Had a weekend off from Shakespeare and took my camera along to see Joan Jett and The Blackhearts in Dundalk, MD. Stood next to a tree in my Athenian hat*, took some photos but mostly enjoyed the concert. Made for a nice break. Heard new music which I enjoyed, songs that amuse me ended up on the set list ("The French Song" and "A.C.D.C.") and I appreciate anyone who can work uncouth into a lyric. There was another word choice that I thought to mention but it has escaped out the door of 2 a.m. Thank you once again, Joan Jett, for an excellent night. Also affordable, which is appreciated. I'm due another shopping expedition to the Blackheart store whenever my scheduled freelance deposits actually start arriving with some regularity (apologies but I needed to vent about corporate inepitude just for half a minute somewhere.)
And so much for eloquence. Maybe I'll try a ramble. Thinking again about the characters I started with after last year's visit to a Joan Jett concert. Have been considering whether comics are the medium for me. Put Blink Kitty Love animations together to send as examples of Flip Boom to the Toon Boom social media guy and found myself impressed by their rawness + the edge I managed to get in occasionally. I like the flow of animation; I like not having to worry about what size paper to print on, how to afford the paper to print on and how to distribute. And I think I've always been influenced by Scooby Doo and Rocky and Bullwinkle. I find hints of them in my art sometimes. And thanks to a concentrated effort, first #10000robots3000guitars or something like that and recently, regularly posting digital art on the Blink Kitty Love Signs of the iApocalypso Tumblr, I know my art is improving.
But first, I have a stated goal to do the Midsummer Night's Dream of the century. I've split it into three parts, it's exhausting, confusing, the actors are going off book this week (never a good phase) and we open in less than a month. And that will cap more than 8 months of theatre. And allow me a pause to listen to all the winds and whispers from my inspirations and try to steer.
Click through to see the entire photo set:
Here's another; Jett had a lot of energy for a hot night:
And one of the weirder but fun Blink Kitty Loves:
*keeping three worlds of #3dreams straight with hat + clothing choices. helps me maintain the individual moods.
Howdy. I'll give an asymetrical snow storm surviving November rose for starters.
And follow it with the latest from the origin pond since it has once again been too long since I've posted here:
Reading Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction To Its Own Past. Solid music references + author Simon Reynolds knows how to keep a discussion moving + interesting. Enjoying it. Considering who is innovating these days. Also, Joan Jett is trying out new music in concert. I've never had the anticipate a Joan Jett and The Blackhearts album thrill. I think I'd like to.
Finally picked up Malinda Lo's Huntress but wasn't impressed. Ok, girls kissing, but is that really the only reason people like it?!?!??! Very thin on plot and character. Too simplistic for me. Trying to figure a fictional way to get the taste out. Gayle suggested Bellwether. Read Bellwether if you haven't; it's a wonder.
Has anyone read the new Terry Pratchett, Snuff? I'm curious but fear that some plot points might be off putting. Pratchett can do that. But mostly what he does is turn out comic gems so if I see it at the library I'll give it a try.
Tower Heist was mediocre, although I enjoyed Téa Leoni, Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck's perfomances. Rest of movie uneven. Car out the window stuff entertaining.
Catching up on the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother, which we skipped last year in prime time. Solid stuff. Chuck just makes me sad this year. So much potential + comic talent wasted. And why is only Chris Fedak talking it up. Is the lack of Josh Schwartz influence part of the problem?
14% voter turnout on Tuesday. Appalling. Local write in city council candidate might have actually gotten enough votes so that's the excitement of democracy in action. Of course, then he might get booted for a 20 year old drug charge, which is unclear legal language at work. Ah, America.
Being impressed by hustle. And considering how to be a bit more proactive about my own projects. Jason Sadler's I Wear Your Shirt is selling next year's calendar now. They wear shirts 365 days a year promoting businesses through social media. It seems both an unusual + successful strategy. And that's a lot of energy + personality to put into a business. Lori Kirk of Cavata Clothing also impresses me with her get the brand out there + make something happen hustle. I want to do a Boston T-shirt/music safari sometime. Between Cavata, Declaration and Regan Smith Clarke, there's certainly some things to see. That's 20. What are you reading/watching/thinking about?
