Monday, April 09, 2007

styling present

i gotta say it: check out the art direction on that present right there! i was so proud of myself. you've got the lime green houndstooth tissue paper that picks up the lime green in the polka dots, and then the pink card peeking out also matches the polka dots. i was really in love with the aesthetic and i couldn't get over it. so i thought i'd force my love of banal aesthetics upon you poor souls. HOUNDSTOOTH AND POLKA DOTS, people! silllllllk. we got the boy's mum a microplane grater and an angora-wool scarf i had knitted. i'm becoming a scarf-knitting machine.

last night's dinner was roast beef, with mashed po', gravy, carrots and beans. delicious! i've also been made aware of the psychological impact of portion size. the boy's aunt cut the roast much thinner than i do (i serve like, 2" slabs of meat, usually), but it makes so much more sense! i had seconds, which still probably only equals about 3/4 of my usual version of a serving, and was very full. so i've had a revelation...i gotta stop cramming people full of food and over feeding them. ha! this is the cake. it was delicious, if i do say so myself. i used the scharfen berger bittersweet chocolate, which prevented it from becoming cloyingly sweet. the cake layers hold up well and stayed fairly moist, but the true star of this cake is the play of the two fillings against each other. most of the sweetness comes from the milk chocolate buttercream, which then gets tempered and cut by the coffee mousse. i think it might become my go-to cake...which is a bit of a pill, because it's a little labor-intensive, although not so bad if you spread it out over two days, as i did. i also got some help from the boy, who's been crowing about having made his first buttercream to anyone who'll listen.

i really enjoy talking to the boy's uncle. we went on this long meandering conversation that started off with copyright laws and the intellectual commons and intellectual property (which i now feel pretty comfortable contextualizing, after addressing these issues in various classes this year...the degree pays off again!) and then into the nature of human motivations and coming to terms with impermanence. i think our paradigms are different (i'm much more rooted in cultural theory, whereas he's a buddhist), but there are some interesting intersections and commonalities between us.

my principal problem with his argument was that he was saying that you should observe and uphold copyright laws, by not "stealing" (ie. burning or copying cds or software), based on the moral precept that: "one shouldn't take what isn't given freely". my counter-argument is that yes, stripped of all the intervening artificial cultural artifacts, one can uphold and retreat to an absolute moral position like that. however, given the inherent artifice of capitalism, copyright laws, and intellectual property that mediate and affect the lived reality of that moral position, you can't return to that moral position as your automatic recourse, because it has been inexorably compromised by these cultural interventions and their historicity. it's the difference between the ideal we uphold, and the ad-hoc, bootstrapping that signifies the attempts to negotiate that ideal in the messy, un-absolute, fraught world that we inhabit. furthermore, the idea that one is "taking money away from musicians" is in itself, an idea that is rooted in a specific iteration of the subject, the role of the "musician", and capitalism, all tied together. you can't affect a corollary between: "one shouldn't take what is given freely" and the ideological context that provides the weight for that moral position, and "you're taking money away from musicians". the two cannot be related on the same terms without first establishing and acknowledging the various ways in which this dichotomy has been politicized.

the boy's sister posted a blog entry the other day, expressing disappointment about the lack of attendance at one of her shows, and how she gets upset about people complaining about a $10 admission fee, when they can justify spending it on so many other things. my comment to her, is that under capitalism, and the rules of cultural consumption, it's not up to the consumer to justify to the artist why they choose not to spend their money in that arena, it's up to the artist to prove to the consumer why their product is worth that amount. to put it in perspective, i paid $10 to see loefah on saturday night, an artist, who is internationally recognized (albeit within a specific sub-section of urban culture) and who was FLOWN IN from the u.k. contrast that to the same price, for three toronto independent singer-songwriters. therefore, appealing to the audience that they should support your work is untenable given the competitiveness of the market, and the unproven nature of the talent.

i've thrown like 20 + parties and made a reasonable name for my promotion company and the talent that we bring. yeah it's stressful when people don't show, but they don't OWE it to me to show up. and i can be okay with the attendance because i'm intimately aware of the my positioning within the scene, with regards to the overall size of the scene, the demographics of my scene, and the nature of the talent that i'm bringing. so when i get contacted by a dj who wants to charge me x amount, i can say, look, the evidence doesn't support your asking for that much money, how about this instead. and when i see people at an event the following night, and they say to me, "i'm sorry i couldn't make it out because of blah blah blah" i always tell them that they don't have to justify how they spend their time to me. that's just how it goes.

it's been epic posting round these parts lately. i think i'm all relaxed from the weekend. the boy and i haven't had the house to ourselves in a while, so we've been enjoying some QT. tonight for dinner is a roasted tomato soup with olive garden salad and that cheddar, onion and focaccia toasted sammie i love so much.



Miss Emma-Lee said...

you're also forgetting that it's not you as an artist who is feeling let down when people don't come to your shows. I take it personally because IT IS ME. You have a bunch of talent brought in. Maybe they take it personally and you don't see that. Maybe they go home at night and cry into their record collection because they thought they were more famous than they are. It's very easy to be detached from a situation when you personally aren't the one in it. Point is, you aren't me and haven't the slightest clue what it can feel like sometimes. You're forgetting that I am human, with a heart and a brain and emotions. I never said anyone OWED it to me to come out, I said that their presence to me was important. Not just financially, but as the person on stage I perform much better to a nice packed house. A show isn't a show without an audience.

dr.rei said...

in unrelated news, i want to smash my face into that cake. (with my mouth open)

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

in further unrelated news, i'm sure michael snow would have come out on saturday, smelling like deviled eggs.