Friday, August 31, 2007

It's a Rock Star Day.

I was going to put up something about process -- I had been struggling with becoming aware of mine and have made some great breakthroughs recently -- but it's Friday on a holiday weekend, and also, unwittingly, a Rock Star Day.

My latest GQ came in yesterday and had the annual Fashion Rocks accompanying mini-zine. It's total fashion porn and the articles aren't for shit, but it's total fashion porn and I'm all 'bout it. That of course means there's the dedicated requisite snippet to the fashion/music deus comprehensi himself. (This time it focused on The Man Who Fell To Earth.) I read it this morning on the train and have been in Bowie mode ever since. Which reminds me that I need to start working on my Halloween costume.

I've been foiled on my one-arm one-leg Ziggy Stardust leotard for two years running now:

Last year I defaulted to a last minute geisha. This year I'm at least gonna get Ziggy in some capacity. The plan is to head down to Chinatown and see if I can't recreate the white hot pants/kimono combo:

And I just found out that we're getting off work early for Labor Day weekend. Rock Star Day continues! Maybe I'll head downtown and pick up a pair of skinny skinny jeans. 'Cause I'm 6'3", 140 lbs. and can pull that shit off like a motherfucker. Have a happy and safe holiday weekend, all!

Edit: Reread post. (That sentence was declarative, not imperative. [I did] reread post, not [you should] reread post. But maybe you should.) Isolated following passage: "Last year I defaulted to a last minute geisha. This year I'm at least gonna get Ziggy in some capacity. The plan is to head down to Chinatown and see if I can't recreate the white hot pants/kimono combo." Passage now proudly holds title for most ambiguously lurid collection of words on this blog. "Fran Drescher erotic stories" currently sulking in second place.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quick! Before I'm too late!

Look at all this activity!

Goodness gracious, a recap! Everyone wants Chris Jones to review workshops and no one wants George Hunka to review previews. Sorry, was that unnecessarily glib?

I'm trying to settle my ethical compass long enough to figure out exactly where I sit. Rob's vision of Jones as a promoter of Chicago is dead-on; after all, the man's fighting to review a Chicago show before Final Destination: New York. Whether the review is good or bad, it's all gravy for the locals (in general, that is -- Marisa's got the inside scoop on what this situation can mean, good and bad, for the individuals involved). On the other hand, as El Vet Diablo mentions in the comments at Casa de Don, the producers of a show should be able to give reviewers a no-go if it's their prerogative. And a part of me agrees completely that it is fun to see the show give the critic a pass for once instead of the other way around. And the ground is only muddied with Rob's point that the blogosphere is on its way to becoming the alternate (replacement?) for the newsprint critics. But for the most part we're just a bunch of shmucks posting our opinions (which is to say that it ain't our line of biznass, not that those opinions aren't informed). What sort of ethical standard are we to comply to? After all, a show can say no critics, but it can hardly say no posting your opinions online, gentle viewer.

Which brings us to Mr. Hunka, ever the eye of some hurricane or other. George has reviewed Kate Fodor's 100 Saints You Should Know, one of the shows in New York that Chris Jones fought so hard to review in Chicago. George didn't like it so much. George didn't like it so much that he also didn't finish it. It being the preview that George was at. And there's the gasp gasp right there -- is a critique of a show based on the first half of a preview valid? Matt Freeman doesn't think so. Neither does Rob. Ditto Tony.

I'm less adamant. As I somewhat posted in Tony's comments, seeing as how George is still flying under nebulous blogger review rules, why not hit a preview and why not leave at intermission? That's the word of mouth side of the blogosphere -- the part that's no different than chatting the weekend's entertainment up with your friends. But George... George, George, George... you saw a preview and left at intermission. Those are important details and the world wide opinion part of the blogosphere, the part with some more delicate ethical concerns, demands that you make them known. And by make them known, I mean before the last paragraph. Just a simple disclaimer or by and by or hey, psst, you should know this, that's all it really needed. I don't fall in the Freeman camp on the issue of respect in terms of walking out and applause (an interesting discussion, p.s., go check it out); if I don't like a show, that's that and it's my decision to act accordingly. But I'm not getting my time or money back by undercutting the artists. Be honest, absolutely. Pan bad shows, absolutely. Let future audiences know what you think they may be getting themselves into, absolutely. But we're all on the same team in the long run; at least give the show the fair breaks it deserves. And I consider an opening and a second act pretty damn fair.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Sid and Nancy, anyone?

