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Sunday, July 10, 2011

You Do It For You

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself." -Soren Kierkegaard

This, you do it for you. You do not do it for "them." I was just telling one of my friends this. He decided to quit music. Out of frustration. Out of lack of . . . recognition.

It's hard. I have said it over and over: it is hard to do this. It's hard to do anything, but it's hard to do something so personal, put it out there, and be forever judged for it. Even if it's not ideal to you. But especially when it is. Like standing naked in the middle of Times Square asking for a physical rating for a living. In art, it's all a bit like talking into the ocean. Or standing waiting to be egged.

To create can be like a death.

But good, bad, or ugly, you put what you have out. You don't grow by being silent or unseen.

"Quand on prend des risques, on peut perdre. Quand on n'en prend pas, on perd toujours."1 -Joueuse (Queen to Play)

Character: "If any sound can be music, how can you differentiate between sound and noise?" Adrian: "Because noise is unwanted sound. It could be Beethoven's 5th if that's not what you want to hear."

Saturday, July 09, 2011


You know that song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp"? Well, it's hard out here for anyone. I try to stay thematic and impersonal, but I'm imploding. Constantly. Regardless of what may seem to be.

It is hard. It is hard to stay focused in a vacuum. Encouraged in a desert. With the loom of bankruptcy around you. Human, artistic, societal, financial--pick your pleasure. With everyone hedging their bets, offering little support, giving you no outlet, being political. Or just plain unmoved or uninterested. Even your own friends, acquaintances, collaborators. It's like having the oxygen cut off on your breathing tank. All I get is the air of "What can you do for me?" Or worse, "Can I get into bed with you?" Agendizing. Networking. Strategizing. I don't feel the personal in it.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Conquest Without Contribution

"Great ambition and conquest without contribution are without significance. What will your contribution be? How will history remember you?"

*The Emperor's Club* was on this weekend and I was reminded of this quote. Rarely do I see a film so explicitly state its premise . . and so early out of the gate. But it's a great line. In a pleasant enough movie. And this is essentially what I mean when I say "If you have nothing to say, you have no business making art." And why I lament the death of story.

Behemoths of film may be impressive, but if all you have to offer is that--grandiosity, scale, engineering--what have you really presented? Technology is a tool, not an artistic goal.

Existentialism may be engaging, even engrossing, but if all you have to offer is moments, glimpses, with little underlying or overarching universal, unifying expression, voice, or goal to them, what are you really offering?

What is the inspiration? What is the end design?

All conquest, no contribution. Or worse, no conquest and no contribution.

Which leads me to another film I saw this weekend. . . .

When One Inspired Moment Catches Your Attention

Sometimes you watch a movie and wonder: how did this come to be and why? Watching *Burlesque,* I had that feeling. The best parts of it are like a sumptuous extended music video and a fashion show mashed together, though with some spotty lip-synching. That appeals on a certain level, but the rest just kills any graces it's earned. The story's a pitiful excuse for stringing together a lot of high production-value numbers and lovely costuming, the first protagonist "revelation" being particularly ridiculous: we can only suspend disbelief so much.

Pittance pittance, number number, eyerolls all around, and then * BANG *, one jaw-dropping moment that opened my eyes: this magnificent pearl outfit, so incredible that all I could do was gasp and lust.

The numbers got better from that moment. More inspired, more glam, more coquette; more amazing costumes, better choreography, better staging, more to act.
How can an artistic endeavor be so uneven? A lot of thought and care clearly went into the production, the talent, but almost none went into the foundation: the story. *Burlesque* could have been Fosse level had there been more to it, anything. As is, I can only believe the movie exists in service of these splendid splendid outfits.

And for that glimmer of inspiration, I say thank you to the wonderful Costume Designer and Department. For giving me something to take away from this viewing experience. I fully wish these pieces could have appeared in a more complete movie where they could garner a more lasting appreciation. Regardless, this pearl costume remains so beautiful it took me beyond body and style: all I wanted was to wear it. To be in it. I would bet many a woman felt the same. And that is magic. Artistic magic.