24.5.06

Quiet humor

Still in the 200s and looking for books on Quakers. One book listed is "How to care for your Quaker parrot".

Must be a very quiet parrot.

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20.5.06

What do you say?

As previously mentioned, this is "final product" season - a time for students of all stripes to demonstrate what they've learned/done/accomplished over the past year or so. Many times, I'm expected to go because of my affiliation with one of the performers/artists or the place in which it was produced. So then, after I've seen/experienced the thing, I'm expected to have some sort of comment.

I'm not a professional critic, nor am I particularly tutored in the various arts. I know what I like, I know what I don't like: that's about it. And sometimes I can even articulate what it is that I like (or don't like). Not always, because sometimes it's just one of those gut reactions that you can't explain. Sometimes I wonder if professional critics feel the same, but aren't able to say "this stinks - can't tell you why, but it does".

The problem for me is what you say when it's really bad. One of my friends and mentors (who has to go to even more of these things) uses "you must be so proud" or "congratulations" or "thank you for inviting me". Now, if I were on the receiving end, I'd feel a little slighted. I mean, what did he think about it? How did it make him feel? I've poured hours of preparation and sweat and love into this and all I get is a "congratulations"????? But being on the giving end, the one who has to say something to this fresh, hopeful face in front of me, those work. It's a toss-up, isn't it?

Even worse is when there's more than one - like a flock of dancers or a clutch of artists. One is incredible, several are mediocre, and then there's the really bad. You can't gush over the incredible one, because the others will notice. But... you do want to let that one, the one that touched you most, know that they did something important. Tact is difficult at times like that, isn't it?

I also hate being in the position of being known as articulate, so the person is expected something semi-profound and thoughtful, and all I can say is "thanks for inviting me." Again, that's a huge tip-off that there's something not quite right.

Even after eight years at mopow, I'm at a loss. What do you say?

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18.5.06

Year End Madness

It's that time of the year - recital/show time. Remember that from your schooldays? You know, the time when all the adults insisted that you show the rest of the world what you'd been doing over the past few months, whether or not it really was ready for public consumption. I suffered through ballet and piano recitals and am very grateful I don't have to do this any more.

When you work in a school, you have to go to these things and support the students. Even if you were so traumatized by these events as a child, you have to suck it up and support the students (and, I suppose, the long-suffering teachers). Sometimes, as in the case of SAB's Workshop, it's a great thing and very inspiring. Sometimes the work shows promise, and you can see glimpses of the adult success. Sometimes, you just want to take the child aside and say "get a day job - one that doesn't have anything to do with making ART". Of course, you never do get to that point because, well, you're an adult and you don't want to totally kill their spirits.

This past week I've been to two art shows, and I've got a movie, a play and Workshop in the next few weeks. Having seen "Art School Confidential", though, the art shows were amusing. The most recent show (last night) was typical of the genre. Students display their portfolio, and parents and teachers walk around with very serious faces. Most of the art last night was angsty in the way that only teenagers can be angsty: lots of cleverly angled self-portraits, vibrantly odd colors, etc..

One artist-in-the-making had a series that really jumped out at me. Why? Because it was almost a replica of The Piece in ASC, the one that becomes a major plot point. I couldn't even tell if this was a good work of art because of the similarity (and no, there's no way this could have been inspired by the movie, unless the artist was part of the making of the movie, since this series had been done over the course of the school year). Art imitating life can be interesting. Art imitating (or mirroring) art in a movie is... odd.

Tags: lazylife, art

6.5.06

And if he were a student?

Yet another plagiarism case. Not Opal Mehta, but a college president. Hamilton College had a similar case a few years ago. At Wesley College, however, things are a tad different.

The faculty can't decide if it has confidence in President Miller, or not
. How absurd. Apparently this isn't the first time he's "done it." I'm all for giving the benefit of the doubt, but there is no doubt in this case. The unfortunate reality of being in that sort of position is that you are held to a higher standard than, say, a student. You're supposed to be setting an example (remember that whole Caesar's wife thing?).

I shudder to think what this implies about standards at Wesley. And I question President Miller's intelligence. After all these other cases, did he really think no one would catch him?

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