Remember when artists did this shit and no one minded? When people even recognized the subversive sense of appeal in it? If society works in cycles, isn't it about time for that one to swing back around to a time when it was ok for self-destruction to be sexy?

Note: This post has been edited. Personal details have been removed, not to protect the innocent, the guilty, or me, but because for once something really isn't all that much about me.


Friday, August 24, 2007

An Avant-Garde One-Two

I stumbled across UbuWeb a couple of years back while trying to track down some obscure experimental films (still fruitless on a few of them... *le sigh*). A 100% free, non-commercial web collection of avant-garde whatever you want, I've visited it intermittently since then. Despite being the compendium of my dreams, the vast -- and oh god, is it ever vast -- amount of material available combined with (what was) a slightly scattershot design was a little overwhelming and kept me at arm's length. I checked it for the first time in quite a while today, and shit done gone and got streamlined -- the film and sound sections are especially improved. Any wisp of an excuse I had to avoid an Ubu addiction is gone. Things is about to get heavy.

I also partially bring it up because I am completely endeared to the site's philosophy. Read their manifesto. From it:

UbuWeb has no need for money, funding or backers. Our web space is provided by an alliance of interests sympathetic to our vision. Donors with an excess of bandwidth contribute to our cause. All labour and editorial work is voluntary; no money changes hands. Totally independent from institutional support, UbuWeb is free from academic bureaucracy and its attendant infighting, which often results in compromised solutions; we have no one to please but ourselves.

In the FAQ, the site responds in the negative to a question the possibility of e-mail updates, because they "refuse to advertise or promote" themselves. Ubu recognizes itself as a nothing but a resource, a collection of art otherwise not readily available. This is, of course, beneficial to both the artists and the audience, but UbuWeb doesn't seem to function for either the artist (the site dismisses the idea of copyright entirely, only removing work that is in-print and easily acquired or when they receive a cease and desist request from the artist) or the audience (a refusal to advertise or promote implies that they don't give a fuck who else comes to the site). No, it would seem that Ubu is simply around to collect thoughts and minds otherwise out of reach. If art exists, it should be available for the taking. And nothing provides existence quite like the Internet. It's a bold site, and I applaud them for making this work available and for recognizing the necessity of free trade for marginalized art. But I applaud them much, much, much more for doing so entirely by and for themselves. Despite the fact that UbuWeb isn't exactly an artistic endeavor, there's a lesson way deep down in there that we can and should be mining. I'm still trying to hone it to a concise statement -- thoughts?


And the fine folks over at the London-based avant-gardist Atlas Press have announced some new and forthcoming titles, which is pretty big news: it's a very small publisher with a shall we say 'relaxed' release schedule. I own a few of their books and have many, many more on my wishlist (wishlist as in wishing for a stronger dollar). Check them out; it's one of the only places you're going to find dedicated volumes to artists such as the Vienna Aktionists, Oulipo, 'Pataphysics, Fluxus, Decadents and some of the more obscure Dadaists and Surrealists. And they're good people to boot.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Inception

Sounds like a bad USA Up All Night horror movie, donnit? That may not be a bad analogy. But we'll get to that in a second.

I've tested my Google search decoys from the last post. I'm in the first page of hits for all of them and am the very first hit for all but "Buddhist death metal". Who knew? I'm actually the only hit for a few, although "Fran Drescher erotic stories" is not one of them, and that makes me shiver a little bit. But the trap has been set. Now we play the waiting game...

What inception, you ask? That's a silly question. Per Diem, of course, ya goof.

