the absence of limitations

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” Orson Welles

What kind of environment supports creativity? One that has constraints. One that is limiting. In crunch time, in those situations with limited resources, we are forced to be creative to get a task done. When you have limitations, you are forced to be creative in other ways.

Lee Clay: He once worked as an assistant for Steven Spielberg. Holy crap. In his early twenties, various connections and many temp jobs got him in touch with Bonnie, Steven’s producer or manager (or both?). He made himself known to her, very aggressively I might add. Sent Christmas cards, went for lunch, went for coffee. Essentially, Lee made it his mission to stay on this woman’s radar…and it worked. He got the job. From that jumping-off point he was able to start producing what he loved on his own, with the help and support of his writer/director wife. Moral of the story: it’s your responsibility to stay on the radar of higher-ups that are involved with what you want to be involved in. Be ok with being a salesperson for yourself, cause you’re gonna hear “no” a lot.

Both Lee and our second speaker, Ross, started as theater majors and wrote for the stage which I can TOTALLY relate to. My school’s dance major is technically “Theater and Dance,” giving all of the varying “concentrators” in the school exposure to many different aspects of theater, production, and the business of the performing arts. Boy, am I happy for that all-encompassing education.

Ross worked with our professor, Seth, at E! News before being hired as a staff writer for the TV hit, Glee. He was such an interesting speaker and person…someone who has had a great deal of experience in Hollywood but still manages to stay fresh and young. I appreciated his neatly quaffed hair and dry sense of humor. Also his real-ness. Something he said that hit home with me: seeing what he imagined come to life.

After writing an episode, Ross could step on the Glee set and see what he  put down on paper realized in actuality. Everything down to the colors he described or the small detail about a window or door frame was created into an actual, real-life TV set. Incredible.

Something similar happens when choreographing a dance work. After hours of slaving over ideas and fleshing out feelings and concepts, the dancers act as the craftsmen. Getting to see a group of people move together and bring that story to life yields an incredible, unspeakable satisfaction. It’s almost surreal.

More adventures ensued since Sunday Morning…

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop, finally another cozy place to explore. This place wasn’t too far from home and the perfect outdoor seat to catch up with myself and my thoughts after church on Sunday.

La Brea Bakery on the way to the LACMA. My room mate and I had every intention of art gazing but our stomachs saw this hip, chic looking bakery and we deviated from the plan. AMAZING bakery food:  hearty bread, grapfruit slamon salad, and a chocolate croissant for dessert. Antique shop gazing, marvelling at the letters and paper goods in Pulp, then heading back to the valet (free but still downright fancy) to grab the car for another quick adventure.

Mystery Pier Books consisted completely of first edition books, most were signed by the author. We aren’t talking any dinky bookshop here. This place took some digging to find (hardly a sign, walked through an alley and around a building to get there), but we stumbled upon the gem, apparently just an hour short of Sean Penn (WHAT THE HECK!!!). Celebrities like him, Johnny Depp, and others frequent the place according to the shop owner. In other news the cheapest book you can find in there is approximately $200. No wonder. Every book you could ever imagine, every classic. Even Dr. Suess’ books were on display for a casual, measly $2,300. You read that right. I was afraid to touch anything. I was afraid to look at any book or too long in fear that I would ruin it and have to pay for it.

Book Soup on the Sunset Strip was probably my favorite bookstore in LA yet. Cozy, but filled with character and those little cards with book suggestions from employees filling the shelves. I’ve been going to The Last Bookstore on my lunch breaks at work and reading Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking. I haven’t had the time to go in and read in about a week and I couldn’t stand the wait any longer. Halfway through and loving the lusciousness of her text despite the rather heavy content.

Downtown Burbank for a Mexican dinner with the girls and a late night viewing of Magic Mike XXL. Loved the quesadillas, didn’t love the movie. Basically, if you’re trying to get something substantial and worth while out of a story line, this movie isn’t for you. In fact, the lack of story line was what kept me and my gal pals entertained. As far as the dancing goes, it was sub par.

What inspires you? When have you been limited and forced to become more creative as a result?

It’s so easy to get bogged down by the influx of information in a city like this. Constantly doing and discovering makes me feel overwhelmed and even tends to push me in the opposite direction of creativity. Today, I hope to begin honing my energy, and challenge my creative self with the presence of limitations.


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