H O L O G R A M B O Y
Subject and story by Claudio Ottaviano
A B-series jazz double bass player finds himself in misery due to the pandemic and gets back into the game by wearing a blonde wig and transforming into Hologram Boy. Armed with this new identity, the protagonist will have to face hilarious Pre/Lock/Post-pandemic adventures, in a clumsy attempt at social climbing, in which he will find his forgotten fun and joie de vivre.
A song by Mina in the background. A Film Director is in his office, sitting at his desk, absorbed in front of the PC, when suddenly a buzz of voices starts to bustle in the anteroom. The Director tries to keep his concentration, although the voices become more insistent. The voices approach and acquire more and more definition and then the door opens. A visibly shaken and breathless man bursts in, dressed in a pink jumpsuit and with a blonde wig in his hand, chased by Director's secretary who had tried in vain to block him.
Agitated man in pink overalls: "Master, so we have a deal right? Are we making the movie? Will it be in the style of Fellini, right?" Director: "But of course dear, sit down and we talk about it calmly". And turning to Mirella (the secretary) reassures her: "Mirella, everything is fine, he is a friend of mine, indeed please can you bring water for our guest?". Then he gets up from his seat to accompany the secretary to the door, and whispers: "Call security immediately!"
1 - JAZZ LIFE
Claudio is a pathetic B-series jazz double bass player, dedicated to continuous betting and gambling, who makes a little living playing at weddings, festivals and concerts with the various local "jazz stars" around the Italian provinces. He himself is a small celebrity in the jazz community (formed mostly by after-work workers) for his skills as a solid accompanist, but most of all because once, by chance, he had accompanied on television Renzo Arbore who sang "Ciao ciao bambina" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIXkfM39NNk ) and for playing a jam session with famous italian pianist Stefano Bollani without having recognized him at all.
Claudio accompanies the famous italian pianist Stefano Bollani.
Accompanying Renzo Arbore, legendary showman and iconic pioneer of modern television.
Claudio enjoys so much prestige, that he ends up playing almost every night as a side-man for various trios and quartets - 50 euros in black per evening, which net of gasoline can also reach 5 euros net gain -, but nevertheless he feels deeply dissatisfied and frustrated for depending on other soloists while being destined to remain in the shadows. He vents his frustration in a self-destructive way, drinking and gambling the little money he earns, and in the meanwhile he dreams of forming a quartet in his name, of finally becoming his own leader and of playing the compositions he wrote himself, which are instead closed in the drawer.
An aunt lends Claudio a thousand euros to record a CD, but he plays them at the Casino of Saint Vincent and loses them. But providence helps him and while he is getting drunk in a bad pub, between jokes (he always tells the famous joke of the frog) and vulgar comments on female patrons, he recognizes Mario Francesconi, the greatest jazz impresario in Italy, accidentally entered that room only to carry out physiological needs. He stops him and tells him about his project. Thanks to his sympathy for Claudio and mutual friendships, Francesconi promised him a contract to record a CD (in jazz CDs are still used) and for a tour of 10 concerts. They say goodbye with a handshake and an appointment to be scheduled as soon as possible to sign the paperwork in Francesconi's office.
Cartoon from the comic strip Hologram Boy #1
The small but wonderful audience of Claudio's jazz concerts
2 – LOCKDOWN
(Reality in B&W - Saturated Color Metaverse)
It's evening in Claudio's squalid two-room apartment, from the TV the smoky voice of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces the lockdown, and frantically there are continuous phone calls announcing cancellations of concerts and events. Claudio is very agitated and walks nervously up and down in the dining room, while in his room his roommate Aurora, a German Erasmus student, also speaks worried in German with her family in Germany. The umpteenth phone call is that of the impresario Francesconi who says that the deal is off and that maybe they will talk about it in the future. Claudio has an attack of stomach-ache and goes to the bathroom continuing to talk on the phone. At the first noises the Chinese neighbor begins to beat violently on the wall shouting "YOU NO SHIT EVENING!" (do not shit in the evening), because Claudio's bathroom is adjacent to the kitchen of the neighbors where they eat and have established an agreement, that is that at meal times you can not use the toilet (not to violate this truce Claudio habitually went to shit at the supermarket). The scene ends between discharges, the voice of the Chinese who screams to stop defecating, the German roommate Aurora who now also has to go to the bathroom and knocks and screams, and with Claudio in panic: the guts twist making his body uncontrollable while he tries to maintain some demeanor on the phone.
Claudio finds himself with the fear of dying from the virus and the empty agenda, he is worried because he will not be able to pay the rent and gambling debts and he abandons himself to depression. Aurora's generous attempts to revive him, even sexually, are useless; and Claudio's meetings on Zoom with musician friends and streaming concerts where the musicians play each from their own home in front of the phone, with dreadful connections, pixelated buffering, embarrassing latencies and equally embarrassing results, are useless.
