The Conversation

Home
11/13/05
11/14/05
11/15/05
11/16/05
11/17/05
11/18/05
11/19/05
11/20/05
11/21/05
11/22/05
11/23/05
11/24/05
11/25/05
11/26/05
11/27/05
11/28/05
11/29/05
11/30/05
12/01/05
12/02/05
12/03/05
12/04/05
12/05/05
12/06/05
12/07/05
12/08/05
12/09/05
12/10/05
12/11/05
12/12/05
12/13/05
12/14/05
12/15/05
12/16/05
12/17/05
12/18/05
12/19/05
12/20/05
12/21/05
12/22/05
12/23/05
12/24/05
12/25/05
12/26/05
12/27/05
12/28/05
12/29/05
12/30/05
12/31/05
1/1/06
1/2/06
1/3/06
1/4/06
1/5/06
1/6/06
1/7/06
1/8/06
1/9/06
1/10/06
1/11/06
1/12/06
1/13/06
1/14/06
1/15/06
1/16/06
1/17/06
1/18/06
1/19/06
1/19/06
1/20/06
1/21/06
1/22/06
1/23/06
1/24/06
1/25/06
1/26/06
1/27/06
1/28/06
1/29/06
1/30/06
1/31/06
2/1/06
2/2/06
2/3/06
2/4/06
2/5/06
2/6/06
2/7/06
2/8/06
2/9/06
2/10/06
2/11/06
2/12/06
2/13/06
2/14/06
2/15/06
2/16/06
2/17/06
2/18/06
2/19/06
2/20/06
2/21/06
2/22/06
2/23/06
2/24/06
2/25/06
2/26/06
2/27/06
2/28/06
3/1/06
3/2/06
3/3/06
3/4/06
3/5/06
3/6/06
3/7/06
3/8/06
3/9/06
3/10/06
3/11/06
3/12/06
3/13/06
3/14/06
3/15/06
3/16/06
3/17/06
3/18/06
3/19/06
3/20/06
3/21/06
3/22/06
3/23/06
3/24/06
3/25/06
3/26/06
3/27/06
3/28/06
3/29/06
3/30/06
5/19/06
5/20/06
5/21/06
5/22/06
5/23/06
5/24/06
5/25/06
5/26/06
5/27/06
5/28/06
5/29/06
5/30/06
5/31/06
6/1/06
6/2/06
6/3/06
6/12/06
6/13/06
7/3/06
7/4/06
7/5/06
7/6/06
7/7/06
7/8/06
7/9/06
7/10/06
7/11/06
7/14/06
7/15/06
7/16/06
7/17/06
7/23/06
(Mouse Over)

Dear Kim,

Yesterday, I made tentative plans and then ignored them. On the way to my plans, I decided that I have been very structured the past few days and I needed to follow a different flow, at least for a while.

So, although I drove to Highways Performance Space to see a show scheduled for 2:30, I wound up not going. I arrived early and went in search of coffee. That took me in the direction of a dance performance I had also considered attending that was scheduled around the same time.

(Kim: Reminds me of T.S. Eliot, "What shall I do
now? What shall I do?' I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street . . . " I envy your time there in Venice Beach, and that you've been able to create your life outside academia.)

But when I found a parking space on Wilshire and Third right across the street from the Third Street Promenade, I swooped down like an eagle in January on the Great River Road, marveling at my luck. All the signs were there to let the the afternoon unfold in a different way.

I understand why many people don’t go to performances, even though I go avidly. It requires a kind of attention and energy that movies do not because you are dealing with live human beings creating in front of you.

There are many complexities around being an audience member. Yesterday, I was thinking about how it calls upon us to suspend our own reality and the realities around us, to specifically enter into someone else's construction.

A lot of the time, I want to do that. A whole lot. Yesterday, I got all the way to Highways and realized that I didn't. And when I saw a parking space calling to me like a beacon, I knew that the enclosed constructed reality that would constitute the art of that afternoon—no matter how interesting—was not what I wanted or needed in that moment.

And being alive is really about attending to the moment, don't you think?

I have been doing a lot of what I have not wanted to do for a long time, and especially recently. So, I decided to go with the flow of non structure.

I had a coffee and read the New York Times. Walked along the promenade and listened to various street musicians who had permits to play. It was like a tour through world music. There were folk singers and a fabulous group from Argentina and a two man dancing and singing act called Funktastic.

I took a long walk to watch the sun go down. When I came back to the promenade, people were dancing the tango. It was a quite a sight. Women of all ages in California casual pants and fleece jackets because it was a cold, in elegant high heeled shoes, pivoting with various men in the street.

Have you ever seen the tango in real life?

(Kim: No. So I asked Linda what the tango was like. She said for me to look on the web. I said, "no, tell me." She said, "look on the web." I said, "are you going to say that to our grandchild?" She said, "yes, look on the web." So I did and found some great sound and movie clips, and even some paintings that knocked my socks off.)

It is very structured but still has room for improvisation. Not unlike my afternoon.

It looked like a physical conversation. The men seemed to drive the thoughts by leading, to which the women responded. But without the women to respond, there would be no conversation.

A few people looked happy and one guy was cutting loose but mostly everyone seemed very serious, as if they were listening hard to their partner's body so they would know what to do next.

I felt somewhat aroused watching this from the sidelines. Was thinking, it has been a while since I have been been actively sexual, although I certainly live in the erotic. I have always thought that the erotic is one source of my creativity. I was also thinking that that kind of intentional listening is the way I want to make love.

(Kim: Do you see "intentional listening" like "mindfulness"? Some art seems very much derived from the erotic. But some is not. I think we see art with all of our senses, and that our bodies excrete different chemistry depending on what we are sensing.)

As I was driving home, I realized that I had gotten to my performances. The various scenarios I watched being enacted all afternoon on the promenade were a performance, for sure, and the public tango was the dance.

It was not the dance I had planned to attend but it was a dance, nevertheless, and it may even have given me more to think about than if I had specifically gone to a dance concert.

Not to sound too California about it, but it felt like the universe delivered.

Later,

Joan

Monday, Jan 30, 2006

Next