Archive for the ‘art’ tag
His name is Justin Bieber…and I am a fan of his music.
Bieber is talented. He’s also 18. What was your world like when you were 18? I bet it didn’t involve performing in front of thousands of screaming fans, riding around in private jets, and being endlessly covered by the media. Bieber sings, dances, and plays at least two instruments (drums and guitar). Can you do that? I know that I can’t. Bieber was the kid from Canada who posted some videos on YouTube and then was “discovered” by Usher. Okay, that story sounds a bit too polished for me, but the stratospheric rise of the Biebs has been impressive.
When Bieber’s acoustic album came out, I downloaded a couple tracks, and found them to be just as enjoyable as his other jams. I posted on Facebook that “acoustic Bieber is just as good as non-acoustic Bieber.” Several people took my comment to mean that I didn’t like his music. Not true…I’m a fan. Talent is talent. Bieber has it. I love pop music. Sometimes we just need to take a pint of musical ice-cream out of the fridge and dive into it with a spoon. Pop music is about enjoyment. It’s not going to stand up to critical review in the same way that other forms of music do. With Bieber, what’s the point of “hating on” his music? His songs are catchy. He’s maturing right in front of us. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to form an identity in the fish bowl environment that he resides. His world is about having access to everything. Unfettered access to all sorts of good, bad, and ugly. At eighteen! I’m sure his handlers do their best to provide limits as best as they can, but c’mon… It’s a setup. We wring the talent out of someone like Bieber. There are individuals and organizations that make tremendous amounts of money off of his talent. Success has its expense.
For me, it’s not about whether or not Justin Bieber enjoys the same sort of career longevity as other musicians/performers. Enjoy his music. Stop hating. What kind of world do we live in where people hate on a kid because they don’t like the persona that the media presents? In many ways, what we know and see of Bieber is manufactured. I can’t imagine the pressures that that must exert on someone. To be something on stage, and in the studio, while trying to figure out what it means to be someone….at eighteen. Keep singing Bieber.
On a whim, I picked up a copy of the recent edition of the Atlantic while in a long-forgotten airport terminal. The cover provoked me by implying that Facebook was making us lonely. Always looking for things that challenge my thinking, I gladly dove into the magazine. Surprisingly, the article that really resonated with me the most in the mag was a profile of Jonathan Blow, titled “The Most Dangerous Gamer.” Blow is wicked smart and he’s kind of a smartass. Both are qualities that I appreciate. The profile is exceptionally captivating. However, the last paragraph connected with my head and heart like an underwater sonic boom. Chills and moist eyes. Resonance.
Which, in a sense, is just what he is—a spiritual seeker, questing after truth in an as-yet-uncharted realm. These are the terms in which he sees his art. “People like us who are doing something a little different from the mainstream have each picked one direction that we strike out in into the desert, but we’re still not very far from camp,” he told me. “There’s just a huge amount of territory to explore out there—and until you have a map of that, nobody can say what games can do.”
I recently gave a talk on “Influencing Student Affairs By Quitting My Job” at the 140cuse conference. I hope that what I am doing, what I have done, is different. I’ve picked a direction and I’ve struck out on a journey that has no simplistic rulebook.
Jonathan Blow does what he does because it feels right. He sees things differently and then acts upon that vision. Pretty inspirational stuff. Think about it.
My pal, Kenneth Elmore – Dean of Students for Boston University, knows how to elevate conversations. There aren’t that many deans of students who are as charismatic as Kenn. In this quick clip, he offers up some insight as to why he spells “Kenn” with two Ns. He also manages to tie a bow tie on camera without a mirror. Kenn’s wit is edgy. The close to this interview showcases Elmore’s ability to riff on the fly. Administrators can make art. In Kenn’s case, his media presence is creative, insightful, and always right on the pulse.
Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine’s version of “America’s Got Talent.” She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and “sand painting” skills to interpret Germany’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII. via Huff Post