Most memorable part of the evening's performance: in addition to her standard discography, Vienna offered a classic Chinese folk song (name?) at Eric's request; the melody, which slept for over a decade in my childhood memory, came back to me in a rush of delight and nostalgia. But on my drive back home, it was the snippets of dialogue from the after-concert dinner that lingered in my thoughts ...
Have you ever had the experience, when you read a book or hear music of such exquisite power and beauty, that you immediately want to meet with the author/musician? After all, the products of artists are highly personal creations; if these creations speak to you in a meaningful way, it's only human to want to respond. Even with the understanding that the published work represent the distilled essence of the artist - the product of culling disparate fragments of inspiration into a polished project - I nonetheless find myself compelled to try and connect with those whose creative works touch me.
In Needing Love, Vienna muses:
... for the kind of career I'm after (i.e. one based on genuine appreciation rather than hype), ultimately I'll always depend on individuals and the fact that they love what I do. An interesting truth, that. In my current day job, I get paid because my company needs me to do what I do in order to ensure its own success. I'm comfortable with that arrangement. But with music, it's purely an act of love, really. Almost of charity, sometimes, if I think about the principle of "supporting the arts," the fact that they often flounder financially when left to their own devices.
Not sure how I feel about being dependent on the love of strangers.
But it's a hell of a thing, to live on the love of strangers. You spend your time trying to inspire devotion and adoration from your audience, only to arrive at the fundamental paradox that every successful artist confronts: you can't return all the love directed your way; there just isn't enough you around to spare.
For me, it's not about autographs or photo-ops ultimately; I find it incredibly unsatisfying to be just a fan in the crowd, asking cliched questions and getting canned conversational macros in response. Bump that - I could schmooze and banter with the best of them, and do so quite happily when I am working - but with regards to my personal life, I'd take a single genuine connection over a thousand superficial cocktail-party exchanges any day. I suppose that was why I was very happy to have had a quiet moment with Eric, "the other Eric," Jim and Vienna after the concert. Breaking bread with thoughtful, intensely creative people was a capstone to an already enjoyable evening.
Gratzi, Eric - for your generous hosting of another terrific event. And, before I forget ... happy birthday!!! :)
Vodka & Coke
Raymond, Moi, Alice, Arnold (blocked by) Tina