Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vote for Comment of the Week

This week's contenders:

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "You need more downtime than you think":

Last week there was an article about the benefits of daydreaming and it's interesting to read yet more on the topic, including 'idle time.' I was lucky enough to stay in Scotland for a couple weeks -- I did a program with the World Organic Farming Organization where I stayed with a family. I received food and board in exchange for help with their gardening and household chores. I was struck by their lifestyle -- they were the most content people I have ever met. They live in the rural area of Northern Scotland -- way up as far as you can go. They were right on the coast and surrounded by rolling sand and grass planes…and sheep. We would wake up around 8:00, have breakfast and work until 10 when we would have tea and a snack. We'd work some more and have lunch at around 1, work a little more and have tea at 3 or 4 and then pretty much stop for the day. At that time I would go for a long walk along the coast or pick camomile from the garden. I had so much time just to wander and think. Looking back at that experience I'm amazed at how much more at peace my mind was with that extra time to just absorb what was going on. Looking back at my journal I also realize how many ideas for sculpture/art projects I got while there. We live in such a fast-paced society and we hardly ever take the time we need to slow down. We all know this. I try to take a walk every day -- even just a quick one -- when I notice my attention and productivity dropping and it always helps me get back on track. Once again I have to completely agree with all this and just say well…why don't we take this advice to heart? It's definitely dependent on all the reasons mentioned above. It will have to be something we as a society begin to embrace and support…which is probably pretty far from happening. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Questions for the Future of the Arts":
This article opened my eyes to the changing nature of the performing arts landscape. I've heard about major opera and theater companies broadcasting their performances to movie theaters across the country before. My reaction was always positive, since, like many, I assumed that this would allow opera to reach out to a larger, different audience.
I think that if this becomes a widespread phenomenon, it won't actually have that effect. Large-scale lengthy operas will not become more popular if they are shown on a movie screen, since the medium probably isn't enough to draw in new audiences. If anything, opera loses much of its grandeur and fast on a screen, and without its "impressive" factor it will be much harder to create and reach out to a new type of audience.
I don't know if it will affect the attendance at regional opera and theater houses. If someone cares enough about the art form to go attend a performance, would they settle for what some consider a "lesser" version of a performance by a more prestigious company? I of course do not know the answer, but I sure hope not. I think that the audience that could be lost in this phenomenon is what I think of as "the fringe": people who enjoy live performances, but do not truly consider themselves theatergoers or art patrons because they simply don't go that often.
This article raises some very important points, and it will be fascinating to see how this situation unfolds. This specific topic is of course part of the greater conversation about the way technology is changing live theater/opera and how it is consumed.  
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Romeo and Juliet Redux":
I think this article makes a really good point. People in our society are trained not to feel anything and that repression of emotion makes everything we do robotic. I have never seen a production of Romeo and Juliet that I have liked and the reason is always that I just don't believe anyone would act like that. No one has ever portrayed any of the characters in such a way that I feel like the ending is justified. Usually, by the third act I want to stand up and shout, "JUST KILL YOURSELVES ALREADY" because the shows are boring without the real emotion, and the reactions that the characters are having makes the characters and the writing seem over-dramatic. Everyone tells me that Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful and heartbreaking story but I've never seen it and because of this article I now understand why I disagree with the public opinion of that play. The emotions just aren't there. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "In Defense of 'Homeland's Pedophile Dr. Graham And...":
I need to begin this comment by saying that I have never seen Homeland, but I thoroughly enjoy the debate that this article presents. Andy Warhol was once quoted as saying “Art is what you can Get Away with.” Personally, I believe it is more than just a privilege, but a duty of art to challenge, confront, question, dare, provoke, and disturb. Failing to do so is missing a profound opportunity. Censoring or limiting art because we don’t agree with a character, or find their actions disturbing will ultimately lead to some very bland art. Instead, art offers the opportunity to safely witness and experience that which is (hopefully) beyond the scope of daily interaction. Similarly, it connects us to a reality we may not have any previous knowledge of. First and foremost, I am in no way suggesting that pedophilia, rape, sexual assault, assault, or any similar activities are in any way justified. On the contrary, I seek to create a world free of them. However, it becomes both easy and convenient to label perpetrators with their crime, and neglect the person and history that brought them to that point. As a society, it is a relatively simple fix, pedophilia is wrong, so don’t touch children. Yet this treats the surface injury, which while an atrocity, is not at all reflective of the much bigger issues going on. Similarly, many times these activities are often tied to family, friends, or power differentials, making the issues immensely more complicated. Art offers us a unique way of diving into these issues and discovering and discussing that which is beneath the surface.  
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Are artists to blame for gentrification? Or would ...":
Art sets the feeling for a community. What other than self-expression can define a group of people? It fosters a sense of culture than will bring people who are looking for that particular medium or mood into it. Having grown up in non-hipster (specification necessary) Brooklyn and gone to high school at an intersection of Tribeca and Chelsea, I can say that I've seen and agree with the assessments of most of the areas mentioned in the article. New York specifically is such a heterogenous mix of cultures, races, and identities that it seems as if chunks of them have always been breaking off and moving into another community. The diversity of NYC causes a dynamic commuity.

But for all the culture and art brought into the communities by artists, how much of it is beneficial to real estate agents? They certainly bring a sense of identity with them, but at what cost? I feel like the romanticism of the 'poor artist' and 'wandering artist' has increased in the past few years; and for what it's worth, I have no idea why that is because I keep hearing news about friends having to move out to a house of five roommates because they refuse to spend less than $40 on a meal. Lessons that refuse to be learned aside, art certainly increases both financial cost and social worth of a society- if you have money to afford it. And it pops up even when you can't afford it, because it itself can be an escapism for such communities. But is it causal in either direction? I think not.

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