creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Thursday, May 5, 2011

ENCORE! A bit more about Cavafy's Relevance

Well, the creative honey continues to flow - as is appropriate in the blossoming springtime of May.

Cavafy's Caress had an encore presentation in Long Beach at the Affinity Gallery - May 7th at 6pm. As noted in many recent blogs it is an intimate exploration into the world and words of the remarkable poet who lived in Alexandria, Egypt most of his life from 1863-1933. Much of Cavafy's poetry is rich with the concepts of history, memory, and longing - as if the grand city itself, once home of the famed Ancient Library of Alexandria, infused its soul into his work. He was sensitive to the past greatness and reveled in moving among both the cities most vibrant and bustling areas, along with its cracked ruins and most seedy nieghborhoods. All of it comes through in ways that resonate with today's modern world: full of beauty and hope, chaos and uncertainty.

I had no idea going into this project just how deeply I would fall in love with his words. I've been intoxicated by the profound meaning he executes so elegantly. In many ways I feel a sense of relationship to him. One of those is that I have lived in the Los Angeles neighborhood of MacArthur Park for the past 6 years. While no Alexandria, it was once one of the most opulent and wealthy parts of the city, but after WWII and the overpowering force of cars spread people out, it collapsed. For a period of time gangs, drugs, and poverty reigned, but in recent years a revitalization has occurred that is still not fully realized, but yearning for it. I've documented my own exploration of the neighborhood for years and look forward to sharing more insights of its fascinating dichotomy.

A view of downtown LA from a hillside in MacArthur Park
It seems that Cavafy's works resonates with everyone in remarkable ways. Young and old, male and female, and of all sexual preferences enjoy the production. It is truly universal work. There is a reason why Jackie Onassis requested that one of Cavafy's greatest poems "Ithaka" be spoken at her funeral - because it captures a whole lifetime of experience and advice so elegantly. There is a reason that other respected writers, like EM Forster, WH Auden, Christopher Isherwood, and Gore Vidal, hold Cavafy's work in high esteem and praise. I have been graced by some beautiful comments from those who attended the original production and were equally moved by his works and the way the production presents them. You can read about them at the following link:

I am ever so grateful to Tony Clark of the Affinity Galleries and Stathis Orphanos, whose book and exhibition "My Cavafy" (with original photographs side by side with corresponding poetry by Cavafy) sparked this journey. I find myself excited by the opportunity to share this fantastic poet with more and more people as I continue my own exploration of the art of life. Having a guide and inspiration like dear Constantine has been such an unexpected, but most welcome blessing in my life at this time. I'm learning a lot from him, and it feels so good to focus on some one as remarkable as him and weave his essence into my own journey.


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