Welcome once again to Blog Spot, the monthly feature where I pause from self-publicity to give an airing to the work of others. Following my posts on JesuOtaku and Nash from Radio Dead Air, we now turn our attention to another stalwart of That Guy With The Glasses: Oancitizen, a.k.a. Kyle Kallgren, host of Brows Held High.
I first came across Oancitizen's work through his crossover review with Mathew 'Film Brain' Buck on The League of Extraordinary Gentleman - a film that they appear to loath every bit as much as I do. I was impressed by his combination of bristling intelligence and populism; rather than look down on the graphic novel, he began the review by arguing its significance within the grand scheme of human storytelling. After enjoying his cameo in To Boldly Flee (including his fine singing voice), I checked out his own show and have been a big fan ever since.
I love Kyle's work because he is completely unashamed of his own intelligence. He doesn't feel the need to hide behind a silly gimmick or dumb down what he has to say, believing like JO and Nash that his audience is every bit as smart and inquiring as he is. But he is also very self-aware, constantly acknowledging the limitations of his medium and tipping his hat to pop culture wherever pertinent. He takes the subject matter as seriously as possible, but is also able to laugh at both it and himself; he has no airs or pretentions, he just happens to be a smart guy with a lot of interesting things to say.
While most of the TGWTG film reviewers deal with mainstream blockbusters and exploitation films, Brows Held High is dedicated to all that is arthouse, independent and experimental - for good and bad. In the 50 or so episodes thus far, Kyle has covered everything from the Shakespeare films of Kenneth Branagh to A Serbian Film, and from Lars von Trier to Andy Warhol's Vinyl (his version of A Clockwork Orange). A lot of the content is not for the faint-hearted, but none of it is ever played solely for shock value. He always takes the time to point out the merits of each production, and the reviews are often very moving - for instance, his terrific take on Melancholia.
You can watch Brows Held High on TGWTG, on Blip.tv, or on the recently-formed Chez Apocalypse. Kyle has also been involving in numerous crossovers; his collaboration with JO on Revolutionary Girl Utena is hilarious, and his work with Diamanda Hagan (e.g. on Eat the Schoolgirl) has become the stuff of TGWTG legend. He also occasionally pops up as a guest on What The F*** Is Wrong With You?, most recently on the episode 'The Hard-Packed Snow'. Happy viewing!