October 25th, 2002

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Support the Art that Well-Dressed People Want to Hear

"It's promotion of a new way of thinking
Instead of "Hey, orange drink," vendors
Will say, "get your souvenir posters of the ballet."

--Ron and Russell Mael, from "Simple Ballet"

Our local cable access channel featured the Allen Symphony Orchestra playing a Tchaikovsky piece last night. Allen's population is only something like 40,000, so I was surprised to hear a competent symphony, as opposed to, say, a nice chamber quartet. It was very nicely done.

I still wonder sometimes, though, why the public "arts" run down fairly predictable lines. I don't mean to criticize people's tastes at all--I like classical music, so I'd certainly not criticize folks who want to make it. But "public art" tends to mean such a limited number of things. It's as though it's not really "art" unless one can spend $ 125 for a season ticket, or attend an exhibition in a tuxedo.

Our area cities are discussing an "arts district" now, in which a joint performance hall will be built at the cost of millions of dollars to permit "the arts" to be "done right". This usually translates into a theater which can host "community theater" and "subscription season" type arts events. There may even be space for an upscale restaurant and a coffee shop. I'm not against this type of thing, of course, but I do imagine what could be done if a sum equal to the interest on the money it will take as my city's part of the "arts district" were just injected directly into helping people make art. We could have more public art displays, we could have more of those bands which appear in our parks during the summer, and we could maybe even spawn a community of "real artists" instead of a community of people who watch the musical "Oklahoma" whever a road show featuring a figure skater or star of a cancelled TV show comes into town (I love Rodgers and Hammerstein, by the way, so I'm not being elitist here).
We might even teach kids to draw and dream. Corporate heads could set aside their Sunday formal dress and learn to do spin art and fingerpainting. Old homes could be picked up for relatively nothing, and converted into little civic museums and art spaces.

It's really almost a civic commercial proposition--should a city support Marketable Art, or should a city support good old plain folk art? I am not at all really an Art person, marketable or otherwise, but it's an easy question for me--because more people will have more fun if we support more of the "little arts" and less Art. What good is a city if it isn't funding police, roads, schools or Fun?
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life is a lab test

One lives life in a centrifuge. At first, the spinning seems slow and predictable. One views the passing scenery out the little windows, and can predict the coming of the next scene.
Soon one imagines that one knows what will happen next. Then the scenery starts to change, and the cycles pick up speed. Soon, nothing is quite so predictable, and everything is just the slightest bit dizzying. Then the spinning begins to happen so fast that it all becomes a blur, a rocketing to and fro, and then it stops.
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They mage there's always sayings in the air

Last night I went to the hypnos.com on-line store and ordered the new Jeff Pearce album, Bleed. I have read nothing but rave reviews about it so far--it's apparent more song-based than his usual ambient stuff, and tries to create pieces to match angst-filled teen year journals. I also ordered a Robert Carty album on the anomalous label, as well as an interesting thing by Lilith titled, appropriately enough "Imagined Compositions for Water". I want to buy music which surrounds me in somnolent walls of sound--comforting, disturbing, familial, alien.

I'm making arrangements to auction off my autographed first edition Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess at an Irish chess auction website in December. I found this autographed first edition in a used book store here fifteen years ago for 4 dollars. Because I am quite a chess fan, I once thought that I would hold this and pass it down to my nephews. Then I thought it might be good to donate it to the Cleveland Public Library, particularly as I still revel in the nice note its director sent me when an ebay purchaser donated my chess poetry book to that library's famous chess collection. But Mr. Fischer's various unfortunate sayings included anti-US rhetoric in a 9/11 context, and that did it. I now want to sell the book, and convert it into cash. Then I'll use the cash for self-publishing ventures. It won't bring much--maybe a hundred or a hundred and fifty dollars. But I'm selling it in part as a goad to "urge" myself to write my November novel.
I've promised myself that no matter how bad it is, I will self-publish that work if it reaches 50,000 words. I've got spurs, that jingle, jangle, publish, jingle. I want to be the bionic bad novelist! I explained the plot of my as-yet-unstarted novel to my wife over dinner, and she asked me if it was going to be like "My Dinner with Andre". I don't know if my wife remembers that an old flame of mine in my single days destroyed our relationship in the aftermath of "My Dinner with Andre". I still love that movie. So many of my life's profound moments happen over dinner when the restaurant closes around me.

I am pleased to see dabroots gave me the "heads up" on the air travel death of Senator Paul Wellstone, some of his family, and some in his campaign. My politics are not exactly his, but he was one of the purenesses that make life still worth living. I thought calaf wrote a nice brief note on his passing.

I am so much more productive the last week or two, but also so busy. I want to wave my wand, and make things improve. But that reminds me, then, that Richard Harris also died. It's a huge centrifuge, this life, it spins and spins.....

I finally got my poetry exchange poem out to subatomiczoo, and received and replied to ezerd's mail art exchange of crayoned flowers.