Today I did a show at a Tattoo Convention with a group I’ve started to work with called Blue Moon Circus. I’ve worked with a lot of different groups all over the world, and Blue Moon Circus is by the far the most classic circus arts group I’ve worked with. Baldini, the “ring master” (we don’t use animals, FYI) has worked with a long list of very notable circuses over the past 30 years and he likes to keep it old school. Ember, who organizes and manages shows, is his assistant and also a belly dancer/fire spinner. I got onboard because Ember likes my spinning.
Blue Moon Circus has a good reputation in Louisville and they get lots of events so I thought the Tattoo Convention would really like us but we got a mixed reaction. The crowd really liked Baldini’s side show acts like hammering nails in his nose and laying on a bed of nails and smashing glass in his face but the juggling (out juggler is about to leave us to go study circus in Sweden), belly dancing, glow poi, twin hoops and LED fans got yawns from the crowd.
I did a show up in Cincinnati last week that was pretty much received the same way. People seemed to not like the beautiful, dancing acts but rather wanted to watch people get hurt with sharp objects or burlesque acts with women taking off their clothes. I started thinking about this because I’ve performed all over the world and the average American has a complete lack of understanding for beauty, art and dance but they love sex and violence. Some people may say it’s a human thing but I’d beg to differ because you don’t find that widespread thirst for violence in Europe or in developed Asian countries like Japan. Even when I was in Dubai, the mythically “violent” Arab people had a much greater appreciation for dance and art than Americans. Only when I came back to America did I start doing burlesque because it was the only way to get people to appreciate my non fire hooping acts. Don’t get me wrong, I love burlesque and in some places I’ve been like the Middle East and Japan it would never go over as well as it does here but that’s my point. When I came back to the States and started doing shows, I learned that if my juggling tool wasn’t on fire, I better be getting naked because most audiences need boobs to grab their attention. I have a big bag of tricks but that doesn’t mean shit to some audiences if clothes aren’t coming off. Only in America have I ever had to result to making art out of stripteases to get people to appreciate my dancing. But then again, I think the size of the American city has something to do with the way art is appreciated because in big cities, like Chicago, I didn’t have to strip to grab the audiences’ attention either. I guess it really depends on where you perform and I’ve done a little thinking about that too.
I think in bigger cities dance and circus arts are appreciated much more than in smaller US cities. I live in Louisville, KY. Some people call it a city…I have a hard time calling it that because I’ve traveled around the world and seen the big, shiny, futuristic cities that make Louisville look like a barnyard. Towns like Louisville and smaller settlements that are closer to the country are more in touch with the basic human instincts to hunt, fuck and kill than people in the city. In smaller towns, people still do hunt, they love their guns because they use guns to put food on the table. And when you’re in a small, boring town, there’s nothing to do but have sex and hunt sometimes. And becuase Louisville is so isolated and close to the country, that basic instinct to hunt and kill and fuck is a lot stronger for people than it is in say, LA or Tokyo or London or Paris or someplace like that where people are very modernized.
And so to bring it back full circle, I realized that the reason why sex and violence is so valued in America and art is not is because most of America is rural and rural communities are not as developed as big cities and still value basic, man vs. nature survival, strength and sex over art. In conclusion, I think appreciation for art and culture only develops when people aren’t so distracted by trying to survive in nature. This idea can also explain the chauvinistic tendencies found in rural culture because men feel like it’s their “duty” to be “protectors” of the community and make sure that women survive to please them but also to ensure that their small community will survive and not die off due to low birth rates. I think that as long as America remains a very large, mostly rural country, we will continue to see a total lack of appreciation for intellect and art and the continued elevation of violence and sex for subconscious survival purposes.
Does anyone know a good book that is an introduction to actual Jewish Kabbalah and not Crawley/OTO/New Age Kabbalah? About 10 years ago I wrote the bare bones of a novel that I think can most closely be described as a Revelations fanfic, which is hilarious, because I’m not even Christian but Apocalyptic prophesies have always fascinated me. I wrote it without having any kind of background in mysticism and without having read Revelations. Then over the past 10 years, I’ve gone back and off and on, I’ve worked on putting meat on the bones of the story. I’ve thickened and enriched plot with language as well as all kinds of actual researched mysticism. Actually, it’s like working out a very beautiful puzzle by using my plot to explain my understanding of the mystical texts that I’ve studied. Honestly, I never thought it would come together the way it has because initially, I had no mystical background at all and through the research, I’ve enriched my spiritual life through exposure to all kinds of interesting philosophies. As the next step in the mystical workings of the book, I’d like to incorporate some basic Kabbalah philosophies but all I can seem to find is the kind of Kabbalah books and websites that true practitioners of the Kabbalah stay away from because they’re new agey and not true to the traditional study of the Kabbalah. I’ve read a little introductory level new age Kabbalah but I’d like to stay true to the roots of the magical workings and philosophy becasue I feel that’s more in line with the old world stories of Judgement day. Honestly, I think if I really want to learn about classical Kabbalah, I’ll have to find a rabbi to teach me and that will probably be really difficult considering I’m a woman, I’m under 40 and I’m not Jewish. Good lord, with the way I’m getting lost in research, it’ll be another 10 years before I’ll even be close to being able to publish my book. But the journey is worth it, and when the time comes for me to put it out, I’ll know. I’m just learning and following my intuition.
Ernest R. Ashton (1867-1951)
Evening Near Pyramids, 1897
is ths picture supposed to be moving
(Source: yourpsychopony, via aaprilnotmay)