Monday, October 30, 2006

Dear Mike

Hello Mike,

It's Monday morning, and I'm not doing much here at work. I also haven't eaten since lunch yesterday, so my head is spinning a little bit. The crazy thing lately that I've been subconsciously doing is skipping meals because I'm hoping to save a couple bucks. Bad idea. Because then I get so hungry that I splurge on a whole meal and spend twice as much as if I'd just grabbed a couple bananas from the market on the way to BART, you know?

So as I started to tell you earlier, I saw Tariq Ali last week at this amazing event in the Mission. It was Tariq Ali and David Barsamian doing a sort of live radio interview on stage with the Kronos Quartet playing music from all over the world in between their discussions. It blew my mind. Kronos Quartet is amazing first of all, the kind of music that gets under your skin and squirms there awkwardly until you figure out how to relax into it, which you quickly do - you know? Like early sexual experiences - awkward until you relax, and then astounding (hopefully). They played pieces from Afghanistan, Iraq, USA, Lebanon, Ethiopia and Mexico. Maybe others, I can't remember.

And in between it all Tariq and David were discussing Latin American politics, Middle Eastern poetry and film, the Wars, hope, history, really everything. It was incredible, the combination. The intensity of the music was tempered by the cerebral discourse, and the intensity of the discourse content was tempered by the emotive, visceral experience of the music. So in the end we all left feeling energized, as well as more informed. Oh, and then one of the friends I was with had a loose connection to the cellist, Jeffrey Zeigler, so we met him and his wife Paolo Prestini who were both delightful, and incredible artists in their own right.

The friends who brought me to the show are doing similar things to the event itself too - integrating multiple forms of art to create a meaningful experience for the listener/audience.

First it made me feel amazed and inspired, then it made me feel confused (where the fuck do they get the time to do all this???), and finally it all turned back around to awe and inspiration. There's something to it. A 3-D art exhibit that makes music when you interact with it. Music that writes itself into images - remember when we did this? You had that program on your computer that wrote images into sound waves . . . it was in the Garden Apartments in Ithaca. We used other people's images - famous paintings or something - and they all made these demonic screeches, wailing screams and screeches. There was something to that. I wonder if we could create pieces that would sing melodies we'd written?

But the particular brilliance of this event was that it was Politics and Art. Neither one had to be the other - they supported each other. It wasn't necessarily Political Art (though one could make lots of arguments that it WAS - and I will if you want) and it wasn't necessarily Artistic Politics (though Tariq Ali has a poetic lilt to his voice that sings, it is truly enchanting in the most melodic sense). But they cleared out space for each other.

Fucking cool, dude. I'm gonna go get some lunch now. VERY hungry - stomach eating itself.

How is Celine?