Supporting the Arts

I have been involved in the arts in one form or another most of my life. I believe in the arts, so when I was asked to join a new arts and culture magazine I was excited. I went to a performance in a new creative space. The lineup for this month’s musicians is exciting. And, I like the concept of combining a gallery to work as a performance space as well.

I was sadly disappointed from the moment I arrived in the environment. I was eager to participate and support the new space but even trying to get a ticket was an ordeal. The place is a non- profit organization. It was run like a high school event. Reservations? Your name isn’t on the list? On and on till I was able to make them understand that I made a reservation but hadn’t paid. We, my friend and I, entered a room that contained a platform stage, then a series of round tables, followed by regular rows of seats. The room was filled. 

Hanging from the walls were several paintings, I was uninspired but that doesn’t signify anything. The show had begun and the first performer sang, at best she was mediocre. The second performer is introduced and she was less than mediocre but trying hard to be a performer. Then, the third performer arrives. She is a female impersonated dressed in a cheap straight, long blue wig, a tight short blue sparkle skirt and some sort of top. The music begins, she attempts to lip sink and then dance. I cannot believe that this person actually prepared for the event. She didn’t know the words, didn’t have a clear dance routine down, and was not a very impressive dancer. 

My friend and I decided we had enough despite the 45 minutes we had driven to see this special event. We went back out to the lovely ladies who first greeted us and we asked for our money back. You see this was supposed to be a DIVA’s night: female impersonators. Really! I have been to shows in New York and other places and have been both entertained and impressed by the beauty, talent, and humor of the performers. We were told, “you can’t get your money back, and besides you have only seen a small part of a two hour show.” 

I will go back to see some of the musicians, but I do hope that the choice and preparation for the other acts are more refined than what I witnessed the other night.

I have never walked out of professional performance before, but that is the problem. I thought I was going to see a professional performance, what I got was amateur night. I have two children who are both talented who in their worst days performed better than these three individuals. I know I am carrying on but I do resent the money I spent to get into the place to be treated to inferior work. I support the arts- that means I support real work by real artists. 

 

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Women’s Voice

After all these years, women still struggle to have access to express their voice in the public sphere. Not only are they not present, for the most part, they are not even considered. Issues relating to family, work, right to choose, and motherhood are still framed within the context of the male dominated perspective.

I am not a male hater, as those who fought for women’s rights used to be labeled, but I do believe that women perceive relationships differently than men. That difference, though some argue is not essential but taught, is real. So, what over 50 percent of the population thinks and how they envision change might just be significant. 

All right, I will admit that women are not a single group with a single voice. But, then neither are men. However, the opportunity for women to express their voices in this country and other places in the world still remains locked in a Victorian perspective. 

The challenge is to meet the 21-century using a diversity of views and creative perspectives both male and female. Without the female voice, in all its manifestations, the problems will continue unresolved as they have for so long now. 

The conflicts that bind us

I met with an exciting new friend today. She is a marketer, an artist and an entrepreneur. We talked for a long time about collaborating on a new project. She began by telling me about an interview she had conducted with a woman who operates an arts program. During that conversation, my new friend expressed her views about something the other woman did presented problems ethically for my friend. It was a matter of principle for my friend. I listened and understood both her idealism and ethical principles and the reality of not alienating the woman who was in a position to promote my friend in many ways.

That conflict between ideals and business confounds me. I am always struggling with my art vs earning a living. A few weeks ago, I posed a question on a linkedin group. “How does one keep the creative juices flowing when one has to write material that is uninspiring?” A man answered and then a woman. The woman felt one could be inspired by anything and if that was not the case, I should not write for money.

I didn’t appreciate her tone or aggression and in truth, I felt this woman had never written anything creative outside of the business context. Don’t misunderstand. It takes creativity to put together material that moves a buyer or another business to take action. But it is a completely different context than writing a non-fiction book, a short story, or even a play. I have written in these formats and prefer them to business writing.

I am realistic, most of the time, and understand that my art comes second to my being able to support myself. That conflict at times binds me up. I find I cannot get to what I want to write  either because I am tired from writing all day about business or that my creative energies are not being fed.

I respond to the exchange of ideas, the energy of others, the excitement of possibilities. I am excited by the potential in the new relationship I formed today. I am eager to meet the challenges and opportunities the project will present to me as a writer and a creative being. I am excited to learn more through this association about conducting business so that I can do my art in whatever context it may manifest and diminish my internal conflict that binds me and stops the creative flow.

