The fact is…
No matter how closely I study it / No matter how I take it apart / No matter how I break it down / It remains consistent / I wish you were here to see it.
The outside world? Vastly overrated. Everything we need can be found right here. *points to head*
I find it odd, or perhaps oddly comforting, that while network news is relatively silent about the ways in which our global neighbors are dealing with this pesky plague, we have in our possession an unspoiled network of opportunity to share our dreams, observations, and anxieties.
Use it. Use your time and creative zeal to make Unofficial Music Videos. Process the darkness and fear it no more.
We’re all in the same dark here, and we can use more light on the subject.
Have I mentioned lately that TikiKiti is a micro-community of cinema devotees in search of brilliant Unofficial Music Videos? On a mostly monthly basis we critique the five top entrants, and present the Barclay Trophy to a promising video artist—like you.
March was one of the longest months in recorded history, and we all got reacquainted with Netflix, carbohydrates, and despair.
So let’s March forward into something better, like a tie for first place. Congrats to both our winners!
1. Producer: Appalachian Ghost Productions
Artist: Tyler Childers
Song: “Nose To The Grindstone”
There’s so much story to unpack here, it’s hard to know where to begin. This Appalachian Ghost Production is a masterful blend of song and image that speaks volumes about the plight of the working poor. Poignancy is a complicated feeling and difficult to capture. Here’s how it’s done.
1. Producer: Film Framer
Song: “Subterranean Homesick Alien”
Who’s the alien here? Like David Bowie before him, Film Framer explores the isolation and ennui of the English schoolboy by transforming his protagonist into a man who just fell to earth.
3. Producer: Jocelyn Ren
Song: “Killer Queen”
Girls just want to have fun, but what happens when the 24-hour party ends? Superb editing and the lead actress is astonishing.
4. Producer: Joshua John Esguerra
Song: “Nothing Is Safe”
The cycle of abuse bears bitter fruit. The drained black-and-white photography gives “Nothing Is Safe” the appearance of a bad dream or suppressed memory. It’s important to exorcise every day.
5. Producer: Michael Crowley
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Song: “Dark Paradise”
It’s a love story with gorgeous art direction and drone-powered panorama. Every shot is a keeper.
Thanks for joining us! Keep sending those wonderful care packages and we’ll make it to the other side of this mess.
And we haven’t forgotten the Best Video of 2019! It’s due any minute.
The cuckoo clock has died of shock and the windows feel no pane / The air’s as still as the throttle of a funeral train.
Hey! How’s it going? Pretty good? Can’t complain? So let’s embrace our social distancing.
It’s a weird world out there, friends. We’re all at least six feet apart to slow the spread of Covid-19, our pitiless unseen enemy. Yet the irony of coming together by staying away from each other is not lost on anyone.
We have time on our hands, and it looks as though isolation is going to be a recurring theme in our lives. We’re encouraging video artisans to incorporate and process their own feelings of isolation, loneliness, dread, claustrophobia, determination, and triumph into new Unofficial Music Videos. We want to make this a thing.
Then again, maybe it already is.
Just to refresh your memory, TikiKiti is a tiny collective of movie nerds, filmmakers, writers, and artistic types who want nothing more than to see your Unofficial Music Videos. On a semi-monthly basis we show the five best, and present the Barclay Trophy to the top vote-getter.
It may not be February anymore, but these five featurettes have us looking back fondly to a time when we could still gather in person.
1. Producer: Lidia in Shanghai
Artist: Five Seconds of Summer
A perfectly crafted distillation of a first-love arc, with fresh emotions blooming and bursting through our video subjects. Colors peak and fade as we learn the hard way that love is a two-way street, and traffic can be murder.
2. Producer: Edinburgh Filmmaking Society
Artist: Pink Floyd
Song: “Great Gig in the Sky”
Astral trip or acid trip? One way to grapple with loneliness and isolation is to allow the mind to shift gears and hopefully find a safe place beyond these four walls.
3. Producer: Issy Johnston
Artist: Glass Animals
Song: “Mama’s Gun”
Here’s hard evidence that we’re at our most becoming when we’re becoming something else. Another thing we can do by ourselves? Evolve. Grow. Caterpillar meet butterfly.
4. Producer: Archie Whiting
Artist: FKA Twigs
Song: “Give Up”
Sometimes we need reminders of our priorities. Sometimes they take the form of a dancing woman in white. Whether or not we surrender to these invitations depends on how safe we want to play it.