I had a sit-down and hash-out meeting with Mr. Bil Gaines, the other current dedicated member/founder of the company, and as they should, things are evolving. The bulk of what we're dealing with right now is the administrative bullshit and the defining and honing of what exactly Per Diem is and is about. The most encouraging part is also, surprise!, the most frightening: as me and Bil talk about our ideas and hopes for the company, I hear him saying things that are great ideas, but also that differ some from my initial thoughts and plans. We agreed from the start that the company would be more ensemble-based than hierarchical (feel free to use my ongoing discoveries as fuel for further tribal arguments), and we took a further step in defining what that means for us over coffee this weekend.

We are an ensemble-based company. Although, two hardly an ensemble makes. We are actively seeking a third, and possibly fourth or, hell, even fifth?, member, so if you are reading this and would be or have any friends who would be interested in getting together with the two of us and discussing what exactly we and you or your friend are looking for and how those match up, please please let me know. However, where many ensembles come together and meld all of the minds to find a common voice that all can agree on, we are entering the fray fully realizing that the ensemble members are coming from a variety of different backgrounds and attitudes/tastes towards art. Instead of forcing everyone to compromise their beliefs to come to the middle ground, we allow ourselves in turn (and at times together) to knock what we know and love out of the park with the support of all of the rest, regardless of any differences of opinion. In my mind, it feels like a little bit of 'collective' is mixed in with our 'company'.

Personally, I love the idea. My anti-anticipation jargon is lessening, although not the ideas. I'm becoming less prententious and adamant about it not because I'm giving up on it, but because I think what we have created is both a distillation of it and a springboard for it. This form of ensemble is going to naturally bring about a wide variety of shows -- Per Diem will never be able to be placed into a niche or defined by the 'style' of theatre we do (which I admit is both a blessing and a curse -- but what isn't?). That alone breaks down the audience's ability to anticipate the course of a Per Diem show. And if in stretching my voice I choose to hone this point further, I know that I will be able to with the support of my theatremates.

And, probably the greatest benefit of the approach is how immensely it will help each of us grow as artists. Rather than asking everyone to rein in their creatively, we are allowing everyone to embrace every inch of their imagination with the caveat that this means they must be willing to embrace every inch of others' imaginations as well. There's no being a part of Per Diem without a willingness to be challenged on a regular basis. And this keeping the artists on their toes will only assist in allowing our audience to do the same.

We hope to have a website up and running relatively soon, but in the meantime we are going to be scheduling our first event in mid/late September (official info will be provided tout suite). We're going to be sponsoring a free evening for theatre artists and other interested folk in which we are going to have multiple copies of multiple one-acts/10 minute plays ready. We will be randomly picking some of the plays, splitting up the roles, giving whoever's playing a script and setting them free in an unrehearsed, undirected, book-in-hand, instinct-driven performance. If people want to play, they'll be able to play. If people just want to watch, that's cool, too. There's also some talk of a writer-based company providing us with all-new work to double the freshness, double the fun, but that's not set in stone yet. And if this sounds like a good time to any writers out there and you'd be interested in seeing your work literally tossed on its feet, by all means let me know.

Also, for repetition's sake -- please e-mail me with any questions, advice, interest or god knows what else as we go through this process. Not only are we looking for bodies and minds -- and boy howdy, are we -- we're looking for opinions. Whether or not we take the opinions is open-ended, but there's only one way to find out.

And Bil, if any of this runs counter to what you thought was goin' on, call me on it. Weez a company, baybee, that's how we works!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Feeds of Glory

Clarifications first, as usual: when I label that Subscribe To Me! button over there on the right as the feed thing that I don't understand, I really mean it. How people are subscribing (although I have a few -- neat!) or what that involves? No fucking clue. My default answer is RSS, not because I know what an RSS is, but because it's only damn term I've managed to gleam from this whole 'feed' ordeal. A sample exchange:

"Hey man, I hear you have a blog now!"
"Yeah dude, it's totally RSS. You should check it out!"
"You'll have to send me the link sometime, pal."
"Nah, buddy, you don't need a link, I've RSS'd that shit."
"Um... OK, friend. Where... uh, where can I find it?"

