This new sociolo-economic & political upheaval we are experiencing is forcing me, a performing and teaching artist, to re-evaluate what I do, how I do it, and how I market my work. It’s not the first time, and unless I hang my shingle up for good, I am sure it will not be the last time. I’m good with it. It does not make it easy, but it does keep me on my toes, exploring new things, and opens me up to new ideas. Those are good things. Change can be good. Challenges can be fun.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about people in the same situation, undergoing all these changes (check out MANY of the bloggers in the #pbau group on Twitter). There are a multitude of questions, and fears, along the way. My feeling, and I’ve stated this before: I would rather take a chance, take a risk, and TRY something, rather than sit back and let complacency and fear stop me dead in my tracks. I’d rather try and not succeed than fail by not doing anything.
One key thing I want to say right here: if you abhor something you are doing/are involved in, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT (yes, shouting…get over it). If you just do nada, then SHUT UP: stop complaining and live with it. That’s your choice.
Harsh? Yeah, it is. I’ll vent and whine (a bit), but I’m trying to do something about it all. This platform is only one way I’m hoping will make a difference. I’m tired of people who just complain: make a change or be quiet. Be a positive force and try to solve the problem, or at least offer an idea to solve it. Don’t be an obstructionist: use your powers for good, not lazy bitching.
I left jobs (and a few relationships) that were soul killing and abusive. Good money? Yes (well, not the relationships). Unhealthy? To the max. Could I change what needed to be changed within that system? I tried, unsuccessfully, and the only two roads were to suck it up and make money or leave. I left, and have been better for it in all the times I have. Poorer, but happier in the long run.
Some current re-imaginings that have moved me, in one way or the other, to mention to you:
(1) I have been a fan of Peter Gabriel’s since “Shock The Monkey” blew my socks off, both musically and visually. I went back to his entire body of work, starting with his Genesis years, and I’ve moved forward with every thing he has done since. Gabriel has stretched over the years, and while some of his work may have a derivative base (the worst thing, IMHO, for him was to get commercial success with So. US was nowhere near as good, while enjoyable, and too much of it tried to capture the patterns of So), he has still proven to be an artist I want to listen to again and again, and I WANT his new work, whenever he is ready.
New Blood is not that. It’s not new work but re-imagined old pieces with a full orchestra. As the ad proclaims: no drums, no guitars…and, it works. I just got it on Wednesday October 12th, and one day later I’ve listened to it five times. It is that good, again IMO. I love the depth, the new arrangements, and Peter’s voice has not sounded this great in years. Always emotive, there is power again in his vocals. Now I REALLY want new work from him.This is “playing it safe” Peter. I want Raw Gabriel again.
(2)Kate Bush is another artist that I love. Sadly, not her “Director’s Cut.” This, like “New Blood” above, is taking work from her catalog and re-imagining it, with new arrangements, new vocals, new interpretations.
While it has some material that is OK (still love the songs), overall this was one I wish the artist had not touched the original. I have listened to this only a few times in the months I’ve had it, and I most likely won’t listen to it too many more times.
I have all of Kate’s work (except for the full “The Woman’s Work” which has a number of extras: anyone loves me enough to get it for me…. 😉 …). She is one of my Pandora stations. “Director’s Cut” just misses the boat for me, straying too far from the original. Most of it just again, for me (as this is my aural opinion), does not work. Even with this, I have already ordered her new CD “50 Words of Snow” coming in December. Love my Kate, missteps and all. She takes chances few would ever make.
This, by far, was the biggest re-imagining/reboot in my entertainment life. Unabashedly, I am a comic book fan/geek/nerd. I’ve collected comics seriously since I was eleven years old, but had had them in my life from before I could read (thanks Mom, to your everlasting regret). I have read titles from the major publishers through the years and supported many of the indies. I do not even know how many comics are stored in long boxes. Been too many years since we’ve tried to record them all. Suffice to say, I need a room just for what I own.
Of the 52 new comics that DC debuted in September 2011, I bought 41. First time in two years that I’ve bought that many, as I had to curtail my “habit”. Some were excellent: Action Comics #1 under Grant Morrison was among the best, as well as a few of the Batman titles. Animal Man was great, and I was really surprised at how much I liked I,Vampire (i’m so sick of vampires). Others were just so-so, and a few…I really regret I picked them up, and I will not be continuing to issue #2 or beyond. Just real disappointments.
DC took a chance with this reboot (no matter what they call this run) and it’s a hit and miss deal. A lot more hits than misses, but some of the clunkers clunked real loud. Of the ones pictured above:
Wonder Woman: did not buy, but heard it was good. I’ll pass, as I’ve had read her work on and off over the years. This reinterpretation does nothing for me.
Detective/Batman: I feel that Detective was the better book, but Batman was good. Batman & Robin rocked, issues #1!
Flash: disappointing. People liked it. I didn’t. Not crazy about the artist, but he’s also the writer.I felt it was dull. Dropped it.
Green Lantern: Middle of the road for me. Like the movie, I expected more out of it. I’ll get #2, but…we’ll see.
Action #1: Excellent re-imagining of Superman AND Clark Kent’s world. #2 was just as good, if not better. Superman #1: ugh.
Demon Knights: I like the supernatural characters of DC. This is a “i’ll give it a few issues” look.
Swamp Thing: same as Demon Knights. Not buying #3.
Batgirl: dropped it already. For an excellent writer (Gail Simone) I was just completely disappointed in the book, esp the ending. If you want a strong female character, get Batwoman. Very different and a much better comic.
Justice League: Passed, simply that it’s still at $3.99. It’s not worth that much money. No comic is.
Aquaman: well, that one did surprise me in giving Aquaman some much needed depth. I will read more.
So…three things that have been re-imagined/rebooted. Plus my life, in an ongoing re-imagining.