cooling out vol. 2

i guess this post could be subtitled "the big peach", referencing the des moines register sunday sports section that only folks alive in the '80s would get.  many mild spats with my dad arose over who gets to read it first, and  me & my friends survived countless sunday school classes by swapping this rag amongst ourselves.  long live the newspaper.

my brother-in-law was a compliance guy for the university of alabama sports program.  we visited his digs over christmas break.  i swear that their facilities were a direct rip from the jetsons.  daniel needed a thumbprint identification (complete the "swoop" sound) in order to allow us access to their swanky recruiting area, national championship trophy displays, and the largest weight room i have ever seen. sports vs. the arts is a long-standing feud, in terms of financial backing.  the exchange of philosophical ideals stops abruptly when you start talking about the generating of revenue. people will often pay whatever so they can attend the big rivalry sporting event, yet will double check the tv guide and the local weather before committing to attending a concert.  the arts need a rabid fan base, with co-eds painting their torsos with letters that spell "fortissimo" who then go on to found fortune 500 companies. now - in the meantime - let's go put a hurting on that johnny football kid.

people say that jazz is dying.  people also say that all star wrestling is fake.  what!?!?!?  it is one of my guilty pleasures.  i'm not necessarily nuts about huge dudes rubbed down in glistening baby oil, but the macho soap opera is intoxicating.  there is a real focus on storyline that is woven into the underrated athleticism of these wrestlers. don't believe me?  read this candid interview with the game on grantland.  triple h (and the rest of the crew) steer their entertainment juggernaut towards drama and creativity, attempting to keep their audience's collective eye on their prize.  jazz music could take a cue from wwe.  stay relevant, pay attention to what your fans want, lead them to what you want for them, and look good all the while.

i attended college at the university of iowa and currently work for iowa state university.  people ask me who i cheer for, and i remind them that i pay my mortgage out of my isu paycheck.  when i was in college, our jazz band would play a split concert with the top ensemble from neighboring jazz powerhouse uni.  we would alternate venues, host each other, and feed off of the split show concept.  our band was much different than theirs, in terms of players and repertoire.  it was great.  i learned a lot from watching their stuff, and dug getting our act together for the annual show.  one year, we fortuitously advertised the concert as a big band collision. our director, full of liquid courage, backed his car into the front end of their school van at the end of the gig.  

money, it's gotta be the shoes.  no mars, it's a desire to stay relevant by perching yourself in the heart of the action. not only did mike get it DONE in the nba, he also managed to parlay his talents and charisma into an unstoppable marketing allegiance with nike and gatorade.  mike just turned fifty, and is still at the top of the heap in terms of notoriety and cash money.  i like it when musicians perform, write, give guest lectures, produce other people's stuff, and collaborate. staying active in a variety of fronts provides obvious sustainability while improving viability amongst multiple generations. how many kids out there have ever seen mj play? how many kids out there have actually heard duke play? manifesting what you do onto many platforms could be a hidden path to deleon's fountain, or at least a couple more gigs.

sometimes i forget that there are other things going on in the world, and not everything is generated from within driving distance.  as much as we hear about rg3, lebron, & a-rod, they pale in world-wide popularity to cristiano ronaldo.  the gist of it is that folks are getting it done beyond this particular continent.  it's often argued that the audiences in europe are better educated in our art form and, therefor, enthusiastically appreciative and willing to financially back live improvised music.  you know - they actually turn out for the live shows.  some of my favorite european jazz acts include enrico rava, paolo fresu, han bennink, and hakon kornstad - but none of them can freestyle like CR7.

my cardinals are in a tight playoff race, and it has the makings of being too close for comfort all the way to the end. when i first started teaching at isu, i found out that one of my colleagues hails from east st. louis and is also a big redbirds fan.  another fella up north, an outstanding pianist and composer, follows the cardinals.  they both chuckled upon learning that my mother named me after her favorite baseball player.  when i became immersed in pursuing a career in the arts, i myopically assumed that everyone in that field only cared about one thing - art.  what a refreshing epiphany for me to know that people are people, complete with hobbies and secrets and childhood allegiances. some are chicago cub fans. may god have mercy on their souls.

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