I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship over the last few days and weeks. Mostly I’ve been thinking about whether I’m a good friend to my friends or if we all endure each other in some delicate dance; any one of us breaks the rhythm then the offending party is ejected into the void. I happen to love my friends but must confess my disappointment in them not easily falling prey to my mutant-power mind-control and subtle charms. I say this in jest, of course, actually what I really wonder is when to take a step back from friends whose neediness jeopardizes my sanity and priorities. Being inartful in where to draw this line, I think I hurt a friend recently, mostly because I ghosted him at a time of critical need in his life. However, having extended myself more than I should have to him in the recent past, I felt like I had no other choice.
Artists are fortunate ambassadors of the culture in that we navigate all strata of people across race, class, religion, and political persuasion. This can make for some strange pairings when going to an artist party, (I pride myself on throwing such soirées). It’s because of our nature that we often come across desperate people who we as empathetic souls want to mend or at least acknowledge. I’m reminded, at this time when I’m choosing to not dive headlong into my friend’s crisis, how often this same thing was done to me; particularly when I lived in New York. We’re those people any less my friends because they choose not to help me through every crisis. We throw around the term fair-weather-friend, but do we really mean friends who refuse to be our parents.
Back in the 2000s, I remembered this tragic case of two Central American men who were holding hands as they walked back home. Some black men jumped and brutally murdered these two friends thinking they were gay. I don’t remember if the victims were brothers or just really close buddies. What saddened me the most though was not the homophobic nature of the attack, it was just how alarming, radical, and enraging two-man holding hands are to some people, whether or not attraction between the two exists. I believe toxic masculine is real. Our culture’s notions of the rugged solitary man who not only doesn’t expresses emotions but violently disavows them are part of the American myth. Is it this creed that allows someone like me to selfishly deny assistance to someone else because they should be able to “figure it out on their own”?
I recently went to an opening for my buddy Darrell George. He had a fabulous show at Gallery Jupiter in Little Silver, NJ that nearly sold out at the opening. After the opening, we all went out and had beers and dinner. Darrell’s friends were mostly high school and college buddies with who he had played football when they all were younger. I really marveled at the near psychic bond these men had with each other, they hadn’t seen each other for years yet it seemed like they were still on the team. I think folks on most sports teams or in the military have this sort of bond.
I remember a few years ago hearing a report on NPR or some news show about male friendship and aging. The thesis of the news report surmised, not surprisingly, that as men grow older they make and have fewer friends. This is no doubt exacerbated if that person is single. I think a lot about these matters, choosing to think of my friends and even acquaintances as sort of house plants that must be constantly watered and tended to lest they quickly dry out and wilt. I can’t say that I have a green thumb in terms of gardening – I can barely keep house plants alive – and I fear that my so-called skill at maintaining friendships is just as feeble. While I do dwell on these matters longer than I should, even offering up uncomfortable tears from time to time wondering how to face and defeat my crippling loneliness with companionship, I console myself with the thought that I’ve done the best I could by the people I call my buddies. While this thought is rarely enough when in the depths of great loneliness, and certainly never enough for those desperate always-in-crisis-friends, I trust in my instincts of where I give and take emotional time from others.
Here are All the Cephalopod Chromaticity pieces altogether. I finished the series last week desperate for some reason to finish a series.
I’ve gone back into Tame Impala mode lately, mostly because it’s the easiest thing to pull up quick on my Pandora as I’m driving in my car. The song I go to over and over again is “Let it Happen”. It so reminds me of 80’s synth pop, it feels like a time machine. Listening to this song has triggered several studio sessions filled with other synthy 80’s bands like Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and The Cure. I loved those angsty goth sounds as a teen. Being melancholic and nostalgic by nature it isn’t any wonder that I still like this sound as a middle-aged man.
The other thing I return to over and over again, also in that melancholic space, is Amy Winehouse. I can listen to “Take the Box” over and over again. I actually think I probably recommended it several times here. So instead of selecting that song again lets this time go with Adele’s new single from her new release “30”, called “Easy on Me”. Here are the YouTube videos of both songs.
The next few weeks are going to be real pressure cooker times for me with big events happening all next week and weekend. I have a rooftop party being held in conjunction with NFT/NYC for Spatial, a VR firm based in New York, next Thursday. That event represents my best opportunity for a while to get my NFT gallery off the ground. The next big happening is Cocktails and Collecting, which is an event at the Allentown Art Museum. This gala is my best opportunity to sell my physical paintings. Between the two events, I hope to make enough money to sustain me at least through to the middle of next year. But nothing is of course assured, and art buyers can be fickle.
I wonder sometimes whether charisma is the enzyme that drives art sales. It seems that without it even talented artists can fall flat on their faces. This is why I like galleries because they have staff that does that charisma thing for you. While I can agree on some lever that there are few excuses for not being a good salesman when your hawking your own wares, I also believe there are innately charismatic and magnetic personalities that artists should feel comfortable in utilizing if they know if such people. I try to fill in my own deficit in this department by being as easygoing and affable as possible, and by feeding people. With a never-ending amount of expenses pulling up for me, I’m hoping I can navigate these huge events with enough charm (and assistance from pleasant friends) to lead to a payday so I can live to fight another day. Okay, that’s it for now. Until next time, do be well.