enough, my career is not technical or lucrative enough, and my addictions not destructive enough. I'm not nearly tall or emaciated enough, and my hair is not floppy/greasy/razor cut enough.

On the other hand, I also hate hipsterism because it represents a death of culture and creative individuality. The art, fashion and cultural contributions of the hipster movement have ceased to be individualistic and groundbreaking; they've long since moved into the realm of homogenized Disney-fication, without the corporate polish. For every worthwhile endeavor of today's hipster, there are a hundred crappy, half-assed contributions that just serve to kill off any semblance of taste.

I give you an example. I went to a martial arts stage show earlier this year at the Ohio Theater called "The Jaded Assassin." Now, in fairness, these martial arts stage shows are pretty bad in general - martial artists, for the most part, aren't actors, and actors typically aren't martial artists. This production was no exception. It leaned heavily towards the "actors aren't martial artists" side of failure - in the entire cast, there was only one strongly trained martial artist, and he mainly only played in supporting roles. And frankly, the acting wasn't particularly there either.

But what made this production infuriating were the "hipster" trappings that were ladled over it like gravy in order to hide the overcooked mediocrity of it all. The girl playing the lead character was a fauxhawk/mulleted Pilates instructor, and she moved like, well, a Pilates instructor. She was wearing a white leotard-ish outfit that looked like it came out of Fashion week. Then there was the musical scoring. When the first fight sequence began, audience is treated to the atmospheric strains of the White Stripes, followed closely by Guns n Roses, the Smashing Pumpkins, and other bands specializing in period music. Basically, if you cannot cast enough martial artists to perform in your martial arts show, do not think that you can make up the difference with dancers. You cannot make a dancer move like a martial artist in 2 months. It WILL NOT HAPPEN.

I bring all this up because (at the risk of this turning into the "all soccer blog") I was out in Williamsburg last night playing some pickup soccer at McCarren Park (location of the fantastic Hipster Olympics video, if you haven't seen it). They have one of the few free lit fields in NYC, so it's worth it to get some night time soccer in.

Anyway, the point of all this rambling on about hipsters is that, while I sort of resent their better-than-thou attitude... MAN are hipster girls cute. Walking along Bedford avenue is like scrolling through a personal ad site hot list - just one gorgeous girl after another, strolling along in their thoroughly eclectic ensembles, each with their own aura of "I'm fascinating and do interesting things" swirling about them. I imagined their various super awesome curriculum vitae as they passed: that one does Jello wrestling at Arlene's Grocery, this one's an air guitar champion. That one founded an environmental zine and art gallery and the other got back from doing Doctors without Borders and makes her own absinthe.

All so different, so alive, so layered, so very unique.

And all so exactly the same.

Man, I really want one.

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