A glass eye just popped out of your TV dinner. The tinfoil on top is rustling of its own accord — though stop-motion animation certainly isn’t out of the question — and the crab on the menu just reached out a leg and swiped it back in. Whatever is inside must be pretty hot and tasty, because a cockroach the size of a tennis ball just climbed out and walked over your hand, which is really the hand of a mannequin. Pretty fucking revolting, sure, but your hand didn’t even flinch because it was so busy resting lifelessly atop a remote control.
Uh oh. Now it is time for dinner so the foil is unfurling from the surface of the dish. Your rice and beans is glistening with the dew of a thousand freezer burns — revolting in the most secretly appetizing kind of way — but the only way you know how to consume is with your eyes. So you zoom in on the thing, closer and closer until you discover an intricate mosaic of spores, which upon closer inspection is actually a microscopic city in its own right — nay, a suburb. Through a series of Orson Welles-style dissolves, you find yourself hovering above the roof of a house — then inside the house, where a mother with one eye is carting in some peas and carrots to her potatohead of a husband in the living room, just in time for TGIF. Oh yeah, it’s the Monsters. Let’s watch TV with the Monsters.
But we are already watching TV with our hero, Jim Ferraro — that was established at the beginning of this ode to the city of Los Angeles. And I must admit that he already sort of looked like a cartoon, sitting there rocking out to the boobtube in his signature jean jacket — the same one I saw him wearing when he played at Issue Project room last week — and that I wasn’t quite sure whether he looked more or less real when he suddenly morphed into a skeleton and his eyeballs popped out, like a protagonist in a DARE commercial. DARE to keep kids off TV — as seen on TV.
The lifeless hand on the remote control flips us though a thousand real and second life scenarios, fastforwarded and rewound, sped and slowed: walking on top of the Bugs Bunny inscription on the Hollywood walk of fame; discovering the boots of a streetwalker just a few paces away, and wondering what the hell she is doing there in broad daylight. An electric guitar propped up against a TV screen looms larger in the frame than an iconic replica ten times its size, suspended in the middle of a city square — but not nearly as large as the wiccan symbol we discover spraypainted above a few garbage cans in a back alley.
No wonder the soundtrack sounds like a collage of all the half-remembered ’80s skate videos you never actually saw; hanging on Ferraro’s VHS camera, we olley and McTwist and Mongofoot our way through Los Angeles until we don’t even know where we are anymore — even if everything around us still looks as familiar as ever. The point is, Ferraro could just as easily be cruising past a Hollywood Video in Stamford Connecticut, and we would still recognize LA. “Demon Channels” starts feeling pretty cosmic when we realize that it doesn’t really make a difference.