Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cloud Atlas and Some Nights by Fun

What the mass media doesn’t understand they always seem to label as shallow, falling short of epic, and pretentious, not to mention boring.  However, I have found that whenever critics review albums and movies this way, I should probably be making a bee line toward it and will take to the story and theme like a fish to water.  This concerns me because it is much easier to miss a diamond in the rough than all the plethora of fools’ gold out there because such works so quickly go into obscurity having been missed by the masses.  I have two examples this month of popular artistic expressions that go a little deeper than the average work out there.


1.        Cloud Atlas

I raced to the this movie in the midst of power outages because I normally end up missing movies like this one.  The last one I missed of this ilk was the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.  The symbolism of this movie is very deep.  Critics have complained that it is both overly complicated as well as being boring and pretentiously sentimental. 

I was hoping that much like M Night Shayamalan’s Lady in the Water, the critics just didn’t get it.  I was so right. 


This movie has so many layers of symbolism, foreshadowing, and underlying themes, you must be a very active participant through its 3 hours.  For example, fire opals keep showing up in the different time lines, and then even a screenshot of the earth in the sky alludes back to the glowing blue gem.  What is an opal, up a stone used in the uncovering of past lives as well as a hydrophobic crystal that is mostly made of water.  What are we, what is the earth, but a gem of mostly water, moving through time in cycles that never end?


People change sexual orientations, gender, even the nature of their humanity or non-humanity, both corporal and discorporate, throughout the film.  The themes go so much further than love and relationships but also delve into the nature of society, status, humanity, freedom, responsibility, and destiny. 


I hope to see it again this weekend and plan to add this epic to my collection.  I look forward to reading the book as well.  I commend the makers and actors that made such an endeavor happen.  These are the messages and hopes much like the themes in the Matrix and Avatar, that need to be exposure to greater society.  Maybe a few more people will remember their multitudes of pasts and believe in the possibilities for their futures.


2.       Some Nights by Fun

What?  A pop song in a major key with a marching snare drum as well as traditional African backbeats?  That’s different.  Oh, and you even add some major symbolism in the lyrics and vocals that speak to people on more than one level?  That’s fabulous!  That also means that the critics will not understand it and say that it has a weak hook.  http://thevine.com.au/music/news/number-ones-fun-some-nights/ 


I want more out of life than a catchy hook.  I am always looking for the next anthem, the next cause, the chords of my heart that make singing and dancing in the rain and fighting the good fight worth it.  Some Nights does this. 


The song is in a major key and a march not because it is a “happy” song.  Think about why marches were written!  The tradition of the march has been for thousands of years to impassion the hearts of fearless, naive young men to run valiantly into battle and often to a gruesome, early demise.  This is the balance between battle rage and standing for a cause.  This is the distance between the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance and how our government is run by politicians.  This song is for some much more than teenagers heartbroken, confused, and looking for meaning to life.  This is the human song of us all, children of the earth - children of the stars!  This is the story of war, mistakes, heartbreak, loss, joy, love, all at the same time, pulling on our heartstrings, causing tears, struggle, and ecstasy.  The way the vocals go from staccato peals to the wordless high register cries to gentle humming, further illustrates the dynamic extremes of emotional tides we all experience when we are fully engaged in the base aspect of living our lives.


As far as the music video goes, I expected the war imagery from this march anthem.  The imagery here is not a dissonance and a strange contradiction but a graphic representation of the struggle for life and the struggle for a life worth living and loving. 


Stars above me, the cold dark ground below me, the snare drum and the cries of my comrades in my ears, my blood flows through my veins and in my heart is a song.  Onward.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You Can Never Truly Know Someone

A few months ago my dad mentioned to me that you never know someone.  We were going to Porgy and Bess on Broadway and my mother was thrilled because she had all the songs memorized from the LP she had in high school, but had never seen the play.  It was her 65th birthday and she was so happy to finally see it.  Even after 35 years of being with her, my father never knew she cared so much about that particular play.  In fact, he hadn’t known how important or integral a part of my mother’s childhood musicals were.  Yet, he was the one that took her to her first Broadway show.  “See?” he says, “It just goes to show, all these years and there is always still more to learn about someone.” 

We navigate through our lives in solitary forms of flesh, bone, and blood.  Love brings us together, unites us, and gives us momentary opportunities to reach closer to the All.  Every moment we have the opportunity to reach out and touch the minds and hearts of others, joining solitary universes with each encounter.  Only through remembering who we are as a species and as communities and societies can we find evolution. 

I was floored to find out that in the past few days, as Northern NJ has started to get power service, stop lights, gas, and grocery stores back up and running, that people are driving much more aggressively than normal and are very angry.  In this of all times, why aren’t they reaching out to help people and have greater patience and care in a stressful, tiring situation?  On the other hand, many have reached out in support, offering real help in real ways. 

Like in ritual, where all actions gain greater meaning and have greater outcomes, at times of great stress, our actions and fortitude make a greater impact in the world.  We live in interesting times.  Who are you reaching out to?  How are you making a difference?  This is in a fact a test of your metal.  I hope mine will prove to be the strength of iron balanced with steadfastness of tin; striving for a heart of gold. 

Blessed be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Walking through Mirrors

*Alice Through The Looking Glass
Guildford Castle secret garden, Guildford, United Kingdom
Picture by Stuart Chalmers

Shifting brainscapes and the fluttering wings of dreams
The mirrors glisten brightly in your eyes
The gateway opens and again I am falling down the Rabbit hole,
to shoot to the moon, the sky arrow dances.

Magick is afoot.  Join me! Come to the dance and walk between the Lions of Yesterday and Tomorrow.