“I went back to the cabin to rest and chose to lay in the grass with a pad and pen by my side. …Waking from a brief nap I wrote the concept to what I hope will be episode two with all the “songs” in order. It came through the rustling pines needles high above in the wind. One falls to the ground and act two begins.” - Blog May 9, 2015
Have to stop and take a breather in the middle of all the hoopla. Just a day to feel the gratitude. and catch some rest. Space between thoughts, pay attention to the human rhythm.
Tonight! has this life. It may have the face of the “late night talk show” but it’s just a face. While it is our mission to showcase our diverse art and culture, and to provide access to broadcast media, I am not interested in just putting a body in front of a camera and announcing the next event. It means little if nothing changes. Change takes time and energy, hence the breather.
The team is just not throwing a show together, it is literally a community project as it was meant to be and it shows itself in surprising ways. The dots all come together, the happenstance. The serendipitous stuff that occurs all too often to see it as anything but rhythm and magic. The strings of a guitar, touch them just the right way, and they take care of each other as waveforms resonate, cancel and exemplify each other. Just like us.
In the blog published right after Episode 1 I talked about how the idea came to be for the next installment, “It came through the rustling pines needles high above in the wind. One falls to the ground and act two begins.”
Then all these seemingly unrelated connections appear in a stream of thought.
I thought about my own life and the times I fell to the ground. How it feels to be here and there and all the space in between. Then in an entirely unrelated conversation I was talking to my friend Cinda about music and guitars and flamingo. She plays for herself, in her room, unnoticed, by choice. Which got me thinking about a song on Brandon Flowers' Flamingo album (named after Flamingo Road in Las Vegas). A beautiful song called “On the Floor”. It has a hymnal quality to it. I find it calming, pleasing and redemptive. In a room, unnoticed. (We’ll be performing it on the Faces of Us episode)
“When the lights go down in the city getting real low
Settling in my room I'm unnoticed
When the still comes in through my window
Letting me go
I feel a calm, come over me
On the floor”
My very personal self remembers when I was a 260 pound guy, and how invisible I was, unnoticed, not so much by choice. No one would see my face, the real one or the one I would try to put on to mitigate their perception and self-perception. When I was home with just me, the guard down, I felt the calm. It was a revelation to me when I lost it all the weight and the pine needle found its way back up the tree, striking a previous pose. Hmm, thats just a sampling of what some people feel in the world. The notes that people hear sound different, depending on the face that is singing. Yet, it’s not only about the discriminations of other people. It’s just not that black and white; because we also do it to ourselves. The grey glasses we sometimes see ourselves through that moderate our self-worth, confidence in the world, and the faces we show in a given situation. So maybe when the calm comes, when we are in our rooms, unnoticed, it is because we get to take off the face, turn the energy to ourselves, our true selves, heal and restore to face another day.
The Faces of Us comes not just from the faces we put on ourselves but the faces others put upon us. White face, black face, confident face, fat face, sincere face, and then make discriminations about how to interact. I want to say that this whole bit is not about making a judgement about this aspect of humanness. It is simply an observation and as such, something to celebrate and hold up about our human nature. What we’re made of. If we say it out loud, we are aware and awake to our nature we might take care to think closely about how we treat others and ourselves. Maybe look that fat boy in the eye next time, see the human in there.
Here at the confluence of pine needles, Flamingo, the hymnal quality of the calm, the sky and the floor, the faces of us ebb and flow as we travel life; and the conversation starts and organically a line up forms, Jim Smith, Barbara Colaciello, Chad Hendricks, Yoanna House and Chris Thomas. All of them, making and taking faces. So are the songs we choose to perform, and the joy we take in them. All about face, dare I say exfoliate? It’s fun and restorative for us to present that to you on show day with our diverse community of producers and performers. But that's showtime.
The part that’s not so visible is what happens during the preceding weeks and days. I am grateful to spend real time with all that have chosen to work on this project. The conversation, transformation, thought and release of this process as we put it all out there. Me included, a human of little confidence, sometimes afraid, part of the programming I imagine. I am aware of it, I know it about me, it is my true face and hope you still will be friend anyway.
I would love for you come to see Tonight!. Yet, if we just had a meaningful conversation along the way, if our lives are different, then you have already been there. Jim
Tickets are free because the audience is part of the show. Live to tape, July 15th.
Here are some thoughts from Florence Haridan as we met about preparation for the show.