Edges, crushing or otherwise, don't seem to be working for me right now. They've been washing over me as I happily focus on the details of something I'm enjoying the experience of, whether an actor's timing of a speech, the syllables of a haiku (note to self: do poetry post) or the best angle to have my camera at. Since Much Ado finished, I have been in a funk, thinking about details, lost in future projects and remembering how much I enjoy being totally focused on a subject as I capture angles, breaths and moments. Having a camera in my hand, taking pictures, changing angles, moving from pose to pose, from thought to thought, whenever this happens, it's such a flow moment. And a wonder. So I borrowed a jeweler friend's stock, back porch and tried to sell her on natural light to remind myself. It worked.
And Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are coming to town next week, which if you've read any of the earlier entries, you will realize is a fairly big event for me. Jett's example has been daring/pushing me and now that my focus seems to be narrowing from the broad sweep of the crushing edge to the craftsmanship and beauty to be found in details, I'm considering bringing my camera along and seeing what happens when Muse and craft meet. With me dancing occasionally probably, which is the part that worries me. I'm not sure that's on my camera's skill list. I'm hoping for hidden talents.
From the origin pond:
Movies: The Runaways. Great chemistry, great music, great story. Inspiring.
Tangled: funny, touching and real. Excellent voice work. Real heroism. Forgot the characters were animated. Gayle's only answer for favorite movie of the year.
Best hour: Warehouse 13's "For The Team" followed closely by the Eureka Holiday Special.
Best Guest Star: Jaime Murray as Warehouse 13's surprising and reliably excellent H.G. Wells, then Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton as the central villains of this season's Chuck. Going to have to watch the first two Terminators again; Linda Hamilton is perfect at the most dangerous thing in the universe is a mother vibe.
New discovery: Bitchin' Kitchen. Funny, clever and kick ass plus cooking tips. Can't beat that.
Also, newly discovered by me: Avatar: The Last Airbender (the original cartoon). Impressive characters + story, teens who spend episodes saving the world and/or having fun and/or debating ethics. Really, really solid stuff. And there's a sequel coming: The Legend of Korra.
Most improved: Victorious. Freak the Freak Out catchy and fun. Great when they use Daniella Monet and Victoria Justice's physical comedy talents.
Eureka caught my attention again this year, restoring the Alison-Carter chemistry, making Fargo bearable and giving Jo more to do. One of the best things about the Christmas special was the presence of Taggart. He's one of the best pieces of Eureka weirdness so I hope he appears in a few more episodes.
The Big Bang Theory has lost its ability to trigger laughter. The double dose of Sheldon as Shamy doesn't work and I'm coming to the conclusion that Mayim Bialik does not know how to do funny in that style.
Patti Smith's Just Kids -- simple and perfect. Also enjoyed Todd Oldham's Joan Jett book: there's a lovely picture of Joan Jett and Deborah Harry that I love the mood of, even though I haven't quite figured it out. It's a good puzzle.
Bad year for new fiction/mysteries. Suggestions?
Favorite haiku: the one I wrote inspired by Mapplethorpe. Most of my haikus start with an image or phrase but with this one I wanted to capture both Mapplethorpe's inspiration and a little bit of his power, which was difficult but great.
Fragile Vital Scars
Fuck not Shock but Beauty’s Bite
Life Beats Breathless Still
What excited me? I got inspired by comic books again. Specifically, Nomad. And Nomad and Araña, now the new Spidergirl. And the Legion of Superheroes is back. I'm looking forward to this year's annual which will involve two of my favorite Legionnaires: Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet.
