garland farwell has fallen in love with the southland -- and it's the deep south, surprisingly enough. he says he's really blown away by the place, the vibe, the people, the food, all of it. not surprising, actually. its very beautiful there. he says it's like soho in the 70s except people are "all spread out and tripped out on jesus and earth spirits and shit. there's craftsy artists everywhere." he's got a residency at coleman center for the arts in york, alabama and is working on a project regarding the work of the folk artist mose tolliver. sounds interesting.
what's cool is reading about his adventures via his blog and seeing the beautiful pictures. at one point, he says that the south is the most beautiful place this side of heaven that he's ever known. and it's true, it's so true. it's so sweet to see that he's figured that out. but you have to go there to see that, to understand that. you have to get past your preconceptions and all those misnomers and stereotypes about the south and its history, just let it go and embrace the beauty of it all. most people can't do that. like there wasn't racism anywhere else -- certainly not up north, in places like brooklyn or out west in san francisco. like the klan wasn't everywhere.
in his last missive, he told me what i'd known to be true for quite some time: that new york city is not the center of the world anymore, and that with every olive garden and applebees and pottery barn, it's becoming more and more generic. the city is dying and no one seems to care. "you can make art anywhere," he said dismissively. that depends entirely on exactly what kind of art you want to make. you can't do broadway if you live in omaha. then again, with stuff like the little mermaid up and running, and a julie taymor-directed spiderman coming to the great white way, who cares?
i'd rather bankroll my record label with commercials and film/tv work, sequester myself in graduate school and wait to originate something cool onstage. and you know what? garland is right. i don't have to be in new york city to do any of that.