1.01.2008

Looking back to get forward

So A put on a brand-new H&M suit with silk tie and showed up for the orientation/workshop at Mordor Stanley, I mean, uh, Big Time Global Financial Services Firm. A learned how to shake hands while holding a drink, what food to order during a business lunch (spaghetti is a no-no for businessmen who are, apparently, sloppy eaters), and how to network.

Well, I'm glad A learned something about networking.

Before starting winter break, Alex dug up his play from his involvement in last year's playwriting group and submitted it to the BTBSA Playwriting Festival committee for consideration. Four plays get showcased in the spring, and possibly a big name playwright (and former alum) shows up to give the playwrights individual feedback.

"Just submit it," I said.
"Why?" A said.
"Why not?" I said. "You've already written it, so you have nothing else to do but email it to the committee."
"Sigh," A said, "Okay. But I don't think it'll get picked."

Did I mention that A wrote his play while part of a student group founded by Steven Sondheim?

A's play got picked.

Also during this winter break, A discovered the musical greats that are Leadbelly, Otha Turner, Son House, John Lee Hooker, and other Blues musicians. He began downloading their music immediately. A's radio playlist includes Leadbelly's original "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" alongside Nirvana's MTV Unplugged version of the same song.

We also re-discovered Bob Dylan by watching Martin Scorsese's "No Direction Home" and Todd Haynes's "I'm Not There."

"Mom, you know when Dylan would...transform...on the stage?"

LaMai asks: How many musicians can you say actually "transform" on stage? Is this a dying art? The last of the Siberian zoo tigers? When I see a musician so sublimely possessed, to me, it is a wonder to behold. I'd pay money to see non-fake stage transformation/possession any day.

A few Dylan tracks covered by Sonic Youth and The White Stripes are also on A's latest radio playlist.

What gives me hope when learning about the oldness of American music is that it affirms to me that nothing is completely, entirely new...we do, in fact, return to a tried-and-true foundation of something deeper, and wiser, than our foolish young minds would like to believe is too deep or wise to have been there first (it's often an arrogant..and reckless...way of thinking that I encounter often among my younger friends, particularly in Gotham City). Sort of reminds me of how a certain Johnny Ramone insisted that his band was about a "pure white -- not black -- rock and roll."

We looked at guitars at Manny's on 48th Street (out of towners: DO NOT miss Manny's if you love music and happen to visit NYC; the original Jimi Hendrix receipts are tacked right on their wall). Alex tried out a L'Arrivee and a vintage Martin. Martin is an older company, but the Larrivee sounded good enough for me to want to buy.

A and I have talked about summer options, and it looks like he'll return to the summer Calculus program he participated in last year. I'll probably help him regurgitate his play to submit to yet another playwriting competition.

A has a new Canon EOS digital camera which I gave him for Hanukkah. "The exposure is weird. I never have these problems with film cameras." For the Need It Now media/photography industry, digital is great and is now the standard. For art photographers (I have specific names in mind), digital is not yet there. A's new digital camera fills a need -- he can do photojournalistic/sports shots for his school paper or learn PhotoShop in a cinch without first scanning film prints. I personally believe the film photography industry moved a little too quickly when it eliminated certain types of papers entirely from the market. But my kid gets to participate in an activity that requires the speed of digital, and he gets to participate in a social scene at school that is new to him.

And me? I am knitting a sweater for A in merino wool from a tried-and-true WWII pattern. While A plays a WWII video game on his Macbook.

4 comments:

Manda said...

All the talk of the playwriting reminds me of the fact that the tiny publishing company I work part time for is publishing the Dramatists Guild Directory, which will be out in early January. . . It lists a lot of the big competitions and such.

la Maitresse said...

Oh yay! Thank you!

la Maitresse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky said...

Happy New Year to you and A, and a big congratulations to A!