Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clint Eastwood and Sun Ra

So I am reading John F. Szwed's biography of Sun Ra. One of Sun Ra's friends said of him, "Sonny was no threat to anyone - especially other musicians - he never threatened to become 'successful.'" Bear in mind, this is said with admiration. I especially like the quotation marks around "successful." I am going to put it in a big pile with my favorite quotations about... about what?... by Jasper Johns, John Ashbery, a Maine antiques dealer, Kierkegaard, Frank Kermode, and Chuang Tzu - yes, Sun Ra here sounds like the great, gnarled tree of Chuang Tzu I like to natter on and on about. In the New York Times today, there's a gem from old Clint Eastwood, and we'll chuck in the pile for good measure: "When something hits you and excites your interest, there’s really no reason to kill it with improvements." Kill it with improvements! Eastwoodian! So in a way - though they both belong in the pile somehow - Eastwood is the opposite of Sun Ra, who at the time of which his friend was speaking had a non-stop rehearsal going in his room for a band that would never play in public - yes, a rehearsal that virtually NEVER STOPPED and was not directed to any END in the usual sense of a rehearsal - so, a rehearsal for what? EXACTLY! Ouch, I just blew my own mind. Wait! I've got it. What do we VALUE? Where does value lie? Maybe that is what - like the aforementioned Maine antiques dealer - Clint Eastwood and Sun Ra are asking us to consider.