This is where either I or my friend or sometimes both shuffle off, trying to avoid eye contact.

I have, however, discovered that this mysterious service lets me track you to a certain degree, lovely reader, which was a lot of fun at first but really isn't living up to its potential. Oh, sure, there was that one day that someone from Cairo stumbled across my blog, and the poor shmuck who searched for "art of fucking" on Google and thought that this place would be of any help, but the average day is pretty plain jane. So if you have any friends in Djibouti or stationed on Antarctica, have them visit my blog. I'll smile.

And if you'll excuse me, I'm going to use this space to encourage a few more random searches my way.

urine-based insect repellent
how to remove lamb's blood
Milli Vanilli album covers
fossilized pirates
Fran Drescher erotic stories
Buddhist death metal


Friday, August 17, 2007

Because Paul Rekk goes back on his word...

So I deleted the whiny post. And will try to avoid approaching the blog when in that mood in the future. It was a slight lapse in judgment and I apologize.

The Designated Mourner (now only slightly related) question is still of interest to me, though. Where do we draw the line between art we don't "understand" (for lack of a better word, because "get" is a worse word) and art we actively dislike? And where do we draw the line between art we actively dislike but respect and art we actively dislike and have no time for?

To put it to an example, a film example because I am a film nut, I don't understand the appeal of Federico Fellini, but I know there's something there that I'm just not connecting with. I absolutely dislike Charlie Kaufman's writing, but damn if I don't respect the man for what he does. And if Kevin Smith's movies disappeared off the face of the Earth, I wouldn't mind one bit -- in fact, the Earth might be a little better place for it. Now I will never, ever sit down to watch La Strada, Adaptation, or Chasing Amy purely for my enjoyment. But within those works that I don't enjoy, there's a whole spectrum of respect. Where does it come from and how do we make those choices and form those opinions?

Just something that came to mind in light of the polarity that recent blog-versations have taken (myself included). Things are either artist or audience, hopeful or not, NY or rural sympathetic etc. etc. We, as artists, know perfectly well that everything lives some where in the middle (to borrow from Mr. Letts, whose August: Osage County I, too, loved and will probably give blog props to in the near future). Where's the somewhere in the middle in our invective? Which is not to be confused with a peacekeeping cry, because I think "can't we all get along" takes the wind out of artistic sails. No we all can't, but we can not get along to a useful end. This is simply an out loud pondering as to how so many diverse opinions manage to pick teams so frequently. None of us completely agrees with any of the others -- is it possible to discuss in this gray zone? Where everyone's a friend as much as they are an enemy? Or, to negatively connotate, where everyone's an enemy as much as they are a friend?

That's probably rhetorical, but who knows?

Oh, and I'm feeling better, if it weren't obvious.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Because Paul Rekk is a man of his word...

I'll do ya one better than funny kittehs. How about drunken animals? From the 1974 kid-umentary Animals Are Beautiful People:

But in all seriousness, the clip raises some very good discussion points for you and your children, such as: Which would be a better band name -- Drunken Monkey Hookup or Hangover Ape?


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Things Less Heady and Not Of Things Being Fucked Up

As much as I love the conversation going on below, and will play as long as others want to play, it's time for an obligatory non-intellectual, what's Paul doing post. This one goes out to my mom (My mom reads my blog. I find that to kick ass. Sorry mom... I find that to kick patoot.), who is not of the theatrical inclination and found The Art Of Goofing (this one's for you, ma) Things Up a bit not of her particular bent. So here's what's up with me:

Yesterday I received a confirmation that I have been enrolled in the 500 Clown class at Actor's Gymnasium. Apparently I snuck into one of the last couple spots. I would brag, but rumor has it a second session will be added if the interest is there, making my last second entry a little less envy-producing.