Magazines: had a mystery subscription to Interview (thank you!) show up timed nicely with my Runaways interest -- great Joan Jett interview. Have been continuing to enjoy the magazine and occasionally using it for collages. Mapplethorpe started out collaging; I was curious. It's an interesting process. Put my first one together for Longshot mag. They didn't want it but I had fun.
Music: Well, I bought most of the Girl In A Coma's Adventures in Coverland eps and defaulted to them as playlist when last.fm was kicking up (too often) or I just wanted to listen to something good + different.
Have been having fun on some Sunday mornings flipping between CMT's Top 20 video show and general MTV videos.
Favorite video: Sugarland's Stuck on You. Great humor, plus funny Ryan McPartlin cameo. Usher's OMG is my dance video choice.
Gayle when polled immediately mentioned the Beats Antique, which she discovered when searching for Merchant of Venice music (see next item) and then added possibly The Cute Lepers. So Blackheart Records is currently ruling at our house.
My favorite accomplishment? Doing a kick ass Merchant of Venice. Had another glorious night of theatre directed by me where everything and everyone threw off sparks, the audience sat enthralled and I knew I'd reached that wonderful point in the flow curve where I'd created something that challenged all of my abilities. It's an amazing feeling.
Other highlights: the Werewolf Haiku animated short, which combined my artistic, editing and directing skills into 2 minutes of scary creepy fun.
Favorite t-shirt: Surprisingly, for a person who likes punny shirts, it's Seventh Ink's For Glory hoodie. Love the simple, clean striking graphic, was pleasantly surprised to discover it was actually 100% cotton and bonus: it's really warm and light.
Favorite t-shirt site find: Well, Tilteed gave me a job (blogging) and Goodjoe gave me an iPad. I like them both for the attitude they present to the world. Tilteed turns out excellent hand printed shirts and their team of curators searches out diverse artists/designs. Goodjoe seems to be attracting some of my favorite artists and I really like the positive humor and images they choose. Both are affordable, although I would like it if Goodjoe had the spend $30 get free shipping deal more often than the holidays. I hate paying shipping. My fun t-shirt budget is limited and shipping cuts into it.
Favorite mood: Werewolf. October was a fun month. Tilteed had an awesome werewolf shirt, I got one of my favorite actresses to record voices, howls and screams for my aforementioned Werewolf Haiku short, and the final version still spooks me. It was great fun to dip into the October chill for inspiration. I like to scare people once a year or so, then I go back to goofy.
Speaking of goofy, Blink Kitty Love episodes aren't happening with the same frequency as I'm trying to take that energy/side of my personality and put it into a different project but the animations do still happen -- and they're darn fun. My favorite is the one involving the Vampire Pine cone. Watch out, they're everywhere.
Ok, shirt.woot just posted a shirt reminding us of one of the worst things about 2010: the BP Oil Spill. My meeting with the Riverkeeper did not turn into something continuing so my bout of civic responsibility led me to C.E.R.T classes.
How was your year? Radical?
Want more details on any of the above. Read the darn blog, people. Good night! Take care. And thanks for stopping by.
I may have a rock 'n roll heart but I grew up on science fiction (and of course, Shakespeare). Science fiction was what I curled up with at night (or Agatha Christie or John Creasey, which counts as science fiction half the time, I think). Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickinson*, Tom Swift (character), George Orwell,The Legion of Superheroes (comic book)...ok, maybe I have a rocket engine fueled heart. Space adventure called. Loudly. Not only from the pages of books, but from movie and TV screens: The Avengers, Dr. Who, The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, Star Trek, Star Wars, Buck Rogers...I had a future plan that included much more than jet packs and robots, it included ROCKETS. To the moon and beyond.
At some point I switched to fantasy (Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, JRR Tolkien), then to Jane Austen, then more mysteries (Ngaio Marsh), then humorous fantasy (Terry Pratchett FTW) intermixed with teen books (yes, I have at least 7 volumes of The Princess Diaries, the books are better.)
