After watching each permutation of the “East European Funk” video several times in order to write about the song in the lead up to the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, I was rather infected by the song’s catchiness.1 So I considered making a small gesture of appreciation for the earworm: rip the audio and edit together a fan video of friends dancing in Paris. Clearly, from that idea to the video above was a medium-sized step, and encouragement along the way came from watching updates of InCulto’s impressive guerrilla European tour, a tour that did not, sadly, include a stop in France (see note below).2
If The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay taught us anything, it’s that collaboration is important and rewarding. I knew there’d be no way to record the song alone while having fun and making a movie alone is pretty much the most impossible thing in the world if you don’t want the camera stolen right off the tripod. So Linas joined up on the creative side from Chicago (Postal Service 2010 style), and we were able to recruit people in Paris, Mannheim, Figueira da Foz, etc. to help–on both sides of the camera. I’d like, then, to thank everyone who was involved, reserving a little extra love for Sébastien, Brent, Nida, and Karl, who each wielded the Eye of Judgment for a spell.
The submerged sentiment of the original song ends up getting a sharper edge in this video–largely since Parisians don’t want to get up and dance–but it’s also rather fitting that it turned out this way, with the putative Eastern European workers rendered invisible (or the source of spite) in quotidian neoliberal Western Europe.3 The clip suggests a solution (as it were) that would encourage pan-European interaction through (commodity) consumption, but it’s a sort of accidental one. Finally, my setting as a deadline for the project la Fête des travailleurs adds further pleasant irony.
So I hope you like the video and show it to your friends, and I hope you don’t judge our fun as harshly as my voice came out after two weeks of being sick.
More importantly, I hope you don’t forget to get up and vote for the “East European Funk,” and most importantly, I hope this clip helps you remember to pursue creative activities simply because doing so is pretty awesome!
Note: Unfortunately, France (hence, me as well as the putative audience of this video) will not be voting in the semi-final in which InCulto is performing–the second semi-final on May 27th–which probably explains a large part of why InCulto didn’t come to this corner of Europe during their guerrilla tour. Countries can only vote for other countries competing in the same semi-final. Hence, people in Georgia, Denmark, The Netherlands, etc., can vote for InCulto, because those countries will all perform on the same night. As a Big Four nation (that is, along with the UK, Germany, and Spain, it skips the semi-final), France has its night to vote determined by chance, and though they originally were selected to vote on the night of the 27th, broadcaster France 3 cited a scheduling conflict in asking to have France’s semi-final voting moved from the second night to the first. Yes, Eurovision is confusing; it’s part of the charm.
As a result, the above video is rather presumptuous in hoping that InCulto will advance to the final–but it’s the only way I can vote for them! My own fandom is held a bit in check when I consider that InCulto are, at this writing, longshots (11/8) to advance, so maybe I should’ve shot the video in Geneva. The Swiss, after all, can give 12 points to InCulto in the semifinal! Oh well. On the other hand, as a resident of the US, Linas is totally ineligible to vote.4
- Apparently, the official title as reported on Eurovision’s page has dropped the “ern” from the first word. [↩]
- “Sadly?” Maybe luckily! Had they stopped in Paris, I probably would have scrapped this whole project! [↩]
- This pursuing of invisibility also forced us to toss lots and lots of more engaging footage. [↩]
- I’m going to save criticism of the rest of the songs in the second semi-final for another time. The short version, though, is that at least half of them are totally unlistenable ballads–so, basically, Eurovision gold–and even among the songs with a bit more pep, they’re all somehow not terribly interesting. Still, the least awful are Holland‘s, Turkey‘s, and Romania‘s entries, I think. Slovenia‘s effort makes me cringe in its over-obvious kitsch explosion. France’s song for the final (remember, they skip the semis), on the other hand, I find pretty infectious and delightful. [↩]