This week I was invited to a reading by the wonderful author, doodle artist and friend, J Clement Wall. It was held at Peet’s Coffee on a warm summer evening. Everything seemed to be “right” about the night – even the normal traffic was gone, so where I thought I would be very late to the event, I made it with minutes to spare.
J was joined by other authors and artists of various backgrounds. Some read from their own published works, while others read from their favorite authors. One gentleman branded himself as an artist/performer, and asked J if he could read one of her pieces at another time – quite the compliment for any author. The small audience was made up of family and friends, and probably a few writing enthusiasts coming to support local artistry. All in all, it was a great evening – the readings were fantastic, the atmosphere warm and inviting… even the Tea Latte I purchased was good 🙂
I have never been a big fan of famous people. My friend Vic was doing an event where he teamed up with some current and former NFL greats. After the event people were clamoring to get autographs and signatures from the players. Frankly, I was happy just to support my friend. Maybe because I have had occasion to see many famous people “behind the scenes”, where they are not their stage name or persona, but just a person who is chasing their dream… some dreams just happen to have a larger stage than others, but it doesn’t mean that the dream itself is bigger. It’s just theirs, and I appreciate that.
For my birthday, my daughter took me to a local hotspot, known throughout the Bay Area. Yoshi’s is a dinner club, tucked away on the back side of Jack London Square. If you think you are going to see throngs of people in the audience as far as the eye can see, you have come to the wrong place. It is small – small enough for the artist to connect with the audience and for there to not be a bad seat in the place. The tables are set up in such a way that you end up sharing with people you don’t know, which is kind of fantastic in and of itself. The show we saw was a jazz great – Larry Carlton, but the way he presented himself you would have thought he was a local.
There is something special about the local producer: artist, writer, farmer, etc. Many times the local producer gets lost in the “flash-buzz” of the famous, but there is something fresh and exciting about the local, and something wonderful about supporting them. Local artists reveal things that you wouldn’t hear or see in the corporate branding of the famous. Local artists take different type of risks, stretch boundaries (or simply declare that there are none), and create from passion not from profit. There just is a different type of life that you experience from the local artist, and it is fun and refreshing.
I have the benefit of being in a household of artists, so there is always an opportunity to connect with others who are living their dream, and the dream doesn’t have to be about being famous… just about doing what you love.
This one I leave to you… I’m sure you have run across a person or place that is just an icon for their community. You wouldn’t know about them except for being in that community, or knowing someone who is there. Who are you a fan of?