Monday, December 31, 2007

The Artist's Fall

Dec. 31, 2007-- Many artists fall into the deceptive seduction of drugs and alcohol. It is not to pay our dues, for we only end up further in debt. We seek the euphoria and illusory confidence we believe it provides. It sometimes fools us into believing we can't create without it. But to create with it brings forth many demons of the damned that thrive on our weaknesses. Then we're tortured by the constant sinner inside tearing at our higher pride; so we try really hard to be normal and moderate. Yet we are extremists and thrive on tragedy and drama, and sometimes we live in the illusion that the passions in our lives become muted as we moderate.

In New York City, I met musicians who were considered to be some of the best in the business - the cream of the crop. They were talented and brilliant players, loved and admired for their gifts. But they were also drug-addicted, reckless, inconsiderate derelicts, many of whom ended up losing in life in a big way. After awhile, my admiration of their talents waned. I'd changed my mind about them. I decided that I had no respect for these people who, on one hand, were stubborn nonconformists and would never compromise their artistic integrity for any reason; yet, on the other quite opposite hand, had no sense of humanity, loyalty, conscience... I didn't care if they were known and respected as the best musicians in New York City or the world; they were still human beings. I'd seen the side of them that cancels out any "good" they could ever do to inspire people around them. I don't think a talent excuses someone from accepting the responsibility of being a decent human being.

Someone like Vincent van Gogh probably couldn't help the way he was. He had serious physiological/mental illnesses that plagued him and eventually caused him to take his own life. For his productivity and creativity in spite of such debilitating handicaps, we must applaud him. Vincent started out in life with an attitude on the same lines as Mahatma Gandhi; he sincerely wanted to be a useful, productive and helpful member of society. He just didn't know how to go about it. Thus, the reason for him starting to paint so late in his life. He had a purpose to fulfill and it wasn't, as he originally thought - to be an evangelist and live amongst the lowly, aiding and comforting the weak and suffering. He was meant to be a mirror of his times, to create a record of all that we may otherwise never have known.

The artist's life may be a tragedy, but this should not be celebrated. It is to overcome these tragedies the mystic artist must strive for daily. The tragic element lurks deep within and we may let it destroy us, as have so many Hendrix's, Cobains and Presleys... or we may rise above it all and reinvent time.

--Excerpt from The Mystic Artist by Sandra Frazier

Recommended Reading: When Walls Become Doorways by Tobi Zausner

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Culture Crash

Dec. 20, 2007--Could striking writers really shut down Hollywood's biggest party? The producer of the Academy Awards promised Tuesday that the show would go on, although some Oscar watchers said the result could be a disastrous telecast with celebrities forced to stumble through ad-libbed presentations of awards.

"Awards shows are the best chance that writers have to prove how valuable they are. Without a script, we may finally find out how vapid and empty these stars really are," said Tom O'Neil, columnist for the entertainment-awards Web site

It's just unbelievable! Gone are the days of the truly talented showmen and women who pursued their destinies as performers, showcasing their natural gifts, without having to read cue cards, lip synch or rely on unsung geniuses to write their songs, scripts or monologues. I'm sure the old vaudevillians remember - they didn't have technology, stylists, writers or publicists to rely on to MAKE them. They made themselves and, thus, heightened American culture.

My friend, Raoul Felder, said it best in
his recent blog - "...can anybody imagine George Carlin or Jackie Mason not being able to carry on a conversation without somebody holding up cue cards?"

Remember the great performers of yesteryear? The musicians who could actually play their instruments? Singers who could actually sing? Hosts who had wit? Today they're a dying breed.

America is suffering through a real culture crash - not just because the writers are on strike, but because we've allowed these people that call themselves "artists" with minimal talent to rule the world; and so-called "entertainment" shows on TV are not reporting entertainment news, but rather tabloid gossip about these characters. There are so many shows and media outlets out there these days making a living from following around despicable people who do so little for our culture.

For instance, those kooks on Showbiz Tonight who should be ashamed of themselves! They glorify reprehensible behavior and are constantly touting no-talents, labeling them "A-listers," which is ridiculous because most of them produce nothing of any value. Their entire agenda revolves around hyping these nuts that do nothing for our culture or society. Do you actually think Britney Spears would have a "hit album" today without technology and a whole cast and crew of people doing all the work for her, hyping her, stylizing her? Her writers MAKE her! So, by praising these types of people daily, the media is lowering the bar - and the definition of TALENT - inch by inch. And we honor "Hollywood royalty" with so many awards shows annually; the praise and accolades are far outnumbering their accomplishments!

I remember years ago looking forward to the Oscars and the Grammy's, thinking of these shows as exciting, fun - an annual treat that highlighted the best of the best. But in recent years past - writers intact - these shows have become monotonous, tedious and boring - not to mention how low they scoop the bottom of the barrel looking for people to honor. And now there are just too many awards shows, so it's become a "whole lotta nothin' special."

Maybe some time away, without all the ego-stroking of the rich and famous-for-being-famous would do us all a lot of good - and maybe we'll get back to what makes American culture the greatest - real, honest talent! Maybe a sabbatical year to rethink our cultural priorities would be a good thing. Will there be no Oscars and Grammy's this year? I doubt it. I'm sure they'll find a way to go on with the show; and without writers, maybe the real talent will shine through and we'll finally see the true colors of the rest.

Related Article: Bob Colacello: "From Warhol to Reagan"

Friday, December 14, 2007

First Blog from The Mystic Artist

Welcome to The Mystic Artist blog. My name is Sandy Frazier and I am the author of "The Mystic Artist" (book) - a book I spent many years writing and researching. My purpose here is to expand upon my book and bring forth more insight into many of the topics of my book, as well as to offer commentary on today's cultural/art scene. At my Web site, I post book reviews, I have a store with many of the products I recommend, as well as links to wonderful books, music, DVDs, gifts and art to inspire. For visual fine artists, I also offer a page of art links. To view my art, please visit my galleries... and I've got more photography, movie reviews, etc. at my MySpace page. In this blog, I'll be covering the cultural scene in 2008 - in the world of art, music, movies, books, literature and more. I hope you enjoy my blog and find it inspiring and informative!