Friday, July 22, 2011

Paradise Fragments: Unrecognized artists, moshing, Jesus, the Super Bowl

Drove out to LA to see my friend Steve’s band at the Silverlake Lounge. This other (more popular) band plays before him. Apparently the singer toured with Beck or something. While the popular band is playing, the place is crowded with hipsters. Most people leave before Steve’s band goes on.

I stand there watching Steve play drums and thinking—I am watching one of the great artists of our time and I’m one of like eight people in the world who knows how brilliant he is. This thought saddens me at first, but then makes me feel sort of special, privileged.

I begin to wonder how many brilliant artists, artists whose insights would make the world a better place, have toiled in obscurity, unrecognized by the world.

This brightly lit sign that says “Salvation” hangs above the stage. It hovers above Steve like a halo as he pounds those drums. His eyes are closed. There could be two people in the room and it wouldn’t matter. He would still be pounding away.

I’m at a punk show in this industrial part of Fullerton with Landon and Ali. This old school band called “All or Nothing” is playing. They have a girl singer who is all about women’s rights.

It’s in a kind of small room and there is a mosh pit. At first, I am afraid—all these people thrashing around in a circle, bumping into each other pretty hard. But then I see a young man fall, and two other guys pick him right up.

And then I realize something—like an epiphany. People in a mosh pit—a true, old school mosh pit—are not trying to really hurt each other. It’s just a really expressive form of dancing. Angry and angst-ridden, yes. But not malicious. It’s actually cathartic. There is this unspoken solidarity among the moshers.

I am beginning to truly understand punk. It’s not evil. It’s not even bad. At it’s heart, punk rock is about freedom.

Tony told me this story tonight. And older woman came into the gallery. She kept talking to Tony about Jesus. She took his hand and prayed that the gallery would be blessed with great fortune.

Then she went and looked at some books. She picked up a book that was priced at $5 and she said, “Can I get this for fifty cents?”

I am certain she was totally unaware of the irony of her actions.

Super Bowl Sunday. I have three places I could go to watch the Super Bowl: my parents’ house, Ali’s house, and Mulberry St. Instead, I go alone to Souplantation and eat until my stomach hurts. For some reason, I don’t feel like being with people or watching the Super Bowl.

No comments:

Post a Comment