The Feminist Revolution

We gain power and we loose power. I am not sure how 5 women in the Senate voted against equal pay. What is so threatening about women being paid the same wage for the same job? Once, people thought that men needed to earn more because they were the sole wage earners. That might never really have been the case, but it was what the media led us to believe in the 50s. In reality, women had been a huge part of keeping the economy going both here and in Europe during and after WWII.

Then, the feminist revolution occurred again (having happened in the late 1800s and the early 1900s) and we made progress. That progress was hard fought but progress was made. Images did change. Though these last few decades the progress was supplanted by misinformation and fear about the role of women and family etc. Young women entered new fields previously barred to them, but left early to have families. College women began to take these opportunities as a given and began talking about being anti-feminists. That was always disheartening to me as young girls are fed last, beaten, and killed at birth because of gender. I digress…

So, here we are watching the war against women continue. Several years ago, the bankruptcy laws were made more difficult. It really was a punitive action since the majority of those in debt were single mothers. And, unlike the image of carefree spend thrists, these were hard working women. But, the banking lobby prevailed. Of course, we know that regardless of what happens, the banking lobby prevails. Is it not shocking that the numbers living in poverty are greater now then they were when the feminist revolution emerged in the 60s and 70s?

Today, 49 million children live with their single, hard working moms. And the Senate  voted against equal pay. Where are the family values in that action? Where is the core of American values when the plight of families, which seem to be headed by single women are hurt by inequality? How does equal pay  hurt productivity or the economic well being of the country? And, how does fostering poverty help the wellbeing of our American family and the health of women and children? For all the talk about family values in this country, we rank pathetically low on world neonatal healthcare and tragically high on infant mortality. Imagine that! So, shame on you Senators! Shame on all of you who voted against the children of this country.

Away She Goes

My daughter is going off to college in a couple of weeks. That in and of its self is strange to me. I am not one of those overly protective moms. Nor, am I one of those moms who is in my daughter’s business 24 hrs a day. I actually fancy myself as a unique mom, properly involved, supportive etc. I suspect that my daughter views me quite differently. And, truth be told, it hurts.

I have worked hard as a mom to inspire and to make possibilities available for both my children. They are very different, and as can be expected they respond to me differently. So, this AM we went to the doctor’s for a well visit . She required a shot. I was outside of the patient room most of the visit. She is of legal age now. But, being there made me feel better. Now, this afternoon, she has a dental appt. about her wisdom teeth. She wanted to go alone. I guess I used a bit of guilt to get her to say I could meet her there. It is strange. My son would not have balked at my coming to his doctor’s appts. He probably would assume I would go with him.

He has just graduated college and is off on his own now. My daughter has been dying to get away to college. Perhaps, I am more overbearing then I realize and that is painful as well.

I really only want the best for my daughter. I accept that she has her path to follow. I just wish I could share some of the journey with her before she completely flies away. Like a bird, she must lift off and spread her wings. That is nature. And, if we did our jobs well, she will do that successfully. Still, there is a longing to be part of the flight…More lessons to be learned both for her and for me before and after she goes away.

The Perils of Parenting

I have been a mother now for 22 years. That is the age of my son, the oldest. Then I have a daughter who is 18. As the old sayings go “each one is unique.” That is true. Each one has his or her own set of challenges that are presented to me and their dad. 

So, I am in my home, living apart from my daughter and her dad receiving texts from both of them. A disagreement has occurred. The details are not important. But, now I find myself walking a fine line. Getting my daughter to open up to me about the disturbance while listening to her dad and his version of the struggle. 

The truth is not in either of their stories, but somewhere in between. Her story is as real to her as his story is to him. Then there is what really happened. Which reminds me a meeting I attended today. There was a common ground for all who attended the meeting. One person felt the need to pontificate on the truth of the matter for the rest of us. I have heard him speak before, always the purveyor of the truth. For me, he is arrogant and a bit of a loud mouth. He annoyed me today. I do not hold his truth as the truth. I do not see things from the same lens he does. He doesn’t care, he will state emphatically, “Am I right!” I have decided next time we share a space and he does that I will tell him “no.”

Back to my feuding family. So, I don’t have a solution. They obviously both were wrong and behaved as I say, “Mule headed.” It is a weird position to be in not knowing what is being asked of me, no one said please negotiate this. And, I didn’t. But, because my daughter is a teen and is at times somewhat sensitive, I tread lightly. I want her to come to me for help. I think the peril for me, at time is two fold 1) I am her mother and prone to being stupid on general terms,2) I am not always delicate. I have been known to state my views perhaps with the same arrogance of the man that so disturbed me today. So, I listen, I ask a few questions hoping the answers she gives will provide her with her own awarenesses. The head games exhaust me and make me keenly aware that I am in peril of blowing it. Oh the drama of it all.