Universe, you little bitch

These past few days have been a real meat grinder of fun. We all have ’em. Those moments in life where we feel…just…content…enough….and we allow ourselves space to slowly exhale. We maybe even release our seatbelt for a bit and settle into the idea that things are finally looking up. Then. As usual. Shit. Fan. Fun.

There’s no point in feeling sorry for ourselves. Although, I’ve become quite a master of my own agony, knowing all too well the tantalizing fragrance of despair when rolling around in my own pain.

When you suffer from clinical depression (and welcome to the fun house, if you do!), walking the tightrope of disappointment and sorrow without a safety net is like trying to ice skate on glass; but we always lace up. It’s a real blast and pretty hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.

The more breaths I take on this planet, the clearer my view on how much the universe is a fickle bitch. She means well, but really – do we need another lesson? Apparently.

I recently had the opportunity to meet one of my creative heroes, Jared Leto. We talked about how we handle the clean up of the blades when our fans are consistently getting pelted with shit. His point of view was luminous. It lit a fire deep inside my bones, reminding me that life owes us nothing and fuck if we can’t make the lows work for us.

Paraphrasing:

“It seems so many of us are taught to feel that obstacles are a bad thing. I think they’re exactly what we need to push us through and reach even higher. When I grab my guitar and start strumming, most times I have no idea where I’m going. I just play.

When you’re writing and feel like your stuck, just keep showing up. Every day. You can’t have those breakthrough highs without going through the lows.”

Not only was our conversation a game-changer in terms of my personal creative dreams, the message that Jared so profoundly shared with me bled over into all areas of my life.

The next time Dame Universe decides to headbutt me into next Tuesday, I’m gonna do three things: allow myself to feel it, remember my strength, and spank her on the ass to say thanks.

“A trap is only a trap if you don’t know about it. If you know about it, it’s a challenge.”
            ― China Miéville, King Rat

Christine Macdonald

Artifact: a music lover’s review

ar·ti·fact

      noun \ˈär-ti-ˌfakt\

     : a simple object (such as a tool or weapon) that was made by people in the past

     : an accidental effect that causes incorrect results

 

This article isn’t coming from a cubicle nestled in a concrete jungle of Corporate America. There are no supervisory editors in suits to edit my brain, and the only payment I’ll receive from this piece is personal satisfaction that because I’m putting it out in the universe, my voice is being heard.

But here I sit. In my 700 square-foot apartment in Costa Mesa, worlds away from the rock and roll underbelly of Los Angeles, curled up with my coffee and determination. I’m eager to pour my thoughts on the page for no other reason than palpable inspiration, born on the heels of watching such an epic documentary, driving me to do so.

My introduction to Bartholomew Cubbins (30 Second’s front man, Jared Leto’s directorial alias) was delivered via ARTIFACT – his sweat and tears, pumped through his veins with an infectious passion, far beyond the comprehension of the corporate dudes behind their lawsuit.

Just minutes in, I snagged the remote and hit rewind. I needed to watch what little I saw again. The beginning of the film introduces us to various artists talking about what music means to them – how we as human beings cannot live without it.

I connected with each industry insider interviewed (including one with neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music), but it was musician Kenna’s piece that induced a familiar tickle in my nose, coupled with watery eyes, which were quickly wiped from the curve of my smile.

“A song has a story in it, there’s a heart behind it, there’s a frequency within it and you as a person delivered it, and that’s why people care. Music is the most powerful vehicle in the world. Period.”

I’m not a musician. And before ARTIFACT, I didn’t know the first thing about the industry’s convoluted relationship between artists and labels. Who I am, is simply a [music] fan. I’m a singular drop in a vast ocean of music lovers who marvel at the magic; how an artist delivers (within the space of only a certain amount of notes) continual creations of infinite melodies weaved throughout original lyrics, which solidifies our passion and moves us beyond compare. Again. And again. And again.

If you’re expecting a narcissistic, self-indulgent, “look at us, we’re rock stars, here’s how we roll” type of film, ARTIFACT ‘aint it.

This documentary views like a cinematic dream – or rather – dream come true – for the three men who make up 30 Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Shannon Leto (drums, percussion) and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar, bass, strings, keyboards, other instruments). Leto is the first to admit, their band’s record-breaking success wasn’t expected in their wildest dreams, and we believe him. Not because his breathtaking looks and disarming prose lure us in; but because we learn early on in the film that Leto and his band mates are simply asking for what is fair. We learn that like most things in life – even when our dreams are realized, there’s always shit hitting the proverbial fan. And in the case of EMI versus 30 Seconds to Mars, that’s a thirty million dollar clean up.

Adding to the meat of this 100-minute ride is a visual feast I didn’t see coming. Leto’s directorial eye is born for cinematic artistry. We’ve seen his signature talent several times in his self-directed music videos (my faves are Up in the Air and his most recent, City of Angels), and ARTIFACT is no exception.

This is a feel-good movie – after it pisses you off – but in the end, you’re left with a fire inside your belly that will inspire you to kick ass and draw your sword with whatever shit comes your way. And with This is War in your corner, you’ve got a killer soundtrack for the fight.

Official Trailer:

Christine Macdonald