The class doesn't start until October, but I'm quite excited -- excited enough to enroll despite it cutting into the Chicago Film Festival. (Alright, it's only cutting into two nights of the Film Festival, but those are normally two weeks of utter Paul Rekk unavailability.) I had been meaning to look into some Actor's Gym classes anyway, but having Paul Kalina running the show was an easy decision.

I've been interested in movement-based and other sorts of 'alternative' theatre for a long time; I was relatively successful as a mime in high school speech competitions -- and not that invisible box, tug on a rope shit. This was real mime or as close to real mime as a bunch of teenagers with no formal training can get. (Ironically enough, the piece we performed to great success was a telling of Shelley's Frankenstein.) My college training was woefully inadequate in terms of movement training, and by woefully inadequate I mean no training at all to speak of. I took a quick clowning workshop in association with a summer internship I had during college and my roommate has quite extensive Butoh training, of which I've picked his brain plenty. But that's about it. For an area that is of major interest to me (I say without hesitation that the two most influential theatrical experiences of my life have been Slava's Snowshow and Lookingglass Alice), I don't really know all that much. Time to rectify that.

It's been a good week in general -- on Monday I was called in to audition for an upcoming show at a well-respected Equity house. I'm loathe to do audition details on my blog because I'm superstitious like that, but it was for a role that would be nothing to scoff at, especially considering I'm non-Eq. I was happy with the audition, and considering the competition I'll probably have for it, that's about all I'm asking for.

I've got lots of shows lined up for the next couple of weeks -- a combination of catching up and trying to not fall behind again. This weekend is Speaking Ring's Vitality Festival, Signal's Fool For Love, and closing night of The Right Brain Project's The Designated Mourner, I'm bringing a friend to Lookingglass Alice (my second of three) on Tuesday, and next week is August: Osage County, opening of Theatre Seven's Killing Women, and BoHo's Gross Indecency, all followed by the bringing of a (different) friend to my third and final Lookingglass Alice the next Tuesday. Hold onto yr butts, folks.

And, finally, a request for the Chicagoans: I am in the process of looking at spaces for Per Diem's first show, with a tentative time frame for an opening somewhere from late spring to mid-summer. The tech is quite minimal, so I am especially interested in nonconventional spaces -- a traditional theatre isn't a necessity. I'm looking at a black box equivalent space; something similar to the Chopin's studio space (although I could use some more ceiling clearance). An industrial feel would be great, but isn't required either. Anybody got any recommendations of places that might get otherwise passed over? Like I said, tech requirements are flexible, so we're pretty wide open. Many thanks in advance!

(The aforepromised lolcats will be the subject of their very own post next time. My work setup is not conducive to cute kittehs sprawled across my screen. My home setup, on the other hand...)


Friday, August 3, 2007

I should've saved "The Art of Fucking It Up" for this one.

A few days ago, prompted by a comment left by Don Hall elswhere, I posited a question as to how exactly an artist can fuck up art. It was half facetious witticism, half rhetorical mulling and half a serious call for others' thoughts. In my mind, it served all three halves quite well. The response was thoughtful and varient (and all Chicago-based, which helped in taking on these perspectives). Now for the results of the rhetorical mulling.

A caveat: I am aware that this conversation is universal and, as a result, endless. This means, of course, that it has been hashed out many times before -- probably on some of these very blogs -- and will be again. This I understand and treat this as a mutually understood fact. If the artist/audience or any similar discussion has been revisited enough times to make you throw up in your mouth a little, I suggest you stop reading now and wait for my next post. I'll even be particularly accomodating and devote some space in that one to a lolcat or two. Now pardon me while I work some shit out.

Since writing my intial post, I've taken to thinking about my creative urge: where it comes from, what it strives for, all that fun interstitial stuff. The regionalism brouhaha and divergent rumblings of 'writing what you know' have also added to the mix. And because it's what I do best, my resultant thoughts are going to come in my typical rambling, half stream-of-conciousness, half who-the-fuck-just-took-over-Paul's-brain style.

