Live "Entertainment"  (June 2002)

Don't you wonder who the hell is prowling the web reading random peoples' essays on life and other such drivel anyhow? Praise Google.

It was a really slow winter. Hardly any gigs here in San Francisco, while all my musician/artist friends wrote sad haiku poetry and generally nursed their psychoeconomic wounds post 9/11.

Looking back, I thought I'd share a couple things I found which really kept me going. It's all going to be in the movie (no, of course I'm not actually making a movie).

  • Listening to random people telling rambling long stories lacking any point whatsoever (stories must be delivered with utmost conviction). For the listener, it's a form of meditation.
  • Long journeys on public transportation. I mean really long! This also requires discipline and, done properly, brings on a state of sublime tranquility. Other kinds of journeys are great too, so long as the goal itself in no way justifies the length of the journey. At a certain point, I came to realize that all my favorite movies build on the "Odyssey" or "Heart of Darkness" paradigm. If you can find it, check out The Saragossa Manuscript (Wojciech Has, Poland 1965) for a particularly fine instance.
  • Walks along deserted streets (best while everyone else is sleeping, or else watching some major sporting event on TV). Feel the life energy.
  • Developing implausible theories. Not just alleged conspiracies, but full-on explanations for why certain things are the way they are. Even better if the subject is so obscure you never noticed how things were in the first place, at least not until you started developing the theory. One important follow-on exercise involves finding the appropriate audience for airing your conclusions.
  • Spot (and learn to enjoy) unintentional performance art. Hard to explain, but you just know it when you see it. Then you start to see it everywhere. Now I live for it.
  • Watch the things bartenders do on really slow nights. These people are true patriots.
  • Converse (at length) with the self-appointed neighborhood historian. Not necessarily in ones own neighborhood.

"A true researcher proceeds amongst riddles." (Saragossa Manuscript)

- ben "jacobs" <randomatwelldotcom>