Friday, March 7, 2014

Artists Must Suffer For Their Art Because It Is a Good Excuse for Sucking.

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Growing up on the prairies we did not have a lot of Ballet dancers hiking across the mountains to join us after their boats docked in the Hudson's Bay.

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They probably would not have been able to carry off plaid and overalls anyway, so it was probably a good thing.

I like to imagine, had any ballerina even been kidnapped or sold into farming, I might have had a chance.  I mean even if there had been a magazine where farmers could shop for an overseas unknowing bride, sending Photo Shopped pics of themselves looking like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall, to entice them to come on down . . . a ballerina might have squeaked through and I surely would have become a great dancer - twirling on my toes and doing interpretive type stuff.

That didn't happen so I became a child of opportunity - which meant you basically worked with what you had, and improvised to get something similar, or not . . . . lots of times I just settled for "something." Cowboy boots do not lend themselves to toe dancing or much interpretation other than boot scooting.  So I became an interpretive "speaker."

No, it is not the same thing as lying.  Interpretive speaking takes real talent.

Red was the colour of barns.  I suppose in a blizzard, you had half a chance of finding the red barn .  A white barn would have been a disaster.  I also considered that being as the "farmer's daughter" was always somewhere out behind the barn that it was appropriately painted "red" as well.  A virginal building, that the farmer's daughter was behind, would not have worked as well and it would have been really hard to distinguish between it and a church - especially when the cows and sheep were all milling about inside.  I think it was the harbinger for the "red light district" that would take up the cities eventually.

Red was blood.  It was anger. It was heat.

So when I painted my brother red and got caught, I tried to interpret it with my words, creatively.  I spoke with passion (which is also characterized by red paint) about the need for the young warriors on the verge of their manhood to be painted before they went into battle, and I was not sure if my grandfather had noticed or not, but my brother had been verging his manhood for weeks.  

When that didn't work, I went to the second movement in the interpretive dance speaking and pointed out that while all that red might seem like one thing to him, in China red was purity and had he ever seen my brother looking more pure more perfect than that moment?  Did he want to take him with him to church and pray?


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My grandfather performed his own dance  - one that honoured the age old traditions and movements.  It involved a long leather belt and embracing the red completely.  With anger and passion he "danced" until he was so hot his face was red and matched the heat and colour of my bottom.

I never admitted to having been the one who painted my brother. I am not sure how he could have known it was me.  He didn't catch me in the act of painting him.  There were no witnesses.  No-one ever believed anything my brother had to say.  There was no DNA testing done on the red substance found on my hand which may have looked like paint but could have just as easily have been blood or ketchup.

He jumped to his own conclusions with his toes perfectly pointed . . . with cowboy boots on . . .


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