Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Calamity Song: Parks and Rec - Infinte Jest - Decemberists Collide

If bacon and limited government are what motivate Ron Swanson, it's fair to say that Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur is equally passionate about two things of his own: David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and the indie-rock group the Decemberists. 

 "It is literally my favorite book and they are literally my favorite band," Schur told Vulture, channeling a bit of Chris Traeger. Schur is such a Jest fanboy that when the feature rights to the novel came up for sale a year ago, he snatched them. And when a rep for the group called in search of a music-video director who was a fan of both the group and Wallace's novel, "I was literally frothing at the mouth trying to not seem too desperate," Schur says. Thankfully, Schur got the gig, and the resulting video for "Calamity Song" — which brings to life Eschaton, a tennislike game described in Wallace's novel. Despite having directed a handful of Parks episodes, Schur says this experience was "very different." [New York Magazine]

Colin Meloy stated I wrote “Calamity Song” shortly after I’d finished reading David Foster Wallace’s epic Infinite Jest. The book didn’t so much inspire the song itself, but Wallace’s irreverent and brilliant humor definitely wound its way into the thing. And I had this funny idea that a good video for the song would be a re-creation of the Enfield Tennis Academy’s round of Eschaton — basically, a global thermonuclear crisis re-created on a tennis court — that’s played about a third of the way into the book. Thankfully, after having a good many people balk at the idea, I found a kindred spirit in Michael Schur, a man with an even greater enthusiasm for Wallace’s work than my own. With much adoration and respect to this seminal, genius book, this is what we’ve come up with. I can only hope DFW would be proud.[All Songs Considered NPR.org]

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