5. Producer: Jack Forest
Artist: Jack Stauber
Song: “John & Nancy”
These days, paranoia is part of your survival kit. Surely we must have broken the rules. Are those men in black following me?
Another quick spin around the world in the Age of Isolation. Scotland, Shanghai, Australia. We’re going global from the supposed safety of our own homes. And we’re doing it together.
Footnote: We’re still counting the votes for Best Video of 2019, but we’ll have a winner any day now. Stick around!
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?
Ever think we’d look at two months ago as “the good old days?”
The “nasty bug” has evolved into an indiscriminate killer, a viral assassin that has the potential to change our world faster than you can say “gesundheit.”
Folks and friends, we’re going into lockdown and hoping for the best. As long as water, food, and visual entertainment are plentiful, then we should have the fortitude to emerge on the other side of this episode as better humans.
Since we’re all going to be riding the couch for a while, how about a challenge? The Brain Trust is currently incubating an idea about a quarantine-themed music video campaign/competition. More about that very soon.
Remember, TikiKiti is the place where we critically examine your Unofficial Music Videos on a sort-of monthly basis, and present the Barclay Trophy to a deserving filmmaker.
Now let us share the bounty of January’s five finest flicks.
1. Producer: Shayan Rahmati
Song: “My Autumn’s Done Come”
We’ve seen these elements before. Multi-speed footage of commuter traffic is nothing new, but set upon a cityscape that appears entirely bereft of humanity drives home a grim point. Shayan Rahmati delivers thoughtful images that just keep unfolding.
2. Producer: Sanne Gunes
Song: “Home II”
In the military, you find reasons to fight. When that’s over, you find a reason to live. The road home can be filled with dangerous missteps, but it’s the people who live there that make it necessary. An exhilarating and poignant creation.
3. Producer: Elio De Filippo
Song: “Running to the Sea”
Can we ever really escape the darkness or is it just another part of the landscape that we have to navigate? And what do we sacrifice to achieve our goals? Keep on running and don’t stop until you get there. Evocative and provocative despite redundancy. It’s about the resilience of the human spirit, and how we often don’t get it right the first time.
4. Producer: Cloud (Lou)
An illustrated and annotated guide to the various self-doubts and anxieties typically found in both adolescence and art, searingly and skillfully revealed by artist/musician Cloud. We will undoubtedly be hearing and seeing more from her.
5. Producer: J Films
Colors, commitment, and choreography rendered without artiface. The editing and unstable framing lend even more movement to an already moving experience.
Have we told you lately that we adore your work and that these intimate glimpses into wildly different cultures make the world a little smaller for everyone?
We’ve been apart for so long. Let’s get together.
Theoretically, it’s Christmas. Now that’s a great song title.
Icebergs are melting, the waters are rising, and there’s a nasty bug going around the office. So let’s bundle up with a hot drink and watch this month’s pageant of Unofficial Music Videos, lovingly created by creative types just like you.
TikiKiti is the place where we rate, curate, and bloviate over videos on a monthly basis, and present the Barclay Trophy to the amateur visual artist with the most promise.
Let’s unwrap our Top Five toys for December.
1. Producer: Tanya Kostadinova
Artist: Boney M
Song: “Daddy Cool”
Bright lights, big city, and girls having naughty fun at a peep show and psychedelic carnival. Tanya Kostadinova conveys megawatts of sustainable energy with editing that writhes like a second skin to an insidiously bouncy pop tune.
2. Producer: Jeff Scher
Artist: Inventing Fire
Utilizing an assortment of animation techniques and effects, producer Jeff Scher explores the allure of the open road, and captures the joy of leaving wreckage (emotional and otherwise) in the rearview.
3. Producer: Vipul Devrani
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
One of the symptoms of being a hardcore Billie Eilish fan is the overwhelming desire to dance in a haunted house. Exorcise the creeps right out of your life and take control.
4. Producer: Corban Phillips
Artist: Tenth Avenue North
When you’re in high school, the need for peer approval can be a necessary evil that seemingly dogs your every step. And everywhere you go—there you are.
5. Producer: Laura Shi & John Huang
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
More friends are buried. The Eilish song acts as a banishment incantation to our own worst tendencies. Spoiler alert: The devil whispering in your ear is you.
This month, it seems the common ground we’re finding is ourselves. Who are we, and do we always have our own best interests at heart? Should we drive away temptation or simply recognize that we occasionally seek the darkness, despite advice from the better angels of our nature?
Getting to the heart of the artist can be a bumpy ride, so buckle up. There be monsters.
