Songwriters love to write songs about songs, meditating on the meaning and power of music. You can listen to my playlist Metamusic: Songs about Songs on RDIO as you read this post about metasongs or follow the links on the titles to Youtube.
Songwriters love to write songs about songs, meditating on the meaning and power of music. You can listen to my playlist Metamusic: Songs about Songs on RDIO as you read about “Your Song,” lyrics by Bernie Taupin and music by Elton John, the first of a series of posts on metamusic.
The song begins “It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside.” The feeling, of course, is love. “I don’t have much money,” John sings, “but boy if I did / I’d buy a big house where we both could live.” The songwriters, longtime collaborators, may not have had much money when they wrote the song, but it became their first pop hit and is now worth a fortune, enough to buy two or three houses.
Taking a photograph is not a natural act. We were not born with a compulsion to take pictures and an innate sense of composition. Give a camera to a toddler and many photos will be of strips of sky through blurred, pink fingers. Children must learn how to operate a camera, how to select an interesting subject, and how to frame a picture.
Let’s eat! And let us celebrate that! No birth, no death, no battles fought or wars won–I propose a new holiday! One for which no one had to suffer or struggle or push another human being out of their body and then get no credit for doing so, one we’ve all earned just by virtue of being alive and managing to get out of bed most mornings (go you!).
Eatster!: a celebration of celebration, a holiday just for the hell of it, there when you need it–a reason to party when you have no reason to party. The only rule is you make up the rules! My first rule of Eatster!: EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT EATSTER! My second rule: hotpants appreciated.
(Eatster! A Meta-Holiday.)
Do directors sometimes tell you just to be yourself? I asked Alejo Sauras, Spanish film and TV actor. I was writing about actors portraying themselves onscreen and off and thinking about the burdens of stardom when it occurred to me that I could interview my friend Alejo. Without hesitation, he answered, “No, never! Be yourself, no! Don’t be yourself.” He pointed to the table. “Be this one on the paper!”
Oh! I thought. There goes my central idea. All my interview questions had been built around the ironic notion of actors playing themselves, the meta idea of self-reflective acting. Well, I told myself, carry on with the interview, and later I will find a way to fit the pieces together. Watch me now as I try.
(Alejo at Wiggy-Okie at the House of Fish.)
You want to be famous, don’t you? I can read it in your eyes, the hunger for attention.
Well, we all want people to adore and admire us, to fuss and fawn over us, to call us good-looking and talented. But if the genie of celluloid granted your wish, would you enjoy the fame? Or would shout “Leave me alone!” and punch the paparazzi?
I have a friend who is famous in Spain: Alejo Sauras. He has been in fourteen movies, ten shorts, six TV series, a guest role in nine other TV series, and five plays. You may not know who he is, but people recognize him wherever he goes in España. He is fairly well-known in Latin America and even Central Europe (where they have started showing his TV series Los Serrano). Even here in San Francisco, fans come up to him on the street. Nevertheless, he told me, “I can walk a little more freely in every country but mine.”
(Alejo kicking back in Dolores Park on Easter Sunday.)
I know from talking to him that being a celebrity is not not all glamour and glitter–sometimes it is a kick in the groin–but would he trade celebrity for an ordinary life? I was working on a post about actors playing themselves, mulling over the benefits and drawbacks of stardom, so I decided to ask him.
I just liked a new Facebook page called, “Liking.” I liked it before I liked it and I still like it. You should like it too. Why not?
The “Like” button on Facebook has changed the verb. Before Facebook, “like” was a positive emotion one felt towards a person or object, but now “liking” means pressing a button. Doing so means you like something in the traditional sense, so the like button refers back to the furry and friendly emotion. The button hasn’t replaced the feeling, so there is no reason not to like it.
Sometimes I realize I am dreaming. Once, my college friend Robert Lochner and I were in line at the check-out counter of a grocery store. I told Robert I was dreaming as the cashier began to ring me up and that everyone in my dream was a figment of my imagination and that they would cease to exist as soon as I woke up. Robert, who was familiar with my philosophical posturing, rolled his eyes, but kept quiet, waiting for his turn at the register. The cashier, however, got very upset.
“I don’t care what you believe,” she said, pointing at me, “but don’t you invalidate my existence! You hear me? You can think whatever you want–I don’t care–but it is extremely, extremely rude to tell someone they don’t exist. How would you feel if I told you were just a character in my dream? A figment of my imagination? How would you like that?”
That is all I remember. I woke up. My friend Robert survived the dream although I haven’t heard from him in years. I was about to say that the cashier did not survive, but I have told this story several times and now I have written it down and sent it out into the cloud. The cashier doggedly continues her existence in spite of my insensitive comments. She exists. She is real.
In this short metafilm by Miles Aldridge, the viewer watches supermodel Kristen McMenamy, “the cosmetics muse,” watching a movie. We never see what she is seeing. We only see her face (and bold makeup, hair and clothing). We are the watchers that watch the watcher. We enjoy her enjoyment and get off on her catharsis.
This piece of graffiti is metagraffiti because it is self-referential: “I am sorry bus 4 writ[ing] here.” (Not sure about that last word, actually.) Why would someone write this? Consider for a moment what this self-reflective scrawl might mean.
(Photo by Omar Rodriguez-Rodriguez.)