SEPARATED AT BIRTH Ian MacKaye & Ben Kingsley

WWIS? (What Would Ian
Say?) About the Kingsley-Minor Threat vid, that is. So we asked him.

 

BY FRED MILLS

 

 

Take one sexy beast, mashup with one minor threat, puree in
a punk rock club, and whattaya get? One of the biggest stirs on the Internet took
place last week when the ever-entertaining Mean
Magazine
posted a video called “Sir Ben Kingsley STOMPS into the shoes of
Minor Threat’s Ian MacKaye.” Scores of other websites – including your friendly
neighborhood BLURT – picked up on the 2 ½ minute clip and pretty soon the damn
thing was more viral than a classroom full of first graders.

 

 

It’s not hard to see why. The moment Kingsley steps through onto
the stage of The Viper Room – tellingly, the film shifts from color to black
and white, too – and tosses off his jacket to reveal a white teeshirt-clad
torso, you’re thrust into the middle of a retro hardcore video, Kingsley
punching the air and mouthing (lip-synching, somewhat awkwardly at times) the
lyrics to the song “Minor Threat” while a band churns mightily behind him and
the crowd thrashes, surfs and generally goes apeshit. More than one observer
has described the clip as must-see web TV at its most meta-referential.

 

 

What’s equally interesting is the response from the public
that followed. Music blogs and websites lit up like Main Street at
Christmastime, the response section at the Mean site in particular highlighting
the entire spectrum of opinion ranging from “what’s the point of this” to “this
is awesome” to “copyright infringing… co-opting other people’s hard work and
ethos is wack beyond belief.”

 

 

The latter posting was from someone going by the handle “You
All Suck”; seems there’s always going to be a humorless, politically correct
tightass ready to rain on other folks’ parades at the least little provocation.
(They’re usually too chickenshit to sign their real names to their rantings,
too.)

 

 

A few postings below YAS, however, there was “chrismac,” who
astutely observed, “That is a brilliant mash-up -or treatment or hybrid. And in
the midst of this we get lame and incredibly sad comments like “oooh, copyright
infringement” or Co-opting of other peoples work. Please people. Has the level
of discourse gotten to the point where it is impossible to reference or even
take on other people’s work? With all the pathetic pop culture out there I
found it refreshing to see how Kingsley clearly has absorbed that particular
moment in time – with one of the most interesting bands in hardcore. And by the
way, I saw Minor Threat play dozens of times – and Ben absolutely gets it….
spot on….”

 

 

So the question was duly raised – WWIS?

 

 

What, indeed, Would Ian MacKaye Say? So we decided to ask
him.

 

 

First of all, MacKaye was completely down with the concept
and was briefed beforehand, as he notes in an email. Writes MacKaye, “The
editor of Mean Magazine contacted me
prior to doing the shoot with Kingsley and asked if I would be OK with the
video idea. It struck me as completely absurd, so how could I say no?”

 

 

Clearly a man with a sense of humor AND perspective. We also
asked MacKaye if he had any thoughts on the whole notion of Sir Ben as a likely
punk band frontman too, and the esteemed Sexy
Beast
star’s overall portrayal.

 

 

MacKaye: “I’ve only looked at the video once or twice and
certainly wasn’t judging Kingsley’s ‘front man’ potential, mostly I reckon he
found the idea as unusual as I did and decided to give it a go. The real
creativity in this situation belongs to the people who dreamed up the unlikely
pairing. Clearly it was effective idea, as evidenced by the fact that you are
writing about it.”

 

 

Fair enough. And our hat is off to all concerned. So let’s
give credit where credit is due:

 

 

Video Credits:

 

Directed by Kashy Khaledi
Still Photography by Kurt Iswarienko
Cinematography by Byron Shah
Band portrayed by ANAVAN and Jackson Fledermaus
Styled by Ilaria Urbinati
Hair and Makeup by Lina Hanson
Mean Logo by Casey James
Editing by X1FX

 

 

The big question is – what next?  Keep your eyes peeled for a forthcoming BLURT
poll where we ask you, gentle readers, what actors you’d like to see portraying
which musical icons in newly-staged video clips. One wag on the BLURT staff has
already proposed a RE-staging of the Kingsley-as-MacKaye video, with possible
actors being Aziz Ansara as Kingsley and John Malkovich as MacKaye, or
possibly Michael Chiklis playing both Kingsley and MacKaye, or maybe even chrome-domed BLURT blogger Hamell On Trial turning the
whole thing into a Shakespearean farce, which would be super-duper meta-meta if
you think about it, so… stay tuned!

 

 

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