Inspiration (a.k.a. Artist’s Prayer)

Our Idea
Which art in the Ether
That cannot be named;

Thy Vision come
Thy Will be done
On Earth, as it is in Abstraction.

Give us this day our daily Spark
And forgive us our criticisms
As we forgive those who critique against us;

And lead us not into stagnation
But deliver us from Ego;

For Thine is the Vision
And the Power
And the Glory forever.

Amen.

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Ban “Sita Sings the Blues” from the Internet!

Seriously, I could use the publicity. What would happen if thousands of people signed this petition? Has a movie ever been banned from the Internet before? I want to see how it’s done. You can leave a message with your signature. They only have 367 so far – do your part, people.

Your Children Are Not Your Children

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Khalil Gibran, from The Prophet

Likewise, your Art is not your Art. It too belongs to Life.

Copyright terms were initially 14 years – about the time it took to raise a child to adulthood. After 14 years (or 18 years now, we’ve extended legal infancy) parents really have to let go of their children, and acknowledge they don’t “own” them. In fact they never did.

So it is with Art. An artist nurtures a work from an invisible little idea into a form that can stand on its own. But eventually they have to let go of it. Letting go is essential for the growth of both the “child” and the “parent.” Parents who don’t let go of their children never mature; children who are never released wilt. 14 years is a long time to “own” a child…50 years is ridiculous. Imagine changing your kid’s diaper for 50 years! And life plus 70 years is simply obscene. Would you want your kid beholden to your rotting corpse? Would you rather it belong to your corpse than to Life?

My Chanukah Miracle

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So there I was at the Dubai International Film Festival last week, and I forgot to bring my mobile phone charger. Usually my Blackberry’s battery conks out after less than 2 days, whether I make calls or not. But lo! That single charge lasted through the entire festival, and even worked when I got back to New York! 6 days of battery use on one charge. Blessed art Thou O Lord Our goD, King of the Universe! Happy Chanukah!

Dead Lawyers by John Weldon

Mr Deity

My friend John in Oakland turned me on to this video, which explains the power of prayer:

Catch the whole series at Mr. Deity.com

Terror attacks in Mumbai

Read more here. Mumbai friends, my thoughts and yes, even prayers (insofar as an agnostic has prayers), are with you.

…and on the Speech frontlines in India:

Salil Tripathi wrote an informative, well-informed article about whether Sita Sings the Blues can avoid being banned in India. It’s in the Far-Eastern Economic Review, and to read the whole thing you have to subscribe ($120 yikes!), but if you’re already a subscriber do check it out.

Avian Transportation Theory

Aaron Simpson pointed me to this excellent mock-trailer:

Originally found on RichardDawkins.net, it’s a parody of what looks like a truly dumb “Intelligent Design” PR piece.

You’ll notice there’s a little clip of my short film The Stork at the beginning. No, the producers didn’t ask for permission and no, that doesn’t bother me because yes, I enjoyed the piece so much I’m honored to be included (also the clip is really brief – blink and you might miss it). But hey Sexpelled producers – get in touch anyway, I like your style.
Continue reading Avian Transportation Theory

Indian Jew in New York?

I want to attend an Indian seder this year, but I don’t know any Indian Jews here (although totally secular, I am an Ashkenazi Jew). I also like Indian food. And I have sufficient chutzpah to ask, in public, to be invited to an Indian seder. I’ll bring grape juice!

Finance Report

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Praise be to Laxmi!

Laxmi is both the eternal form of Sita and the Goddess of Wealth. I never really thought about her wealth aspect until now. Because my mind is so blown by the donations coming in for the 35mm master of Sita Sings the Blues.

Folks, you are kind and generous beyond my dreams. So far over $13,000 have come in. Some is from people I know in real life, but most is from people I’ve never met, mere electronic impulses from other synapses in this great hive-mind we call the Internet. I’m sitting here in awe and disbelief. I’m so grateful, so touched, so dazzled my little pea-brain can’t quite handle it. So it’s time for me to envision this as divine and offer thanks.

I thank all of you, I thank the Internets, I thank the Universe, I thank Laxmi.

Credits deadline extension

The lab making the 35mm print master of Sita Sings the Blues has been delayed receiving the requisite film stock, due to a delivery error. That means they can’t print the final reel – with the credits – until Monday. And that means I don’t have to render the credits until Sunday. Which means anyone who wants their name in the credits still has until 10pm Sunday January 27 to make a donation! All donors will be thanked in the credits, but donors of $1K or more get a credit of their choice (Key Grip, Caterer, etc.) in a larger font.

Meet Agni

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One of the most frequent questions I hear about Sita Sings the Blues – from desis, no less – is “Who is that red dude on the goat? Is that Satan?”

This is Agni, people. The Vedic god of fire! God of priests and Priest of Gods! I know he’s not worshipped much these days, but he was a big deal back in Valmiki’s time. When Sita enters the fire, Agni carries her right back out, unscathed.

Agni’s vehicle is the ram. I screwed up by putting him on a male goat, rather than a male sheep, which I learned is what a ram is while researching this post. Oops. Although he’s sometimes depicted riding a chariot pulled by goats, so it’s sort of a compromise. But he’s still Agni. He’s got two heads, one for the creative, useful power of fire and one for its out-of-control destructiveness. He’s got multiple arms. He’s red.

He’s Agni.

‘Tis the Season

to Resist Christmas! “No Shopping, No Presents, NO GUILT.” Also visit the Christmas Resistance Blog.

Behold How History Is Written!

Very Similar to how sausages are made.