Sacred & Profane – Art, Beauty & stuff that doesn't suck

"Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your poetry" -Oscar Wilde

Important Lessons Learned in Los Angeles…Part 2 April 10, 2009

 

In LA I learned…

…..that Mike Tomlin (Pittsburg Steelers coach) has never smiled in his life and anyone who makes eye contact with him will immediately die.

…..that sometimes even a 287 year old shockingly successful billionaire (Steelers owner Dan Rooney) can be mistaken for a frail senile hobo with a giant ketchup stain on his shirt who wandered into baggage claim.

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…..that a dear smiley Canadian college friend who just wanted to sing Amy Grant songs in church and supply various baked goods for church picnics is now more likely to be the one to spike the sherbet punch at the potluck…She’s more fun now  : )   *

…..that even though it is completely permissible to recline seats on a plane the person behind you will hate you forever and intentionally kick the back of the seat.

…..it is possible to watch an entire season (minus 1 episode) of a show (Californication) in 2 days…Self destruction can be made to look extremely appealing. Hank Moody Rules!

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…..some people go to coffee shops for coffee, other people go to get high, other people walk their dogs and then take breaks to sit in the joint passing circle while all of the dogs play with each other and also get high. **

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…..I still am flooded with eloquent insights at art galleries and bff Dave still has nothing worthwhile to say about anything unless he stole it from me. ***

 

* For the record I have nothing against Amy Grant, baked goods, Canada, church picnics or church potlucks.

** For the record bff Dave and I were amongst the coffee drinking patrons…Say “no” to drugs kids

*** take this as a joke except for what I said about my bountiful insights and bff Dave’s lack of thought (Dave and I show love through insults)

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Important lessons learned in Los Angeles… Part 1 April 8, 2009

Bekah and I went on an extended vacation to LA recently to visit our friend Nikki and my bff Dave who is a corn farmer in Kansas.** I learned several (not so) very important life lessons accompanied by a few (not so) profound epiphanies. I hope these have a dramatic impact on all of your lives…

In LA I learned…

…..that the grass actually is greener on the other side. (obviously a metaphor because I don’t think I saw a single blade of grass while I was there)

…..that when talking with a sweet enthusiastic little goth fellow (Kynt) for an hour about Mac cosmetics, comic book movies and Hello Kitty fashion accessories, never assume he hasn’t been travelling the planet with his hot goth girlfriend (Vyxsin) as a semi-famous finalist on the Amazing Race. Wikipedia has just informed me that the “ubiquitous dating goths” have since been eliminated but had a great run.

kyntvyxsin…..that enthusiastic little goth fellows who look 12 will say they are 22 and from LA but are actually 31 and from Louisville, Kentucky. ***

…..never underestimate a cupcake

sprinkles…..that as much as I love modern indie dance music, all you really need to keep a party going is a room full of people who don’t suck, a tall bald pastor doing some sort of interpretive gorilla dance and a chick spinning James Brown and Aretha records. (and arguably a dude pouring half price beer)

…..that when you say “no onions please” it actually seems to mean “not only do I want onions but I demand them in excess.” Good to know.

…..that not every person there is a famous actor; some of them are also in gangs. However, bff Kansas corn farmer Dave and I think we saw Jay-Z like 12 times and Vern Troyer standing on a speaker taking pictures.

verne** Just so he doesn’t whine, I will clarify that bff Dave isn’t a corn farmer, he is the guitarist for Far Beyond Frail and “D” list celebrity in the renown Kansas City, Missouri hipster scene.

*** I should also clarify that I don’t walk around in LA or anywhere else looking for 31yo goth boys who look 12. I was waiting with my WIFE and Nikki in an embarrassingly long line of small girls, soccer moms and middle aged goth boys who were buying limited edition Twilight DVD’s…(I’m not proud of that either)

To be continued…

 

Are you anybody’s favorite person? March 9, 2009

Filed under: Art,Film,Musings — davidjdecker @ 7:56 am
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I came across this very simple 4 minute short film this weekend that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. It stars two of my favorite people, John C. Reilly and Miranda July, who also wrote the script. Watch it, and then we’ll discuss…

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“Are you anybody’s favorite person?” “Are you the favorite person of anybody?” Don’t look too deep into the responses from the three people taking the survey. The point I think of the film is to elicit a reaction prompting us to turn the questions inward. These are some of the questions I’ve been trying to process:

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–        What does it mean if I’m not?
–        What does it mean if I am?
–        Do I even want that responsibility?
–        Does it really even matter?

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I consider myself incredibly fortunate that I don’t have to explore these questions from a position of insecurity. Even during the darkest stretches of my past when I’ve felt alone and desperate and tried to isolate everyone, I have never been unloved. I assure you that says far more about people in my life than it does me. Few people can say that, and I hope I don’t take it for granted.

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This is the conclusion my questioning has produced…For me the more relevant question is:

–        “Who is my favorite person and is the sentiment reciprocated?”
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My favorite person is my beautiful wife, Bekah “Buttons”, and I am hers and that is enough for me.

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I am not one for forcing out life applications from art, but I’d encourage all of you to think through who your favorite person is or just someone whose place in your life has meant a lot to you, and let them know. Maybe even respond to this post with a story of that person and send them the link.

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This is far cheesier than I ever get but I can’t think of a better reason to make an exception.

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Worst Blogger Ever… February 18, 2009

Filed under: Film,Musings — davidjdecker @ 1:01 pm
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So I’m pretty sure I’m the worst blogger ever. I was under the impression that a successful blog follows a “two weeks on, three weeks off” pattern. Apparently I was mistaken. I can however explain and exploit your sympathies at the same time…

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I am a casualty of the economic employment downsizing we all hear so much about and found out that I fell outside of the unemployment extension eligibility by 6 days. Seeing that my clock is ticking quite rapidly I have been spent all of my blogging time doing additional fruitless job searching and feeling sorry for myself. So now that all 4 of you forgive my inconsistency I will move on.

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Also, I’ll just throw it out there…if anyone wants to write me giant monthly checks I’ll happily cash them, stop job searching and blog daily. I’m just throwing it out there. I also accept cash. But sorry, I don’t currently accept stock, bond or mutual fund transfers.    : )  

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Seeing that The Oscar’s are on Sunday I will be posting some musings tomorrow and Saturday on which actors/films should win and make predictions on which ones will win followed by a rant on Monday about all of the ceremony’s awkward moments and injustices.

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Thanks for being patient and awesome…Peace

 

In Search of the 9 year old Astronaut January 19, 2009

child-astronaut1I had a birthday recently and it sucked terribly. It wasn’t the standard festivities that surrounded it because they were, well… festive. But it hit me that at 29, there’s no way I can manipulate the numbers that would allow me to pass myself off as being in my mid 20’s and, worse yet, in a year I will categorically no longer be a “20 something”. If that sounded like the most trivial, pathetic thing you’ve ever heard then you’re right, because it is. I assure you that I cringed as I wrote it. However it isn’t quite as superficial as it may initially come across. Hear me out…..
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I’ve realized that my birthday anxieties aren’t at all fueled by getting older but rather by the realization of becoming increasingly estranged and farther removed from who I was when I was younger. The world used to seem so much bigger, an endless empty canvas waiting to be brought to life with all the abandon and defiance of a Jackson Pollock painting. Yet the sedated and calculated 29 year old I seem to have slowly morphed into feels little connection with the 19 year old who feared nothing but boredom and even less connection with the 9 year old who was convinced he’d one day be an astronaut…or the guy who drives the fire trucks.

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my-dinner-with-andre-posterI can, however, relate unfortunately well to Wallace Shawn – supporting actor and screen writer of Louis Malle’s stimulating 1981 film My Dinner with Andre, who reflects in the film’s opening sequence:

“I’ve lived in this city all my life. I grew up on the Upper East Side. And when I was ten years old, I was rich, I was an aristocrat. Riding around in taxis, surrounded by comfort, and all I thought about was art and music. Now, I’m 36, and all I think about is money.”

Later on in the film, Shawn’s dinner companion, Andre Gregory, while explaining why he left New York and his prestigious position as a theatre director, referred to what he called “the dangerous tranquility of comfort” and how it can subtly lure us away from dreams that always require risk and liberation. Picasso once said

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

And so I find myself at 29, tranquil and comfortable but blind to beauty and with a dulled sense of wonder. I’ve become the suburbanite cliché’ I always promised myself I never would.

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Art, whether as a participant or patron, has been the only constant in my life. It has helped guide me through my attempts to understand God and love and fear and sadness and forgiveness and hope and disappointment and freedom and myself. Yet somewhere along the line I stopped engaging art as I once did and being vulnerable to its comfort. Reality’s vocabulary, I’ve found, is too inadequate and colorless to tell the stories of human experience- my human experiences. Is it any surprise that I’m uninspired? All that to say, my hope for this blog is that through looking closer and deeper into the products of creative expression I can rediscover as an adult the sense of beauty and possibility that once sustained me like oxygen as a nine year old astronaut…

And maybe even inspire the same in any who may stumble across it.