Art can't reach its full purity until it's been smelted in the crucible of commerce. Observe these gorgeous strategic partnerships, which pair the beauty of a Nickelback performance and Deadhead nostalgia with the industrial usefulness of hockey and video games:
"NHL AND NICKELBACK ANNOUNCE NEW PROMOTIONAL PARTNERSHIP; NICKELBACK TO HEADLINE 2012 NHL AWARDS AT WYNN LAS VEGAS RESORT ON JUNE 20"'
With all due respect to this city's attractive and erudite Bruins fans, hockey is undeniably the Nickelback of sports. Both pursuits involve arena seating, fistfights, pee-like beer, defiantly shitty haircuts, a general predilection for lowbrow Canadiana, and basically giving up on life. Your pride may be wounded, hockey fan, but here's the good news: with this new strategic partnership, you can get all your shameful meathead kicks in one place!
"As part of the partnership, the band will headline the 2012 NHL Awards™ — the League's annual, post season awards show — with two performances, sponsored by Verizon, at the event on Wednesday, June 20 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The partnership also calls for the integration of Nickelback's music into highlight reels during the upcoming Stanley Cup® Conference Finals and promotion of the NHL® on Nickelback's digital and social media platforms."
And now they're adding overpriced Las Vegas destinations and unnecessary gala awards shows to the mix? It's like some benevolent force is trying to corral all the horseshit into one place so we can ignore it all at once.
"GRATEFUL DEAD LAUNCHES MUCH-ANTICIPATED ONLINE GAME: THE EPIC TOUR"'
I thought it couldn't get any better than "Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville," the thrilling Parrothead Facebook game that let me shoot "party pirates" with slingshots to earn Beach Bucks and buy excruciating virtual Hawaiian shirts! Well, it turns out there's an even more thrillingly ill-conceived online rock tie-in experience:
" ' We're always looking for ways to bring the Grateful Dead's music and history to more people, and 'The Epic Tour' will do exactly [that] in a unique and inspired way,' said David Lemieux, Grateful Dead Legacy Manager."
(I guess "Legacy Manager" is a thing; they're the guys who are currently licensing the lucrative hologram rights for every single dead musician in history.)
"The much anticipated online game from rock band Grateful Dead featuring a digital world inspired by the history, music, and imagery of the legendary band launched at GratefulDeadGame.com."
Mercifully, rather than creating a money-sucking Facebook timewaster game, the Dead's heroic legacy management has created some kind of weirdo old-school platformer in which the player guides the classic bear mascot through a psychedelic world of pointless jumping and low-res concert footage.
" 'The game is designed to appeal first and foremost to Dead Heads, with an art style, sound design, and narrative authentic to the Grateful Dead legacy,' said Adam Blumenthal, president of [game studio] Curious Sense."
I'll give them credit where it's due: the narrative is definitely authentic to the Dead legacy, in that it's a Sisyphean romp through an endless psychedelic haze of Dead shows that only grinds to a merciful end when somebody dies. Or, in other words, according to a recent Reuters story:
"There's not really an end to the game,' said Blumenthal, which seems appropriate for the jam band. 'It's a game where the objective is to keep having fun rather than get to the end."