Monday, May 19, 2008

Parade the Circle

Ok, so every year on the weekend that coincides with my birthday, there's this big celebration at University Circle that DRIVES ME CRAZY and I usually avoid like the plague.

So why does this weekend celebration of creativity, love, music and art make me want to rip my hair out?

One word.


Goddamned artist hippies.

If you do anything - anywhere - remotely creative, you'll find them.

I didn't begin to register them as a problem until I spent two years in Phoenix in the late 1990s. Arizona is like the final rest stop on the hippie highway that leads straight to California; quite a few stop to pee and realize they're out of gas and that the yurt would look good there in the shadow of the mighty saguaro and simply never moved on. It's the desert, and there's the draw of Native American spirituality, and drugs are plentiful and cheap.

I worked with hippies, I even lived with one and her daughter. She was an artist, living in the house she grew up in that was given to her when she became a mother.

Her daughter's father was a half Apache/half Navajo guitarist who also happened to be a heroin addict - with an inoperable brain tumor. He was a ward of the state when I met her and lived there, kicked out years ago when she learned he had spent the $10,000 they saved for after the baby in a short time on drugs... and guitars.

I moved in when The Little was almost three - it was fun. We had a pool and made art and generally enjoyed life. Because she had been there all her life, she was an anchor in the artist community - meaning that there were always weird sculptures in the backyard or bands practicing in the garage.

I liked her structure (thanks mostly to the needs of The Little) and we worked together, so we kept a similar schedule and had mutual friends.

But I learned quickly that hippies don't like schedules... or checking accounts... or logic. Which is why they are HIPPIES.

She kept her money in a black cat shaped candle holder called "Cat Head" because years prior she had late fees on a bank account and refused to pay, so she couldn't get another account. Cat Head worked for her because Cat Head never said no - whereas an ATM wouldn't give her $5 if she had $14 in the bank. She often kept her daughter out late so she could hang out with her after a gig - but I don't think 3 am banana cream pie at Stucky's was the best thing for a 4 year old. And I could NEVER get her to understand that it was more wasteful to turn off the AC when it was 110 degrees than to leave it at 80 during the day.

It was a good run, my time in Phoenix, but I had to get out and return the highly-strung puritan work ethic of my people in the Eastern part of the nation.

So what does this have to do with Parade the Circle....?

I am an artist, but was always a highly strung, get-it-done, technique-driven artist. Which served me well when I worked in museum installation or profit-driven scenic studios. It does not, however, serve me well in an environment where we all need to feel the energy, hear the paint, taste the colors and smell the universal human experience.

I tried to do Parade once before with an artist - she would tell me what time to be there - and I would show up. To an empty tent.

After a week of not getting anything done and her telling me to come back at 10 pm because that's when the spirits toast her inner joy sandwich and spreads it with create-o-butter made from the love of art beasts, I decided to JUST GIVE UP.

So ever since I have had this tremendous chip on my shoulder about Parade - except I am prying it off and giving it a whirl with some friends from the UU.

Artists, both of them, but both professional and "into" responsibility.

So I'm trying this again - but I REFUSE to taste the colors.

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