“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own.”
- PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
“I think we are living in selfish times. I’m the first one to say that I’m the most selfish. We live in the so-called ‘first world,’ and we may be first in a lot of things like technology, but we are behind in empathy.”
– JAVIER BARDEM
“Average performers believe their errors were caused by factors outside their control: My opponent got lucky; the task was too hard; I just don’t have the natural ability for this. Top performers, by contrast, believe they are responsible for their errors.“
How Do Excellent Performers Differ from the Average? - via Farnam Street
“The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person.”
- FRANK BARRON
“Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling.”
- MADELIENE L’ENGLE
“Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.”
- SOPHIA LOREN
“My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today; I knew it then as purpose.”
- BETTE DAVIS
“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one… characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers.”
- Henry David Thoreau
“Because you can’t, you won’t and you don’t stop…”
- Beastie Boys
I don’t know how we paid the rent back then. Sometimes we didn’t, I guess. The phone got turned off a lot, and when it was on – we let the machine get it. Neither of us ever held anything steady. The Gap turned her loose after Christmas that year, orange accessories to shame a harvest moon on their deep discount rack. Well, no shit. Some dumbfuck with an MBA got six figures to think anyone anywhere would buy bright orange socks, but we had to pick which bills got paid each month. A date meant pulling together enough change for a Super Big Gulp from the 7-11 across the street. Always Dr.Pepper. It would last the whole day.
It’s real easy to be broke in a place like that, where the temperature rarely gets below fifty. When it touched thirty? Forget it. Governor Bush would have to declare an official State of Emergency. Rest in Peace, Ann Richards. We miss you. Anyway. It was different when the sun never quit – the homeless almost seemed that way by choice. Lots of toothless grinning and a lot less shaking. More Margaritaville than Hamsterdam. We didn’t have anything, but happily gave it away. Two deeply tanned, severely creased guys in the 7-11 parking lot got canned food (with a can opener, naturally), my old crutches, and some new guitar strings. We all played some blues together and later, I guess, they got down on that beef stew. Dinty Moore, y’all. We own our own home and there’s money in Savings. Savings! Those guys wouldn’t get a glance, now.
Our apartment was one room. We could turn in a circle and see every single thing we owned. We slept on the floor a lot. My old single bed was okay comfortable, but small for two people. She was a stone but I needed room to thrash. Still do. I sleep better, but still not well. A few times I woke up and caught her talking to me. She knew I was asleep but had a lot on her mind. “Elephant shoes.” Mouth that shit in the mirror.
We met making out; a ubiquitous round of Spin the Bottle with at least one married person in the circle. Ubiquitous? Hell yes. Our whole bunch was decadent as fuck. I look back and wonder if every person in every decade is like that at that age? Or, was it particular to us? March through November the heat was on (propers to Glenn Frey), so every apartment complex had a pool or a hot tub or both. We were always wet and naked. All of us. Everybody slept with everybody and then swapped. “Bow to your partner. Bow to your corner. Now promenade…” Anyway. She broke up with her boyfriend just minutes earlier so we could make that make-out happen. I didn’t exactly break up with my not-exactly-my-girlfriend. A regret? Throw it on the pile. We spun that bottle and haven’t been apart a day in thirteen years.
“No great thing is created suddenly”
“Don’t bring a cathedral into a scene. Bring a brick; let’s build together”
- Del Close
I bristle at the characterization of improvisation as getting on stage and “just making shit up.” But, understandably, I’m often asked how we “rehearse” for improvisation. It’s simple – we connect with each other and then make ourselves open to the whole wide world. Conduits.
Below are some photos from a recent rehearsal with a live band. It was a lot of fun.