Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Art: the filling in the middle is called bliss

I was talking to my dear friend Kori a couple of weeks ago. She has to take some required courses to fulfill her Horticulture studies. One of them is an English class. I'm so psyched. She had to read Hamlet - then she called me.

Was I in Shakespeare geek heaven? Oh yeah, just a bit.

Hamlet makes me a little weak at the knees, but not all of my friends are so enamored of it as I am. That's cool, we don't all love the same stuff - even the Shakespeare lovers (closeted or not) aren't weeping and wailing and rhapsodizing about Hamlet like I am; and that is perfectly fine. But I do so love it when I can yak it up with someone about my favorite play.

Thing about Shakespeare is how different it is to read it than it is to see it performed. I told her how I thought she ought to see Kenneth Branagh's version, then read the play because I truly believe that reading Shakespeare first is not something that will enamor most people. It's not that I think it's too 'high brow', not by any means. Shakespeare is for EVERYONE. It's just that it's not written in our current spoken language, so people get a little hung up on the words on the page because it is like reading a foreign language. Geez. Just look at the handwritten Constitution of the United States of America and you'll see how tough it is to read (because of differences in writing styles - is that an "s" or an "f"?) and that was only 200 years ago. Go back to Shakespeare and well... you know. Language, it's a living thing: it changes. Just ask my friend Gary who knows from the reading, writing and acquiring of language skills!

So last week she'd read the play and seen a bit of video of Laurence 'O God I've Got 'Em ALL Fooled' Olivier doing Hamlet. She wasn't lovin' it. I never have... in case you couldn't guess.

This week she saw Derek Jacobi doing the same role and he had her in tears.

'Nuff said.

Of course interpretations of Hamlet will vary in different eras, with different actors. It's such a rich and complex play that it is natural that it will be done differently as long as there are actors and audiences. Interpretations being influenced by the time, by the political structure, by humans as we change. And that goes not only for Hamlet, not only for Shakespeare, but for anything that touches the core of our humanity. We change, even as we remain the same.

There is always something new, and God how I love something new ('cause I hate stagnation) to be found in Hamlet and in any work that affects us deeply. If it's real it will endure, and can be viewed in many differing lights as we grow and endure and, hopefully, evolve.

The interpretations, the outer trappings of anything, are always up for review - it's the deeper sense of truth and the beauty of something real, emotional and exquisite that we can tap into and see differently as we age and grow and change that is important. It is that core that holds the bliss we all seek. It is not the one performance of a play, not the one great moment an actor has, it is the deeper foundation that everything is built upon that we can latch onto and move forward, and backward and up and down on.

It's not just art. It's anything. My party Saturday for example. Now here's an age-old custom - you have people in your home, you feed them - hopefully they are happy. Now a party can take a million forms, there can be 3 people or 100, but the core is the same. You've come where I've invited you, and decorated,
I give you something to eat, something to drink, make the environment comfortable and all this is done to offer a sense of community, and connection. It could be a 18th Century cotillion, a '70s key party, or a group of cavemen dancing around a campfire - the intent is pretty much the same.

In my case I wanted very much to prepare everything myself, it was important to me to create things that I could give to people to show my gratitude at being alive, to say look we're here, we're alive. Eat this,
I made this for you, drink this, get silly, be comfortable and know you are important to me and how happy I am to have you here. Now that is the core. The 100% Vegan tamales and salsas and cupcakes and cupcakes, mariachi music and what-have-you, that's the outer trappings. It's just the wrapper, the 'art', I chose to put on my filling, covering the core.

I had a great time, much of it derived from the preparation and seeing people enjoy what I'd made. I think people were happy... I will always have doubts of course, because I'm insecure that way, but I think it went okay. But for me, the main thing is that I was able to make it the best I could, and give a gift of 'happy' to people I care about, some I see regularly and some I haven't seen in ages. For me, it was great. And they brought me flowers and wine and they came and I was thrilled.

The outside is the cookie.

The creamy center inside is the bliss.

Note: Special thanks to Ms. X's Mom who helped me hang the lights and banners so they looked great and whose pictures came out so well I could use them here, whereas mine look like someone drank too many margaritas... a-hem.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'm glad the party was a success!

May your life always be filled with creamy centers.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

See, now I told you it would be a great success! Now get to planning my huge welcome/return to Manhattan party. I'll work on my dance routine. Actually I'm seriously planning a spring visit. I've not been in town since June, and I'm overdue.

Bella said...

I love the lights! They really add something, and there's no reason to only do strings of lights at Christmastime. I'm having a party in a couple of weeks, and I may steal your idea.

The food looks delicious, and it sounds like you had a blast.

The picture of you is so lovely.


Joy said...

Whim - gracias!

JT - just give me the dates!

Bella - go for the lights, you will not regret it! Re the picture - thank you. The others have been destroyed! lol

BetteJo said...

The gift of 'happy' is so precious to people who have experienced so much sad. I am SO sure your friends appreciated your smile even more than the lovely atmosphere you created and the food you fed them. Those things are just a bonus.
Happy it worked out so well!

Gary said...

Bettejo is very wise - this is true.

Now, leave poor dead Larry alone! You may not like his Hamlet but have you seen his King Lear with Diana Rigg? Excellent! But acting aside, it was his hot romantic life with the beautiful and talented Viv that makes his story so interesting. A romance that burned too bright and passionate and ended in heartbreak. I love loving that way (sans the heartbreak) and giving yourself over to passion is life.