Photo Credit: Chicago Artists Coalition. Top image: “See/Sea” by Debra Kayes; middle image: “Plaster Forms, Framed” by Renee Prisble; bottom image by Jordan Martins. All works shown will be available for bidding and purchase at the Starving Artist 2013 event.
In 2005, the Sundance Channel started a series called Iconoclasts. Each episode would focus on one famous person interviewing another famous person. Each person found their celebrity in dramatically different ways. A movie producer interviewing a CEO, an actress interviewing a war correspondent, a ballet dancer interviewing a restaurant owner, a former Anglican bishop interviewing a businessman. The point of all this was that when you take wildly successful, driven people and have them do the most simple of things – having a conversation– magic can happen.
An episode that did nothing short than change my life involved Dave Chappelle interviewing Maya Angelou. Yeah, let that sink in. At one point, Chappelle brings up anger. As he’s talking, you hear Maya Angelou’s deep, resonant voice chime in with that thing she does that communicates, “I hear you all the way down to my soul.” It’s almost a groan, this noise she makes, an audible ache of her heart. Realizing who he’s talking to, Chappelle demurs in this “I’m not worthy” way and says something like, “I mean, when you say, ‘My good friend, Malcolm,’ I think of my friend, Malcolm-Jamal Warner. And you are talking about Malcolm X.”
“If you are not angry, you are either a stone or you are too sick to be angry. You should be angry. Now mind you, there’s a difference. You must not be bitter. Let me show you why. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So you use anger, yes. You write it, you paint it, you dance it, you march it, you vote it, you do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”
All this coming from a woman who, after being raped as a child, stopped talking for several years after the man who raped her was murdered. She felt that it was her words – her talking – that caused this man’s death.
Today we see what happens when two attorneys, both from opposing political orientations – Republican and Democrat – collaborate to do something good. Today this means the overturn of DOMA and Prop 8.
There are many, many amazing stories of collaboration.
Over the past several months, artists have colluded with chefs. Their collaborations will be on display for viewing, eating and auctioning this Saturday night in a benefit for artists who are in need. I covered the very first Starving Artist 2011. I don’t know if there’s a different type of pheromone given off when these people congregate in a room together for the sole purpose of partying among a simpatico audience, but the evening changed me.
Most of us will never hear Maya Angelou’s groan, never lock eyes with Chappelle or shake the hands of the two men who pushed aside differences to do what is right. But this coming Saturday night, you can be around this same type of energy and be fed all the way down to your soul.
Get a ticket, go to the show, be changed…and feed a Starving Artist.
Top image: Debra Kayes; Middle image: Renee Prisble; Bottom image: Jordan Martins. All works shown will be available for bidding and purchase at the Starving Artist 2013 event.