7.21 Make Stuff
The world kind of sucks right now. This is an understatement, I know. On November 9th, I shut most things off. There was just too much noise going on and to be honest, I’m wondering what to even believe anymore. Prior to November 9th, I certainly did not think that a porn star getting barred from Twitter because of a Nazi salute would be something trending on social media. Perhaps I’m still in my bubble, but I thought we could somehow find common ground in agreeing that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. This is the world we live in now.
When I said that I shut most things off, I don’t regard this as retreating. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what artists do in times like these. I think they do what Brandon Victor Dixon on stage after a performance of Hamilton.
I also appreciated the suggestions of Dan Savage who said on his podcast that it is time for despair, but also, it’s a time to keep engaging with life. One of the ways he suggested was to go out in the world and see art. So, I took him up on his suggestion.
I went to see a movie in a an actual movie theatre, something I haven’t done since torturing myself in an IMAX theatre with the movie Gravity. Yes, Gravity was made in 2013 and yes, one of the things I’m afraid of most is being lost in space all alone, which is the premise of that entire movie. Anyway, I went to see the movie Moonlight (click on the photograph below to see the trailer), and haven’t stopped thinking about it. A slow burn of a movie that explores male sexuality and race in an emotionally charged yet devastatingly repressive way. At the moment, I would much rather fill my brain up with this instead of other things at the moment.
My friend Arlene Paculan was playing live music and I drudged through the insanely cold weather to be there in person. She sang beautifully, as she always does, and was followed by a band that had so many people in it that they couldn’t all fit on the stage. The lead singer wore a bright blue suit and the bass player kept spinning around, kicking a door closed at the back of the stage that kept opening. They were having a pretty great time.
I’ve gone to see a play because, as Mr. Dixon showed, the theatre is alive and well. There’s really nothing like watching living and breathing people in front of you pretending to be someone else and the threat of something going wrong very real and palpable.
Again, I don’t think this is retreating, I jump on newspapers and so on to make sure there is still a world out there. But what can I do when I feel powerless against the situation? What are the skills that I possess that perhaps could be a positive force, in even the smallest of ways? Combined with my rumination on what artists do and what I came up with is that we make stuff. Artists can cut through the noise and help us make sense of something that seems senseless. So, if I were to add any suggestions to Dan Savage’s list, I would say that’s about as good an idea that I can come up with at the moment.