The Residents - "Is Anybody Out There" DVD Review (MVD Video) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Residents - "Is Anybody Out There" DVD Review (MVD Video)

The Residents - 'Is Anybody Out There' DVD Review (MVD Video)While I’ve reviewed a number of Residents’ discs over the past few years, the DVD Is Anybody Out There had slipped through the cracks. Prior to starting in on the band’s latest limited edition, Night Train to Nowhere, I wanted to close out the last of the Bunny Boy and Talking Light discs.

Is Anybody Out There follows the Bunny Boy story arc – a large portion of this footage was posted to the internet as a multi-part docudrama as a run-up to the Bunny Boy tour and these original videos have now been edited and sequenced with some live footage from the tour. For anyone who missed the original YouTube video series, Is Anybody Out There isn’t a full-length “music video” but rather a “feature film” that has a lot in common with Blair Witch Project. The Residents’ music adds to the increasingly uncomfortable story line (and was documented in the tour-only disc Postcards from Patmos) but the music is neither a prominent nor focal part of the DVD. The story line follows Roger (aka “Bunny”) on his descent into madness. Roger is living in the basement of his x-wife’s house, recovering from an accident he had in Greece that he doesn’t remember. The basement is particularly creepy as it looks like a torture chamber, with a variety of weapons on the wall and “John Wayne Gacy” style clown paintings of Roger and his brother Harvey.

The storyline follows Roger’s “self-made” videos that he is posting on the internet asking for help finding his missing brother Harvey. Harvey is described as being obsessed with the apocalypse and he went missing on the Greek isle of Patmos (home of the “Cave of the Apocalypse”). After filling in the back story of Harvey’s disappearance, Roger’s sanity progressively slips and he makes the later videos dressed in an adult bunny suit. After selling some possessions on eBay (this really happened – how’s that for a bridge between film and reality?), Roger raises money to pay The Great Carson (an internet psychic) who told Roger that Harvey is in Patmos, Arkansas getting ready to do battle with “The Beast”.

Note: There may be a “Part II’ to this disc as the DVD ends with Roger/”Bunny” boarding the bus to Patmos.

The Residents have enjoyed many attachments over the years, but none more unique than "Bunny." Their relationship flourished in the 70's when Bunny's eccentric ideas often pointed the group in unexpected directions, but Bunny eventually grew distant and his appearances at the El Ralpho Studios declined. Then, after a lapse of several years, a video tape arrived in the mail. Looking like the product of a discarded Korean surveillance camera, The Residents quickly recognized the unidentified video as the "work" of the long lost Bunny. At first amused, the group soon became disturbed by Bunny's obvious cry for help, attempting to gain support finding his missing "brother" Harvey. Hoping that a project focused on their lost friend might stimulate his reappearance, and subsequent psychiatric care, The Residents reenacted Bunny's plight in a series of internet videos, resulting in this DVD. Unfortunately after a CD, a world tour and the video series, Bunny remains among the missing.
The Residents