An Appalling Big Win for Hedlund!
What do you get when you cross blazing hot intellect with a static, cold-conservative community?...pure, beautiful, cleansing steam, baby - raw, jazzy, sexy, steam. Good steam heat. The type of steam than opens pores, opens minds. Steam that softens years of tense muscles. Steam that causes sweat to drip droplets of narrow-minded fluid, pumped from blind-folded ducts of furrowed brows and vein-throbbing red necks, viewed from an all too often God fearing arm pit.
Don't get me wrong. This steam is not foreign, nor does it come from a foreigner. This steam comes from us. This product is us, has grown from us, was nurtured by us. And, not to be hampered by it's own surroundings, has graciously left the boiling pot to continue to grow, thrive, learn and live - elsewhere. This elsewhere is Santa Barbara, the impetus - film studies school, the catalyst - Rapid City's very own Eric Hedlund.
Not so much Avant Garde, as plain intelligence - his autobiographical account of growing up and growing out is a seldom seen theatrical event in our (red)-neck-of-the-woods. Sometimes appalling, shocking, and stirring, this emotional rollercoaster of narrative word is bravely and cleverly written. Hedlund's artistic use of literary prose, poetry, dramatic literature and acting talents is a whirlwind of thought-provoking expression. An expression of wit, humor, sadness, joy and yes, my friends, hope. A hope that Eric the artist, who is already doing amazingly good things for the post-cold war, post-big eighties materialistic wasteland-ish generation from which he steams, will only continue to make "obscenely" beautiful statements of truth to audiences who are searching for a healthy cleansing.
Saturday afternoon's "event" was a truly an event. After a brief, almost embarrassing, curtain speech about censorship...? (Wait, - that is what she was talking about, right? I mean, I think she was trying to say, this is a public space, for public rental, and as an art facility we uphold the liberties of free speech? Right? I digress...but that was the sloppy-est, poorest version of standing up for first amendment rights ever displayed...You couldn't tell if she was for or against Eric, the art-form, her job, her boss...It was sad. It was if you had a ticket for "West Side Story" and the opening act was a speech about why Latinos in New York are good for the economy because so many of them live under one roof. WTF!) Sorry...Eric, but you rose to the occasion and thank you for taking us on this journey. Well...Some of us. Some of us chose to get off at the very first exit. You know the exit. I'm not sure of the number, but it is off to the right. Way right. And you are right, Eric. I mean, correct. Obscenity is not about jargon, slogan, words, sounds and natural order - but, appalling acts of negative humanism. But, again, I digress...
I can speak of this event, because I have been cleansed. Unfortunately, those of us choosing to become cleansed are those who really don't need - we like it. Similarly, as a teacher, at parent/teacher conferences it is only the good students whose parents choose to come and hear about who well things are going. Most of us don't want to hear the bad, the unfortunate, the appalling things. The truth hurts. Most people don't want to be hurt - even if it is precisely what they need. But sadly, they don't want it. They don't want change. They don't want to expand, they don't want to learn, they don't want to grow...and don't be fooled - this is exactly why Rapid City will never see "Brokeback Mountain".
A very wise man once said, "A mind which expands beyond its current state, will never return to its original size". Expansion hurts - but it is healthy. As healthy as a good steam bath. Maybe an enema would be better for some?
Thank you, Eric, for taking me on this journey...I just wasn't quite ready to get off.