Really good art – our evening out w/ Saul Williams
Melissa and I got out to see Saul Williams tonight at a Black cultural dinner. When Melissa and I have gone out and done really good dates we’ve found pieces of culture that reflect both of our strengths and passions. For instance, movies such as ‘The Matrix’ reflect sides of both of our interests. Well, seeing Saul tonight, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d not seen live poetry done well and performed live before.
What drew us in was a couple of things. For me, it was an interest in a guy who really did something inovative with his last work by releasing it for free, essentially, for a certain period of time. No less than that, he did a hip hop record with an Industrial artist. We also wanted to step into our future daughter’s culture and listen to voices that will speak into her world. Well, what we were met with was a good evening with a thinker. It was really refreshing to interact with thoughtful ideas and to speak University speak for a short time. Saul is definately a thinker and it was really enjoyable to see that.
He’s a huge Post-Modern thinker (that’s a capital P and M). It came through at certain points and it was really obvious, but yet encouraging because where he applied it at reflected an appropriate view of culture; of displaying the sheer injustice of the world and bringing the light of day into those dark areas. Obviously, he fell into the need to reflect upwards at point and for me that is where post-modernism fails. But yet looking at the power structure within the hip hop genre was relaly enlightening. I’m not going to do his argument justice, but thinking through a corporate presence within hiphop and the music business as a hegemony was an interesting angle to take.
It’s also refreshing to look at an artist who needs to fill a void in his own life. He was asked by an audience member at one point what he was listening to and he replied with an answer that I instantly respect; all artists that I find that are quality find they write to fill a gap in what they want to listen to as opposed to what exists. Those gaps tend to be places that are genuinely beautiful. And, honestly, there were moments of poetry that he recited that were just breathtaking.
Good art for me often reflects the Creator. Tonight was an excellent example of that–in the midst of the post modern rehetoric there were glimpses of a God who is passionate. In short, beautiful stuff.
The album, honestly, is not for everyone, but its beauty is growing on me. It’s a stronger album that is getting better with listens.