Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Treasure of Time - A Streetcar Meditation

My brother sent me this video and I found it a fascinating historical meditation. It made me wonder if, when it was filmed, it was a folly or a lark. Look what a fascinating spectacle it is 105 years down the line!

I want to share this as a special post for my Elder Blogger friends at Time Goes By and the Elder Story Place for their willingness to follow through on sharing the larks and follies within their hearts. The stories and the experiences are amazing to me and can only increase in value over time. You never know where a legacy may be hidden,  The treasure of time and the ability to recognize what is truly of the blessings of aging.

The first track from Airs' Moon Safari
album, accompanied by scenes from a video
shot from a streetcar traveling down Market Street in San Francisco in 1905.
Before the earthquake/fire of 1906 destroyed the area. Remarkable footage of the turn of the century lifestyles in California.Made by cleaverb!

Thanks to cleverb for producing this clip.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Entitlement - Love You Some of What Loves You

There has been much gnashing of teeth of late, it seems to me, on the issue of entitlement. I'm picking this up from musicians. People who are sensitive types - aware types. They receive the world this way. It is what they do. I have been wondering why we are not recognizing their situation and valuing their circumstances? If I can generalize here for a moment, I suspect that our ignorance in conjunction with world events may be subjugating artists we love to an abundance of unhappiness.

This subject surfaced last week when Dayna Kurtz, in an attempt to garner support and funding for an upcoming artistic goal, invited people to participate. This was seen by a fan as soliciting and unbecoming of an artist of Dayna's standing. Dayna composed a strong and articulate response to this fan and shared it with all utilizing social networking [Facebook]. It made me wonder a bit about how it is that we have come to expect so much from our artists.

I also see another factor preying on artists. Mass disasters, war and human suffering. An artist that is trying to piece together a living does not get to choose in the same manner that fans and listeners who hold labors do. An artist, being sensitive to these extremely painful worldly concerns, has to still try and garner support and comes up against the one thing that they intend to translate or record or somehow interpret. The money that would fund their enterprise wants to fly to the disaster of the week.
Now there is a moral conflict.

I then read in a blog post of Krista Detor who in a moment of reflection, seemed to questioned whether she should allow herself something that you and I would never even think twice about giving ourselves. Is it bougeois to have a place to sit in her back yard where she could enjoy friends, sit with a cup of coffee or have space to write a song out in the bright out-of-doors? I read this, frowned and I thought to myself that this is just not right.

Later I was reading David Byrne's on-line Journal and I stumbled upon this March 25th entry:

"...Some see any presumed cleverness or market savvy on behalf of an artist or performer as distasteful. They feel that serious work should be driven primarily by passion or some kind of authenticity and purity, and that financial considerations — figuring out how to monetize one’s work and activity, as it is phrased in dot-com terms — is tacky, and goes against the rules. What rules? Where are these rules written down? Shouldn’t artists be cheered for making money if they can, if they don’t dilute their work?
The “rules” as I intuit them say that cultural production takes place on some moral and ethical high ground where money is not a consideration. According to these rules, for an artist or musician to take financial factors into consideration is to automatically lower and demean work that is supposed to stem from and engage our higher impulses. The work, once money enters the picture, is now assumed to be “work for hire,” to use the legal term. This is why fine artists often look down their noses on craftspeople, illustrators and graphic designers. During the Renaissance, they worked hard to separate themselves from the laborers of the trade guilds, and worked hard to gain acceptance for the idea that they were more than mere craftspeople — so to risk slipping back into that ignoble territory is completely unacceptable…
...According to the old fine art rules, it’s nobler to be poor — which is a cliché for sure, but one that is still held on to dearly. The assumption is that being paid well allies one with the bourgeois one is supposed to be busy offending and shocking. As if anything is shocking today...
There is something about fans maintaining this perception of exception that has to be recognized as destructive to an artist's creative process. I think there is an investment for fans to believe that art is divinely actualized and we should consider leaving off the faux religious aspect and embrace the reality of the situation. The internet - what I like to refer to as The Great Equalizer - has brought all of us an opportunity to democratically participate in supporting and interacting with our favorite artists like never before. We need to evolve as fans. At the very least, we need to encourage our artists towards abundance. Everyone benefits. Pay for the art you enjoy. Be a part of the solution and healing a world of hurt.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I.C.G.B.W.B.Y.C.G.* Look it's Danny Schmidt!

...I might write a bit about my jealousy of your having this Sunday night off but that is a given....Have I written enough about how great Danny Schmidt is? It is somewhat embarrassing....okay. I'm over it.

*I.C.G.B.W.B.Y.C.G. means: "I Can't Go Because of Work But You Can Go" and you would be a fool to miss this special early 6pm show on Sunday, May 9. To quote, James, the benevolent proprietor of the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern that is to host Danny Schmidt:

Sunday, May 9: Danny Schmidt, 6pm.

Okay, folks. Here is a treat. We are going to have to put the Slow Jam on the back burner this week, but it is for a really good reason. Danny Schmidt is one of the best songwriters in the country. No joke. This guy will tear your heart out, hold it in his hand, convince you to swallow it and it will magically start beating again right where it is supposed to be. You will not have any opportunity to have your own thoughts. You will not be able to move. He is that good. Take notice that the start time is really early, at 6pm. You don't want to miss this. I promise from the bottom of the heart that this man has made me swallow.

That's the word on the street via James. This being an early show allows a rare special treat to early Monday morning risers. Not only because you will be home at a comfortable hour but sweet dreams will enhance your week as you bask in the wake of being in the presence of Danny's talent on Sunday night. This is also Mother's Day. You may want to leave off giving the women in your life the embossed potholders and treat them to something you will BOTH enjoy...your heart with a beer chaser. This is a special treat. Don't miss it...and don't let anyone you love miss it either.

Those of you in the greater cyber-spacedance, here is a link to Danny's touring schedule. Join his email list. Don't miss the opportunity to see him play live, if you can help it.

Did I mention that I'm fond of Danny Schmidt's work?