American Alien, (AKA The Disappearance of Baron Dixon) a film by Jeff Cochran of Coronado Productions
Different Ways #13 Life in Little Egypt, Part Two
One of the many things I learned in my thirteen years in the desert was getting a look at where the rubber meets the road in regard to creativity. Besides enjoying the wave of new music that washed over the desert southwest at the time, I fell in fortuitously with a platoon of downtown Phoenix, Arizona artists. I hung out with them for a few years. I didn't contribute. I didn't see myself as a participant then. I wasn't really entirely present in Arizona. It was a watching and learning time for me. I needed a few years to burn off the crust of algae built up over me from my life in the PNW, perhaps. There was a wealthy pool of warmth and information in which to take in with this brood.
Downtown hadn't been entirely demolished and gentrified yet in the 1990's. There were still flop houses and buildings deserted by drug dealers to house creative artists of all stripes and, being Arizona, little housing restriction allowed enough mayhem for creativity to take seed. All across the nation (and the world, for all I know) there were pockets of these creatives who were finding each other and stepping into their future selves. So it was in Phoenix. The artists fed off of and encouraged each other artistically. It felt often a little sophomoric and very charming and always interesting. I often hoped that someone who was deeply embedded in that scene would chronicle it for history through book or film. I'm a generation removed from these creatives and not that person as I am not sprung from the bosom of that particular time. I was notably described by one artist as a "fixture" in that small art community then. I was surprised my place came with a title, frankly. It was clearly offered as a bon mot. I was shocked yet flattered at being recognized as something that had an actual functionality. In truth I was a hanger-on; low hanging fruit, enthusiastic supporter and an observer. In many ways I sensed I was a parody to the artists. I see that now as the price of my admission. I did dabble creatively myself in sharing here and there when moved and when asked, but very little.
By virtue of being the right age and available, I got a bit part in a locally produced movie...a latent dream of mine. The film is enhanced by indulging in copious amounts of cannabis prior to viewing to step fully into the zeitgeist illustrated in the medium. It was a rich time to be poor and inspired, whether you had any real talent or not. I'm very thankful for it.
Thank you for listening.
Music: One of the things about the art scene for me in Arizona was that I felt I was witnessing something important that I needed to steep in to understand better. I was learning what it took to step into something creatively. It was a precursor, in a way, to my understanding the importance of living an authentic life. I saw a parade of characters with various degrees of talent, who did various things with their gifts; all with something to offer the visionary stew. This video by David Byrne is a scene from the classic movie "True Stories". To me, it reminds me of the vibe of the scene at that time in Phoenix...from my view as a fixture, anyway. The artists themselves - many who went on to do quite well - they, no doubt, have a much fuller and more provocative perspective of this time.
Thank you for joining me here. The memoir Different Ways: Revealing the Feminine can be purchased through my website using a link to Village Books at AlltheDifferentWays.com. There will soon be an eBook version available with an independent retailer.
The BlogCast that outlines my intentions for this series of readings from my book, Different Ways, Revealing the Feminine can be found here in the post, Between the Lines.