Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: art

Consider so-called “self-publishing” for the past several years and you’ll find that every year, someone writes that its “stigma” is disappearing. Perfunctory research dug up this 2002 Wired article, and articles every year following up until now, including this one at the Washington Post. What’s odd is that extensive searches for stigmas associated with either indie filmmaking or indie music-making yield no such results—in fact, the closest I came when Googling for any stigma associated with indie filmmaking were results lamenting the difficulty of an NC-17 film-rating. I thought, at first, I might be using invalid search terms, so I tried “independent”—rather than “indie”—filmmaking; ironically, I found only this Yahoo! question-and-answer post regarding the distinction between the stigma associated with self-publishing and the lack of any associated with independent filmmaking.

What’s interesting about that question is the response thereto: the poster proposes that the distinction is that, when considering writing, often the author is the only person associated with the work (say, a novel, or memoir, or book of poetry). The general thought seems to be that filmmaking can only be collaborative—with a producer and writer and director and actors—while a self-published novel’s creation is isolative—just one writer, in one room, with one keyboard and one screen.

If that is the case, however, wouldn’t it be true that, except in very rare circumstances, neither filmmaking nor music are ever truly “independent”? How often does one encounter a movie written, produced, and directed by one actor in one room? And that doesn’t even mention lighting, sound, and crafts.

Really, sounds like those self-shot YouTube videos one sees, in which users turn on their webcams and talk/rant at it for a few minutes.

(Regardless of your feelings concerning authors who have published their own books—through whatever means—it’s simply not equivalent to ranting at a webcam.)

What it comes down to is simple: for some reason, people respect independence when associated with music recording or filmmaking but not writing, even though writing is the only endeavor of the three that is ever actually accomplished independently.

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In which the best-laid plans of guy and sister completely go aglee.

I mean, we had great intentions. I got tickets to the Getty Villa for Friday. And the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was over at UCLA.

But what seems a good idea in theory…

My sister arrived Thursday night. We ordered pizza, put on Eddie Izzard, and then she crashed around 10 or so, which was really 1-ish for her.

Friday, we trekked up the PCH to the Getty Villa, which is a museum devoted to Greco-Roman art. It’s mostly statues, with some jewelry/metalwork. I’d thought it sounded like the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters in Manhattan, which not only houses the largest collection of medieval art in the world but is also a recreation incorporating elements from five different French monasteries.

The Cloisters is awesome. Simply jaw-dropping. I’ve gone four or five times, and each time, I love it even more than the time previous. Not so much because I notice something new, but just because it’s better than I remember it. I think “It can’t possibly be as good as I thought,” and each time it’s better.

I’d thought the Getty Villa was similar; it sounded like a collection of Greco-Roman art housed in a building that was itself a recreation of a Greco-Roman structure. And it might have been close, but it wasn’t, not exactly. The best way I can describe it is, you go to the Cloisters and you can believe you’re back in the Middle Ages, but going to the Getty Villa does not approximate the feeling of Greco-Roman times. Never once could I have imagined turning a corner to bump into Homer.

We were home by three. At which point, we ordered food and watched some more movies.

On Saturday, we went to the beach. It was the single requirement my sister had. We figured we’d spend the afternoon, but we laid out for about an hour before we got annoyed by the sand and packed it in. We intended to check out the aforemention Festival of Books on Sunday, and we woke up early specifically to do so, and then we looked at each other and pretty much defaulted to “Fuck it. Let’s stick around and watch House.”

Which is pretty much precisely all we did.

After reading Tod Goldberg’s summing up his experience, I can’t say it sounds like we missed all that much.

I think the weekend was just what I needed, though; the past two years were a bit of a whirlwind of a ride, and I bookended my Los Angeles experience with my sister–I drove out here with her to arrive, and then spent the weekend before I left with her, too. Which gives it a nice symmetry. Now, tomorrow, I get my students’ final papers, which means I’ll spend the weekend grading, and then Monday is the killer normalizing grading session where I go to a classroom and spend the entire day reading paper after paper after paper.

But hey, then I’m done.

It’s been a wild, grand ride, but I can’t say I’m sad to see it end.

Now I get to figure how I’ll spend my summer vacation.