Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Infinite Return

Yes. I link to this. A lot. And yes, so do many. And yes, I'm back to it again today as I'm working on my script. And also because The Pale King is making its way to people's mailboxes and I read a thoughtful review of it and also of Fate, Time and Language.
The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it.
This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles - is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Hudart Park, Woodside, CA
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.
They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.
And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving.... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

Tree Collage - EHS (2010)
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don't just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.
The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.
It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
"This is water."
"This is water."
It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.
I wish you way more than luck. - David Foster Wallace.
You can read the rest of the speech here. A list of his essays on Harper's.

Louise Bourgeois, Cell (12 Oval Mirrors)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Actors Acting #2

Tim Crouch shares some of the pictures and scenarios from Howard Schatz's book In Character: Actors Acting in his lecture. They are truly sublime. I would love to post some of the pictures here, but I can't do them justice. Here's a link to a spread Schatz shot for Vanity Fair to give you a little taste of their gloriosity.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Howl


Beginnings or Original Impulses Lost

OH SO SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY OH SO SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY LISTEN SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY OH SO SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY OH SO LISTEN I WISH I COULD I WISH I WISH OH SO SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY OH SO SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY OH SO SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY LISTEN LISTEN SO SORRY SO SORRY SO SORRY SORRY WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER
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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Architecture







Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SM0Ca) - Will Bruder

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SM0Ca) - Will Bruder

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SM0Ca) - Will Bruder

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SM0Ca) - Will Bruder

Hercules Public Library - Will Bruder

Hercules Public Library - Will Bruder

Burton Barr Public Library (Phoenix) - Will Bruder

Burton Barr Public Library (Phoenix) - Will Bruder

Burton Barr Public Library (Phoenix) - Will Bruder
(one of my favorite buildings)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Yes...that's what I'm talking about


via Orlando & Ivy

I saw Pina Bausch's work live exactly once.

I count myself lucky that I was able to see Ten Chi when it came to Berkeley. It has to be one of the top ten theatrical experiences of the past decade for me (seeing Robert Wilson is #1 and I will write it about one day if I can stand it).

Sometimes how you arrive a the theater can make all the difference in your receptivity. In the case of Ten Chi, I got lost in Oakland. Maybe when Ms. Stein referred to the there that was there or not , she was talking about the fog. Driving down the streets, it can look like nothing is ahead of you. No recognizable landmarks or streets. It was foggy so street signs were difficult to read. I kept driving and was grateful to finally find familiar ground, to park the car and walk up to the Zellerbach and find my friend.

We sat up in the mezzanine. In the front. We had to look over a thick wall and maybe some speakers, but still good seats. I liked sitting next to my friend and watching him watch. I liked that he was tall and I could see him out of the corner of my eye and that his arm was soft and solid and kept me anchored while I watched. It was like another world. Another there. I remember the sculptural quality of the dancers. The enormous scale of the whales. The snow that fell for over an hour. It fell for so long that I started to get disoriented and how the theater and the stage started to swirl and breathe through the wall of white.

Yes.

Pina understood duration.

She understood that when something stopped being entertaining that there's something underneath the surface still to be revealed. There can be rigor in the mess. That maybe some of us get satisfaction from experiences that extend beyond enjoyment and delight. That there's something about pressing on the raw nerve - stripping it bare - that reveals something essential about us and about life. That repulsion, aversion, boredom are inescapable. That those feelings are extensions of love, desire, and engagement. They're what lie on the other side of the wall we keep slamming ourselves into. They are necessary.