But this year, thanks to Warehouse 13 and the excellent and emotionally shattered H.G. Wells, science fiction and adventure are back. Picked up The Invisible Man and The 39 Steps for starters...enjoyed them more than another book I revisited briefly, Lorna Doone.
Well, H.G. Wells doesn't get all the credit for bringing me back to science fiction and other adventures. There's also Charlie Jane Anders of io9. I discovered Anders and io9 while looking for Warehouse 13 episode reviews to see if anyone was watching the same show I was. And Anders was. Then io9 started hitting me with lists of must read science fiction classics, classics to start off your science fiction experience with, tropes you'll find in science fiction, lists and lists full of books I'd either read or might want to. Then came reviews of some of the current (and tempting) science fiction and fantasy out there in book, TV and movie form, random science facts, fun lists like the 20 most heroic librarians and the occasional fascination with unexploded and submerged ordnance. RSS feed and Facebook connections, check. I don't read every post as the io9 range is vast and covers multiple galaxies, but I do enjoy seeing where the io9 crew has decided to range.
Anders has once again gotten me thinking with one of her latest posts: Why doesn't more fantasy take place in the future? I've been working on something and having some difficulty with the details. So why not combine two of my favorite streams of inspiration? Part of my goal with any project is to write something that I want to read, with the characters that I've always thought were missing from the books I loved. That's one of the reasons I wrote In The Bleak December, because gay and straight characters seemed to exist in separate fictional universes. I read books and comic books, watch TV shows and get occasionally frustrated by how few characters resolve their stories in ways that reflect a scenario familiar to me. Sure Honor Harrington is great, but where's the kick ass space admiral who ends up with a girl. No, I don't want it to be Honor. Her (and author David Weber's) choices make her character. But that leaves writing a story that combines Witch World, Persuasion, and On Basilisk Station to me. Which is great but is also why I stopped going into the science fiction section of bookstores and libraries for awhile. Too many opportunities to haunt myself with panic, why nots and what ifs.
So now I'm back in a science fiction mood, thanks to Warehouse 13 and io9...and wondering where will it take me this time?
*You don't know what a Hoka is? Tsk, tsk.
Well, I was trying to untrite a comment about Amanda Palmer seeming to be a one woman series of creative tsunamis, but having seen part of a video of her in performance (via the A.R.T., theatre host of her upcoming Caberet collaboration -- Palmer is playing The Emcee), Twitpics taken at a Cabaret poster photo shoot and en route to a Lady GaGa concert, I've decided Amanda Palmer may be Oberon, Puck and Titania forcefully merged by mad and not necessarily random accidents of Fortuna, traffic and destiny.
You can see recent photos of whatever @amandapalmer is up to if you follow her on Twitter or her blog or have a tangential meeting with any of the people she interacts with. She leads an astonishingly open, public life with energy that could power...hmmm, 17 kittens maybe. It's astonishing to watch as she blows through music, creativity, passerbys, venues, costumes and eye makeup. Add in a madly loyal fan flotilla...sounds too small, fan universe and we have me, fascinated by the Palmer phenomenon.
I've been following her on behalf of Blink Kitty Love, my crazy crushing cartoon band, after a segue stream that started with @joanjett's official Twitter, in my early Runaways period, which is when I started this blog. So it is right and meet that we should now fully turn the spotlight on Amanda Fucking Palmer, who seems to exist in a state of art eternal, dead or alive, depending on her mood. Really, depending on her mood. One of her albums is "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" and she proudly claims to be the coiner and inspiration of the word "Palmeresque." The quote that follows is found on The Amanda Palmer Trust site, "founded in 2006 in memory of Amanda Palmer":
The OED defines a eulogy as “a speech or writing in commendation of the qualities, etc., of a person or thing”. The Palmeresque steers clear of praise, focussing instead upon more imaginative responses to Miss Palmer’s death. Where a eulogy explicitly looks back over the life of the deceased, the Palmeresque looks forward from the point of death to contemplate either the nature, or further ramifications of her demise.
