Lord have Jesus, I love Jonathan Caouette.

In a preposterous sprint to rebook what was to be SCIENCE NIGHT on June 3rd, I’ve been reaching out to people who might fit the theme: IDEAS & INVENTIONS. In Lisa Randall (the theoretical physicist who was to be the science part of science night) and Adam Gopnik’s (the author in conversation with the scientist) place, I’ve booked Samantha Hunt who will read via Satellite from London, where if all goes well, she will win the Orange Prize that same evening and Steven Johnson, The Invention of Air.

I reached out to John Cameron Mitchell who can’t participate because he will be entrenched in his first week of shooting, but he suggested Jonathan Caouette who made Tarnation, a film that I can very accurately claim as a favorite of mine. I reached out to Caouette and his enthusiasm for the event got me so excited it took most of this week to contain myself. Sadly, he discovered (and upon discovering used the best phrase ever, “Lord have Jesus,”) that he needs to be in Texas on June 3rd. Ted Hope sent me to Darren Aronofsky who was also interested in the event, but is too slammed that week. And now, I’ve reached out to the installation artist Sarah Sze (who I was friends with at camp when I was a kid).

In all this reaching out, I began to realize that the purpose behind Ideas & Invention night is for each participant to expose a part of their brain and align it with their innate drive in order to verbally illustrate what sets them apart from their peers. But, I think I already know what sets them apart from their peers. It’s bravery.

I can’t stop thinking about Jonathan Caouette and his film Tarnation. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to rent it. No, scratch that, you should own it. It’s not only an innovative film (he made it using imovie), in terms of cost and tools, but because the narrative, and the foundation that holds that narrative, is made from something often missing in contemporary art and literature: honesty. And it’s that honesty that makes it so brutal.

A lot of people hide behind their persona in their daily life (uh – me!), which, quite frankly, I think is okay and somewhat healthy (to a point). What’s not okay is to hide behind a persona in your work, unless that persona is in intentional service to a larger purpose in which contains truth.

Caouette should serve as a model for those afraid to feel.


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