Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm a Hustla, I'm a, I'm a Hustla

I've become a television addict.

There are a couple of reasons why:
1. I do a lot of work from home and absolutely need some kind of noise in the background (growing up the child of musicians, I'm accustomed to being surrounded by sound).
2. My music collection hasn't been updated since I lived in a dorm - man, I miss OurTunes.
3. My attention span these days is too short to follow the plot line of a feature length film, without practically being strapped to my seat.

So, I've grown attached to the small screen, and since nothing good comes on before 8pm,* I've gotten very efficient at navigating the On Demand menu. *With the distinct exception of any of the Law and Order franchises, at least one of which is on air at any given time of the day.

As of late, I've exhausted all seasons of Mad Men, Weeds, True Blood, Californication, Nurse Jackie, The Goodwife, The Tudors, and Big Love, so I ventured out to find something new and exciting........and stumbled upon How to Make it in America.

     From the opening credits, I was hooked (see video below). The first few images reminded me why I love this city - the energy, the diversity, the eccentricity. In the first scene, one of the main characters, Cam, a young New Yorker of Dominican descent, is gliding around in Williamsburg, listening to hip-hop through big studio headphones. Only, when the camera zooms out, you see that he's hitched a ride on the back pegs of a Hasidic boy's bicycle. That's a great New York image....people from such different backgrounds helping each other, using each other, just trying to get where they're going. 

Opening Credits of "How to Make it in America"
      And the rest of the show elaborates on that theme. Ben and Cam, the two main characters, are hustling, doing whatever they can, so that eventually they can make a name for themselves. It's made me recall something my mom said when I was getting ready to move up here for college - "People don't move to New York if they aren't willing to work hard. It's just not an easy city to live in. But you can make things happen for yourself, if you're willing to work for it." Or something to that effect.

   I can relate to this show on so many levels - it's almost exactly what's going on in my life and the lives of my friends. The only difference so far (there are only 2 episodes out), is that most of my friends have a real, specific passion. For instance, my friends Chris Barnes and Jason Roman, who I spoke of HERE. Another example is my good friend Jason Pfaeffle (see Array Series). He's an incredibly talented artist and designer with real vision. Right now he's working a few different jobs to support himself until things take off. The same with my sister Sydney. Sydney is one of the most diversely talented people I know - an amazing printmaker and artist, incredibly intelligent and well read.....she's working her tail off supporting herself, finishing school, and she's out all the time meeting people and making connections. I'm in the same situation too - working two jobs, plus freelance projects while trying to build my fashion line. (And the list goes on......I will continue it in my Important People "series.") As far as I can tell, that's the secret to making it in New York. That or being very wealthy and well connected.

And now for something COMPLETELY different.....

     Josh and I were watching Olympic ice dancing last night. Or rather, I had one eye on the TV and the other on Style.com, making selections for my ever-expanding Dream Wardrobe, and Josh was asleep on the couch. It's shocking to me how completely cheesy most of the routines are! Tacky costumes, weak concepts, melodramatic choreography, and horrible music.......I think if I ever hear another song by Andrew Lloyd Webber my ears will bleed. Admittedly, I'm pretty cynical when it comes to figure skating - its proponents boast of grace and elegance, but more often than not I find that the focus on athleticism overpowers, no matter how honest the artistic intentions. Furthermore, any sense of 'artistry' seems to be derived from a definition far too inwardly focused, without any attention paid to what that means to the rest of the performing art world. What we as viewers are left with are regurgitated themes (primarily romantic), the same old overly dramatic music, and costumes that have no roots in modern style. To me, the hope of rescuing ice skating from the doom of having no artistic relevance is completely lost.

Yet just when I was about to change the channel (why I had waited so long is a mystery), Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated onto the ice.

See their winning Free Skate program HERE.

     They are a young, attractive couple and their costumes were the least offensive of the night. I thought to myself, "Hey, there might be something here." They took their first pose and their chemistry was immediately undeniable. They seemed both naively romantic and knowingly sensual, and the routine that followed demonstrated their fluency in both modes. Their movements were genuinely graceful, sensitive, and elegant. It is the first couple I've seen actually 'dance' on the ice, as opposed to just transitioning from one lift to another. Everything about this routine set them apart from the rest of the couples - the balletic quality of their movement, the true chemistry between them, their choice of Mahler's Symphony No. 5 for their music, and their costumes that were relatively understated and lovely. 

     I thought, "I was all wrong! There IS artistry in figure skating! There is hope!" 

And then......

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, skating to "Ave Maria" in costumes that look as though they've been through a disco paper shredder. (See their routing HERE, if you dare)

All hope is lost after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment