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Thursday, March 21, 2013

WAMA: Awards Shows and Art

I have not seen the most recent Oscar Awards. I only saw friends' posts and live tweets and the video of Shirley Bassey singing "Goldfinger" (a must-see event in my book). Although I was inspired to make a tongue-in-cheek comment about the "saving white people movie" (Argo) beating out the "saving black people movie" (Lincoln, but I also was unaware that Django Unchained was nominated), I wasn't really inspired to chime in on anything until a comment thread on a Twin Cities arts community associate's page evolved into one commenter going into full Angry Black Person mode. Not only was this individual 1) not really listening to anyone else [understandable, given the strength of emotions] and 2) calling the academy racist [hyperbole] and out of touch and not very diverse [as if we didn't already know that], but in the slashing and burning and flailing of rage-arms 3) essentially suggested that because the Oscars are the domain of the powerful, monied, famous crowd who cares only about accolades, what they do is insignificant as art [an insultingly reductionist and childishly simplistic statement that qualifies more as a tantrum than as an actual argument].

The stream of comments by that person eventually led me to type this comment that I feel proud of and falls perfectly in the realm of "who asked me, anyway?". I treasure my point of view because it is one that I grew into believing and I feel it helps me maintain perspective as I pursue my own goals while hoping to encourage and inspire others to do the same. It is something I often ponder these days.

"Later parts of this thread also bring up the long-standing question of why do we equate poverty in artists with artistic integrity? Why do we feel like we must ignorantly and arrogantly enforce that limitation of creative slavery? Why, if someone has been working for years and decades to be recognized and to maybe reach a broader audience, are they suddenly a sellout when their efforts bear the fruit they were seeking? Not only is art subjective, but to subject artistic media to the limitations of "obscurity = excellence" or "breadth of audience = lack of so-called artistic integrity" is gatekeeping, exclusionary trash. Yes, awards shows are just another big prom, but sometimes art is thought-provoking and maybe a bit fuzzy and other times it's eye-candy drawn in broad strokes and primary colors."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Meeting Miho

Since my return to Kinoshita Circus here in Japan, I have been learning about Japanese circus fandom. One fan in particular is an artist who I would swear is a professional illustrator, but she's not — not as far as I know, anyway. She's just an artist who loves drawing pictures of the circus performers in addition to her other work. Thanks to Facebook, many of my clown associates have become aware of her work and she has drawn clown portraits of them as well. It's been very flattering to be the subject of someone's art and it's been a warm feeling passing knowledge of her labor of love on to others.




In today's second show, I was meeting and greeting audience members as I do, and a slight, smiling woman in a salmon colored sweater said, "Yoroshiku! Watashi wa Miho desu." ("Nice to meet you! I am Miho.")

"Gureggu desu." ("I'm Greg.")

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

"Miho? Mouri Miho!? OHHHHHHHHHHHHH! MIHO!"

After months of posting pictures on Facebook and sending picture postcards to people on the show via an envoy on the show, I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person. It was an excellent moment and it made the show extra special.

Of course, she brought a gift of drawings for people, made into little cellphone charms.