Friday, October 10, 2008

Stagehand of Babylon

A couple of folks with to much time on their hands have asked me why I’ve stopped posting. I’ve been blessed with a schedule that has been filled with a lot of work. Those of you in the business know what “busy” means in terms of time constraints. If you don’t, ask you family.

I think many of us like to think that we primarily make our living in the arts or at least on the periphery of it. But even in New York City it sometimes difficult to survive on just a diet of culture. As we get further and further from the hot sun of the fine arts, away from the nourishing atmosphere of Broadway we’ll work in the cold outer planets of “television” and “industrial.” Even these can be satisfying when the technological gee-whiz factor is high enough. A lot of product rollouts and events have a lot of bright, new shiny toys.

So where am I? Out in the cold outer reaches of our universe, there is a distant planet called “Cable.” It can support life but it’s a hardscrabble existence. Orbiting that planet is a lifeless, gray moon called the “Business News Channel“.

Business News Channel is inhabited by a race of people called “Clients”. It’s a soul-sucking place where the end result of a stagehand’s labor is to help tell the rest of the Universe about the importance of the “Market”. The Market and the Clients don’t produce anything. They do, however, talk a lot about how important they are and why they are the “Masters Of The Universe.”

Their main religion is a philosophy called the “Tao”; I believe it’s spelled. A great deal of attention is paid to the daily and even hourly moods of their god. Often you will hear it brightly said, “The Tao was up today” or solemnly “the Tao closed down today”. "The Tao went for a walk on Wall Street."

Space is often warped on Business News Channel. Regularly in the workplace, small groups of Clients will arrive, blink quickly and announce, ”It looks bigger/smaller than I thought it would.” For me, it looks exactly the size it was drawn to be on the blueprints but for the Client there seems to be a problem with perception on many levels. Sometimes color is a major problem. “It’s bluer/darker/flatter than I thought it would be” as if the sample of the color they were shown is not the same color as the one that appeared on the set.

The distortion in perception is not limited to scenery. Their measure of success in life is marked by the acquisition of things. They also seem to believe that a Bank is more important a Bakery. That Commerce is more important than Community. They put Profits before People.

There’s more, so much more and yet so very little. There will come a time when I’ll get off this little moon. As the saying goes, “when the money runs out, so do we”. The Client can hire my body for a couple of hours or days but the money always runs out and that’s my ticket back to sunshine.

Where have I been? I prefer to think about where I’m going, thank you very much.

And so it goes.