Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hotel Rooms in San Francisco and our Raison de'tre

Cut to Sunday morning. In a hotel room in San Francisco, drinking my coffee and watching a Woody Allen movie, this quote melts its way across the screen...

"We all fear death and question the purpose of our lives. The job of the Artist though is to not succumb to despair, but instead find an antidote to the meaningless of existence."

It's been a long year for all of us. Economy is not too good, the news is always negative, and with the growth of social media and twitter and twatter and facebook and foursquare, meaningless jarble seems to be abound. And until recently, I was kind of annoyed by it -- how many videos of nonsense can be put in your face, and how many blogs about nothing are out there (note sarcastic reference to self)? But when I heard this quote, it changed my whole perspective. It literally turned me 180 degrees.

If you haven't questioned your existence, then as Socrates said, life isn't worth living. It's part of the project, part of the reason we're here. And no, everything doesn't happen for a reason, but I can sure as hell create a reason for just about any random coincidence that does happen. Point is though - as we all ask the unanswerable questions (i hope you guys do too or im worried about myself) it's super easy to throw your hands in the air, and say F&(# it.  But Woody's quote here says different - you think you have some artistic ability? Then it's your JOB, your responsibility to society, not to succumb, but to try and find something that we all can take pleasure in, that we can all find meaning in.

And so think about music & musicians. That's exactly what they do. They give us a nanosecond, a moment, when we're listening to our favorite song, where we cease to question, and we for a minute have the answer: ahh, this is what life is about. And I've never thought of it that way, but after hearing this, I came with a renewed sense of social responsibility to keep bringing music that the South Bay hasn't heard down here.  What if the band on Saturday gives that feeling to a few people? Mission accomplished.

Go buy a CD today (i know, i know).
Thank the person/musician that has provided you some of life's antidote.

And if you got a song that does it for you, share it with us.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Return of the Piano

I won't risk upsetting people that read this by getting into my religious beliefs, but I will say that I love symbolism and metaphor in life, and that almost any situation or action in our lives can be adapted quite nicely to some medium of meaning. This week has been no different for me - and as I pack up my office in my house, my symbol comes in the form of a Piano.

After moving into my home in 2004, I rushed to get an office set up immediately. I rushed everything back then: life, relationships, breakfast, surfing. Everything that mattered to me for so long all of a sudden had become a distraction, because I was all encompassed into the art of business. I had started my first restaurant venture, the Union Cattle, and my partners and I were obsessed in succeeding there.  So, as I moved in, my first thought was to be grown up and setup my camp of operations; a modern day office with technology and printers and screens and filing cabinets. Look at the suspenders on that kid.  And so that was my twenties: the office in my home was my metaphor, my constant distraction, my raison d'etre.  I can't tell you how many times I'd have a dinner party or female companion over, and I'd sneak to the office to check my emails, or the daily sales reports. Laughable, really.

And so as I broke out my cardboard boxes this weekend, and packed up years of paperwork, old broken printers, and hundreds of fatherless cables, I lamented. I looked through the old deals, agreements, issues, and schematics that had once papered my walls, and I neatly packed them away to make room for the new metaphor: my Piano.

Now one might say - the productivity! Why take a room that spit out creativity, graphics, contracts, ideas, a ton of work and replace it with a simple piano that won't contribute anything to Saint Rocke? And as I thought about it, sitting on a pile of old band posters, I realized that the Piano was my new metaphor. A maturing if you will, into a different type of person, a more well-rounded person, and thus a better business person.

I think we are all creative inside, every one of us. But how many of us pursue, nurture, and promote that creativity? Do you? I can't speak for you, but I know that when I do it makes me more effective, more productive, and everybody that works around me is a little less tense.  So for me, as the Piano comes in, and I start playing again, I realize that I've actually started working harder than before. On me.

Go play the piano. Go paint a picture. See what happens.
And if you're not too shy, tell us about it....