A Cultural Utopia of Angst and Empathy

“Starve yourself for just a little taste of knowledge”

Walking earlier today, I found myself passing through the Historic Jewish Cemetery locked up with its metal doors and rusted padlocks. In a metaphoric unspoken testimony, I encountered the vast separation of religion and life.

This day would take me on a journey of awakening as the culture of youth , adventure, creativity and innovation cross pollinate in a flurry of underground power. The Redux Contemporary Arts Center hosted the Artists Battle 2010. Local artists were pinned against one another in a March Madness structure to paint portraits in an all day competition to determine the best local artist. With crowds watching, the artists focused on their subjects, as the voices of Belle and Sebastian, Portishead, and Coldplay sent vibrations from their IPod to their ears. It was an air of intensity as colors blended and art was created. The eclectic colors of the crowd displayed a shower of diversity from roller derby to lesbian to Gatsby. It was beauty in numbers as children to elderly admired this rare expression of art and competition.

It would not be until later in the evening before we would learn who would rise as victor and collect the over sized cardboard check for $500.

After dodging a sea of tourists and a dash through the suburban retail wonderland of Forever 21 our journey would take us to the Museum of Living Arts. I must intersect and point out to the reading population, this is by no means a museum but you would be left of awe. This is one of the hidden treasures in the body piercing community. As we entered and I bear witness to my partner in crime adding to her collection of piercings, I was most taken back by the bond of girls that came in after to share in this exercise of expression or mutilation, depending on your personal perspective.

It was this bond that was so fascinating. After talking to these girls who ranged from teen to early twenties, they expressed some fear and anxiety, but spoke as if they were veterans to the process. They knew the terminology, expectations, and level of pain to expect from each incision. It was an experience to behold as my own personal ignorance took a lesson in the university of life.

Through these bonds, they found common rebellion. Was it from their parents, education, society, religion or a need for something more. I wish I could offer up an answer, but at this time I will watch in wonder.

Often I will walk the streets or a mall and see groups of friends walking and texting others. Clearly, the common thought running through my head is “why aren’t they talking to each other?” Have they nothing more to share or have we become so desensitized by technology that real life interaction is no longer interesting or feasible. We have turned in a new direction, but the long term affects are yet not known. Gen X and Y can remember the pre-Myspace and Facebook era but the newest group of graduates into the game of real life are not aware of what it “was” like. Do we feel sorry that friends and couples are more interested in text than the conversation or do we accept that we are living in a different time?

Where is the passion?

We need more passion. It seems we have lost the one thing that made us such a modern and innovative planet, the ability to be driven by pure animalistic intensity for life.

Whether we are in a relationship, a partnership or a friendship, there has to be a fire that maintains the strength to open up the creative pathway and energize that idea or feeling that brought you to where you need to be.

There is a song by Florence and The Machine that may very well sum up what we all need.

“A kiss with a fist is better than none” – Let that sink here. Here is a bit of the song that should help shed some light on the empathy that is numbing our very foundation.

Kiss with a Fist – Florence and The Machine

“you hit me once
i hit you back
you gave a kick
i gave a slap
you smashed a plate
over my head
then i set fire to our bed

you hit me once
i hit you back
you gave a kick
i gave a slap
you smashed a plate
over my head
then i set fire to our bed

My black eye casts no shadow
your red eye sees no pain
your slaps don’t stick
your kicks don’t hit

so we remain the same
blood sticks and
sweat drips
break the lock if it don’t fit
a kick in the teeth is good for some
a kiss with a fist is better than none
a-woah a kiss with a fist is better than none”

Kiss with a Fist – Video

Live with passion
Live with meaning
Most importantly, with with a purpose
Be the greatest “You” and you can never fail.

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