olden days

The musical Rent announced it is closing today. I remember when it came out, thinking it was cliche & annoying, but now I even kinda miss what the East Village was just 12 years ago. People who move to NY now have a whole different sense of what this city is about, I think. I’m not sure if there is still an area for the grungy hippy boho scene, as williamsburg kind of imploded into a post-ironic version of itself so fast that I dunno how creative it had a chance to get… That’s a bit harsh I guess as I know there is still stuff going on there, but somehow it doesn’t seem like a real wellspring of the newest ideas.

But maybe this is just another example of the inevitable paradox, that we become most creative, productive and inspired when we’re down – art is not created by the comfortable. Whether it’s punk or poetry or jazz, the experience of conflict and difficulty feeds the creative spirit… Of course, like everything, that’s too simple, and there are always those whose work would shine through in any era, but it seems as if communities of artistic pursuit are nurtured when times are harder, somehow.

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4 Responses to “olden days”

  1. rushcm Says:

    >>we become most creative, productive and inspired when we’re down – art is not created by the comfortable.

    Are you sure this is a causal relationship? Perhaps the types of people who tend to create more or be more “artistic” are also the types unlikely to choose or end up in a “comfortable” lifestyle or state of mind…

  2. drinkme Says:

    of course there are multiple levels of interaction, but I was thinking of the ways that people who are forced into difficulties respond with art, whereas if they are able to just make a living, they can often just turn to that – or it seems like there’s a correlation, anyway. Jazz & blues wasn’t made by people who -chose- a less comfortable lifestyle, e.g. But yeah, it’s definitely not that simple.

  3. rushcm Says:

    >>people who are forced into difficulties respond with art, whereas if they are able to just make a living, they can often just turn to that

    This is the part I have trouble seeing. There are plenty of homeless people, or starving people, who don’t “respond with art” to their circumstances. And, personally, I cannot imagine a situation where “making a living” could in any way substitute for making art. They are two entirely different things with completely different motives (though frequently some overlap as people try to squeeze a living from their art), I should think.

  4. Dennis Osborne Says:

    I think it human nature to wish to have impact. For many, cooking a nice meal for friends and relatives to enjoy or even taking a loved one out, is sufficient. Working long hours for low pay won’t make many feel estranged if those they care about are doing the same. But for people doing so, whose families were more successful, there may be a feeling of estrangement and inability to do good things for others. Lacking real people to impress, they may turn inward to address an abstract greater whole, with hopes of pleasing or influencing that. And I think that’s where art comes into play. If there is resentment added, sometimes the goal can be of overturning a monster. Still, as you say, it’s complicated. There have been seemingly successful people who did well in the arts, nevertheless.

    Seems to me, artisan communities you mentioned and politics are closely related because both are addressing a group mindset and hoping to have influence. It’s just, artists are better at it. And when brilliant ones come along, energizing each other, people change, in consequence and politicians quickly follow, too.

    And speaking of that greater mind, which will never leave most of us able to think separately and free, seems to me thriving artisan communities can form micro-mind bubbles which are like laboratory experiments, able to live independently for a time. They can be powerful and occasionally even more so than the shared mindset the rest of us typically reside.

    When I went to school in Eugene, there was a Bubble Guy, there, we’d see about, at times, who could do amazing things with bubbles, put one inside another, etc. That’s how I see some artisan communities, too. Their impact starts out in our subconscious and sometimes years or even decades later, we find ourselves altered such that what had once been dormant and hidden, within, is now the dome we reside. . . until another ulcerous rebellion causes disruption, anyway.

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