Objet 5, Mii of Andy Warhol, pop artist, created by Andrew Andrew and uploaded on miiplaza.net
One Sunday morning a few weeks before Christmas. I woke up before 7am to go buy a Nintendo Wii with my friend Tristan. The night before, we strategically attempted to target where a large number of units would be released at 8am. The only problem was that even though the two of us found the Best Buy, Target and EB games all in the same outdoor mall, so did every male between 18-34 in the Hollywood vicinity. When Tristan and I walked up to the first line at 7:15 in the morning, we witnessed multiple bundled campers, a few with tents that were emerging from the wake of a self-induced night of homelessness on La Brea. The stubborn persistence on clamped faces of the weathered overnight campers somehow reminded me of a scene from an old Russian film I saw as a child, set during the communist era. In the scene, the characters had camped out all night - not to purchase a gaming system, but rather to receive their ration of toilet paper. They braved the cold for necessities. The Wiikids on La Brea shared the same determined look as the actors from this film memory. I learned then that the Wii to some was a serious matter, but didn't yet quite understand why.
After discovering that all 3 stores were sold out, Tristan and I bought some coffee cake and contemplated our next move. His mother Anne was doing mobile logistics from the house, so we began the Sunday morning drive-by. By 7:30am, our mission involved drive-bys of EB Game stores that only had 6 units apiece and lines double that. We paused at a desolete Game Stop on Hollywood and Western. It was filled with men all over the age of 50 and one young guy who optimistically thought he could be sixth in line, although we counted him to be seventh. Someone had tipped us off that Toys R Us had units, so we raced over to the nearest location in Los Feliz. Again, we were too late; their 60 vouchers had disappeared; Best Buy next door had gone through their allotment of 15 or was it 40? It was chaos, miscommunication, I felt like we were the last ones with information at a cultural emergency, all the worms had vanished.
Someone else mentioned Costco and I realized I had my card! Instantly rejected by the man at the door.
By this time, I was exhausted, hungry and resigned, so down trodden, a $1.50 hot dog and soda seemed appetizing for breakfast. But the stand was still closed. Seven stores laters, the two of us walked back to the car, but not before I saw the objetsmart for the 1st time. Inside a clear plastic bag was the box, attached to the hand of an attractive 20something man. "What time did you get here?" I asked. "5:30," he admitted embarrassed. "Dedication," Tristan and I agreed.
Later I thought about giving up the word "we" in any format (wii, wee, we, oui) until I got my own. I would create my own verbal oulipo as protest. This stems from an idea some time ago when I worked on an episode of a radio show about oulipo. the French linguistics society. Oulipo is a fascinating subject (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oulipo) and I have always been amazed that the author Jacques Perec managed to write an entire novel without the letter, "E." It is a difficult task, writing without it. (This would be my one sentence sans e.) But unless you are a complete loner, a conversation without we would be very lonely.
The idea got thrown out when 4 days later, thanks to Anne's determination and Ebay Express, Tristan got a Wii and I began to understand why people had camped. If I had known then what I do know, I probably would have claimed that tent off Freecycle.
T had been playing with it for a couple of days when I came to visit. The result was at least 4 hours of serious addiction. Besides the thrill of watching Dick in a Box directly on the wii through its web browser, I was introduced to the cult of Miis.
Mii mii mii, i just can't get enough. So much so that I think everytime I refer to myself for the rest of this post, I may just have to write mii.
Miis are Nintendo's version of the avatar, and remind me of a futuristic virtual Ed Emberley digital cartoon creation. As a child, the below book was my canon for drawing. It's a basic primer for drawing funny characters. Beginners start with the simple shape of a square or circle. Eyes, noses, mouths, hairs are then added in with simple visual instructions, eventually transforming your shape into your character. More intermediate users begin with a hexagon. The advanced use complex geometric forms to create dynamic characters. The better one gets at drawing the characters, the more confident they feel in creating narrative cartoons based on these characters. The characters in Emberley's book occupied me for many wonderful afternoons during my childhood. I've always wondered if Trey Parker and Matt Stone loved this book too.
I think the creation of Miis taps into the same curiosity, but updated for a faster, customizable time. But being able to create one Mii to play with was not enough for Nintendo. For the Wii, as a player you have the ability to create an entire village! You can create endless personalities, then swap them with other players. In this world, overpopulation is not an issuel the more mii the merrier.
But making miis is only the beginning of the fun; playing with them is where things get truly amusing.
The cult of mii expands exponentially each day. What began as a simple concept has quickly spawned a celebrity mii culture with more A listers than the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Add in religious figures (lots of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and many interpretations of God) politicians (from Washington to Lincoln to Bush), dictators from Hitler to Hussein, and you're beginning to see a second world of mii form that is as inherently overpopulated as the real one. But this mii world has a purpose, that is to game, and it is damn fun. The Wii comes with a sports game giving you options to play a number of games using your wiimote, a small remote controller you attach around your wrist.
Boxing is like your own Celebrity Death Match. There will be if not already Gandhi versus Dalai Lama video on Youtube soon. Personally I would like to put Bjork and Matthew Barney in the ring.
ON THE LEFT, STANDING CREMASTERLY TALL is...
AND ON THE RIGHT FROM THE LAND OF ICELAND IS THE LADY WITH THE BIG VOICE:
Tristan had created plenty of Miis, and swapped others. I tested out an amateur Rosie O'Donnell and got whooped by Jesus in golf. As Oprah, I was much better with a bowling ball.
With my own wii, I too will dream about my 15 miinutes. Though there's already many Andy Warhols out there. But how about the Factory? Tristan's dad thinks they all must wear stripes. I think Andy and Edie Sedgwick golfing would be more fun than watching "Factory Girl." While i'm at it, I'd like to create a Karl Lagerfeld. Warhol v. Lagerfeld in the ring would be epic!
I'd love to go bowling with Elvis,
Play doubles tennis with David Lynch,
and finally have a throwdown with the original king of the ring, DON KING.
What are your mii fantasies?
I fear miine may change every 15 miinutes.
Miis featured in this blog were created by Andrew Andrew (Warhol, Barney, Bjork) Elvis Costello (Velvetone Fusion) Elvis (Gibbo) Run DMC (bookemdan) and Don King (Isic). Thank you for sharing your Miis to the world.
The Mii user and artist Trev has created likenesses of some of his mates and or musical inspirations at Mii Plaza. I quite like people like Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton in with the Jacko, Bjork, and the entire crew from the Smiths. Truly miifav.