Last week our local art house theatre, the Gold Town Nickelodeon brought the documentary Beauty is Embarrassing, a film about the work of Wayne White. Colette, the theater manager and a good friend, also arranged for a live Skype session with White and the director Neil Berkely after the film. While he’s made tons and tons of work, White is most famous for his design work for Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and another show that White worked on, Shining Time Station, were two of my absolute favorite shows when I was a kid.
Weird, beautiful, creative, goofy, all that good stuff.
The documentary has lots of sweet notes with White’s family and so much of the film reminded me of family members, especially the Trolls and the Isons.
But the biggest message, and it’s one that made me think of so many of the people in our community, was that if you do anything with your time, you should make art. And make art all the time. Make weird, beautiful, fun, silly art. Don’t be shy, just create create create. Anything, especially all those discarded pieces of scrap you can never figure out what to do with, can be art. It’s the spirit behind Wearable Art, behind Fran Downey’s zip tie art, behind Ryan Cortez’s wind-chime, behind the nail-gun world map on the dock, all that stuff.
I’ve got serious derby-brain right now, maybe because we just had our first bout of the season, and maybe because I just put together a derby-focused guest post for The Better Bombshell, but when I think about what it is I create in my community, what beauty I help to contribute to, roller derby is way up there.
Our very first bout consisted of our two home-teams battling it out in front of a sold-out crowd. No one in Juneau knew what derby was, and still 500 people bought tickets, drank beer, yelled their heads off, and couldn’t talk about anything else for the next month. My team lost. But the only thing that I could think about was: