Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hey You! Sign My Stuff!

I just posted an article featuring details of the new book by spoken word artist, Henry Rollins. To read that post , click here.

The first batch of books, have been signed by Rollins. I purchased a copy yesterday and when I learned that some copies were signed, there was a slight twinge of resistance inside of me. It seemed rather odd to me that I would have any kind of physical reaction towards something so seemingly benign. It got me thinking about signatures.

Signatures are important to a lot of people who consider themselves admirers of someones work. Musicians, sports figures, authors, painters, and so on. I've never understood the value of signatures, or autographs if you prefer. For some, there is a monetary value, for others it's about status and pure relish. Some feel important when they can flaunt their merch, and tell the story of how they earned their squiggle.

"And so there he was. I asked if he'd sign my book and he did." Ta-da!

I think it's great that there are so many artists who understand that there are fans (I'm not a "fan" of that word) who would count themselves lucky to receive a signature on a piece of paper, piece of art, a sports ball or bat, or a shirt. Some value signatures so much that request signatures on a body parts, so that they can tattoo over it. Now, that's dedication. Frightening dedication, but dedication none the less.

Even as a child, I didn't see the value in signatures, nor photo shots. I remember boppin' around to Michael Jackson cassette tapes in my Walkman (remember those?) and thinking that I wouldn't want to meet the genius that was he, because he's met so many people, that he'd forget me almost instantly. It wasn't that I was yearning for a connection; I simply felt that I'd get no joy from a fleeting meeting.

I remember in college, I had a friend who shared my view, and he described out sentiments so precisely and humorously. He said; "What would I say to them? Hi, my name is _______. So...how about all those experiences we never had together?"

Perfect, ay?

I imagine it takes a lot of energy for artists to pose for photos. I sometimes wonder if they ever feel like props. Smile. Turn here. Turn there. Can I get one more? Obnoxious aggression out of arrogance or because if you don't push your way through, you might not leave with a prized possession.

Not all fans behave so savagely; and not all have the finesse of a teeny-bopper or a metal head. No offense to teeny-boppers or metal heads.I dig pop, I dig metal. I digress.

Concerts are always magical experiences about me. After each one, I hit the little girl's room and then I make a b-line to the parking lot to find the needle in the haystack that is my car. I have never felt the need to set foot in the long lines waiting outside a bus.

My next concert experience will be Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes along with Sun-Ra, playing at The Hollywood Bowl. CocoRosie's new album drops soon, and I hope to catch a show when they tour. A few of my favorite artists; and I feel fortunate to be able to be present for a transcendent sense of community. Lights, speakers, and a large group of people who all have one thing in common. It is my hope that performers empathize with their audiences in that they think about their own pleasing experiences when they are the ones sitting in chairs.

So, thank you to all the artists who have impacted me and continue to do so. Thanks for energizing me, breaking me, and making me think. You are in my cd, book and movie collections, and it's great when I can see you spit it out live. I'll go forward with all you've offered me, but I won't need your signature.

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