Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Voice That Sounds Like A Warm Blanket Feels

"Out of the greatest tragedy comes the greatest comedy. Remember that. That's why I'm so funny... looking!"

Think I found my new Short Duration Personal Savior ...for the next fifteen minutes or so anyway. Until my cat-like attention span notices something shiny.

...ShorDurPerSav. You know. ...Or maybe you don't. That's a SubGenius way of describing one's most recent addiction, or obsession, or fascination, or INfatuation... Or just someone whom you think is really cool and you wanna tell the world about this person. Someone who somehow brings to your heart or your cockles or your third nostril or whatever ...SLACK. I found my latest Slack Wench.

Past ShorDurPerSavs I've known include Jenny Bruce, Kristy Kruger, Annie Benjamin, Courtney Fairchild, and the list goes on and on. This most recent ShorDurPerSav's name is MaryAnne Isabella, aka "ysabellabrave" which is a nickname her daddy gave her. That alone is just beyond cute, but it gets better.

She's a woman with a video camera, and karaoke CDs which she sings to and records it and puts it up on YouTube. She's just having fun, doing something she enjoys doing. There's also cats you don't often see which occasionally dance around her feet as she sings. When one looks at this objectively and rationally, there's perhaps nothing special about this. A woman stands in front of a camera and sings songs like Ain't Misbehavin, or Love Me Two Times, or I'm All Shook Up. This is nothing new. Others have done it before her. However, the thing is others who have done this before her, aren't her. This woman is lightning in a bottle. Someone somewhere with the right connections and resources could 'discover' this woman and make her The Next Big Thing, whatever that is. However, at the moment she has not yet been encased in glass or given the 'Star Treatment' she richly deserves. So, if you hurry fast you'll be able to see raw talent in its natural state. This is unique, like watching a meteor shower or catching a glimpse of a rainbow where you didn't think there'd be one, but it is also as common as a sunset. Every human being has some kind of talent. This lass has found hers and is putting it out there for the world to see, if the world cares to look.

This woman has a voice that sounds like a warm blanket feels. Her rendition of What A Wonderful World is heartbreaking, and there's the negative pessimist in me that thinks maybe she put eyedrops in her eyes before she recorded so that she'd get the tears. When I first tuned in I thought she was lip synching. She couldn't possibly be this good. This real. This sincere in front of the camera. However, a few videos into watching her and whether she's live or she's Memorex, it draws you in. You believe the illusion as if it's real, and you feel it's so real it must be an illusion. She's a virtual mirage in a world of wasteland media.

I don't know if she's real or fake and it really doesn't matter, so I'm gonna assume she's real and sincere and she doesn't have a dozen make up people behind the camera making her look this good that it's all just her and maybe her cats, and maybe a couple friends cheering her on. I just hope I don't get proven wrong like so many people who thought LonelyGirl15 was really whatever the hell she said she was. I didn't fall for that one, but then I wasn't the time I heard about Bree, people were already thinking she was Blair Witchy, y'know? That the LonelyGirl15 thing was all too well produced to be real.

I don't think that's what's going on here with Isabella, but nowadays, how can ya tell? Doesn't matter either way I guess. I mean if it turns out this is some kinda viral marketing for a motion picture where this woman's just a character in a movie? So? But to her credit, it's that good. Y'know? She's either a well constructed faux YouTube personality, or she's a real woman who happens to have personality.

YouTube's full of people who want to be special. In the movie Incredibles, the mom tells her son everybody's special, and Dash responds to his mom by saying, "that's just another way of saying no one is." And then later in the same film, the villain explains that his plan is to make inventions that will give everybody super powers, and when everyone has special powers, no one will be special anymore.

The thing is though everyone is special, in different ways. The people on YouTube ARE all special, but I don't think most people on YouTube are special the way they intended to be. It's hard to explain. I enjoy Plan Nine From Outer Space but I don't think the way I enjoy that film is the way that Ed Wood intended for people to enjoy it. I see that a lot on YouTube. Someone does a serious religious piece on YouTube thinking they're reaching audiences and they're getting some serious point across about how they feel about their god, and I'm watching it cuz his voice makes me laugh, or there's something strange about the background, or just cuz some weirdo in Tennessee telling me how I should pray to my God? That just cracks me up sometimes. Like I said, it's hard to explain.

