2nd quarter: despair 3, hope 2

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Mecca Normal ripped it up last night at Disjecta in front of an audience that consisted of me, Lisa, our friend Jen, maybe one or two other paying customers, and the people who were working there. This was their playing-music-and-talking performance (with their visual art displayed on all the walls), "How Art and Music Can Change the World." (Yes, well: can you change the world if nobody notices? How about if you've been doing this for 20 years, come to a decent-sized city with an ambitious project, even get a bit of print publicity for it, and five people show up? Am I on the wrong team?) Right, making art is something one does whether the rest of the world catches on or not, and I think MN were disappointed-but-okay with the sound of crickets (and warmed up to full-on putting-on-a-show), but I felt bad and self-conscious esp. at first--my problem, not theirs.

They had a couple of new songs, including a very long (15-20 min.?), amusing new one called "Fallen Skier" about a terrible date with somebody Jean met through an Internet dating service. ("Warning! Warning! Warning! No one moves to Skid Row to get clean!"--you have to imagine this in Jean's voice, the "cl" in "clean" overarticulated and the vowel piercing like a needle). Closed with an awesome "Ice Floes Aweigh" (that's an MP3 on Salon's site, go play it), with extensive windmilling from David.

I wanted to ask them, since they talked a bit about the relationship between their politics & their art, 1) if they think there's such a thing as non-political (or mostly non-political) art and if anything they do, or had on display, fits into that category, and 2) what David, especially, has to say about the visual content of his series of posters about inspirational political & artistic figures--he talked about them in the context of their subjects' lives inspiring him to create work, but he could've said the same things if the posters had been text-only, and they all had his drawings on them, which aren't value-neutral.

Relatedly: Very happy to see the creation of Involver, a new site devoted to "politically motivated cultural events" (edited by the awesome Windy Chien). Scratching my head, though, at the idea that "political" here means, in all cases, lefty politics. I mean, that's my ideology, but I don't think it has a lock on political thought, or even on motivation for cultural events. (On the other hand, it is sort of a relief that the biggest cultural name Rick Santorum could get for the anti-gay-marriage amendment was Pat Boone.)


Joel H said:

I've noticed lately how much the interplay between politics and music among left-leaning types is similar to that of spirituality and music among religious people. Western Christians in pop music have constantly fel a tension between medium and message (or been forced to acknowledge it, sometimes against their will, by people who believe in such dichotomies), which I think can be said about political artists as well. How many kids who listen to Rage Against the Machine went out and bought the Communist Manifesto? Some, I'm sure, but I'm also sure it wasn't as many as the band might have hoped. Me, I gotta side with the medium every time.
Jessica Hopper addressed something similar in her recent entry, which I found quite interesting.(http://tiny.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003649.html)

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on July 17, 2004 10:09 AM.

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