I am laughing as the bus driver pulls over in the middle of a street, “ok folks, I just want to get a little coffee.” and he literally is running into a convenience store to get some. “what about the rest of us?” the entire surreal moment is much like the rest of the time in the town that is difficult to get to or from, from anywhere.
The summer sun lazily appears over the horizon. like the rest of us with the 5 am call – it appears to want a cup of coffee as well. I have to make a quick trip for a meeting in NYC. my body and mind are not all that excited about the travel, as it is not a tour bus where you can at least spread out and work somewhat comfortably, but I can type, and as long as I don’t look at the screen, I will be fine. it is a beautiful site, the yellowish, red-orange is diffused by the layer of fog that is lifting.
I think the creator of the universe is saying, “hey, you jumped out of bed and forgot to pray…I am here.” as I waited in line, there was a really nice man from Canada that was schlepping his bags with his wife to get back home to Edmonton. he is a magician simply working the road. before boarding, I learned the man and his wife were ministers before the change of profession.
so that is what I am going to type about, as I never met a minister who turned into a magician before. he mentioned he got into magic late in life and they have been working the road the last four years fulltime. I smiled in that it was noticed to see someone working the road still and to hear how the business has changed and I fired off a lot of questions with the biggest change being the attention span of a kid today.
“yeah, it is really strange, you are there working on a trick and the kid Is googling how to do it. anymore there is more entertainment value over being technical.”
perhaps this is where I marvel at people that can do sleight of hand or card tricks well. it is something that takes even the professionals working full time each day to master. what I learned this morning is that all the time and effort is to keep developing and growing a changeup to top the previous level of the known trick. it is a full-time job, of which, the great ones practice a lot. it is a bit like going to the gym each day. many people work out, but the professionals work at a level that is far above and beyond the “norm.”
speaking of gyms. yesterday I was in and struck up a conversation with another late bloomer. I large black man named, “Lincoln.” who is a late bloomer trying to break into professional wrestling. I will go back and hand him some sketches in a few days of a character and name that he can use, as he mentioned, “it’s all about entertainment anymore in the states. I really want to go to Japan to do their wrestling.”
thus, for whatever reason, maybe all the years I worked shows in Japan – I combined the American slant, with the large black wrestler named, “Lincoln” and worked a sumo overview into it. it is tough as he is trying to work his stage name, “Lamar” in his act, yet, I am looking at them going, “dude, just use your real name….and twist it to a global perspective to be an anti-villain that is a bit of a villain in defending the rights to freedom and humanity on the planet…just use the Lincoln name and be something like Lincoln black, the black Lincoln, or Lamar Lincoln – Lincoln Lamar?” (mind you, my mind is already taking this guy a designing his costume, story, and merchandising line before he ever said “Konnichiwa!”)
what makes the story compelling to me, is we are using the foundation of the man’s actual life and putting a character around it. usually you see characters created, much like they are today – it is an act and you can see right through them, “oh it is not real.” perhaps this is what I see missing in live entertainment today - everyone is branding away, and fewer are simply paying attention to the experience that is live.
I was a proponent of 50 truck stages 25 years ago. today, I am a proponent for any act or musician that is good at their craft and not covered in a layer of fluff. a case and point is one of the best guitar players I know, is a guitar tech and not on the stage. he is older now, and was going on auditions after meeting with his hairdresser…”Mark, the problem today is they want folks that look the part. it matters more than can they literally “play” the part live.
so there is this hulking man, who is actually named, “Lincoln” who might do ok in Japan. it would be an interesting story to create and follow, as it could expose people to more of the reality of skin color and the seeming universal ways that some humans will exclude anything different from themselves and create a level of strife with racism. this problem is global, yet, I don't know of any skin color that has a stigma attached to it as the people of color. in Japan, if you are not Japanese, you are a gaijin. it translates as, “foreigner.” in China you have “guailow (forgive spelling), and in the united states, despite the declaration of independence saying, “all men are created equal…” you have a lot of strife that exists, for reasons I am not sure of the, “why?” it exists.
I digress…so I will mock up some sketches with sumo meeting American wrestling, a large black man named, “Lincoln” and see what he thinks. you would think he made all of this up, yet, the message he could carry is a lot larger than entertainment and fun.
“Mark, I am not a sumo wrestler”
“not a problem, you don't have to be. besides, you would have to work through the system for many years to ever get to the top levels.”
“how do you know that?”
“there was one book in a Japanese train station written in English, sort of a sumo for dummies type book, but it was in English and something I could read on the shinkansen. after reading all the goes on in the ring, the symbolism and tradition – I found sumo to be very interesting. so I am just taking elements of it for blending you with Lincoln.”
I really need to call one costume designer I know, as maybe I am nuts, but this very odd vision in my head appears to make little sense as I type it…but when you would see Lincoln walking in a room with this ring wear – it will get ones attention and the double entendre of meanings…give that look genuine depth. it is not like, “hey we were stumped and needed to make up a character for some bouts.
it will be a fun side project late at night as I wait for the delay of deliveries of materials to create our own prototypes.
I will have to google the Canadian magician from Edmonton…as I really don’t know why or how his story went from being a minster to a magician. but like all of us, we all have a story and some dreams inside our hearts.”
the question is how many will take the chance, even with overwhelming odds that most acts will fail as the supply of folks vying for a few spots on the fame train seems to be getting larger than smaller. the digital age makes everyone think they can do everything like the see on tv or the internet – yet the reality is few can do such talents well and consistently, sans editing.
modern times with the instant gratification society have and are watering down everything in life to put some circus-style entertainment twist on it.
the human mind does not have the capacity to take in and assimilate great depth with the barrage of noise each of us feels. perhaps that is why I make the time each morning and pray, meditate, and many days ask, “can I get a little help learning how to be more patient, not get angry, not judge another…to learn to love in a way that is all people and not some western influences romanticized variant?”
it is a bit like why the Japanese are fine with robots. the Shinto religion has a very different idea than what the capitalistic consumer societies of the west think. we tend to think man is some special or supreme center of the universe…when the reality is when you pull back on the perspective, you realize we are not much of anything in the cosmic sense.
but in our time here – maybe the magician will minister to more people? perhaps racial bigotry and stereotypes can be changed with a black man wresting in Japan? it is all too big a mystery for me to understand. so right now. I will stop and do my morning prayers as this bus from the town that is hard to get to and from hurtles toward new York city for a meeting.
that is the cool work where we apply all the things we learned to manipulate people’s emotions via technology – for plants. and now…not so much to entertain people, but rather allow them space and place to work on recovery from all the noise of the short attention span reality the developed world calls living.
it was sad to hear that the biggest inhibitor of live entertainment is people with cell phones in the audience. our attention spans are like a gerbil sprinting on its treadmill in a cage. I fear it will only get worse.
now I pray and meditate….”what’s next?”
“mark, I am NOT a sumo wrestler”
“I know that, but it will go well with Abraham Lincoln and the tale of a late bloomer in the globe.”