As I mentioned in the previous catch all post, I'm developing a theory that musicians are wired differently. The Todd Oldham Joan Jett book is full of interviews with Jett where she explains her drive to perform and play music, her relationship with her fans. It's very proudly, intensely personal. Joan Jett on stage is running on the fire of music inside and the adoration of screaming rock fans. If you're not jumping up and down and screaming, trying to touch her and rocked to your core, you don't get the full amount of fan fervour points.
But back to @amandapalmer. She lives on Twitter, especially when she's on the road as she was during her recent Evelyn Evelyn tour and other travels (taken from Palmer's latest blog post):
so i twittered to the people of london that i had a surprise for them, and gave a meeting spot (seven dials, in soho) for 30 minutes later.
here’s who showed up to take the flowers:
and it was quite awesome.
twitter makes life beautiful.
and we love the woman on the right, who has no idea who i am/what the fuck we’re doing.
yes, bob, we are a niche society.
one of the funnest things of the day was watching people twitter in pictures of where their flowers wound up.
Apparently, she also makes more money on Twitter than she does from record sales (quote from Palmer's guest post on Mike King's Music Business and Trend-Mongering blog (I love almost anything that can work in "mongering"):
how do you “hang out” on the internet? well, we collectively came up with a list of things that the government should do for us (free government-issued sweatpants, pizza and ponies, no tax on coffee), AND created a t-shirt.
thank god my web guy sean was awake and being a loser with me on friday night because he throw up the webpage WHILE we were having our twitter party and people started ordering the shirts – that i designed in SHARPIE in realtime) and a slogan that someone suggested: “DON’T STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, STAY IN FOR WHAT’S WRONG”. neil gaiman and wil wheaton joined our party. the fdnas felt super-special.
by the end of the night, we’d sold 200 shirts off the quickie site (paypal only) that sean had set up.
i blogged the whole story the next day and in total, in the matter of a few days, we sold over 400 shirts, for $25/ea.
we ended up grossing OVER $11,000 on the shirts.
my assistant beth had the shirts printed up ASAP and mailed them from her apartment.
total made on twitter in two hours = $11,000.
total made from my huge-ass ben-folds produced-major-label solo album this year = $0
She finally got dropped by her record label and is releasing Radiohead ukelele covers, starting with Idioteque. And this sort of thing is driving me into recent conversations about the awfulness of late 90's rock and triggering my (or TK's, I tend to blame him) need for a ukelele...I've actually bought 2 at various points over the past 5 years or so, one for a show that we ended up not using it in and another because I couldn't afford a trip to Hawaii and thought a moderately expensive ukelele might make up for it. Both were returned by the practical side of my being. We don't get along sometimes. That's why I invented the band. They don't really have a practical side.
Amanda Palmer has people house her, feed her, draw her, sculpt her, give her grants, pay for postcards she's chewed on, buy out concert venues, show up on half an hour's notice to meet her/be part of the madness and it's fascinating in the fey, don't eat the fairy food and when (and if) you end up back in front of your own fire, the world will have aged 100 years way.
So, I sit here and wonder what drives the loyalty, the passion and the love. And weigh the ratios of openness and privacy and wonder about the costs of so public a life. Palmer seems to have a map to success and I wonder if it's a performer only map.
I direct plays, mostly Shakespeare, and I also act occasionally, sometimes to get out of my own head, other times to remember what it's like to be an actor. And I've seen so many performers who get in front of a crowd, draw energy from the audience and love nothing else like that sensation. It's amazing. And a little off putting. But in that zone, they are amazing. There's a glow, especially when someone rushes off stage, revved on adrenalin, accomplishment and applause. Existing in and for that very glorious moment, all their own. Not only could they reach the moon, they could survive touching the sun. And I love them for it, because directing is for those of us who love actors.
And who love completing difficult seven dimensional constantly moving puzzles with that final surge that happens when everything clicks into place. I get fist pumping heart racing goal scoring game winning soaring satisfaction from putting the right people in the right play and standing behind an audience totally involved in the combination.
