Saturday, March 13, 2004

If you don't have a grandchild of your own,

beg, borrow, or steal one from a friend or neighbor. When the Lion King comes to where you are, choose a Saturday matinee when the theater is filled with wide-eyed children. That's the way to see this magnificent production! Felt the years drop away at the raising of the curtain on Scene 1. Julie Taymor's genius has created a spectacle unlike anything ever seen in the history of the theater. We were all spellbound for the full 3 hours of pure magic.

Must have been a performing artist in some former life. "The smell of the grease paint, the roar of the crowd" are more compelling to me in these later years than ever before. To be able to facilitate that kind of magic is such a gift. Drove by the convention center on the way back from the BART station, and imagined it filled with the young and the young in heart -- experiencing the kind of afternoon we'd had this afternoon. And it wouldn't have to be "Broadway," but theater of the kind that this area is capable of producing or sponsoring.

Will call Jennifer later and talk spectacle and magic and drama, music, dance, and all of the wonder that I felt tapped into this afternoon.

It was impossible to stay with the fear (terrorism) and panic that crept into my consciousness this morning. That was all cleared out by the sheer joy and color and love of a shared experience in that beautiful old art deco theater. Maybe those things are totally incompatible -- fear and that kind of wonder.

Also recalled a comment made by one of the presenters at the recent California Arts Council conference I attended a few weeks ago. "When asked to create a list of those things most essential to creating and maintaining community, the lists include jobs, affordable housing, education, crime reduction, etc., but rarely do "the arts" appear in the top ten." Then she added, "but everything on the list is arts related in some way." How true. In one way or another, there's a component of art somewhere.

I'm fairly sure that every dollar saved by the school district by cutting out arts, athletics, libraries, will be expended through increased police budgets. We must feed the souls of children or their childhood will suffer a short circuit of some sort along the way.

This old kid got a shot of adrenalin in some places that I thought were atrophied! And I find that I'm about as turned on by this new direction (away from politics) as anyone can be. It's clear that doors are still opening and that there is still much newness to experience. The teachers are out there, and I'm beginning to accept the notion that I might be one of 'em!