Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Human Zoo, Closed on Mondays

I've been to see quite a few shows recently, well more than normal since all the musicians I like are apparently autumnal travelers. At a rather disappointing Noah and the Whale show, I couldn't help but note the human zoo-ness of it all, the light on everyone's faces, the guy next to me hornily looking at the woman next to him and the curly headed kid not to far ahead of me who could've very well have been my kid because he looked like a cool kid. (I'm so sorry for not liking Noah and the Whale. I wanted to so badly because I really liked most of their first album. I haven't yet watched the film that accompanies their new album, so maybe that will change how I reacted. For further aside, the lead singer of Noah and the Whale is the fourth or fifth English performer who commented on how polite his American audience was. Really? Do you really think your fans are the stupid ones? Come on.)

It's funny how we all show up at events to watch whatever, to see what we think may be greatness, some of us totally unaware of who we're even sitting next to. When I travel, I always try start up conversations with people, you know if someone asks me to take her photograph or something like that. It's no secret that I generally don't like to go the movie theater as much as everyone else does because I find it to be total sensory overload. (More on that later...) It's so weird to me that we all pay a rather high fee to go stare at a large amount of light, sitting next to strangers in total darkness, wanting it to be darker, and then we all leave--with sad faces if the movie was sad, etc. I just want to know why everyone is there and who they are really. It's a type of connected disconnect I guess.

When I used to visit my grandmother in Grenada, Mississippi, she would take me to Wal-Mart and we'd sit in the car, watching people go by. She would call me Sugar and point someone out that she thought I should see. One of the best human zoo experiences I've had was when the old man and I saw the, correct me if I'm wrong the old man is sleeping right now, Olafur Eliasson exhibit at MOMA. There was one room filled with orange light and when you walked into it, your sense of color as you knew it transformed everything into black and white. It was as though I was suddenly in Casablanca and it was time to kiss Bogart. I immediately turned to the old man, who was already flipping out, and said something about how film noir the light was. We sat down on a nearby bench, took off our coats, rolled up our sleeves, just to see what our skin looked like under the weird light. I could've sat on that bench for a year, watching people react to the orange light. Some people didn't get it at all and made funny you-call-this-art faces while others, I could tell, were thinking they'd just stepped into a black and white movie too.

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