November 5, 2004
I went to a friend's gallery opening tonight. It's a retrospective of the last nine years of his rock poster art, which also means that it's a retrospective of the last nine years of his life. His posters looked incredible, mounted across a fifty-foot wall, climbing fifteen, twenty feet up, hundreds of exquisitely crafted works created for too little money (or none at all) simply because he loved a band, or loved the art, or probably a little bit of both. It was astounding, standing at the base of that wall, staring up and seeing my friend's hand in every one of these amusing little drawings. It makes me so proud, Mr. Bush, to be able to witness him make this stuff, to be a part of the process in my own small way, to watch passion transformed into these funny, strange, and beautiful posters.
But what was also astounding, standing there looking up, was realizing that so many of the bands on these posters were people that I was friends with once--or am friends with now, or grew up with, or will grow old with--and that realization caused me to think that this exhibit isn't an anomaly. It's not something that stands on its own, it is mirrored by the exhibits that other friends of mine have had in recent weeks, the books that friends have written, the stores and businesses they run, the music they've made; all of it stands as as a testament that we have built something new, something that is only now just coming into focus.
Standing there tonight, looking at those posters rising up clear to the ceiling, I realized that we have built this amazing moment in time. It's a time that will stand as a monument to the extraordinary efforts of too few people doing too much work; people who believed enough in chasing after their own unreachable dreams that somehow--impossibly--they actually reached them. It made me realize, Mr. Bush, that this isn't something that you can take away from us, because this is something that we built not because of you, but in spite of you. And it made me realize that, even in times as dark as these, wonderful things can be made with just a pencil and paper; that miracles can be created with only paint and ink; that dreams can be crafted from what is all around you.
Look around, Mr. Bush, because what surrounds you can truly set you free.
Thank god it's Friday,