Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Real Artists

So there I am, minding my own business as usual, in my new AWESOME 4-inch platforms I like to call my Barbarella shoes (if only I could be half so sexy as Jane Fonda in that bizarre 60s Sci Fi) and I stop to talk to one of Brooklyn's Finest. I am referring, of course, in the radius around my 12th St. home, to the beefcakes of my local wine store and bar. The establishments, it has been noted elsewhere in a review of some fame, are popular for more than just their wine. There will be a calendar someday if they play their cards right:)

So, anyway, I digress, but only to amuse myself and, hopefully, you dear reader(s). This young man I stop to speak with as he sweeps up outside to pick up chicks, I mean clear the area of Brooklyn grime, is excited about his upcoming move to La La land, where they will surely better appreciate his white sneakers and, more importantly, where his girlfriend lives.

"She's a musician," he said.

"Cool," I said, "what kind?"

"She's a real artist," he said.

At this, I throw back my head and laugh. I have been told recently this is my signature move, the one people picture when they picture me, one several people actually have photos of including the horrid framed shot of me at my wedding shower on display in my in-laws' house. "That is so Stephanie," my mother-in-law always says. I don't know how I feel about this, but there it is. I do it unconsciously so stopping is probably not an option.

After my laughter subsided, I stared at L.A. Boy questioningly, head moving back and forth in amazement. "And by this you mean..."

He didn't bat an eye, didn't back off. "She actually gets paid for what she does, she's not just waiting tables, doing the occasional gig."

"Nice," I said, "very nice. So you're not an artist unless you get paid?"

"Well...it's just that, I mean, she's really good, she does make a living at it. There's a difference."

There is. For sure. But being a real artist is very hard. Most of Brooklyn is trying, it seems. Manhattan too, of course, and L.A., and lots and lots of other places. Thank God they are not all successful or who would wait tables? Who would bartend or serve us our coffee or, I dare say, sell us our wine? Everyone, it seems, wants to be a real artist. Including me.

The conversation was particularly interesting because the evening before I had attended a great event at the Chelsea loft of a singer/songwriter friend. She had invited some people to listen to her and to two other singer/songwriters and a percussionist before she lamentably leaves said pricey loft for the greener (and cheaper) pastures of Brooklyn.

Now, I don't know how much money one must make to be considered a real artist, but I know these very talented musicians are still somewhat struggling despite having albums on iTunes, writing songs for TV shows, getting paid for gigs, etc.

My husband, the guilt-ridden corporate benefactor going deeply in the red to support my own fledgling artistic efforts, bought all five CDs on offer without pause. For my part, I gave a ton of gratitude to the musicians for their awesome efforts and, of course, a slew of gold stars both to the performers and to attendees for having come to support these really good artists through their persons and their purses. We had been asked to pay a suggested $10 donation for the wine and beer and snacks on offer. They are, after all, trying to keep it real.

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