Monday, August 5, 2013

Video Didn't Kill the Fireplace Star

Even on a Flatscreen, Video Fireplaces Don't Compare

They've got to be kidding . . .

That was my first thought when a friend forwarded me this story from NPR about the new fireplace video, Living Fireplace: Volume 2. As a longtime fireplace enthusiast I know all about the fireplace video genre -- people have been filming hearth fires and selling them to the less fortunate since the arrival of Betamax, way back in 1975 -- but I've never known the celluloid crackler to get much in the way of respect, never mind critical attention. In fact, I always assumed half the sales of these babies could be tracked back to people in the fireplace industry, who like to give the videos and DVDs to each other as holiday gag gifts.

Of course, upon reading the NPR piece I realized, yes, they are kidding. The review of Living Fireplace: Volume 2 is meant as a joke, and a pretty doggone funny one at that. Here's my favorite paragraph:

The film begins -- languidly, serenely -- with an extreme close-up of a popping and crackling fire. Almost Lynchian in its dreamlike ambiance, the scene slowly unfolds. Blue flames lick the underside of the foreground birch log. Smoke swirls in soft focus at the edges of the flue. It's a devastating mise en scene, evoking the aching nostalgia of hearth and home, but with malevolent, stygian menace.

Kind of makes me want to buy one of these as a stocking stuffer for my hipster nephew, who's spending Christmas with us this year during his college break. He recently told me he how much he looks forward to his visits because I always have a good fire going, so I think he'd get a kick out of unwrapping a video imitation Christmas morning in front of the real deal. And just to make sure he doesn't feel cheated, maybe I could also put a some new fireplace tools from Brick-Anew under the tree. Eventually, the boy's going to have a real fireplace of his own, and there's no reason not to encourage him.

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