What If We Decided To Like Everything?
A few weeks ago, I came across a Tweet of an excerpt from an interview with John Krasinski. It struck a chord with me and my struggle with the negativity I've let seep into my veins. I automatically go for the negative reaction to anything. Being entrenched in the creative world, the following quote made me realize why leading with negativity is not the way to move through this career path.The article written by Kyle Buchanan was an interview about 'A Quiet Place' and Krasinski told the following story about a conversation with Paul Thomas Anderson at a party.PTA makes a clever point here: publicly saying you hate something a peer has created might limit that art being able to be created in the first place. Yes, I know these men are famous which makes it more crucial for them to support each other but it goes hand in hand with us peasants down here, too. I know so many people who pee their pants over PTA and it is clear the man loves what he does. Do I have a PTA boner? No, not at all. But I will not say I hate them or they aren't good.
I have taken the word 'hate' out of my vocabulary when consuming art.
I experienced two different creations this week that I have many opinions about. The first being the live but not live telecast of 'Rent'. I saw 'Rent' 14 times on Broadway (I was good at winning the lottery). It was the first contemporary musical I fell in love with when I was 13 and I knew every word before I ever saw it on stage (I was in college when I finally did). I was curious as to how it would go down as a live televised musical. I've watched most of the others and while they are riddled with issues, they are bringing musicals to people who perhaps haven't been able to see live theater. They are bringing 'Rent' to other 13 year olds like I was. Kids looking for something to hold onto, characters to fall in love with, maybe see themselves on screen and hear their stories being told.My hot take would be twofold: of course that dude broke his foot, look at the shit they were making them do! The original production had scaffolding and running around but not like this. I cringed every few minutes at them running in platform shoes (save for Valentina who knows how to work them) and jumping off of monkey bars and high platforms. Yikes, guys.The second part is because the broadcast had so many problems (including being a taped dress rehearsal and not live), I am worried the message was lost. 'Rent' is incredibly important to me (I quoted it in my senior yearbook) and its story is no less poignant in today's climate. I felt the problems overshadowed the message. That being said, I did not publicly shame it and I will not say I hated it. I didn't hate it. I went in with joy in my heart and I sobbed as I always do at the first few chords of "One Song Glory" and any time Brandon Victor Dixon opened his mouth. Good God, his rendition of "I"ll Cover You (Reprise)" was utterly heart wrenching. I lost Angel all over again as I had a thousand times before.I appreciated the art because it is crucial to support it. We need to watch and support these musicals so they can make more of them. They will learn the lessons from this one and improve with the next. Also they barely cut out anything I thought the censors might find controversial (on FOX no less!!!) and THAT thrills me to no end. I went and saw 'The Cher Show' last night with a good friend. As much as I assumed I'd walk in and it would be mediocre, I let myself be excited. I have never been a huge jukebox/bio musical fan but I went in leading with joy for the opportunity to see it and time spent with someone I love. We had a fucking blast. Talk about a show with all the glitz and glamour and heart and talent you could possibly want. It was cleverly told, not cheesy, and it was a spectacle to say the least. It might not be groundbreaking but hey, we need both inventive and brilliant musicals and the show stopping numbers of musicals of this caliber that make an entire audience clap along and smile.This is my new method: never to say I hate a work of art. Marie Kondo is sweeping the nation once again with her 'spark joy' method of organizing your life. The above John Krasinki method and Konmari are similar. If a film (or any art) doesn't spark joy for you, thank it and move along. If we can all fold our underwear, we can stop saying we hate art.Moving back to the city, I am fortunate to be able to consume a ton of art again. Before, I was filled with such poison of living negatively for so long, I was unable to escape it. I think back to harsh words I've said about so many pieces of art that I should have just appreciated, thanked, and moved on from. Now, I take everything in positively.
It might not always be for me and that's okay.
Film, musicals, plays, books, paintings are all subjective. Art is created for everyone and no one at the same time. PTA doesn't go about making his films with the concept of pleasing every person who goes to see them. Networks don't broadcasts musicals for every single viewer. Broadway doesn't produce jukebox musicals for all patrons. They put it out in the world and wait for the joy to flood in from what they've made. Because they know they will hit someone square in the heart somewhere at some point. Why not leave your heart open to be that someone?