Brother Jeff over at Odin's Aviary had an experience this weekend similar to one I had last week, where several cultural/artistic experiences in a short space of time helped reaffirm for him why such things, perhaps live performance in particular, was a good thing to do. My week was a different set of events, but a similar outcome. It started with a trip to the Met, where I saw three amazing shows, but was perhaps most struck by the Tiffany exhibit. I felt like I was bathing in color, and it was nothing if not therapeutic. Then I saw Pan's Labyrinth, a movie which was not at ALL what I was expecting, and about which I do have some reservations, but I'm still glad I saw it. The discussion with Jeff was another bright spot in the experience. Later that week I got to go up to New Paltz with, again, Jeff (hmm, I'm sensing a pattern here), to do the workshop (see entry 1/20/07), then the next day good friends took me to hear some chamber music being performed by undergraduates and masters students at Julliard.
The art and music in particular struck a deep chord with me; both used to be huge parts of my life, as practitioner and audience member, and in the last ten years they've largely disappeared from my life. That has been a mistake, I think, and especially while I'm living in New York, it seems too bad not to avail myself of the local resources a bit more. The Met cost me $5 (my choice of 'donation') and the concert was free.
I ended the week feeling like I had been doing things rejuvenating and beneficial. Funnily enough my friend Cathy, one of my two hosts at Julliard, said something similar. She and her husband are coming out of a horrendous experience that consumed them for most of the last three years. Cathy said that during that time, her dream-life became affected, shifting drastically in tone and imagery. In recent months however, she's noticed a distinct return to health in her dream-life, and attributes at least some of it to regular attendance at Julliard chamber and jazz concerts. I believe she's right.
It sounds silly, pretentious even, to suggest that artistic experiences are having a healthy effect on me, but that's really what it boils down to. If it's any consolation, I've felt the same rejuvenation after dancing to 80's pop music, or seeing a fun, light-hearted play. I don't think the experience has to be capital 'C' culture stuff... I just have to remember it needs to happen more often. And I think it needs to be live, and really really good.