Let’s have some fun with my Flickr Archive.
What was I doing on April 27th for the last 5 years?
Today, April 27, 2013. Enjoying my view in Brooklyn.
April 27, 2012. Camping in Joshua Tree with Monica and Kassie. Fun with campfire photography. (and night photography)
April 27, 2011. Walking to work at Flickr.
April 27, 2010. Exploring the Queen of Sheba abandoned mine shaft in Unionville, NV.
April 27, 2009 Visiting the Long Now Foundation in San Francisco.
I wonder where I’ll be next year!
I finally finished the NYT article on irony that was going around last week.
There is a lot there to think about but the part that really interested me is,
“How did this happen? It stems in part from the belief that this generation has little to offer in terms of culture, that everything has already been done”
I don’t disagree that the feeling is there because it is an old axiom we all accept. “Do I have new stories to tell? New photos to create or art to make? Probably not, ho hum.”
But culture is not just the art or style we create. It is also how we communicate, what we fill our day with, and the community we create. In the last few decades technology has changed what we can imagine and how we communicate so fast we can barely keep up with it. Facebook, Twitter, Jeggings, Kickstarter, Pinterest, smartphones, iBeg (a game about being homeless to help raise awareness), Creative Commons, dubstep. All of these come with questions of how to make them part of our life. How do we best use Facebook to communicate with our loved ones? What privacy protections will we accept from social networks and our government? What is the etiquette for checking your text messages at the dinner with family or on a date? We don’t have a set of cultural norms we all agree on for using these new tools yet, but we are all working to figure out what they will be. We talk to friends about frustrations with Facebook. Ignore calls when we prefer texts. (Except from grandma who doesn’t get it.)
The everyday how-to of defining this may not be all that exciting, but in figuring out how it fits in our lives we’re asking questions, interpreting it, and building on top of it we are creating lots that is new. We aren’t making new colors. But we are using colors in ways that no one has ever seen before.
This generation has lots of new to bring to the world and a huge opportunity to shape culture. Regardless of if we’re using irony I think it’s stepping up to the plate and I only hope we realize it. The truth of that old axiom seems incongruous with the time we’re living in because it is.
The Last Waltz is one of my all time favorite films. It’s a film of The Band‘s last concert which they performed in San Francisco on Thanksgiving in 1976. It was filmed by Martin Scorsese and is regarded as one of the greatest rock films of all time.
Members of The Band have influences from rock, folk, country, gospel, and the blues. They are a conduit that took these influences and output their own beautiful amalgam that represents all of it together. Because they represent so much american musical history and music of their day, they were both influencers and the influenced at the same time. You see their effect represented in the friends they bring on stage for the show, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Dr. John, and lots more.
Last Saturday, 36 years after the original Last Waltz, a group of musicians including members of Dr. Dog, Ween, Gomez, Nada Surf, The Lonely Forest, The Submarines and The Antibalas Horns got together on Thanksgiving weekend to perform “The Complete Last Waltz” again in San Francisco. There was no way I was missing that so my friend Sara (Who finally showed me the beauty of the film after I’d been telling my parents it was boring for most of my life.) and I headed over to SF for the show. They burned through all 41 songs taking a break only once and rotating through 3 drummers. It wasn’t a perfect show but it was a great show. They never introduced the entire band, sometimes they’d miss an intro for the singer of the next song, and they adjusted the mic volume as they went. But none of that really mattered. They weren’t there to be introduced, they were there to sing these songs to a room of friends that danced and sang along with the shared connection of a day in 1976 that we all wish we could have been at. They played it loud, we sang along, and more than a show, it was a celebration.
If you’re interested in an intro to The Band, start with their most famous song The Weight. A couple other great ones to start with are The Night they Drove ol’ Dixie Down and their version of Georgia on my Mind. After you’ve gotten to know the boys a little try, It makes no difference.