April 14, 2017

ome

Allen Poe is collecting credenzas.

In 2010 when my wife and I began shopping for a house, breakfast nooks were a feature that kept coming up. A stereotypical description went something like, “A lovely 3 bedroom home with central AC/heating, two bathrooms and a breakfast nook.” If a house had a nook it was among the first amenities to be mentioned. What was it and why was it prominent in the description? How had I lived 28 years without one and ever had breakfast? When our choices started to narrow I eventually had to speak up and ask what it was. I assumed the obvious; my wife explained it was a small corner used to eat, read, write or whatever else.

Having spent the majority of my life living in trailers, apartments and rental homes, the eating spaces were breakfast nooks by default. The breakfast nook in an upper middle class home was the dining room in my former section 8 apartment. I surmised that if it was the only place to eat it would’ve been described as stuffy and cramped, but if you could get it as a secondary option it became cozy and quaint.

If I tried to explain why I thought it was a silly feature, the subject (a nook) of my argument was easily confused for the principle (excess and consumption) and I came across as a curmudgeon. Five years later on “Dark Comedy Late Show,” Open Mike Eagle rapped, “I graduated college, I purchased all the extra books / I’m supposed to be living in a home with a breakfast nook.” It’s comical how absurd my beef with breakfast nooks was. It’s dark because goddamn, I had beef with breakfast nooks. This is my story, this is my song!

Whether we knew it or not, when it released in February 2015, “Dark Comedy Late Show” was America’s story, America’s song. Six months before during the preceding summer, Mike Brown was murdered in Ferguson on August 9th and a media frenzy ensued. Conflicting reports about whether Darren Wilson’s life was threatened and every other conceivable non-sequitur for why the victim’s history justified his death filled the news cycle. “You can watch us on the newsfeeds / Fucking y’all’s mornings up until America admits that it likes dogs more than us / And I can see the Super Bowls of the future: The Ferguson blacks vs. Missouri State Troopers.”

Mike’s honesty runs through the track like a spine holding together seemingly disparate parts. Lyrics range from the spaces he was supposed to have occupied by this point in his life to the context for the grief that ought to have been respected. What media analysis obscured Mike made plain, “And it’s close to an all out war, with kids being murdered just for being black and tall outdoors / They respond to demonstrations wearing kevlar briefs, when the main problem is nobody respects our grief.”

The newly release music video portrays Mike’s honesty as grief, his own, and everybody else’s on the set of his late night talk show. It’s not a ass naked dance routine, but clearly they didn’t screen him. No sooner than the show starts, Mike goes off from the script card (which reads “Bad news: There are now more guns than people in the U.S.,”) to lament undercutting his own revenue by using Spotify.

Within seconds the executive is storming down a hall while peering “cold as a soldier’s stare,” to put out the fire that is the live show in progress. The video features guest comedians Baron Vaughn and Kurt Braunohler, both uneasily adlibbing along with Mike’s impromptu script. The timing of scenes often accentuate the lyrics in subtle and humorous ways. It’s all candid and awkward in the vein of Mike’s fretting humor. I’ve watched it over and over since last night. It’s OME! It’s me, it’s you. These are our guests. Let’s go.