“But one lesson I have learned/It’s not to trust you when my back is turned/So don’t be phonin’ tellin’ me you’re blue/cos’ baby I suffer, too/When the night falls/When the night falls.”
Traditionally, this is the time of year that we give thanks for still being here, fogging the mirrors on Planet Earth, the only home we’ve ever known.
It’s a place where visionaries, sullen teens, posh private school kids, and emerging artists from all over the map send us Unofficial Music Videos for perusal and possible praise.
That’s basically it. On a monthly basis, usually rooted in the recent past, we award the Barclay Trophy to the budding auteur whose work knocks our collective socks off.
So without further ado, our Top Five for November.
1. Producer: Ross Reinier
Artist: Gary Clark Jr
Song: “Come Together”
Now this is editing you can dance to! Precision cuts combined with a gnarly rock ‘n’ roll insurrection demonstrates the power of attitude over authoritarianism. We see an emboldened youth culture given a glam makeover by director Ross Reinier. If the kids are united, we will never be divided.
2. Producer: Sean Corbin
Artist: The Struts
Song: “Body Talks”
Great casual choreography and loads of editing flair! It’s a credit to producer Sean Corbin that the video flows like water, never once pausing for breath. This, kids, is showbiz with all the requisite snap, crackle, and pop.
3. Producer: Megan Lang
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “You Should See Me In A Crown”
Our heroine uses secret mystic woman powers to cast off her oppressors—lousy boyfriends, mansplainers, dirty old men—and takes a victory lap. Billie Eilish continues to serve as the patron saint of the Emerging Young Female Empowerment genre.
4. Producer: Kazuhiko Hiromaki
Song: “Namu Amitibul”
Managing to be both austere and vibrant isn’t easy but this one pulls it off. The mood and sound shifts gracefully from surface world sensations to inner turmoil freakout, and it really builds exquisitely.
5. Producer: Latymer Media
Artist: Oli Orson
Song: “Dance With Me Tonight”
Hey kids, let’s put on a show! Can we call this “adorkable” and leave it at that?
More than ever, our video offerings are reflecting the tension and stress that’s become the new normal. And when you can no longer deal with all the hate, corruption, and lies that rain down like a manure typhoon?
You take action and “come together” as we see in the first video. Or dance like there’s no tomorrow—because there may not be.
“Fashion, their vampire/drapes itself across your back/as you fall from style/it waits rebirth on its rack.”
Boo! Did I scare you? It’s Halloween month on the ol’ TikiKiti blog site, but in reality, Christmas is fast approaching. The only solution to this nonlinear dilemma is to drop what you’re doing and watch Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas as soon as possible.
Since it’s theoretically October, it only makes sense that this month’s slate of Unofficial Music Videos are bookended by horror-themed projects.
As always, hopeful contestants from every nation are recognized for outstanding achievement in video artistry with the presentation of the Barclay Trophy to our top vote-getter each month.
1. Producer: Bhai Log/Team Transformerz
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
Ubiquitous Yankee pop star Billie Eilish provides the accompaniment to this delirious dancing zombie vignette from India. A simple story about three pals exploring a haunted house can be interpreted any number of ways, mostly as variations on “Curiosity Killed the Cat” or the danger of wandering too far from “the path.” Supernatural naturalism?
2. Producer: Pezhmann Mokary
Artist: Federico Truzzi
A nameless female protagonist shuffles through another dehumanizing, black-and-white commute only to end up at the sea, screaming her lungs out. Then the scene shifts to a more positive outlook, shot in color, that has a surreal, dreamlike quality. Never abandon those dreams; they might be the only thing keeping you sane.
3. Producer: Andrii Gusarov
Song: “L’aérogramme de Los Angeles”
The dazzling choreography, thoughtful art direction, and dexterous camera work combine to paint a picture of how daily distractions and commitments can not only keep us apart geographically from those we love, but also preoccupied when we’re supposed to be present.
4. Producer: Morgan Oliver-Allen
This assemblage of footage is fairly inspired, tracking the conception and evolution of the Burning Man festival, interspersed with loving, longing looks from its participants. Lightning bolts of creativity are palpable and bright.
5. Producer: Jack Harriss/Michael Cox
Song: “Dance With Me”
Another retelling of Frankenstein, this one set to an EDM soundtrack. Once again, a Narcissistic doctor is done in by his own creation. Full of hubris and the desire to play God, Dr. F doesn’t realize he’s created a being that has no desire to serve—only dance.
