That just wouldn’t have happened

Last night we went to see the Devil Wears Prada. We had heard it was really funny. Well, it really wasn’t. It was not a bad movie, just not all that funny. It was more sweet than funny. The humor came after the movie. While exiting the cinema with a few hundred other happy people–the movie is definitely designed to leave you happy–we were flanked by a gaggle of young women. They were discussing the ending.

A little plot background: The main character of the movie struggles to sustain her own integrity in an environment that is not aligned or well suited to her character. After two hours of debasing the fashion industry to prove this misalignment, the author / filmakers put character determination and “The Cat Maiden” fable into action. Through the journey of this young woman she inadvertently destroys the opportunity for her colleague–illustrated with complete superficiality–to fulfill the colleague’s dream of going to a Paris Couture show–and the heroin of the movie ends up going to Paris in her place. The trip to Paris included the promise of lush and excess fashion being added to her wardrobe. In the end moment of peace and reconciliation, the heroin calls the colleague to give the colleague all of the spoils of the Paris trip as part of a peace offering. The colleague concedes and happiness abounds.

Thats the long set up. But the payoff came squeezed in amongst the gaggle of young women while exiting via an escalator. “Yeh, I really liked it.” said one to another. “Those outfits were amazing. I could only dream…” said yet another before being interupted by an opposing opinion. “I liked it well enough, but it just wasn’t all that believable… I mean really, who would actually give up that amazing wardrobe like that. That just wouldn’t have happened!”

Nature will out.

So much for poetry

Tonight in a frantic manner, I chased down sixteen copies of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to leave with my colleagues at Sametz Blackstone Associates. In the chase, I passed through a Barnes and Noble book store where a nice young man at the counter handed me six more copies. Upon flipping the pile over to scan them into his cash register, he noted “Gee, I always had an image of him being an older gentleman.” There was a photograph of the author on the back. “Well, you know, I think he died rather young.” I returned. “Thats a shame.” said the young man. “Yes, but we should be so fortunate to have accomplished so much in a life time…” I said instinctively. Without pause and before I could complete my thought, the young man behind the counter climbed over my sentiment with “Are you a poet sir?” Dumbfounded as to what inspired this young man to cut in with such a question, I responded; “Huh?”

So much for poetry.

A small footnote to the story, I returned home to learn that Shel Silverstein was actually 67 when he passed away. Funny how youth is truly a state of being rather than a chronology of years.

Can I sing for you?

My interaction at Barnes and Noble (see previous post) flashed a vivid memory forward as if I were in the very moment again: While descending the ruins of an ancient Incan site in Peru, I was approached by a young child. The image was quite fantastic; a long stone stair descent to the base from the steep walls of the Sacred Valley. The sun was setting and the sky was a deep Andean November twilight blue. Puffy white clouds dotted across the panoramic sky. Very few tourists.

About twenty steps from the base of Ollantaytambo I met eyes with a small boy no older than ten years. He was expert at his craft of solicitation. I watched him stretch out his hand for some reward and I listened to his proposition. And now, nearly a year later I can not shake the sound of this childs voice asking “Can I sing for you?”

Why isn’t everyone asking this question of each other without recompense? Can I sing for you?

My Sisters

This evening six women who are doing humanitarian relief work in Southern Sudan treated me and my colleagues to a special dinner in celebration of the launch of their new communications program that we all developed. It was a really great moment actually.

These women are remarkable and powerful in their conviction. And even more so in their deeds. They strive every day to mobilize all the necessary resources to eliminate the strife of women in southern Sudan and Darfur. The Sisters are women of sigificant character and therefore significant means. They are a testament to the notion that an idea and the will to bring it to fruition can change the world… and more importantly, is a worthy pursuit even if its only lasting value affects one other person.

They are, of course, affecting countless people and have inspired me and my colleagues to want to do more to help out. You can help out to. Visit My Sisters Keeper online. Everyone plays a role in the peace and happiness of the world. We are all our sisters keeper!

The Sisters are Gloria White Hammond, Cynthia A Bell, Patricia H Brandes, Ashley Lanfer, Sarah Cleto Rial, Liz Walker, and Melinda E. Weekes.

B and B in high demand

While strolling through town today, Tim and I stopped into a gallery. After some conversation and the usual “sniffing out” of each other–us and the gallerists that is, somewhere in the conversation the issue of my upcoming graduate studies surfaced. Without a blink, the gallerist offered some friendly advice: “If your going to make photographs, make sure they are BIG. And while your at it, don’t make blue or green images. Yellow can be a problem too. In fact, a lesson I learned some time ago: if your going to exhibit in cool climates, make warm images and if your going to exhibit in warm climates, make cool images. And everyone loves colorful images.”

Is this really what it all boils down to? Is this the true commoditization of art?

I have to say, I really enjoyed listening to these pearls of wisdom. It was almost as if I was in a dream state imagining such things being said. I could barely believe my ears and yet right there, in front of us, was a kind gentleman trying to launch me into graduate studies in a way he thought was most helpful and generous.

Pinch me. This can’t be happening.

You may want to read a previous post on this topic if you have not already done so… B and B and the corruption of photography