Irving Kriesberg 1919-2009

I had been meeting with the artist Irving Kriesberg for nearly a year and developed both a great personal and professional bond with the artist. Irving died at home in his studio on November 11th. Here is a link to a tribute to Irving I wrote.

Tis the Season pt. 1

It seems that during the holiday season the powers that be cram our subconscious with depressing memories and thoughts juxtaposed with those movies that have a consumer driven agenda. I was enjoying a rare night of watching television with good friends and we ended up watching two movies that I'd be hard pressed to call uplifting. I figured that since many of us had some time off this week (too much time in my opinion) we couldn't escape the urge to sit back, do nothing and waste away in front of the tube. Doesn't that sound like the beginnings of a happy and healthy holiday?

The first movie was Arnofsky's The Wrestler. This was one of the best movies I saw the year it came out in the theaters. Reliving that experience was just as sad as I remembered it being a year ago. I was crying at the exact same moments again. The movie is a constant series of unfortunate and even tragic events that occur simultaneously throughout the life of one particular individual and extends to those he connects with. I feel like this is true for a majority of people that I know and that are living in the world today. The reality of this is even more depressing than any movie or work of art can express. During the holiday season it is hard to keep happy when you have to work multiple jobs to support your family, or have recently been laid off and can't find work. Many people are also going through what The Ram suffered throughout the film and become addicted to drugs. I know that it is tempting to drink a lot and perhaps take some pills or smoke some grass to escape the harshness of reality but more often than not these forms of relief become a bigger problem than what it was in the world you were avoiding. And finally the greatest false hope that the holiday season always portrays is driven home when watching this movie and seeing the bigger picture. That hope is portrayed as the happy family living the "American Dream." There is no such thing as the "American Dream," in a capitalist society. Randy the Ram had it all at one point, the money the fame and a family. However we don't see any of this throughout the movie we only see heartbreaking glimpses into the glorious past of a "broken down piece of meat."

The second movie was Across the Universe, that Beatles musical adventure. For the most part I think this is a good movie. I really enjoy the visuals in many numbers especially the Bread and Puppet theater inspired protest and circus numbers. However this movie more importantly touches home on a number of issues. The struggle of an artist as seen by the character Jude, Sadie (Janis Joplin anyone?) and the Hendrix-esque Jo-Jo, all hit home for me. I have been an artist (first and foremost) trying to find inspiration in the concrete jungle (more like a graveyard these days) of New York City. Relationships are tough, we all know that. And sometimes it is hard when the other person changes or you yourself change and things are not the same "feel good" lovey dovey feelings that begin many relationships. This also kinda hit home when watching the back and forth dynamics of Jude and Lucy. However I still have yet to find a true happy ending when talking 'bout love. When it does come I hope it is as magical and mystical as the movies make it seem. However I'll take whatever works because I rarely see this fiction romance in reality. So many friends of mine end up in awful situations with their significant others and it is upsetting to see people "in love" actually being unhappy and trapped...In reality they are alone. Ultimately this movie reminds us that everything is cyclical: life, death, love, hate, war, peace, imperialism (which never goes away), greed, selflessness, and so on and so on (but more of the same shit different day).

Let the holiday season begin I say! To those who I love and care about know that I am always here for you! To everyone else let the same statement be true. It is always appropriate and necessary to reach out a helping hand to those who are struggling to get by. I think there is a Beatles song that wraps this feeling up somehow..."I get by with a little help from my friends."

More to come! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and relaxed at home with a full belly while the morons trampled through the malls.



You can create your best work now, or you could have created it at six years old or you could create it at sixty...But I tend to think that you will be happy and create amazing work just as soon as you become inspired.