This month’s videos definitely have a cinematic quality to them, with the focus on a “bigger” story than time or budget allows. We encourage everyone to reach for the stars, but at the same time, be careful not to create a monster you can’t control.
“The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold/
I see your lips, the summer kisses/The sun-burned hands I used to hold.
Since you went away the days grow long/And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song/But I miss you most of all, my darling/When autumn leaves start to fall.”
I’m reminded of the REM song “Fall On Me” as I gaze out the window at the autumn foliage burning nuclear bright on a chilly day. The radiance is searing a hole in my skull, but I won’t let that little challenge get in the way of unveiling September’s collection of Unofficial Music Videos.
1. Producer: Kevin Bodin
Song: “Rue D’la Soif”
Much like the Beastie Boys declaring their rights to party, these hard-drinking French bohemians are prepared to throw down in a major way. With a utopian eye to the future, in which all cultures can come together and get equally hammered, Parisian filmmaker Kevin Bodin takes us on a sumptuous safari to where the people make merry. I’m thinking this is why we need a four-day work week in America.
2. Producer: Ido Fruchter
Artist: Asaf Avidan & The Mojos
Song: “The Ghost of a Thousand Little Lies”
Director Ido Fruchter, a student from Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, has successfully fashioned a marvelous miniature dystopian drama that depicts learning and knowledge as a painful process. This is especially true when your world view expands to the point of including other people.
3. Producer: RaveHad
Artist: Brad Head
Song: “In My Head”
I assumed the filmmaker was trying to evoke a noir, Lou Reed/Tom Waits street action vibe, but then I noticed that RaveHad hails from Russia, so that makes it even more menacing and cool.
4. Producer: PK Humble
Artist: Rag’N’Bone Man
Somewhere in Thailand, another anguished teen sorts out his feelings by walking around at night. As a coping device it’s recognized the world over as an effective remedy. Again, we have moody black and white imagery revealing a world without love or pity. You had to find out eventually, son.
5. Producer: Phoebe Gibson
Song: “Every Other Freckle”
It’s possible these English kids are taking acid for the first time, but a more likely theory is that they are extra-terrestrials trying on their human suits and getting in touch with the flesh. Blood and guts, we’ve all got ’em. What a concept!
So this month we’ve heard from France, England, the Russian Federation, Israel, and Thailand. At TikiKiti we’re spanning the globe to bring you the best in music video entertainment, in an effort to share our similarities, rather than fear our differences.
“Walk out of any doorway/Feel your way like the day before/Maybe you’ll find direction/Around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet you.”
As the world gets stranger than fiction every single day, we’re reporting to you from a nearby timeline where things have stabilized considerably. The turbulence in the rest of the universe is pretty severe at the moment, probably having something to do with the Age of Aquarius rising at the same time as the lost continent of Atlantis.
In less cataclysmic news, we have a dandy new collection of Unofficial (though no less compelling) Music Videos made by folks remarkably like yourself, hailing from all points Rand-McNally, and competing for the hotly contested Barclay Award for Excellence in Independent Video Arts. Here now, are August’s Top Five videos.
1. Producer: Derek Newman
Artist: Françoise Hardy
Song: “Comment Te Dire, Adieu?”
Not much to say here, other than “Bravo.” Derek Newman deliciously blends cheek, horror, and lampoonery to sensational effect. Ladies, these savage self-improvement steps are the ticket to a better, more beautiful you. Available now, at the low introductory price of your mortal soul!
2. Producer: Living Legends Productions
Song: “Hillbilly Man”
It’s a Close Encounter of the Doll Kind! This Toytown take on alien abduction appealed to our appreciation of low-budget filmmaking, alá Ed Wood and Todd Haynes.
You know, the lamestream media never reports this stuff. Ken and Barbie dolls go missing all the time. Remember when they were everywhere? So where did they all go?
3. Producer: Macstermix
Artist: Flora Cash
Song: “You’re Somebody Else”
A beautifully assembled sequence of iPhone footage that paints a deeply intimate emotional landscape. Remember: The way we see the world is our most important piece of technology.
4. Producer: Hedyy
Song: “Your Own Company”
The commute home from work is the best time of day to relax and enjoy the abstraction. Is it magic realism or simply the cumulative fatigue of being overworked and underpaid? Let’s go with the more benign option, shall we?
5. Producer: Trevor Black
Artist: Lewis Capaldi
Song: “Someone You Loved”
A dude murders his wife with a kitchen knife and is subsequently haunted by bloody visions. Considering the conscience of a killer is a bold choice, but I would have preferred the original ending in which the protagonist is stung to death by hornets over the course of several hours.
Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? The only way things get better is if enough people are inspired to take positive action. So let’s get busy and inspire!
“I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine/I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine/We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time.”
In the real world, summer has zenithed and is now packing its bags, while the rain can’t wait to get us wet. Inevitably, warmth gives way to autumn’s chill and selecting a wardrobe becomes a daily challenge. Wear a hat, because you lose most of your body heat from an uncovered noggin.
Once again we come bearing a bounty of Unofficial Music Videos from the far reaches of the globe, all competing for the highly coveted Barclay Award for Excellence in Independent Video Arts.
1. Producer: Toey PPS
Artist: Arianna Grande
Thai teen turns typical trauma into an astounding array of color-coded visuals. Supple editing, a committed performance, and imaginative art direction carry this video to the July winner’s circle.
2. Producer: Melanie Murcie
Artist: Soul Kitchen
Song: “L’ombre De Ton Amour”
Female empowerment saves the day, as an angry activist slaps down a pimp, steals his roll, and liberates women from the sex trade. It’s kind of like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” but with booze, cigarettes, and violence.
3. Producer: Stephany Valdivia + Mathew Huerta
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
A thoughtful collage approach works wonders with the words and worlds of Billie Eilish, an artist with a lot on her mind. Can introverts be popular?
4. Producer: Noedesu
Sometimes we can’t trust our senses and running a self-inventory check can be pure torture. It’s a simple concept, but painted with raw, honest colors.
5. Producer: Entropique
Artist: Zero 7
Song: “Morning Song”
The apocalypse is on everyone’s mind these days. What will you wear? Can you make yourself useful in a survival situation? A scavenger rifles through remnants of societal detritus, searching for substance and meaning. Hey, we’re all in the same boat!
Global concerns weigh heavy on each of us, and it’s imperative that we sort through our own emotions, keeping whatever’s necessary, and jettisoning the baggage. Your videos are like messages in a bottle, hope and community kept alive despite trying circumstances. Creation is the key—and it will set you free.
“When Miss Moon lays down/And Sir Sun stands up/Me I’m found floating round and round/Like a bug in brandy/In this big bronze cup/Drowning here in summer’s cauldron.”
Summer vay-kay is here, and, much as it pains us to crawl from the hammock, making sure not to spill a precariously perched Bloody Mary, we have indeed returned to share nectar from our voluminous video flower patch.
How’s the weather where you are? Here at TikiKiti HQ (let me just bring up the satellite view) the forecast is topical with a chance of pain, followed by darkness when the sun goes down.
You may have noticed two months worth of awards in this post. Since we tend to get fewer submissions during these balmy summer days, we’re really doing our best to keep our inventory fresh and up to date. So while the boss is paragliding in Paraguay, it’s up to you and me to separate the wheat from the chaff.
For this installment, we have two winning videos, the first is for May and the second for June. Congratulations to both artists for superior work. Keep your eyes peeled for the arrival of the mailman bearing your Barclay Trophy.
1. Producer: Will Lucas
Artist: Arianna Grande
We were fooled along with everyone else! What opens as a simple meet-cute bit of romantic fluff, evolves into cloak-and-dagger escapades and intrigue. Very robust visual storytelling and sensible use of metaphor imagery, e.g., mousetraps, fishing lures, board games.
2. Producer: Kathryn Jankowski
Artist: Solomon Wilbur
Song: “Show Me Love”
More suppressed female rage is unleashed as a trio of overworked paper-pushers try to smash through the glass ceiling while simultaneously realizing their jobs pretty much suck. That’s a powerfully unsettling message.
3. Producer: RaymondisLazy
Artist: Mac Miller
Mesmerizing and provocative travel imagery of Bangkok set to Mac Miller’s moody beats and subdued soul crooning. Both big pictures and little pictures are worth equal time.
4. Producer: Ryuuzaki NL
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
You didn’t really think we’d get through an entire round of videos without hearing from Billie Eilish, did you? She’s everywhere! The choreography bristles with vitality despite the obvious lack of precision.
5. Producer: Mikel Arraiz
Artist: Neon Palms
Song: “Kiss Me Malibu”
And finally, how about a gorgeously filmed but feverishly grotesque examination of mating rituals and the cultures that foster them as a necessary evil. Like we don’t have enough to worry about!
Until next time, campers! Keep those creative candles burning.