The little collage series I’m presently calling Steptoe, forming *very* quickly in the last couple of days, could be over and done with except for polishing up some of the pictures. I’m going to start analyzing the results.
This is supposedly the band Story Room in their geometric masks, posing on a Washington state road with Steptoe Butte in the distance. Hucka D. also states that Steptoe Butte is the name of the sometimes lead singer of the band, which is a kind of play on Michael Stipe of the REMs, who figure into Carrcass-10. Already confused? I sorta am too so bear with me. The three band members of Story Room also don different colored disguises… but what I’m initially confused about is as follows. The yellow figure is most strongly established, representing Tom’s Petty High, a variant band of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers used in Carrcass-10. So let’s back up again to a *Collage 00*.
This particular collage, the actual first such creation of the new series if expanded this way, is a cartoon-ish representation of a scene in The Shining where Danny is playing with his toy vehicles on a geometric Overlook Hotel rug. Suddenly a yellow ball rolls in from the bottom of the screen (depicted as yellow-green in the cartoon). Where did it come from? Danny calls for his mother, thinking or hoping she is playing with him. The door to Room 237 down the hall, formerly locked, stands open and ready for entry. So that’s the center of the collage — Danny playing with his toys and the (yellow) ball rolling in, perhaps originating from the ultra-mysterious Room 237 itself.
But what of the tiled circle of squares and triangles surrounding this inner rug area? This has become a symbol of Carrcass-10 itself, enclosing and fixing the spacio-temporal essence of The Shining in a new way. As the movie The Shining takes as its base Stephen King’s source novel of the same name and elaborates upon it, so too does C-10 for the movie. It is a new movie in essence, smaller and leaner and cleaner perhaps. You lose something but you also gain something. This is *not* a replacement for The Shining movie, but an alternate way of looking at it.
We begin the new work, then, with not Wendy Carlos’ “Dies Irae”, a reinterpretation of a Hector Berlioz movement from his essential Symphonie Fantastique, but Petty’s “Running Down a Dream”, a popular late 1980s rock single. The opening visuals remain exactly the same, however: Jack’s yellow VW bug navigating the windy mountain roads leading to the Overlook Hotel. For the beginning of Carrcass-10, we’ve then simply substituted the original soundtrack in the movie for a different “soundtrack”. Does it work? Very much so!
Why the name change from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to a different, “variant” name? the reader might ask here. It’s just part of the process: every artist used in a carrcass — and these number now not only the negative valued 10 but many more *positive* valued ones — can earn a variant name as repurposed. They’re allowed that option and also maybe one could call it even an “honor”. Sometimes variant names take a while to develop. Story Room is a recent development, and one that goes so far as to mask even the original band it’s based upon. Story Room and Carrcass-10 are most linked. Story Room is represented by the red of the tiled circle in the above picture. The red aspect most defines the circle — the blue and yellow squares/triangles merely enhance an original idea. So we’re back to the beginning again: who is Story Room?
Story Room is the red figure with the sphere topped body. He’s the boss. He calls the shots. *From* him (or her) emerges two more figures: the yellow, tetahedron masked being we’ve identified with Tom’s Petty High (variant of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), and then the blue cube topped figure identifed with REM (variant name pending) and lead singer Steptoe Butte (Michael Stipe variant). The new little collage series, also named “Steptoe”, seems to be more about attempting to structure a variant name for REM/Michael Stipe, to follow up on the seeming success of the transformation of Tom Petty and the HB to Tom’s Petty High. The chosen name for Stipe is, first and last name, Steptoe Butte. This comes directly from a very interesting landscape feature of the same name in eastern Washington state, depicted in the distance in the first collage above. Why Steptoe for Michael? Okay, so this was the lead-in: in looking up Stipe in a geographic database, only a handful of entries came up. One was Stipe Cemetery very near Steptoe Butte. So it was examining Stipe Cemetery on maps and photos that led me quickly to this butte. I found it interesting that if you replace the “o” with an “i” in the “Steptoe”, you’d have an anagram of “Stipe”.
So what happens in Collage 02 of the series is that we move into Stipe Cemetery itself, prompted by a blurb on Michael Stipe uncovered in a search for “Stipe Cemetery” images? I link to this article and the related picture in this blog post below (“Stipe”). Elements of this particular image of Stipe will show up a little later in the series.
Danny of The Shining reappears on the edge of this cemetery. He’s discovered the top of the yellow figure in the preceding collage, hopefully just the tetrahedronal mask and not his whole, mostly buried body (!) Collage 02 actually comes in two parts. As Danny is staring at the golden tetrahedron, it changes, in the resulting animation, into his yellow ball from Collage 00, the one that rolls up to him apparently from the now open Room 237 and seeming to invite him into that sinister lair. What’s this ball now doing in Stipe Cemetery in Washington state?
It seems to have something to do with the fact that in the Shining movie, the hotel manager tells Jack and Wendy at one point that the hotel is built on an old Indian burial ground. In this way, the Washington cemetery of this collage becomes the grounds of the hotel itself, and Danny’s geometric rug transforms into the cemetery’s grassy turf.
The other two members of Story Room look on, blue and red. We’ve already identified the blue being more with Michael Stipe and his REMs, and so perhaps that’s why he comes to the forefront more in a collage based in Stipe Cemetery.
It’s a strange thing, but I realized early on in this collage generating that collages 01, 02, 03 actually run backwards in time, with Collage 03 representing the actual beginning of Carrcass-10/The Shining with Jack’s yellow VW, and Collage 02 a later scene with Danny and the yellow ball and the open Room 237. The two yellow objects, car and ball, become one in the process. Tom’s Petty High takes on the yellow hue because their music is playing now the whole time we see the yellow car driving through the mtns. to the hotel. Danny playing with his toy vehicles later on in the hotel and the yellow ball rolling up (after Jack is awarded the winter caretaker position during the interview he drives to), is a microcosm of the opening — toy vehicles replacing the real ones parked in the hotel lot, and of course, the yellow ball represents the arriving yellow bug or yellow VW.
So in Collage 02, the ball is the VW and the cemetery is the hotel due to the Indian burial ground reference. Why is this Stipe cemetery? Well, it’s because Stipe/REM will factor in two additional tiles of Carrcass-10, just like Tom’s Petty High “before” it. And through this usage, Stipe transforms into Steptoe, a variant name. Clear as mud now, eh?