(In which we celebrate the Arts of Antarctica.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 17, 2010 01:51pm | Post a Comment

"Hurry up and take the damn picture!" - Captain James Cook

It was today, in 1773, that Captain James “how ironic that he can’t” Cook made history when he and his crew, aboard the HMS Resolution, became the first people in our known history to cross the Antarctic Circle.

To commemorate the occasion, I thought it might be fun to focus on Antarctica, specifically, its music scene and film industry.

Downtown district

Unfortunately, aside from a few morally questionable home videos of research scientists playing a drinking game that involves Jell-O, some oil, assorted breasts and a few confused penguins, there isn’t really much in the way of Antarctic films.

Nor is there a strong music scene, beyond these same research scientists occasionally picking up a guitar and annoying their fellow bunk-mates with clumsy renditions of “Blackbird” or “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill.”

Well, no matter. This is a big, big world with so much variety, and we need only to travel north from the great ice continent to discover other interesting music and films.

Ross Ice Shelf

Chicago has often been called the “Antarctic Circle of Illinois”* and when you visit this bustling metropolis, with its snow-capped hot dog stands and high-rise igloos**, it’s easy to see why.

Parallels between Antarctica and “the Windy City” abound. For example, Chicago has the highest population of Alaskozetes antarcticuses and nematodes in the entire city of Chicago. Both countries have things***, and many of the inhabitants occupy, bedevil, or sometimes even thrill. It all depends on stuff. (Few people know that Chicago’s famous landmark, Liberty Hall****, was commissioned by King Jeff IV of Antarctica in gratitude for the city’s aid in cleaning up after the 1914 Fecal Spill of Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen.)

But one place where Antarctica and it’s conjoined-twin-to-the-north are cruelly separated is in terms of its music. While deserted disco-techs succumb to ice dust and icicle decay in the south, Chicago’s music scene is hot, hot, hot!

Theories addressing this discrepancy are varied. Some people claim it’s because there’s about two million, eight hundred and two thousand, one hundred and fourteen more people in Chicago. But others, like me, think it has something to do with MAGIC.

Perhaps no other artist captures the heart and soul of Chicago like its native pop icon Jan Terri. For those few of you who’ve never heard of Jan Terri, consider this exposure to mark your maturity in the world of music appreciation. The majority of you who are already fans can simply revisit and renew your love. Your love for Jan Terri. Jan Terri love.

For there are two major periods of music: P.J.T. (pre-Jan Terri) and P.J.T. (post-Jan Terri), and she, like Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Elvis Presley and The Beatles, has become the new standard by which artists are judged.

Below you will find some of her music videos. Also included is this link to a rather snarky piece on Jan Terri as seen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You can also visit the Jan Terri Shrine, or her (fan-run) MySpace page. I was hoping to find an audio of Yo La Tengo’s cover of her Christmas ditty “Rock & Roll Santa,” but failed.

Enjoy! And, as they say in Antarctica, “Wow! Look at all that! Just look at all that!”

*Not actually true.
**Igloos aren't Antarctic.
***Antarctica and Chicago are not countries.
****Liberty Hall is in Kentucky.

Relevant Tags

Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen (1), Antarctic Circle (1), Hms Resolution (1), Captain James Cook (1), Antarctica (3), Chicago (5), Jan Terri (1), Liberty Hall (1), Yo La Tengo (17)