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The Stuff From Before
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Tag Archives: art
Vincent Van Gogh was a “tormented genius” the way Jimi Hendrix was a “guitar player.” I remember, reading Stephen King’s On Writing, when he said something about how “your art needs to be a function of your life, not the other way around.” Van Gogh’s art had moved beyond being a “function” of his life and had metastasized into a tumor that was keeping him alive only to kill him more slowly. But in Arles, Vincent decided to take control of his “art.” Except that made it hurry up with the task of his annihilation.
—Patton Oswalt/Silver Screen Fiend
When I went to Wagner in the theaters and I saw the twins find each other, I was so torn.
On one hand – fucking ew. On the other, these two people finally found the other half of themselves that is amazing. That is kind of what we are always looking for, that idea of finding exactly where we belong, that perfect person.
But seriously, fucking ew.
Siegmund and Sieglinde belong together, their names tells us that, their stories tell us that, the music that they sing when they meet tell us that, and part of me – even though I as a person know it is genetically icky – kind of rooted for them. I am not sure if it is the love or the sense of belonging that moved me more in that story. The two are twins, they’ve had nothing but strife, but when they first meet, they know they are home, they know they belong.
There is logic to it, a logic that is gross, but is also welcoming, that is also about feeling completely at peace.
I think that thought struck me again when I recently watched Sundays In The Park With George. There is nothing as overtly sexual in the piece or as overtly incestuous as there is Wagner’s Die Walkure. Not even close. But the relationship between grandson and grandmother, between George and model, between artist and model and how time becomes a thing that is traversed in mere seconds and is joined by a woman, by a muse, by art, love and inspiration, and desire and in the end – understanding all become kind of blurry.
Both stories have this need for belonging, even if it is only a fleeting impression that I’m imposing on the story, the need for belonging is there. How loneliness and desire becomes the same thing and they all become mixed up in the relationships of family. It is easy to sit back and think these things about characters I’m not related to, it is easy to theorize and say in a removed fashion that we are all searching for a sense of belonging. It is easy, and gross, and sad – which is what adds to the sense of loneliness, because none of it makes any sense as we search for the perfect place to belong.
In Die Walkure the idea is easy, the metaphor is simple to break down, two halves of the same whole. Twins, two pieces that become one. That is fairly simple, but that they are brother and sister is confusing and makes one itchy. But they are royal, and children of gods, does that make it better? Worse? More easily dismissed because it happened so long ago and far away? Is it part of why we continue to stare – the comforting discomfort of the whole thing?
In Sundays in the Park the desire is less desire and more a kind of time traveling need to be the artist delivered through the medium of the lover from before. It isn’t so much incestuous as it is a connection to the past. But it is kind of the same, it is family, and belonging, and need, and love.
Always at the end it is this strange uncomfortable craving for love. We all want to be loved, and we all desire to belong. People don’t spend a lot of time standing around demanding less love. We may not want sex or touch or marriage or exactly the same things that everyone else wants, but part of us wants to be loved, part of us wants to belong somewhere. I think that is what leads to my fascination with these themes, these stories, the need for belonging and love.
I am uncomfortable with the idea of the genetics and the knowledge of the Die Walkure twins that are lovers, but I find myself so happy that they found each other and that somehow the two of them are in love (however fleetingly). I am a little weirded out by how close George and Dot are in act II of of Sundays in the park, but really it is just a reflection of a different kind of love that Dot had once had with Georges had with Dot and is only an idea, just an idea of a continuation of love and thought. It does however bring me joy to think of art and love as a never-ending concept that can always keep growing.
Maybe incest isn’t in both stories, maybe incest isn’t in the stories at all, but I like to think that knowing characters are searching for, and find for a fleeting moment a place to belong means that anyone can belong anywhere – for a little while
The justice of the coming beating was indisputable, yet I felt a reluctance to cooperate. It would interfere with my reading of my book. Art made its call to me, and Life made its call to me, and I must decide. I felt the very air crackle with the potential of this moment, to create me or destroy me.
To whom would I discharge my duty? Brother Quirke, or Don Quixote?
—Julian Gough/Jude in London
The show was fantastic.
Music and show and art and tears and so so so many people.
I am not good at being out with the people, but it was so positive and amazing that I swallowed my panic and loved the show. I loved loved loved the show.
From local bassoonists entertaining pre-show by the bar to
Jherek and more local musicians letting us all know the evening was music based to
the fantastic Ronald Reagan performing in a fantastic nostalgic, humorous, and crowd joining set of music.
When Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra took the stage the show was already well worth my paltry dollars. But they came to move the room, and it was moved. From familiar songs that were just beautiful to see performed to the familiar songs that I couldn’t help screaming along with, it was an amazing show.
At one point in the evening Amanda crowd-surfed and included everyone in this visual sea of her outfit that was beyond just music and feeling and people and was a moment that had me in tears throughout the rest of the show.
The first one came to me and I love tapestries, I really really do, how can you not? I mean someone took just a crap-ton of time to put all of that together. The weaving, the dyeing, the planning, the eventual art as it comes together, that is just freaking amazing.
The next one is by Yehuda Pen, and I just love the simplicity of it. I adore art of people doing simple things, because in truth these are the things that make up our true art, the beauty of the daily.
I don’t take art as seriously as politics.
I cannot begin to express how much this display at The Met really got under my skin. There is nothing I could say that could tell how seeing just mounds and mounds of gorgeously arranged bamboo that one could climb, walk on, wander under and in general understand as an oasis in the middle of a huge city.
The artists put together this work that was beyond amazing for me, and then to have this moment where I was riding the elevator with my friend and two people were carrying this long jagged piece of bamboo through the museum was just fantastic. Delicate maneuvering of wood that could be insanely destructive through these priceless pieces of art had me feeling very close to the artists on a personal level.
I really had a great day for a huge variety of reasons, I got to see the blue hippo from a book from my childhood, and I just spent a great day doing anything I wanted. It was wonderful.