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
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
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?
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
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
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
sexual, although I certainly live in the erotic. I have
always thought that the erotic is one source of my creativity.
also thinking that that kind of intentional listening is
I want to make love.
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.)
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
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.
Monday, Jan 30, 2006