A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
Another day spent at the library doing research. Fifty tabs opened, new topics delved into, 90% of the answers found, and my brain burned out before I completed. Sounds about on par. At least I am burning though a lot of the questions I need to answer. From there, on to my errands as per usual. Victoria Market for fresh produce and meat (bibimbap again!), the discount grocery for staples (rice and hair products), and to the hair shop for some purple dye.*Raided the donation bin for a towel I can junk up with the purple dye, and in the process found some board shorts (crucial) and some tees that I can wear while my hair is bleeding purple (nice).
Made lunch and dinner, checked in again and took a nap. I checked in again because I keep toying with the notion of joining the Occupy Melbourne movement. On one hand I support peaceful protest and waking people up to the fact that if you feel disaffected you can do something about it, even if that something is standing up and saying “I feel disaffected.” On the other hand some of the people I’ve spoken to in the movement have been less than inspiring. There are some who can actually affect change and be reasonable about it, and there are others who seem to inspire me less. Nice people at least. And there is the plus side about a free place to stay! And the minus side that if I get arrested, it probably will not help my visa. So I keep booking my hostel for only tonight so that I can check out the movement tomorrow and decide. And I keep researching cameras and camping gear and bikes and my taxes (apparently the government thinks I owe 4 digits in back taxes) instead. This is one of those privileged life moments.
Then, waking up tired and disoriented, I struck out for the night. Third night of going out to a venue for a free concert. A 45 minute walk through lovely weather – low sun behind me, parks and spraypaint around me, headphones pumping Kenna’s “Make Sure They See My Face” – got me to my destination – an art studio where Osh10 was releasing her remix album. Having never been to a CD release party, or an art studio concert, I didn’t know what to expect. Getting the CD for a donation of $1+ wasn’t it. Nor was the bar. Nor was the fact that aside from the artist, her sound guy, and the two people working the bar, I was accompanied by two smokers. Not exactly the reception I was expecting. I dread walking into a room full of people already in conversation because then I don’t know how to jump in. But walking into a room empty of people where both pairs of eyes are on me doesn’t seem to be much easier for me. I guess I just don’t know what to do when it comes to meeting new people.
After more people arrived, Osh10 got up and gave a performance. With video loops prepared in the background featuring lots of old footage and an array of Folgers Crystals ads, a keyboard, a mixing board for beats and loops, a miniature toy piano that sounded like a music box / xylophone as it hit the notes, and a mic she began. Say a line, loop. Do the harmonies, loop. Get the beats going, break it down. Her beat mixing skills and the bobbing she did along with it didn’t match the somewhat dressy and conservative look she had going. The music was enveloping and not overwhelming. Trip hop and beautiful vocals, haunting notions filled my ears as if I was listening to my stereo in my basement alone – completely absorbing but not deafening.
As she introduced her last song, she started a stop-motion video of a man walking around the US. Chicago, DC, Mt. Rushmore, San Francisco, New Mexico. The song was about walking, about striking out on your own to find something new. Or moving on because what you have is no longer there. And as she ended an hour-long set of brilliant music, now that the sun had gone down and the room was illuminated only by the projector, the stop-motion man walked up to the Lincoln Memorial as she cut to the bone with “This place is no longer my home. Everything changes.”
After the show I made a point to approach her and thank her as I try to do for every musician who has graced me with a good performance. And like so many performers I’ve met (most often female as it happens) she was appreciative. But more than that, she asked me about myself and what I was doing. As I explained my situation to her and she explained a bit more about herself outside of the show, we had a conversation. Not a super-weighty, life-altering one, but not a trivial one either. We met as equals and took an interest in the other’s experience. And she gave me her contact information to let her know if I would be in her neighborhood again and going out to a show; maybe she would join me. It is the moments like that – where I meet someone whose work I respect, whose talent I appreciate, and who turns out to be a really cool person – that make me wonder why I find it so hard to talk to people in new situations. When I do it so often works out.
I wonder how many times I will have to do it before I start to feel confident about it.
*I find myself in a city as alternative as Seattle or Portland, with blonde streaks in my hair, wanting to look more alternative. And since I’m not looking for a job and the next 2 months will consist of solo projects, concerts, camping, hiking, and being itinerant, I can do it. So I will. As soon as I can find someone in the hostel willing to help me.