Friday, July 20, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - July 20, 2007

It is Friday and there is a HUGE hole in Midtown and I missed being on Lex and 41st by about 10 minutes and a bank visit, so here are my Shabbat Thoughts:

Awww Camp
Feds Ban Religious Books in Prisons
Nipping the Problem in the Bris
JJ on what’s next for Vorld Vide Yiddin’ and why we don’t know what it is

Marc Broussard and his band are the perfect creators of music. Last night I stood among about 1,000 others in The Fillmore at Irving Plaza. to listen to Marc belt out his NOLA inspired rock-n-roll. In an age of Wittgensteinian mechanical reproduction of art, it is refreshing to hear and see the creation of art in a space that will never be again.

Over the past few weeks there have been major events that speak to this destruction of the creative emotion in our culture. News Corp will own Dow Jones. Umbrella or whatever is still at the top of the charts. (ella ella ella) It could even be said that with the newest manifestation of the printing press, the Web2.0, there is nothing creative anymore. Nothing is created, only reproduced. Even the fantastic concert from last night was burned to CD and sold for $15 after the show. (I got one and it was well worth it)

Yet even without the creation of new and never-to-be-reproduced-with-the-same-emotional-energy art, is the experience of art, as Wittgenstein described (starting within an experience of religious connection and moving towards cultural foundation and then destroyed by the progress of industry, namely the printing press) gone? More importantly is the need for art, at its base non-essential to the survival of our culture?

I saw a very interesting piece on Roy Lichtenstein on some artsy TV station I found, it was in the high 100s on Digital Cable. I was devastated to find out that his master pieces, these explorations of smooth lines and out of context love scenes, were copied from comic books and the dots were printed on long reams of paper. There was great controversy surrounding this work but Lichtenstein likened his struggle to that of Picasso when he first started Cubism. No. Sorry Roy.

Picasso invented an art form that could be considered simplistic. But he created it. You were enlarging someone else’s creation and coloring by numbers. Yet no one else thought to do it, so maybe it is art. What perhaps is the most artistically ironic thing I have seen on the Lichtenstein website is the disclaimer, shadowed by a cartoon dog “grrrrrrr”ing at me: “The contents of this site are for personal and/or educational use only. Neither text nor photographs may be reproduced in any form with out the permission of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.” Come on Roy (and your financial backers).

As I listen to the recording of last night’s show, I am able to remember the energy I felt and the excitement of standing for the five hours of waiting and then show. However, regardless of volume this CD is not the art that was formed last night. I didn’t know what was coming next at the concert, I didn’t know all the words to all the songs, but now I know when to clap, when the girls scream “I love you Marc” and at what minute that sweet solo from the Soul Live guy starts.

We live in this time of CDs of live concerts replacing the concert itself and when artists simply copy another’s art as if original. This brings a conversation I had with DK to mind. What is the point of religion in a time when we know all the words to the song and the art is put up by construction workers. (Come after me RLF)

Religion is a reminder of the intent of artistic expression: the establishment of society and hopes for a better situation later on, in life or in death. So as we pause to remember the destruction of society this week, let us remember that it is more than just what a wonderful Shabbat I had with MY friends at OUR minyan this weekend. It should be what a wonderful Shabbat WE had with the all the PEOPLE in the COMMUNITY this weekend. If not we are only taking part in the mechanical reproduction of Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom

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