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A series in which two local figures share their thoughts on D.C.-area culture. In this edition, we pit Brandon Wetherbee, Brightest Young Things’ managing editor and host of the “You, Me, Them, Everybody” podcast, against BRNDA, a local jangle-rock band now on tour.
Ernesto Neto’s enormous postminimalist installation “The Dangerous Logic of Wooing” (below) is now on view in a 40th-anniversary exhibition of the Hirshhorn’s collection. What does it make you think of?
Brandon: The video game Kirby: hammocks, clouds, and just how disturbing it is when people suck on helium and talk like children trapped in adult bodies.
BRNDA: This is obviously an example of a postminimalist parade float staging ground in which all parade floats are entirely white and spherical. Or, you know, the flayed corpse of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Clearly one or both of those.
With the recent opening of the Speak, it seems that D.C. has reached peak faux-speakeasy. In your personal experience, how do today’s “speakeasies” match up to actual Prohibition-era speakeasies?
Brandon: I want to reach peak dive bar and I don’t think that’s possible. Today’s “speakeasies” do not appeal to the same people that would have loved Prohibition-era speakeasies, and that’s good, because nothing during Prohibition was better. Literally nothing: the air, the science, the sexual norms, the music, nothing. Once again, more dive bars. Real dive bars. Bars with cheap beer and a jukebox and no theme.
BRNDA: Speakeasies are way too corporate. We now live in a post-faux-speakeasy world.
Outdoor summer movie series: for or against?
Brandon: Sure. I like stuff.
BRNDA: A tentative for, but we’d like to see more outdoor-themed movies, like Grizzly Man (above) or Deliverance.
Which of your possessions will you donate to the Smithsonian’s American History Museum when you die?
Brandon: A birthday gift from [local comedian] Andrew Bucket. On my 31st birthday, he bestowed upon me an Austin Powers action figure (left) customized with drawn-on glasses, because I wear glasses, and a piece of tape that says, “My wife!” because for the first year of my marriage I said, “My wife!” like that movie character fella who is easy to mock. [Ed. note: That’d be Borat.] It’s America through and through—a Canadian comic mocking a British film character tied to a British actor mocking a made-up Kazakhstan stereotype on a Chinese-made figurine sold in the United States.
BRNDA: We’d like to donate our tourmates Teen Mom (below). We checked with them and they’re OK with that.
GoldLink and Shy Glizzy both made XXL’s annual Freshman Class cover. Who do you like better?
Brandon: I prefer GoldLink, my favorite person to listen to hip-hop with prefers Shy Glizzy (and I like Shy’s Stone Cold Steve Austin reference in “Awwsome”), but I wish DDm was on the cover.
BRNDA: GoldLink for sure. GoldLink’s “When I Die” speaks to us because a lot of our songs have fear of dying as a theme. But we really live in a post-faux-fear-of-dying world, anyway.