Defeated, he takes refuge in the Metaverse. The black and white of reality contrasts with the saturated colors of virtual reality animations. The double bass is dusty in the corner of the room and the "reality" in Claudio's mind is a confused and psychedelic fusion of home scenes, states of drunkenness, virtual reality, sexual encounters with the roommate, and sad walks in overalls on the hill of Monte Stella (the Milanese hill built on the rubble of the Second World War).
3 - THE WIG
(Reality in B / W - Flashback in TikTok format, wig and dawn in color)
One night Claudio is home desperate, drunk, he just can't take it anymore. Aurora tries to calm him down, but he does not reason and indeed tells her that he would like to commit suicide by surfing under a wave in Nazarè but that he feels like an animal trapped because he is unable to take the plane to Portugal due to pandemic restrictions. The argument heats up to the point that he leaves the house, violating the curfew.
He wanders sadly in the deserted and ghostly ring road (along the Ponte della Ghisolfa) and in his mind the flashbacks of brief happy moments are in vertical TikTok format. Absorbed in these memories, he is brought back to reality by the lights of a police steering wheel that, engaged in control operations, proceeds in his direction.
Claudio throws himself on the ground behind a car, and as the police pass him he notices on the ground and in the dark a blonde wig, whose hair is mixed with mud and dog droppings. She puts it on and starts crying. He curls up on the ground and cries so much that he falls asleep.
He wakes up in the silence of the first light of dawn and with a dirty wig on his head, blonde in the blue light of the early morning, returns home, destroyed. He enters the house and throws himself into the shower, dressed and with a wig. The roar of the water becomes stronger and denser, until it becomes a white noise and together the image dissolves to white and remains white for a few seconds at the end of which the words "END OF FIRST HALF" appear.
4 - ALMOST FAMOUS
At the Trademark Office, Elvira is sleepy at her workstation. A boss passes by and says, "Oh, wake up! Elvira are you there? Get to work! Cancel these for me please!" and hands her a box full of papers. While she stamps lazily and bored one form after another, printing the word "Canceled", when the patent of the Hologram Boy doll appears in front of her, she stops to look for a moment at the embarrassing drawing of the dubious doll, and then stamps "CANCELED" and goes on. The timbre stroke coincides with the first kick drum of the song "SINAPSI ATTIVE".
Video "SINAPSI ATTIVE": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uja-khQYoTE
Cover of the single "Sinapsi Attive"
Image from the official music video of the neighborhood-wide success hit song "Sinapsi Attive"
In a TV studio of a local TV of ballroom dancing of the last category with the old people dancing: "And now we return to the studio with our special guest today: the maestro Hologram Boy!".
During the interview Hologram Boy tells his story, how he decided to become a hologram in the real world, after deep explorations of virtual reality and the peripheries of the Metaverse; when asked how he managed to get the song broadcasted on Radio Deejay (italian top radio), he tells of the stalking to the speaker Linus under the radio, near his home; tells of the methodology used to make the video, the "guerrilla film-making like Pasolini", that is, using images taken with a mobile phone on the streets of the suburbs and the green screen made with green sheets attached with scotch tape in the dining room of the house, while the neighbors watch him from the window "poor man with the lockdown has gone crazy". Following behind the scenes images and making of "Sinapsi Attive", funny episodes in which for example quarrels with Aurora who has to sing the song and makes a mistake and he screams (song recorded at home with a microphone and a laptop), and some unmissable questions from the canute audience who had patiently, but only up to a certain point, This is followed by the interminable interview. In fact, the nervousness of the old men, who are there to dance the Polka, grows until Hologram Boy is thrown out of the studio while the old people shout in unison "polka, polka".
Backstage he is welcomed by Aurora, who is now also Hologram Boy's assistant. She is worried because the apparition did not go well, but immediately he cheers her up and with euphoria explains that "a couple of few hours and we are viral!". Enlightened by the unlikely hope, he decides that it is precisely at that juncture that he must push even more and then, despite his tiredness, he starts distributing flyers on the street saying to passers-by "Hello! Listen to this song and if sucks just write it in the comments! And buy the graphic novel on Ebay!"
On the street he notices a Red Cross team that is assisting an old homeless man, also hands them the flyer. Among these volunteers is Elvira who is impressed, and connects the flyer with the patent application she canceled in the office.
Hologram Boy spends the night, until exhaustion, delivering flyers, between drunks, brawls, insults of gangs of kids.
Hologram Boy flyer - front
Hologram Boy flyer - back (Comic book cover)
5 - LOVE IS A MYSTERIOUS THING
Hologram Boy and Aurora are now consummate lovers. Aurora is also the assistant and financial supporter of Hologram Boy, she is a girl from a good family, she worries about paying for the bills and food for her roommate too. They sleep together and go to eat at a Trattoria Restaurant of a musician friend of theirs who is actually a restaurateur.
