Cutting the Heart Out of Content

Time spent away from blogging and photography has moved me back to consuming content. But like other viewers this has inflated my personal self-worth as an entertainment connoisseur (read untalented critic). Hence today’s quick rant.

Throughout my life – whether by choice or happenstance – I followed a different drummer. In my teens and 20s I adopted politics from half-century earlier, voraciously collected even older blues music, and sacrificed my personal life to work or school. In short a rebel without a clue how to communicate with her peers.

When I pulled away from this identity – outside of the Blues; God’s true gift – I honed my observation skills so I could create a new one. Much like reading a book or watching a play I not only saw but predicted. It wasn’t a smooth transition but in time I fell back into society.

At the time I felt clever but I only returned to my earliest conditioning. Like most of my family I read before kindergarten and kept books as a constant companion. They became my talismans and friends. Slotting people into books or shows helped me figure out what would Sherlock or Hawkeye  do in this situation. [Sorry Jesus has never ridden on my Dashboard.]

Imagine my outrage with modern media’s whiplash approach to current productions. Characters randomly die as a ratings splash or seeming de riguer obligation ( yes Good Wife this means you). Every character advancement or interaction gets sacrificed week to week or even within an episode (see Glee ). Other times they self-immolate with no apparent other than who re-signed for the new season (see The Killing; actually the excuse behind its suicide eludes me).

No, it’s not post modernism or uber originality. It’s contempt for your audience. Nor is it confined to entertainment (see most politicians but this another rant). Never has greater opportunity existed to reach audiences but it seems as if most content producers forget numerous outlets does not guarantee a “sticky” audience.

I found myself watching a Christian Brodcast Movie  Woodcarver starring Cliff from Cheers. No, I don’t drink so I have no damn good reason. Other than the characters — despite religious platitudes — spoke and looked like real people. Plus they were carving wood and I have been known to watch this Old House Marathons. Regardless I bet CBN at least made its money back if not more.

This is my plea to liberal, secular, feminist and queer content producers. Give me likeable characters who have the capacity to love and hate (and not just when you are building audience via subtext teases Rizzoli and Isles — see great rant at Autostraddle Takes on Queerbaiting. Remember to respect my intelligence by not 360ing the characters because someone in production is bored (see above). Understand a really great love story crosses the gender and orientation war boundaries (see Fried Green Tomatoes and Brokeback Mountain  — though wiser minds than me have written near treatises on why queers in love always seem to die — see Lady Geek Girl on queer love tragedies

Remember content is king only if connects to an audience.

Pathways Inspiring the Dreamer

English: Pathways cross
English: Pathways cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As many of you have guessed, I find pathways irresistible. It never bothers more if they lead nowhere or force me off my journey. Instead I greedily soak up everything along the path, especially if the “everything” captures my imagination or reminds me of a favored story. Neurons failing to fire for overdue deadlines or timed arrivals suddenly launch into hypermode as I internally spin connections known only to me and (perhaps) other dreamers. Whether it translates into anything but pleasure remains an open question but I no longer feel guilt. An artist friend described something similar by noting she viewed life as vivid colors and definable shapes (all pushing at her brain to create things). Fortunately her great talents allow her to produce a great product out of her ruminations. In my case they most often feed the endless trivia popping out of my during both opportune and inopportune moments.

Anyway, my  August foray to UCSF – featured in an earlier post – produced several vignettes from my thrashing through the campus. Below are a couple more, which I hope to exhibit in slideshows. However, I can only figure out how to place them in one slideshow. Go figure.

UCSF in 1908, with the streetcar that used to ...
UCSF in 1908, with the streetcar that used to run on Parnassus Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A beautiful 2008 exhibit championing communication captured me on all counts. A beautiful pathway draped with beautiful plants and stunning canopy featured signs written in the world’s languages. Many beautifully calligraphed statements went beyond hello to evoke real thought about the nature of communication. Points if you can translate them. More points if you can read some of them (in time I will get to better know my camera).

I obsessively snapped the pathways leading to closed doors or unseen places. Some pictured active work sites hidden beyond locked doors. Others remained as ghosts from UCSF’s path (both due to the passage of time or movement of jobs to Misson Bay site). All reminded me of the endless mysteries I gobble up either in books or television (always my endless need for justice). Some just downright frightened me (reminding me of the poverty-strickenareas in which I have worked). Hopefully you will see some of those things (or find your own source of satisfaction).

