Bittersweet Beings: Sweet Bitter

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You know you're on a miserable set when you wish someone would call in a bomb threat just so you can leave. 

I'm in the Marmara Hotel on Park Avenue and it feels like I'm being forced to watch a Sex and the City marathon. That might mean different things for different people. For me it means that I feel like Van Gogh'ing both ears and getting all Oedipal on my eyeballs.  

A couple of weeks  ago I had returned from Dublin for the second time in two months, and ready for the new year with a new point of view. Being in Ireland really woke me up to something that I've always known but have often forgotten:

Art is not about the bullshit attention, the fame, the glitter.

Save the sparkles for your wardrobe.

Unfortunately, we here in the bountiful, boastful, U.S. of A. love having shiny things, but does that mean that our everyday existence needs to be shiny as well? And what does that even mean?

As I’m changing into my costume (I’ve never worn leggings as pants before but okay…) I overhear two girls talking:

-Oh. My. God. This is such a nice hotel!

-I know! I ran into Laura Dern in the elevator and she was with a guy carrying her bags and said oh, I’m here for a few days, they’re doing work on my apartment.

-Wow!

-Yeah, it’s like she just stays at a [luxury] hotel while she’s getting apartment renovations. I’m like wow, your life looks so nice!

 

THIS IS A PROBLEM.

 

In this scenario, Laura Dern is envied because she has a comfortable, luxurious-type lifestyle (as far as we know) but why isn’t she envied because she’s gotten to play amazing roles and be a part of movies like ­­­­­­­­­(insert great character/ movie here)? Why is it that she’s being glorified by strangers in an elevator for staying at a fancy hotel? Guess what? She’s not at this hotel because she’s Laura Dern, she’s at this hotel because she has money- anyone with money can stay at hotels.

WHY ARE WE PAYING ATTENTION TO SUPERFICIAL SHIT?

WHEN DID LIFESTYLE BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN LIFE?

Art shouldn’t be about Instagram followers or getting your picture on magazine covers like many of the people we see raking in massive attention across social media and news outlets. How often do amazingly talented artists go unnoticed and how often do we see celebrities with no real substance getting opportunities and being basked in the bright lights? I know I'm not saying anything new here, anything that hasn't been said before, but I think it needs to be said again.

We should be noticing the quality and not the celebrity because if we don't do that then we are creating celebrities, not artists. Of course there are many great actors and filmmakers and artists of all kinds that get well-deserved praise for their work, but then the articles and interviews with them describe what they’re wearing or what kind of salad they’re eating (and why is it always a salad!?) I want to read an interview where the focus isn’t some shallow representation of some gorgeous celebrity! Why do actors need to be more good-looking than good at acting? Because they make a good photo? Because people want to look and not learn? Because we like salads?

Would we rather know what designer someone likes to wear or what one of their most challenging moments in life were? Would we rather see an actress smile than hear her opinions of the film industry?

You don’t have to smile. I've been not smiling for a long time.

 Not smiling since the 1980's

Not smiling since the 1980's

As I'm waiting out this overnight shoot, longing to hear those two magical words from the PA while trying to keep myself out of the BG conversations about shampoo and talent agents and shit-all-nonsense, I'm feeling pretty fucking angry, because it seems like everyone who stepped into this location actually became part of the world of this TV show, and to sum up the world of Sweet Bitter, based off the book of the same name by Stephanie Danler, here's a review from Goodreads:

"One of those books that reminds you that the characters are kind of terrible and the plot development predictable only because their real-life counterparts are the same."

If you look up "being" on Thesaurus.com, you will find a word listed as an antonym to being, as the opposite of existence, living, presence, reality.

That word is "deadness."