Pardon my lack of updates lately. In the midst of mad searching for full-time paid communications work, I've had to take on what I'm terming a "joejob" and it's been very draining to balance that with eagle-eyed job investigating and applying, radio interviewing, and creative pursuits.
A good friend of mine called my return to the joejob a form of graciousness, referencing a beautiful compliment I received on Twitter a few weeks back, in fact. Aw. It doesn't feel gracious, however; the entire experience is rather more grinding, humiliating, and energy zapping. I have to remind myself every day when I return home, cranky and haggard, that all of this energy expenditure pays off in the form of enablement: to be paid for my talents, and to not lose sight of what it is I really want to be (read: should be) making a living at. Blogging is, I'm coming to realize, a way of reinforcing that commitment and desire, and of fortifying my determination.
So, without further adue, a collection of things that have inspired me the last little while:
Busta Rhymes featuring Swizz Beatz - Stop The PartybyHypetrak
I can't say the sequel to Iron Man completely enthralls me though in all fairness, I haven't seen it; I just know I'd rather see Robert Downey Jr. without all that metal. He could probably convince me he's Tony Stark with just tin foil. (I wouldn't mind borrowing that Iron Man suit to wear to the joejob, however.) I'm tossing around seeing the flick itself, which has garnered mainly good notices (and huge box office). The steampunk-meets-high-tech badass design of Mickey Rourke's Whiplash might be the tipping point -and who am I kidding? Downey's good medicine for the weary: if he can rise up, then... ! It's fanciful, but don't laugh -it's also inspiring, kind of like this tune, "Stop The Party", taken from the movie's soundtrack. Bouncy and ballsy, it's a good post-joejob pick-me-up and has some swish, snazzy production courtesy of cutie smarty-pants Swizz Beatz. Nicely done.
Bono and Bob Geldof edited Monday's edition of The Globe and Mail. This has, as you might imagine, provoked a holy sh**storm of backlash, particularly online, where the blahblahblah-richrockstars-hype-hypocrites-how-dare-theys were out in full force since the announcement of their editorship happened last week. Yawn. I'm just happy it made for damn good reading, and gave voice to a range of activists, artists, and authors we don't hear from enough in mainstream media, especially in daily North American print. Dear Newspapers Everywhere: do this kind of thing more often. Ignore the haters. It's good for content, and, as evidenced by the Monday edition's popularity, good for numbers. Please more.
Brian Eno is curating the Brighton Festival, and people really like it. No wonder. He's brought a new kind of vision to a town that is hungry for unusual ideas and experiments. I've always found Eno a scary genius; when I met him many moon ago, I was so intimidated by his aura of... smart. A skilled, confident, razor-sharp kind of cutting intelligence surrounds him, and I barely got out my name, let alone my hand. Even now, the memory is vaguely chilling. It's a testament to the residents of Brighton and the surrounding area that they've so openly embraced the sorts of brave things Eno has introduced, particularly in, around, and on their public spaces. Kudos to them, and kudos to him. But then, that goes without saying. Durrrrr.
Not all new ideas from respected artists are appreciated, however. Graffiti street sensation Banksy was in Toronto, and did a number of works that were later removed or painted over. The latest work to fall victim to a fellow street artist was a clever Banksy piece showing a man holding a sign that reads "Will Work For Idiots" (which I *cough* relate to); the piece was tagged (yes, tagged) over by a ballsy local. Valid? Invalid? I find the whole thing such a perfect symbol of the focused inward-turned narcissism of the city as to be laughable in a really sad, frustrating way. Torontonians are constantly told the city is "world-class" and "cosmopolitan" -labels I've consistently smirked at as they've become more widely used (and marketed, and swallowed whole). Really? Ha.
More smirking -but this time in a good way -over a piece in The Atlantic exploring the scary genius of Lady Gaga and her relationship with Pop. The piece takes apart her appeal as both a tastemaker and taste-buster simultaneously. This really, really captures the phenom of Gaga, though I have to admit, I was disappointed the writer (James Parker) didn't mention Warhol, or later artistic counterparts that have so influenced one Ms. Germanotta. Maybe he were too distracted by the hat or the flaring bra.
Next up: musing on a new documentary about The Doors. When the music's over... wait. It isn't. Leave the damn light on.