Buried deep within the stacks, racks and garbage sacks of VHS tapes that now flood dumpsters and thrift stores alike, there are pieces of obscure comedic gold that do exist, if you search hard enough. Just ask Commodore Gilgamesh, whose Chicago-based Everything Is Terrible! video collective has now gained international recognition for their carefully manipulated presentations of old VHS clips.
“The process is just digging through trash and gross piles of debris to find the one interesting tape that is there out of 200,” says Gilgamesh, (who asked to be called by his pseudonym for this article). “Then, watching it, finding that’s there’s nothing on it and sending it back to the thrift store, or finding that one little three second clip that’s great out of it. It’s pretty tedious and boring, but we can’t stop. It’s definitely an obsession.”
Similar to that of local arts collective Know No Stranger, EIT! consists of a small group of multi-talented core members, with 12 to 15 others also contributing to the cause when needed. “We’re all pretty self-taught for the most part,” Gilgamesh explains. “I’m trained in video. All the other aspects of our stuff are all just us wanting to do something and figuring it out.” This approach has worked excellently for EIT!, whose supporters include everyone from Conan O’Brien to Snoop Dogg. In keeping this same spirit, the collective has also become very well known for their live shows as well, which often include kooky costuming, puppetry and more.
Everything Is Terrible! will visit The Hi-Fi for a live presentation of their latest movie, Legends. A “best of” collection of sorts, Legends is a culmination of the group’s seven-year career. According to Gilgamesh, the movie includes everything from longtime fan favorites to clips that have been removed from the Internet.
EIT!’s appearance at The Hi-Fi will be a change of pace for the Fountain Square space, which typically hosts live music events more than anything else. With this being said, Spencer Hooks, Entertainment Manager of the venue, is familiar with the collective’s work and hopes all that attend their Indianapolis performance can gain something from it. He reflects, “Their craft is a truly unique and illuminating take on the nonstop bombardment we face day to day by commercial and entertainment media. Sometimes we need to stop and take a moment to laugh about the absurdity of it all.” Ultimately, this is what Gilgamesh would like for audience members to take away from the show too.
“There are motivations for every second of this visual information that we’re just getting assaulted with,” he concludes. “So I think Everything Is Terrible’s main purpose is to just dissect all of that and feed it back to people so that they can kind of consider what it all means.”
Nov. 8, 8 p.m.
The Hi-Fi, 1043 Virginia Ave #4