Mission Bay Community Center, UCSF, interior
Mission Bay Community Center, UCSF, interior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally (for tonight) I wandered into UCSF’s beautiful art garden, which resides near the School of Nursing. It proudly displayed both world-class art – include the cheeky sculptures featured in the slideshow –  and heartfelt homages to fallen classmates and faculty (most appearing as beautiful trees now reach to the sky). Interspersed among all of it was great artwork from various eras and genres. Some championed the patients and providers, others seemed to celebrate the eccentricity associated with a life spent fighting both life and disease. Or maybe just the quirky spirit needed to survive school in a hilly wind tunnel. Either way I found both its charm and absurdity a welcome antidote to the stunning beauty associated with the hill views.

Hope you enjoy. 

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NYT: ‘Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions

 

 

 

NYC - American Folk Art Museum
NYC – American Folk Art Museum (Photo credit: wallyg)

 

A must see exhibit in NYC of 19th century folk art. Check out the New York Times Review at http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=955549&f=29

 

 

 

Exhibit emphasizes sailor and seaport specific items. After all the ports drove New York City’s economy during the relevant time period.

 

 

 

Scrimshaw on sperm whale teeth, Nantucket, cir...
Scrimshaw on sperm whale teeth, Nantucket, circa 1840-1860. Exhibited in the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, New York, USA. There were no restrictions on photography in the museum, and this item is old enough so that copyright (if any) has expired. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

However I would love to also see the fancy quilt and painted furniture.

 

 

 

Folk Art Museum Stars

 

 

 

Even better its all stored in 19th century row houses.

 

clapboarded frame row houses (c. 1828), 141 He...
clapboarded frame row houses (c. 1828), 141 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York (Photo credit: lumierefl)

 

Childhood Art Taken to Dizzying Heights

Childhood Art Taken to Dizzying Heights

Amazingly good article on Jeff Koon’s exhibit of childhood inspired sculptures at Fondation Beyeler. Pictures are wonderful but author’s insights take it a step further. I found the sheer scale of the exhibits humbling. It’s hard to comprehend on how frightening the amazing can seem to a child.

But I could have done without the Michael Jackson sculpture.  

This Swiss museum hosts art dealer Ernest Beyeler’s amazing collection of modern art. Visit the website to see the diverse exhibits and cool architecture. But watch out for the moving parts (or maybe it’s just me who can’t handle cascading words). Check out http://www.fondationbeyeler.ch/en/museum/impressions/impressions

Comes from one of my favorite new design blogs: www.weheart.co.uk  Sometimes overwhelming on a large screen this blog not only provides eye candy but serves up thoughtful articles. My favorites include Stuff Crush (exactly what it sounds like for us unrepentant shoppers)  and Design Geekery (your virtual travel service for visiting new exhibits and shops).

Its impossible to list all of the web’s greatest gifts. But the ability to travel while sitting in your seat has to be among the top.  

Childhood Art Taken to Dizzying Heights

Amazingly good article on Jeff Koon’s exhibit of childhood inspired sculptures at Fondation Beyeler. Pictures are wonderful but author’s insights take it a step further. I found the sheer scale of the exhibits humbling. It’s hard to comprehend on how frightening the amazing can seem to a child.

But I could have done without the Michael Jackson sculpture.  

This Swiss museum hosts art dealer Ernest Beyeler’s amazing collection of modern art. Visit the website to see the diverse exhibits and cool architecture. But watch out for the moving parts (or maybe it’s just me who can’t handle cascading words). Check out http://www.fondationbeyeler.ch/en/museum/impressions/impressions

Comes from one of my favorite new design blogs: www.weheart.co.uk  Sometimes overwhelming on a large screen this blog not only provides eye candy but serves up thoughtful articles. My favorites include Stuff Crush (exactly what it sounds like for us unrepentant shoppers)  and Design Geekery (your virtual travel service for visiting new exhibits and shops).

Its impossible to list all of the web’s greatest gifts. But the ability to travel while sitting in your seat has to be among the top.