In calling their traveling video-shorts program Films About Nothing, the women of The Connie & Bonnie Show are too modest.
OK, maybe the one where stuttering clips of Godzilla, aerobicizers, figure skaters and Western-swing dancers are all made to boogie to a garage-R&B number is just for giggles. And maybe "Pez Porno" ... starring two very jolly Kris Kringles ... is merely good clean dirty fun.
But Kristen Anchor's "Don't Lady," a media collage of news clips and old classroom films, wittily and rather frighteningly explores that blurry line between democracy and despotism. Eric Dyer's "Kinetic Sandwich," an animated dissection of a deli creation, surely qualifies as modern art, in spite or perhaps because of the heavenly vocal chorus that accompanies the olive loaf. And even if it's mostly a gag, surely some kind of political assertion informs a video titled "I Was a Teenage Lesbian Vegetarian Zombie Bottom."
Anchor and Rahne Alexander, both of Baltimore, launched Connie & Bonnie last year for the Transmodern Age Festival, their city's performance-art showcase. Alexander, a comic stage performer, and video artist Anchor screen some shorts made by themselves and others. Then ... with Alexander on guitar and vocals and Anchor on drums ... they rock out. Original video also complements the music, says Alexander: Their performance of "So In Love With a Mummy," she says, has "kind of a lesbian mummy montage going on behind it."
Inspired silliness and pointed humor permeate Films About Nothing. Nikc Miller's "Robot-ussin" shows what happens when overindulging in an over-the-counter remedy brings a cartoon to life. An animation by Phil Davis critiques TV culture in a nerved-out line-drawing style reminiscent of Don Hertzfeldt. "The Vibranator," by the Tepid Fish collective, is a live-action thriller on, um, batteries. And Alexander's own appropriated-footage piece, "Let's Get Out of Here," nails the coffin on a line of dialogue that unites everything from The Aristocats and The Wild Ones to Moonstruck and Crash.
Alexander and Anchor call themselves "rock 'n' roll fanatics who watch too many movies and too much TV." Anchor heads Baltimore's Creative Alliance MovieMakers, a grassroots nonprofit screening venue and production house. Alexander has toured solo, with her music act, as Citizen Rahne. Both are also members of the garage-rock outfit The Degenerettes.
Earlier this year, Connie & Bonnie took their video-plus-music show to Oakland, Calif., and San Francisco. While their films aren't all about nothing, however, their band name kind of is. "Neither one of us is necessarily Connie or Bonnie these days," says Alexander.