I believe in art for art's sake; unapologetically so. Which is to say, I believe in art for the artist, because anyone claiming 'art's sake' is necessarily isolating the position of artist. Which is cool with me. When I create, I do it for me. When I'm writing or directing, I'm writing or directing what I want to see or hear. Self-indulgent? Technically speaking, I suppose so, but I fail to see the point in writing or directing something I don't want to see or hear. A friend of mine once relayed a major paper she had written in college revolving around the thesis that no one at any point in life does anything they do not want to. In essence, that there is no such thing as a selfless act -- charity is done as much or more for the inner feeling of content it provides than for the recipients of the charity. That warm fuzzy feeling that follows random acts of kindness? That's the primary reason for the random act of kindness. We are a people (and by we I am speaking globally) of self-preservation, so we act out of self-interest.

Sound harsh? It's really not. In today's It Takes A Village society, the word selfish has gained a terrible connotation, because it's all or nothing -- either your are selfish or you are selfless. The implication from this dichotomy is that one's own interests do not coincide with the interests of the rest of the world. So we are made to feel guilty for acting out of self-interest, a habit we cannot quit. Why can't we embrace the fact that we can at once have our interests and the interests of others in mind, or even (gasp of gasps!) that acting on our own interests can have a natural benefit for others from time to time? I'm not going to deny that there can be an ugly side to selfishness or that self-obsession is an unfavorable trait, but 'me first' is not synonymous with 'everyone else can fuck off and die'.

In the case of art and the artist, it seems particularly heinous to not play for the audience, because in artistry, as opposed to many other professions, the benefit for the consumer is intangible. If an artist doesn't make a point of stating his intent in helping to make the world a better place, the positive effects of art are much harder to grasp and define than, say, the positive effects that come from a teacher or a doctor. We all realize that they are there, of course, but focusing on them allows us (and those critical of what we do) to have something undeniably positive to cling to. In the first Art of Fucking It Up, Tony mentioned us getting off of our pedestals. I'm not calling him out in particular -- it's a phrase we hear all the time -- but why is creating with ourselves in mind naturally equated with elitism? We don't use that logic in other professions: a doctor who practices out of a love for what he or she does isn't chastised (quite the opposite, in fact). Is it because artists are in the unique position of being as directly affected by their work as the audience? Because in the doctor/patient relationship the doctor doesn't become a patient as well?

And that is the difference in the world of artistry -- my interests are bound to be the same as a portion of my audience. In AFIU pt. 1, Don Hall said:

I've always said that the sign of a good director (playwright, improviser, actor, etc.) is that he can communicate a story worth communicating.

The sign of a great director (playwright, improviser, actor, etc.) is that he can communicate a story worth communicating and that someone else wants to hear and agrees that the story is worth communicating.

I disagree, not with the sentiment, but with the stipulations. There's no difference between the two definitions Mr. Hall has provided. Any story that an artist feels is worthy of communicating will find people that agree. The number of people who agree may be unpredictable, but there will always be someone else. And that unpredictability is exactly why I don't worry about the audience when creating -- I at once am confident that there will be a section of the audience who is with me and confident that I have no idea which section they are or why they agree. I'm not projecting my vision and my ideals onto others, I'm simply throwing them into the ether and seeing who else wants to play with them.

Which seems to lead into the matter of accessibility. Bob Fisher, in his comparison of the artistic process to a conversation, mentioned the 'whole new kind of success' of reaching an audience who thought they weren't invested. He's right, it is a great success, and I'm left wondering where that line is between being accessible and pandering. I think the key is somewhere in that ether. If an artist throws his ideas at an audience, they are going to immediately bounces off of those with different ideas, who have already set up a defense system just for this sort of instance. If an artist tries to handfeed an audience what they want, they're going to turn their heads because they aren't dogs and don't appreciate being treated as such (and the artist probably doesn't know what most of them want anyway). But if an artist simply does what he does and allows the audience to do what they do with it, there's room for both to examine what the other is bringing to the table before any decisions are made.

