Creativity Now, Insanity Later
by Chris Stoppiello (English), published October 19th 2011
Why doesn’t anyone care about originality anymore? Last weekend, as I left Killjoy Festival’s final event at Pandemonium Books and Games, I passed a packed bar on Mass Ave. The name of the bar isn’t important. What matters is what I heard spilling out on to the streets: some generic cover band playing a generic cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” That moment made me extremely sad.
Killjoy Festival featured a huge variety of local artists. I use that in the italic sense because we were treated with just about every application of the term. Painter Sean Boyce unveiled a new piece of art inspired by Central Square and Rodney’s Bookstore. Author, and Northeastern University professor, Gary Braver gave a riveting and insightful talk regarding his new novel. MEM Tea educated us on the wide range of teas. Peter Rosati premiered a short film that he spent the summer co-writing and directing with Dominic Rodriguez. The film, I might add, stars Rosati’s younger brother Shebl and featured original music composed by his older brother Jacob (who also happens to be the mastermind behind the whole festival in the first place). There was comedy, composting, beekeeping, and, of course, music. Lots of great music.
If it seems like I am rambling it’s because I am, but my point is that everyone involved works very hard at making something. They do their own thing and they do it well. The Killjoy Festival was the product of many local artists putting their hearts and souls into creating something new. They work to add to the world and yet, attendance to the festival was not stellar. It wasn’t empty, but it was a humble community of people enjoying the shit out of some amazing music and art.
So why is it that the bar was packed while the basement of Pandemonium was not? The truth is that there is no money in originality. Most bars are only interested in booking cover acts because they typically demand three 40-minute sets and want you playing something everyone knows. The effect we are left with glorifies the echoes of the 60s, 70s, and 80s and leave only the tiniest crack for the new. So I implore you, please make space for the ‘new.’ There are so many people in your community making wonderful art; you just need to know where to look. I hope Killjoy will return next year. Between now and then, study up. Everyone should have at least one local band that isn’t signed to a label and might not even have music online. Listen to their CDs, go to their shows and tell all your friends. Originality might not get money, but it deserves your support.