Elvira follows them secretly following their movements. One day, after lurking under Hologram Boy's house, she reveals herself when he comes out: "I'm a fan of yours!", "I think you're the only one, ahahahahah". They laugh together looking into each other's eyes, with a little embarrassment.
Elvira from that moment develops an obsession and pawns Hologram Boy in his movements. Once she notices him leaving the house with a jacket with his lapel up, sunglasses and a hat. He follows him. She sees him enter a house, suspiciously. After an hour she sees him leave accompanied by a beautiful girl, tall and athletic with whom they greet each other affectionately with a kiss on the cheek. Elvira secretly films the scene with her mobile phone.
6 - AND THE WINNER IS...
One morning, in bed, Hologram Boy looks sleepily at his phone while Aurora is still asleep next to him. He shouts: "Let's go to Berlin! Let's go to Berlin!", waking Aurora up and announcing that he had just received an email with the news that he won the International Award for "Sinapsi Attive" as "Best Trash Song of the year".
At the Berlin International Awards ceremony, which takes place in a large luxury hotel, Hologram Boy receives the award, dedicating it to his light Aurora and then makes his performance of the song. At the cocktail party they meet important personalities from various record companies and toast joyfully.
Aurora goes to the bathroom and accidentally hears a dialogue in German from the air intake: "Yes, unfortunately we had to include this guy with the wig, because by passing it with a transvestite we were able to access state funds for the inclusion of non-binary gays. Imagine that we invented the award of "best trash song of the year" just to make him come" and laugh hahahah. Aurora becomes thoughtful, returning to the party she shows herself smiling and pretends nothing, knowing that revealing what she has just heard would be a blow to the heart for Hologram.
At the party suddenly Elvira appears, congratulates and starts drinking with Hologram and Aurora who are now drunk. They have fun and go on until they are alone in the lobby of the bar. They decide to go to the room and do crazy things like Rolling Stones even though they are not housed in the suite but in the smallest room of the hotel.
The next morning the room appears devastated and while Hologram and Elvira sleep devastated, Aurora goes out for breakfast and a short walk. On the way back he finds Hologram with Elvira who are flirting and then the scene of jealousy starts: "You suck", "you're a failure"... until you get to "Find a real job". Elvira defends Hologram by saying that he does not like Aurora and showing the video of him leaving the house accompanied by the affectionate athletic girl. Hologram explains that the mysterious woman is his contact with the Italian section of the Ukrainian Army, for whom he composed the song "Around the world (Fuck You Vladimir Putin)", currently 20th in the ranking in Kiev. Aurora does not believe it and tells her what she heard the night before when she was in the bathroom, and after this final blow she asks Aurora to leave. Elvira thinks she's won, but Hologram kicks her out too.
7 - DEGRADATION
Claudio is left alone like a dog, looks into the camera and says "WHat's it all about?" (quote by Alfie). The "almost-success" is only a vague memory and spends sleepless nights at the Kebap shop among prostitutes, homeless immigrants and baby gangs.
On the television at the Kebap shop he sees the TG announcing the reunion of the Backstreet Boys who will do concerts in Italy, and then he comes up with a crazy idea that revives him: he understands that it is time to play the "viral power" card and decides to make an invasion of the stage during their show. He talks excitedly with the Kebab guy who immediately rejects the idea since the Backstreet Boys are now over 60 years old and if he wants to take the audience of young people .... At that point, she suggests: "You might as well sing that you like the dick!" Hologram seizes the brilliant idea and prepares a song entitled "I like the dick", always based on the music of Sinapsi Attive, because, if it became viral, He could become an idol of the gay lobby, get to the Sanremo Festival and maybe even win it ...
"I like the dick" - lyrics
I like the dick
more than the vagina
I like the dick
if only i'd knew it before...
I like dick
I have water in my mouth
I like the dick
you are my gasoline
During the filming of the video clip, in which Hologram sings dressed in a pink jumpsuit, with two balls of identical color on the sides, he receives a phone call: "Oh dear! I'm the Movie Director, I'm here in the office and I just read your graphic novel, and I'd be interested in talking about it for a possible subject for a movie. When can you come and visit me here in Rome?" Hologram replies "hahaha very funny go fuck you and your friends" and puts it down. Filming resumes and Hologram sings the chorus again when another phone call comes. "Hey Hologram, let's pretend the line dropped. Look, it's not a joke, I'm really the Movie DIrector and I would like to meet you, I found your comic at my granddaughter's house and I would like to talk about it with you".
Last scene: Claudio, is sitting on the train side of the window, dressed in pink jumpsuits and wig resting on his legs. Look outside: a few seconds of flowing landscape. Anxious, he gets up to go to the bathroom for the umpteenth time. When he returns to the seat in front of him, he finds sitting a Hologram Boy, jeans, t-shirt and blonde wig identical to his. Shocked asks him: "but who are you?" and the other replies "Hologram Boy".
"And where the fuck are you going?"
"I'm going to make movies, the Movie Director just called me."
Claudio is amazed.
THE END. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!
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