Reflections on TLH

The Long Hallway hybrid arts event was an amazing affair and I’m glad we did it. We had a bout 60 people in our Crown Heights apartment throughout the course of the three-act show. Some came to watch Daniel Zimbler’s Edwardian short film, some came to witness Noelle’s political theater or my twisted play, and some came for the jam sesh from Ssahha. Either way, it was a social-artistic event that serves as a small testament to the art world I believe can exist. One friend said

I LOVE the way you guys said, "fuck it, we are just going to make a performance space out of what we have" it was perfect and intimate and immediate, I thought it really worked.

I’ve gotten mixed reviews about my playlet I previewed, some of which made me cry in a good way

Thanks for even just trying to say what you said… It's not like it's the first time this topic has been written about, but it's the first time I was in the audience.

And some feedback made me cry in a not so good way and I’ll paraphrase,

It lacked structure and I couldn’t connect with the characters, overall it risked being melodrama.

Then I realized that people watch Twilight. A lot. Author Stephanie Meyer’s teenage vampire series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide (according to Wikipedia, yeah I’m a real scholar). I can’t watch it -- it makes my eyes bleed and my brain swell. And then in the performance art world, there’s Ann Liv Young, who defecates and drinks her urine on stage sometimes. And a lot of people love her work. She travels all over Europe and the U.S. performing her original works – that people pay for.

Then I happened across an email by financial guru Ramit Sethi who wrote about a magazine called “Short Hair.” Please, disregard the sexist remarks for now. We can talk about that later if you’d like. Sexists are people, too. He writes,

The vast majority of men would agree with me that long hair is hotter than short hair. Yet there are women who have short hair. And although I cannot understand them whatsoever, there is a group that can: A publication called Short Hair. It's easy to get caught up in trying to appeal to "everyone." But the tighter your niche is, the more of that audience you will attract. For women with short hair, this is almost as tight of a niche as you can possibly create.

Why am I quoting all this?

Well, I’m mostly coaching myself out of taking any critiques personal, but I also think it’s an important to note that some people are not going to like my work (gasp!). I write in a very visceral, colloquial manner, usually about complex racial themes or dysfunctional families (surprise!). Many people want to eat nails before watching something I would write/direct. But, my work will speak to many people – and that future audience is whom I will focus on. Not saying I am going to write to please them or to attract a specific audience, but I should continue to be realistic about what kind of work I produce and how it can be categorized – and how I can use that to my advantage. Plain and simple. I’m not in the business of convincing folk to like what I do. I’m just going to be honest with myself as a person and an artist -- if you’re into that shit, cool. If not, that’s cool too.

Next up is fixing up some narrative and structural issues with my play and expanding it to a one-act. Then, I want to enter it into some one-act festivals around NY and beyond. Also, stay tuned; there may be another Long Hallway in the works for late Spring. Pics and video from TLH to follow.

One final note, I also came across this article that said

The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.

So go out there and get ‘er done.