The offices of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles might be struggling these days, but their internet presence is better than ever. They’ve partnered with YouTube to create MOCAtv, a channel for artistically ambitious web series. The first is “Feast of Burden,” a psychedelic riff on Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel, written and directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko (CC ‘07). Essentially a 40-minute micro-feature, it’s divided into 12 episodes: watch the first six here, and check back tomorrow for the second half.
Like Kotlyarenko’s criminally under-seen feature 0s & 1s (2011), “Feast of Burden” pays homage to an array of auteurs while arriving at a uniquely nightmarish sensibility that is firmly rooted in the embarrassment and narcissism of the digital age. As Lynchian as “Feast of Burden” may be, its closest analogue is a bad trip, in which every gesture, utterance, and color (of which there are many) is overdetermined and overloaded with nervous energy. In an age in which kids change their prof pics with far greater frequency than they drop acid, though, “Feast of Burden” is unabashedly—and hilariously—solipsistic. Kotlyarenko stars as Jimmy Yukon, whose middle name is sexual frustration. The dinner party around which the show revolves is a veiled intervention for him, who is dangerously and creepily in love with seemingly everyone, but especially the adorable Kia Rio (Tsien-Tsien Zhang). When he is not whining in anxious anticipation of her, he’s masturbating or trying to mack on a male friend.
These perverse moments are far from the only special dishes on the show’s menu. The script boasts such of-the-moment zingers as “I’ve got 140 characters and a twit pic at my disposal,” which one character threatens another, and “If I get bored, I’m just going to look them up on my phone,” which one guest says to her boyfriend about the unexciting guest list. Replete with sex, nervous breakdowns, sissy fights, gloriously kitschy art direction, and a good-looking cast stuffing their faces with turkey, “Feast of Burden” is one whacked-out ride just a click away.