So, I'm not an actor, a musician or a performer. But this is the public, social media age that calls for these talents. @amandapalmer currently has 422,214 or so people following her, many willing to do nearly anything she bids them and that allows her to create/live her art. She lets people touch it, own it, participate in it. And in this interactive age, that seems to be the ticket. Rock royalty. People choose Nation Gagastia or The Country of Palmerton or The Land of the Joni and happily throw their loyalty and resources that way.
So time to design a flag and offer a limited edition set of inaugural A Little Stage Left of East Territory of Norton Vampire Pinecone (they drop from trees all the time in this neighborhood) t-shirts and/or non chewed postcards.
Follow me or the band on Twitter, drop a comment here, read my novel, read my other blog or contribute to the ukelele fund. It's easy to become a citizen explorer. You don't even need a badge. Maybe then the nightmares will stop (at least TK's).
And while the world dances around me, following the pied pipes of Pan and Palmer, I'll continue to mull on musicians, success and access. And try to decide if scoring tickets to see Palmer in Cabaret verges dangerously on eating the fairy food.
All while directing a kickass Merchant of Venice, the better to balance the universe.
Thanks for stopping by. Dance (or play) on.
From my alternate, personal blog LONELYPOND PRESENTS, which may help explain why things have been quiet around here:
SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR...
I'm still figuring that out.
And let's try again.
Been busy. The Merchant of Venice is blocked (I think). Monday we run the show to see exactly what I've gotten us all into. Then more vacation craziness happens (not mine). Hearing the play (#merven now) read by the cast is always an important step for me. I start with a basic understanding but hearing characters helps me shape the relationships and also is the only way I eventually get all the jokes. I think that's why I love Rocky and Bullwinkle so much -- they wrote the puns down and then delivered them verbally. Activate all the communication sectors of the brain. Which sounds like Star Trek talk.
Have also had a burst of other forms of creativity. Started a half chapter of continuing the @stirfryneon Twitter fiction. But then I woke up yesterday with new places and characters in my head and spent nearly the whole day writing down scenes. Maybe the hack science fiction/fantasy novel I've been wanting to write since I did family trees for horse clans as a kid might be working its way out. So far no horses, but I am considering jet bikes. And intrigue.
And then, in insomnia gear, I turned out a new Blink Kitty Love last night. It's short, weird and fun. And there might be vampires. Find out below.
In my spare time (aka when I should be sleeping), I've been considering musicians and if they're wired differently. Gayle, of course, doesn't appreciate when I get into these sorts of analytic moods, especially when I attempt to analyze her. Been paying attention to Amanda Palmer for the band and picking up and leafing through Todd Oldham's Joan Jett book for inspiration (must be returned to the library Monday so need to purchase soon). Musicians seem to have a very personal relationship with their fans. They really put themselves out there and inspire hurricane waves of loyalty. It's amazing. And scary.
I've always been more comfortable being behind the curtain, stage, keyboard, computer or camera. Back when I was learning theatre by doing, York Little Theatre had the Studio Five program, where volunteer directors picked shows and put them on. I stage managed shows for a couple of years before I directed my first one act, which meant light, sound, props, actor cheer up, director support, everything. And a buddy of mine would always call me "Wiz" which I took as a compliment to the magical way I made everything work. Eventually, I realized it was a Wizard of Oz reference. I sat in the back, behind a triangle of plywood, running the show. And I liked it.
I also enjoy being at the front of a room and running the show, especially as a director. I've always done it. I wasn't the captain of the softball team but I was the catcher who got winning games out of relief pitchers. I believed in them and they believed me.
But success these days seems to require being a public personality, tapping into the cult of personality circuit and letting people like you. How can that be hard? And why do musicians seem better at inspiring that sort of thing than any one else?
