I almost fell asleep without doing an entry today, but I had several thoughts that I wanted to grab and jot down before they left me when I drift to the dreamtime. I have a tendancy to do that: to get my best thoughts just before I go to sleep and I'm always disappointed when I lose them the next morning or the next time I try to go back to those thoughts. So, I decided to get myself back up and begin this entry.
I think I have the technique down. Instead of opening the image converter, I can easily copy the already compressed images from my camera to a folder, where I quickly zip the images to Photoshop (resize, border, save into appropriate image folder in my almighty zip disk that carries my website), and begin incorporating the images into the entry. Instead of taking an hour to prepare the images for an entry, it takes about 15 minutes. This is a Good Thing(tm) and I'm hoping to write more because of it. Removing as many tedious tasks as I can from the journalling process will enhance my writing in it. Si?
I saw ART tonight. It was the gift that I gave my father for Christmas. Remember how he wanted an "experience" instead of a physical thing? Well, I got him two tickets to ART. I decided that I should go see it as well and purchased a ticket. I've decided to become a real theater-head, since there are so many plays and musicals that I want to see on Broadway. This is my third play in less than a month: The Blue Room on February 14th, Side Man on February 24th (with Christian Slater!), and tonight, ART. Next week, I see Electra with Zoe Wannamaker (famous British actress that portrayed the wife of George Marlowe, the antagonist in Helen Mirren's Prime Suspect I).
Anyway, back to ART... it starred Judd Hirsch (of Taxi fame) as Marc. A realist who has a hard time understanding modern art. Joe Morton (of Blues Brothers 2000, Terminator 2, and Tribeca) as Sergei. A modern art fanatic who buys a very modern painting that is very white for 200,000 francs and becomes the focus of the play. George Wendt (of Cheers fame) as Yvan. A whimpy, unhappy man that has no opinions and wants to be amicable with others and dislikes disagreement.
It opens with Marc talking about Sergei's new painting. "It was a canvas about 5 feet by four feet, painted all in white with just barely perceptable diagonal lines... It was crap, meaningless modernism." The play focuses on this painting and how it tears apart the 15 year friendship these three men had. Granted, they had other problems as well (Marc and Sergei's mutual dislike of Yvan's upcoming marriage; Sergei's new artsy friends and new interest in artistic pursuits; Sergei's dislike of Marc's long-time girlfriend)... but it all starts with Marc's mocking gestures towards Sergei's purchase. It slowly escalates.
The painting then becomes this symbol of their relationship. It brings out each other's true feelings towards each other: Marc feels like he has been a mentor to Sergei and not a true equal with him; Sergei feels Marc is incapable of extending himself to appreciate the meaning within the painting; Sergei and Marc both feel that Yvan is a "spineless amoeba". A majority of the play is spent with the three of them arguing, slowly revealing their true feelings for each other. It's quite fascinating to watch. One would think it was a serious play... and in a way it is, but it is far more comical than serious and the play delivers constant chuckles and teetering from the audience.
I found George Wendt's performance the best of the three, but primarily that is because he received the monologues of the play. One is a several minute long ramble that the audience couldn't stop laughing through as he anguished over his disastrous wedding plans. Jodd Hirsch was appropriately annoying, although I had the feeling that another actor could do just as well as his performance. Joe Morton was superb and elegant in his refined mannerisms. Then again, that could be the lovely silk shirt that he was wearing. I kept staring at it, especially when he would flip it back when he put his hands on his hips. There was something appealing in that tiny gesture. Sexy. I've seen Mike do similar gestures when he wears a long-sleeved button-down shirt over a tshirt.
The end of the play was amazing. The three wanted to wipe the slate clean and start again... but how to begin to repair a friendship that has been torn to shreds? That has been cut up left and right into little bits and pieces? Sergei's solution was a surprising one. He asked Yvan for a felt-tipped marker and threw it to Marc. Nothing needed to be said. Marc went up to that white white canvas and drew a long diagnoal line on it. After looking at the canvas, now divided neatly by a bold blue stripe, Marc drew a stick figure skier zipping down the line. It was comical and the audience teetered. They didn't really know whether to laugh or be shocked at the defacement of a work of art. Then the group went out for dinner...
When they returned, they cleaned off the canvas and they started their friendship off a new. It ends with Marc talking about Sergei's new painting. "It was a canvas about 5 feet by four feet, painted all in white with just barely perceptable diagonal lines... It's an image of a skier whizzing down a mountain, lost in the snow drifiting from the white sky... faded into the background."
I think I'm a lot like Marc and Yvan. I want people to get along, but I'm like Marc. I need something tangible, something I can grasp. I think that's why I have a hard time appreciating modern art. I can't be given a white canvas to throw meaning into. I need it to be spelled out. In big neon letters, sometimes... and every now and then, not even bright red neon can get my attention. The play made me think about art... how it sometimes mirrors life, and sometimes doesn't. Where is the line between the artificial (say, graphics representations of an object. C'est ne pas un pipe to have an example) and the shockingly real? What is the value of art? Too many questions and not enough time to really come up with a satisfactory answer.