Art should be a question, not a statement. To be even more effective, a question of a rhetorical nature rather than one aimed at the audience. Of course it's not going to be successful with everyone -- some audience members are only going to want to see what they want to see (just like the narrow-minded artists I just described) and other audience members will come in with an open mind and will examine the artist's wares and will still walk away unsatisfied and/or uninterested. And that's ok, because no art will ever hit everyone.

This is an idea that at once fascinates, frightens, and inspires me. No art will ever be universally liked. And no art will ever be universally disliked. And I'm going to go ahead and bring that to a broader philosophical assumption. There is no such thing as Good Art and Bad Art. Oh, there is art that I think is good and I think is bad, and there is art that Don Hall or Hedy Weiss or my mother think is good and bad, but there is no Good Art. And there is no Bad Art. Pick any work of art that you absolutely love or hate -- Piss Christ or Picasso, the music of Eminem or Mary Chapin Carpenter, the new movie starring The Lohan or L'Avventura, Neil LaBute or Neil Simon -- and someone out there, someone approaching the work earnestly, disagrees. Someone is inspired by what you despise and someone despises what inspires you. And as a result, I tend to answer the question of the day, "How can an artist fuck it up?" with a simple "He can't."

If an artist is only interested in numbers (either heads or dollars) and doesn't get them, he's fucked it up. If an artist doesn't enjoy what he has put on stage, he's fucked it up. But if an artist is doing what he does as a release, a celebration, an exploration and an invitation (none of which require anything from the artist except honesty), there is no wrong answer and no fucking it up.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ruminations On Nothing Much

So I feel like I should toss my hat in the geographicism discussion that continues to unfold over at Theatre Ideas. I am a long-time native Iowan, after all, and it looks like Joshua James, the other vocal Hawkeye State representative, has been sent to the penalty box for roughing or icing or something like that -- hockey's never really been my sport. Not to mention I was a very present part of the opening arguments, back when the world (I don't want to hear it; I'll hyperbolize if I feel like it) was turning a blind eye to the fact that Scott's ideas of geographicism might hold some water, much less be an actual problem.

But now we're talking about fighting the process and active non-geographicism and my involvement suddenly takes a big dip. According to Scott's evocation of Beverly Daniel Tatum's definition, I am becoming a participant in passive geographicism. That sounds like a bad thing, but I think the ring of the words is worse than the meaning behind them. Passive any-ism is not an ideal, but outside of my own sphere of engagement, I tend to be a laissez faire personality. Confront me with acts of racism, sexism, ageism, etc., against any party and I'll call you on that shit. Do it on your own time and, while I don't approve, I will not change my path to stop you. And yet again, I've managed to set myself up as a major dick. But I question the all-inclusiveness of the term 'passive -ism' to include both those who allow the natural course to cruise by while their wear their blinders and those who watch the natural course go by with notebook in hand. Not that either provides a better outcome.

Of course, this is also the guy who refuses to play the political game as well. I'm one of those few jerks who refuses to vote on principle. I wash my hands of the whole mess that is humankind, instead focusing my personal crusades on myself and those I come into contact with. And that, to my credit (finally!), is not as isolated and detached as it sounds, because I come into contact with a lot of people. Everyone else I just observe, which I like to think that is helpful in my ability to comment on the world and the people within from an artistic standpoint.

Great, now I'm a pretentious asshole.

If I'm here to better anyone's earthly experience through my daily choices, it's those that I know and love. And myself. And that's not exorbitantly selfish, just exorbitantly straightforward. My art? I certainly hope that it betters the earthly experience of a wide net of people outside my sphere. But that's not for me to plan. And that line of thought will continue in the next post, the one I should've named "The Art of Fucking It Up".

To finish somewhat on subject: I went back and skimmed some of my past work to see if I could detect any sense of latent geographicism against any region. I realized, and it was kind of a shock that I hadn't realized this before, that I have never written a location specific piece. And pushing it even further, I've never written a race specific character and a good deal of my characters are neither age nor gender specific. I don't exactly know what that says about me and my process and the goals of my work, good or bad or (as I suspect) a little of both, but on the plus side, I can't be geographically prejudiced if I fail to specify regionality, can I?