Tuesday, November 10, 2009

La Blogotheque's Take-Away Shows

A week or two ago a friend of a friend sent me a link for La Blogotheque (all French, all the time) so I could check out their list of Take-Away Shows. The Take-Away Shows feature impromptu performances by indie artists in bars, parks, alleys, elevators, lobbies, etc. Any bizarre, random events that transpire during filming remain, including confrontations with angry landlords or police, interludes with wacky pedestrians, hugs from enthusiastic onlookers, or instrument malfunctions. Think of it as cinéma vérité for a YouTube world. Since the project's inception in 2006, other directors from around the world have joined The Take-Away Shows' founders, Chryde and Vincent Moon, to capture spontaneous footage of artists jamming about town.

For those loyal to former Columbians the White Rabbits, La Blogotheque has three separate performances by the band in Venice Beach.

In the video below, director Vincent Moon hits the sweet spot, giving us the Bowerbirds in a New York City candy shop with an accordion, a huge drum, and some bemused (and nonplussed) onlookers. ("What do you call yourselves? The Bowery Birds??")

Some of the artists on the site are obscure, French, or both, while others are pretty familiar to most dead-blooded Americans. (Jason Mraz, anyone?) The video quality varies by director, with some clips being exceptionally blurry and so full of movement as to distract from the entire concept. But, overall, seeing artists you love (or don't know yet) singing in the streets of random cities is a voyeuristic way to discover whether they're charming, whether they're assholes, or whether they actually have any talent at all.

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