Guess that's why I haven't bothered trying to get a camera and getting on that thing myself. I don't wanna be one of the teeming masses who put themselves in front of a camera, think they have something to say, and then jackasses like me come along and say, "no you don't have shit to say." I'm horrendously jaded and cynical, probably cuz I know I'm one of those jackasses.

This is different though. YsaBellaBrave appears before the camera as someone who doesn't have an axe to grind. She just has a talent to present, a service to provide. She wants to put a smile on your face. Not too much to ask. So her presentation of herself is the kinda thing that melts through my jaded and cynical defenses against the LonelyGirls of the world. Is she real or is she just pretending to be real?

Who cares, when she's got a voice that sounds like a warm blanket feels?

YsaBellaBrave loves the camera and the camera loves her. It's a courtship that we are voyeuristically peering in on. She's having some kinda endearing and wholesome romantic relationship with that camera. It's not sexual but it is very sensual. It feels almost dirty that we're looking in on it, like reading a kid's diary, or accidently walking in on two people as they're just discovering how they feel about each other. It's a bit embarrassing, but obviously she doesn't mind, and the camera ain't talking, so we continue to look.

She's flirting with the camera lens. She's managed to be rather provacative without doing anything particularly provacative. And a strange thing is at first when you're watching you'd swear she was lip synching, and you watch her mouth waiting for her to mess up and she doesn't. Then depending on which video you're watching, she talks directly to you during the instrumental part. In one video she says, "this is where you're supposed to dance with me," and she dances, being careful not to stray too far out of shot. Maybe she's not just flirting with the camera. Maybe she's sincerely flirting with whomever sees it. This is where there's a dichotomy of uncertainty here. It's like she's making a connection, but she's most certainly not. So it's a magic trick. She's managing to make this illusion that she's making a connection with her audience, when it's patently impossible. Perhaps this is what Hollywood does all the time, and we're always suckers falling for it. YsaBellaBrave's able to do what it takes a team of people in Hollywood to do for television shows or motion pictures.

YsaBellaBrave is apparently her own own producer, director, writer, and star talent. She knows her virtual space before the camera. There's a lot of spontanaeity going on here. Her style's very improvisational, and in one of her Q&A videos she says that usually she does these in one take, but there's also obviously more than a little preproduction too. Before she turns the camera on, she knows how she wants to start it, certain things she wants to capture on film at certain times in the song, but rarely does she seem to have a controlled direction of how she's going to actually end a piece. She just starts giggling and then reaches behind the camera to turn it off. And like the greatest showman, of course she always leaves you wanting more.

There's also the fact that the way the world is right now, someone like YsaBellaBrave is just what I think the world needs. Her seeming innocence and daring courage before the camera echoes back to an earlier time, perhaps a more innocent and carefree time. A lot of the songs she sings are old standards from as much as a century ago, so she's doing this Torch Song kinda thing like... well it's like she's somehow captured the essense of every talent from The Andrew Sisters to Marilyn Monroe to Lena Horne to Sarah Vaughn. Her voice can turn on a dime emotionally speaking, and she's very expressive and dramatic - at times deliciously melodramatic. She's experimenting and taking risks, and sometimes I don't even think she knows she's taking a risk she just does it and if it works fine if it doesn't so what it's just YouTube, right? All this adds up to quite a novel approach to entertainment.

She has this paypal thing set up of course for people who can donate to her. I don't have any money. What money I do have is already spent on bills. So if I can't pay her for entertaining me a few minutes tonight, I figured the least I could do was talk about her. This is why YouTube, and the Internet, exists. So people like her can reach people like you and me. She's lightning in a bottle, and maybe no one with the right resources and connections will ever catch her in that bottle. Maybe she'll do this for a little bit, it won't work out for her, and she'll move on. Or maybe she will get discovered, and next time we see her will be on Letterman.

She claims she only just started singing a year ago. Didn't think she could ever hold a note. Then one day she just could. Something clicked. She figured it out. Now she's just enjoying the heck out of it. Here's hoping she continues to do so for many years to come, and we get to eavesdrop on her romance with the microphone and the camera lens.

I won't tell her we're watching if you won't. Now shhhh... Looks like she's about to sing again. Don't interrupt.

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