Tag Archives: Hollywood

What Are the Arts? A Hollywood Standard

After spending more than my self-allotted time on Facebook today, the running theme was the Meryl Streep speech. This blog is not a political debate and I will not go into politics. However, I will discuss “arts.” Ms. Streep made a rather bold comment that has sent MMA fighters globally into an uproar, whether her intention or not.

Per Ms. Streep, “So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

The question now begging to be answered is: What are the arts? Are the arts only limited to those on stage or in productions? Have we lost sight of what the arts are? Have the arts  evolved or devolved?

According to Oxford, art can be defined as 1) the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. 2) (the arts) the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance. 3) a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.

I would consider definition #2 to include artists, writers, poets, sculptors, singers/song writers, and dancers. In there I would add acting as well, as this is a dominant basis to portray stories through creative activity. That would be my opinion. Using the given Oxford definition then, Mixed Martial Arts, football, even culinary chefs would fall into definition #3, as they have honed into a special skill acquired through practice. This can also absorb definition #2, as a writer works at his skill acquired through practice: the art of writing. Similarly,  the art of song writing, the art of basket weaving, the art of sculpting, the art of dance, the art of fighting, heck even the art of war.

So here is my kick: as definition #2 (the arts) can easily dip into definition #3 (acquired skill), can acquired skill also be considered the arts? The definitions are so broad. Have you ever watched Tai Chi? The slow and fluid motions are almost poetic in nature and mesmerizing to watch. Would Tai Chi not be a creative activity defined as the arts? Again, the definition is quite broad and could not encompass every example of the arts, but instead gave the more prominent ones.

Glass blowing: the arts or an acquired skill; the art of glass blowing? Tai Chi versus MMA; is there a difference?

Definitions give to evolution in an ever changing world, but are the definitions variant through the eyes of the beholder?  A husband and wife go to an art museum. The wife is in awe of the sculptures and paintings, to her that is art. They walk into the next museum, an air and space museum, and the husband sees the curves, the mass, the depth of an old WWII fighter plane and says that is true art. Which one is wrong? Are they both correct? Couldn’t building a plane be considered a creative art? I’m sure the Wright Brothers would love to hear that argument.

My blog today was not to bash or trash, and definitely not to make a political statement, but rather to entice people to open their minds as to what is art and what are the arts. Are only the beautiful aspects to be considered art such as Tai Chi versus MMA? Are some form of the arts higher up on the evolutionary art ladder than others: slam poetry versus Hollywood movies? Is it art to portray a fighter in a movie but not to be a fighter? Is it art to portray a fighter pilot in war but not to be a fighter pilot in war?

Have we evolved or devolved our definition of the arts over time? And if all of Hollywood disappeared today, would the arts disappear with it?

I would love to hear your “non-political” input on what you consider to be the arts, or on Ms. Streep’s thoughts that without Hollywood there would be nothing left but football and MMA. Maybe the world could read the book instead of watching the film adaptation, but I’m a writer; I can dream.

Tania L Ramos, RN BSN & Author of the arts

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I’m Supposed to Leave my Home?

As I posted previously, I am now in cover copy polish, but today I received an interesting email that had my application into the, “Rising Star,” program.  Talk about labor intensive.  They say it’s a quick survey, yet I sit here sweating bullets, trying desperately to sell myself, marketing campaign, and book to people who only know me by the answers to their questions.  The area I am having particular trouble in is defining my target audience.  Now, being the nerd I am, and not wanting to sound the remedial marketer I am, I Google search, “target audience.”  I am hit with zillions of hits, but most don’t pertain to what I am searching for.  Time to narrow the search … BAM! hit with tons of sites offering their fee based services.  I’m thinking I can figure this out on my own with the correct resources, so I continue to search, and so far it has been two hours in and I have determined my market is greater than women ages 17-57, but the heck are they? I remain humbled by this question.

Next perplexing question: DO you have any professional affiliations, belong to any groups, churches, or community organizations? I’m thinking, OH CRAP! You mean I’m supposed to leave the confines of my home? Then I think, outisde of the fact that I just found a writer’s club out here, I belong to nothing, but if I say I’m going to start attending these meetings it will come off as someone scrambling to find a place to belong.  Sorta like my kid rushing for the activities colleges are looking for.  So, I list my mom’s church, which is as close to church as I have been in years…does guilty by association work here?

Then I’m asked if i’ve won any awards or accolades? Geesh! You mean I have to be good, too? I think the term, “what the ….” slipped my lips.  Now I struggle to recall if I won that award for haikus back in ninth grade.  Does, “my mom thinks I’m amazing,” count? How about my versatile blogger award? I remember my first book, “Be Still,” was in the top five most voted for books for Book of The Year, so I document that after chewing my nails to a stub, hoping they don’t sit their and laugh.

Next question: DO you personally know anybody in media, radio, television, newspaper, magazines, who you can contact? And i’m thinking, “ummmmm, no.”  My ex-husband works for Universal Studios Hollywood and if a book happens to fall in the lap of say, Steven Spielberg, then my exhusband is as close as I will get to knowing someone in the business…too bad he’s an EMT who works the park.