Hmmmm. So anyway, this is what's going on in my head, along with Merchant of Venice, keeping the band ticking along on Twitter, figuring out how to motivate and/or teach and/or inspire particular actors, wanting to write, sketching vampire pinecones, photo safariing, et alia. Oh, yeah, and I finally came up with a way to respond to the horrors of the BP Oil Spill. There's the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that has people who monitor, care for and protect the waterways of our world. This part of the world has a Riverkeeper stationed downtown. So I e-mailed him, offering to help with PR/Outreach (locally, they have strong go out and do something on the water support but not so much for press releases) and will be calling next week when he gets back from a conference in Mexico.
I think this is the beginning of exhaustion. Stay tuned.
"I OWN EVERYTHING"
That's from the quote ending Joan Jett's recent Nylon magazine interview. Rejected by 23 record companies, Jett and producer/business partner Kenny Laguna started their own independent label, Blackheart Records.
Now she owns rock and roll, Joan Jett style.
We're talking about this because The Runaways is currently driving my brain. That's what The Crushing Edge is about: the people, places, ideas and images that catch my attention and should catch yours. And ever since I saw a picture of Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, The Runaways has been waiting to roar into that position.
I've seen the movie twice, the second time with a notepad for analysis. Too many people aren't even seeing it once. That's why we need this conversation. To make sure you don't miss the inspiration you could take from it. To discuss ownership and how Joan Jett managed to become iconic even though women musicians were actively discouraged when she started out and she got no support from mainstream record labels.
Jett is driven. Jett is cocky. Jett has something so intense inside you can't look away from her eyes and her entire body is an atom splitting with explosive energy. Kristen Stewart captures that, adding on the thinnest layer of hesitation as the young Jett learns about people, music and business.
Jett has said how happy she is with Kristen Stewart's portrayal of her so I'm going to extrapolate from Stewart's performance for some thoughts on creativity, drive and how you succeed.
The Runaways is based on The Runaways lead singer's Cherie Currie's biography Neon Angel, Jett executive produced the movie and their characters as played by Dakota Fanning (Currie) and Stewart have the most to do. And they do it well (written and directed by Floria Sigismondi). From the very beginning, Stewart plays Jett as someone driven by music, even if she's still learning to play the guitar or isn't in a band, there are songs and chords that push their way out. Fanning does an excellent job of playing Currie as emptied, someone waiting -- for sensation, for something that felt right; someone hiding behind makeup and costumes, making up a life of lies to reinvent disappointments. When Currie auditions for the band and Jett and producer Kim Fowley come up with a new song for her to sing, you can see Stewart/Jett with her guitar willing the music into Fanning's Currie.
In this excellent Cinema Blend .com interview with Katey Rich, Jett talks about the movie and The Runaways, but also about her struggles to be able to work as a rock musician. Other people heard the music and focused on sex and rebellion but for Jett it was about claiming her identity and using her talents. She states in the interview:
It was more about rebelling against what people tell you you can do. I'm a good person, I'm not hurting anybody, I'm trying to make music. What's the big deal? Being told you can't play rock and roll. I'm trying to figure out, what does that mean? You're saying girls can't master the instruments? What you're saying is socially, girls aren't allowed to play rock and roll because it's sexual. Think of the Sticky Fingers cover, or Robert Plant those stances with him with his shirt open and the microphone. Or singles like "Whole Lotta Love." Go back and listen to it and see how dirty that is. I wanted to do that. It wasn't all just about sex, it was just about owning who you were. It was everybody else who started focusing on that.
There's a moment toward the end of the movie when the band is falling apart and you see terror flash in Stewart/Jett's eyes. But then she's back to calculating, to trying to save the situation, to making it work. Throughout the whole movie, there's a strong sense that even though Jett can be caught up in the moment, distracted by drugs, sex or frustration, there's always her guitar, always her drive, always her music. Jett wants to be in control of the situation. That's what you find in her songs and her life story. Ownership. Of her actions, her desires and the songs inspired by them.
I'd love to see Kristen Stewart on screen continuing Jett's story. I want the next chapter, darn it.
And own your own story, starting now.