My Bologna has a first name. It’s Oscar.

Remember that commercial with the little boy sang with his bologna sandwich? (Maybe not if you were born after the 70’s.) But that thirty-second spot was so much more fun than the Academy Award show last night. And yes, his bologna was between two slices of white bread.

Celebrities have used the Oscar stage for their political platform as long as the show has been televised. Who wouldn’t with such a large captive audience? So it was no surprise that Chris Rock’s theme for the night was black actors getting the shaft. I just didn’t think it was necessary to poke the world in the eye with it the entire show. That’s preaching to the choir.

I’m not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Therefore, I can’t nominate anyone for an Academy Award. Nor can most of the viewing audience.

My morning paper praised Rock’s ranting. Was I the only one that got bored? I certainly didn’t find it entertaining. And, had I been one of the nominees, I would have felt embarrassed for my lack of skin tone.

I agree with equality in all things. Race, gender, religion, politics, sexual orientation, you name it. I’m down for equality for all. But if someone isn’t nominated for an award, does that always mean it was for a biased reason other than that particular role might not have been worthy of a nomination?

And there was no mention that at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, every black actor nominated won their category. Did that mean they won because of their brilliant performance, or because of their skin tone?

Is it any wonder the rest of the world views Americans as rich, spoiled, and now, racist?

Plenty of actors have been nominated several times for great roles and never won an Oscar.  Great actors like Peter O’Toole, Glenn Close, Ed Harris, Albert Finney . . . Wait! All white and still lost.

I adore film and television, and all the creativity and work that goes into making them. At one time the theater was my church where I worshipped the gods of visual art.  I still live to experience all kinds of diversity in settings around the globe that I’ll never get to see in person. I want to see, feel, and hear how other groups of people think and respond to all kinds of circumstances. I want the “me too” moments, and the “I can’t imagine” thoughts.

What I don’t care about anymore is all the pomp and pageantry of award shows. I mean, pre-show emcees were all a-Twitter about Rock’s use of a rainbow pen in rewriting his monologue. Really?

I don’t care who shows up with whom, who or what they are wearing, or who Oscar says is the best. It’s all bologna. I’ll wager that no Syrian refugee, homeless Haitian, or Greek grocer lost sleep over not being represented at the Oscar’s last night. My guess is that they would have preferred bologna, too.

Be Responsible for the Energy You Create

A sign hangs in my friend’s shop that says something like “Be Responsible for the Energy You Bring With You.”

Yesterday, I attended a theatrical production at an inaugural art festival showcasing female artists. I went without expectations and had not yet carefully perused the descriptions of the presentations before show time. Now, being all female creations, I expected some anger and rebellion in the performances. What I had not anticipated was a presentation making me physically ill.

I work with energy on a daily basis and am usually able to deflect unwanted ones. I use various techniques, but in the case of theatrical performance, folding my arms in front of my stomach usually does the trick. As well as reminding myself that I am witnessing an artistic expression and not an actual event.

Art is all in “the eye of the beholder” and consumed through the perception of the individual. Part of that process as a consumer is trying to interpret the artist’s intent. But when you imagine that the intention was to turn a subject completely around for the sake of being different or provoking, the disturbing content takes on a whole new level of outrage.

The subject was child molestation, from the perspective of the predator believing the child enjoyed what adult was doing to him.

I don’t make a habit of rudely exiting in the middle of an actor’s performance, but I couldn’t sit through it. Even after enduring it for only a few minutes, the pain in my stomach felt as if I’d been sucker punched. I kept asking myself, how was that art? Why would any female artist choose to present such a topic from a male perspective?

I realize horrifying subjects are presented in a variety of artistic mediums – war, murder, rape, etc. But as a consumer, I have the right to decide how I feel about it, whether to continue to allow myself exposure to it and if I would recommend it to others or not. The energy hit me like a vicious slap from someone who was smiling at me. Yes, the actor was smiling as she described molesting a child. I felt like I had been assaulted and was totally unprepared for the stabbing pain that stuck with me for several hours afterward.  I could only imagine what it might have done to someone in the audience who had experienced such an atrocity as a child.

Be mindful of the energy you put out into the world, even as an artist performing to a captive audience. Energy doesn’t die and can penetrate whomever it touches like smoke absorbs into fabric. I like my art like I like my food, with enough familiarity to identify with it while presenting something new and intriguing to make me think. I don’t believe either should cause physical pain.

 

 

Did You Survive Valentine’s Day?

I’ve never been much of a romantic. Other than a well-worded card (written by someone else), I’ve never fallen into the cheesy chocolate plush toy, balloon tethered to overpriced flowers trap. (But what a stroke of marketing genius, ya?)

When I was single and unattached, Valentine’s Day only served to remind me of what I didn’t have. Now that I’ve been married for many years, I remember how silly that was. A Hallmarkian holiday shouldn’t have the power to define how I felt about myself as a single person.

At the market on Saturday, people were pawing through the greeting cards and flowers as if their lives depended on it. The cards were a mess and the bouquets of flowers overpriced. (When did an average-sized greeting card become $4.99?)

Perhaps the holiday was created so that inarticulate people could manage to say what they felt in their hearts without sounding like bumbling idiots.

Nah. I mean, how hard is it to say “I love you?”

At my house, we don’t have to say it all the time. Ninety percent of all human communication is through body language – expression, gestures, and touch. We do things for each other without complaint and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. We employ honor and respect, patience and understanding. Even if we are in disagreement, we allow the other their say or opinion. And we keep each other in mind when making any decision. Even little things like sharing a treat or going to a favorite place.

The cute trivial stuff can be fun, but completely unnecessary if you have a solid relationship. My husband travels for work and is rarely in town for my birthday, much less has time to shop. But he makes my life possible. My favorite time is when he’s fresh off the road, relaxing in his favorite chair, dog at his feet, home safe. That is the gift.

 

 

Trampled

Super Bowl 50 – A Lesson in Humility

Living in North Carolina, I was inundated with interviews by Carolina Panthers. I had an overwhelming impression that the players felt as if the game would be a cake walk – that the Denver Broncos wouldn’t even be a challenge.

And Panthers’ always-camera-ready media darling Cam Newton walked and talked like the shining star everyone had placed all of their hopes and wishes on. With a twinkle in his eye and dazzling smile, he promised to bring home the bacon for North Carolina.

The cats stepped into the arena believing themselves the predators on the playing field. Panthers eat horse meat, don’t they?

But they underestimated the power of the herd.

Herd mentality is about following a leader. And when the leader has his wits about him and certainty, the herd becomes a force. The Denver Broncos were not the heralded dream team with a nearly perfect season. They weren’t resting on any laurels. They came out of the shoot fired up and prepared for the teeth the Panthers claimed to have.

If you’ve ever encountered a herd of worked of hooved animals, you know the force with which they can charge.

Sometimes we can allow our ego to run so far away with us that we lose sight of reality. The Panthers were served a big piece of Humble Pie after their leader was sacked seven times. With any luck they learned a little humility and will mature into being the best they can be. They are a young team with a lot to learn. Perhaps the showboating can be curbed until after winning the big one.

Image result for cam newton post super bowl behavior

When you allow your ego to be your shadow, you block your own light.