All-in-all, my brain is fried with working on this “Simple” survey.  I have devulged my bargain basement marketing plan, financial budgeting, lack of contacts, uniqueness of my book, and the books it is similar too (which was more research), and now I am truly spent.  I will do more work tomorrow and try not to answer with too many, “n/a,” in my answers.  I’m new to this, so I hope they see that I am doing what I can, above and beyond, especially with limited time.

Happy Easter to you all who celebrate it! I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

An Unfamiliar Place

     Today I am reading a book by Chuck Palahniuk, titled, “Damned.” I have tried to read his other books (Fight Club and Choke, amongst his more well known), but I always had a problem following his mind.  Now that I am on the otherside of the pages,I am realizing that it’s not my job to get inside the mind of the writer, but his/her job to get into mine.  So in this new Palahniuk book I am trying to stay focused, but there are still some parts where I peek at the back inside cover to see his picture and think to myself, “what were you smoking, Dude?”

     Albeit a very interesting book about a self-proclaimed, “fat-girl” who overdoses on marijuana and winds up in hell, he does have some interesting opinons on the concept, development, and over all design of hell.  To this, I say, “Kudos, Mr. Palahniuk, for making me laugh, feel vomitus, and blush all in the same chapter.” You may ask what this has to do with my blog title, “An Unfamilar Place” This is because in his book he talks about many far off and exotic destinations that only the daughter of a movie-star billionaire would know about.  I’m left to wonder if Chuck has been to these places, name dropping, or if they were spots on a map he threw a dart at.  Being that he’s sold over 5 million books, I would assume he has visited these places at least once…but that is a wild assumption without any basis.

     I wrote in a previous blog that I could only write about places i’ve been, things i’ve done, senses i’ve experienced.  This has created quite a conundrum in my new book as the charcter, Evan, is deaf.  I tried working through this last night and discovered something fascinating that I have taken for granted for years, as most people probably have: Did you know you can hear your own voice in your head? I mean, we have thoughts, but imagine if you will (or try) that you can not speak.  You have no use of your mouth to produce words.  Do you still hear those words in your in head? How did you know what th words wwere supposed to sound like?  Answer this, without speaking out loud: What is your theory on evolution? Okay, do you hear the sound of your own voice in your head? Myself, I found it fascinating, because all though I have heard it before, I have taken it for granted.

     What’s the point? The point is this.  As a writer I have to get into the heads of my character so they can get into your head and you can feel their emotions.  Ride the rollercoaster with them.  Be someone else with every documented word.  Escape.  So my job in the new book is to make you, the reader, connect with a young deaf girl who is caught up in a triangle custody battle between a ditzy, emotionally lazy mother; an uncaring, loafer father; and a man who loves her as his own child.  Being caught up in that is hard enough, but I’m left to write every tangible sense of a girl who hasn’t ever heard a sound.  You look at a door and say, “it’s a door.” In spanish, “la puerta.” In german, “die Tur.” But how do you explain sound to someone who can’t hear it? It’s like explaining the color teal to a blind person.

     I am taking on a task similar to writing about a place I have not been.  I can not write about Harlem since I’ve never been there.  I can stare at pictures all day, but until I have been there I could not give you every sense of the place: taste, smell, sight, sound, touch.  Think those don’t all play into the factor? Well, I’ve lived in beautiul California my entire life, and when people come to visit they all want to go to Hollywood.  I try and detour them, but usually can’t because they already have a preconceived idea.  Many people outisde of Los Angeles think of it as star central, full of glitz and shimmering sparkles, streetsof gold and stars.  Not so.  Here are the senses of hollywood: As I walked into the city of stars I was immediatley met by the pungent, stale scent of fresh and stagnant urine.  It was thick, making me feel dirty under its weight, which lingered on the humid air, and sank into my skin.  I saw a homeless man sitting beside a trash can, chasing away rats and other pestulence, while the din sound of helicopters and airplanes consumed the dingy skyline.  The place corrupted every sense, including my ideas of what Hollywood would be.

     Now, not to knock Hollywood, but there are better places to visit in California.  After reading about all five senses being used to describe it, you should be left with a yucky taste in your mouth.  Here’s a free pointer: when writing a creative paper be sure to include,: who, what, when, where, how, but don’t forget: sight, taste, smell, touch, and hearing.  It makes it more personable.  So my cross to bear is not to write what Evan hears, but to write what she doesn’t hear.  In order to do this I will have to heighten my own senses…not so great so far.  I am going to take on the task of teaching a deaf girl, English.  This is a very unfamilir place.

     For those keeping up with my publishing status; I call my editor tomorrow and set up payment, then it will go into a month of editing while I, at the same time, look for work.  I am hopeful this will all work out, but please keep following me to see where I end up next year in November, my year anniversary into this uncharted territory.  I may be rich and famous, working on a movie deal…or pulling out a loan to publish my next book.  Either way, I am proud of my accomplishments and hope you all fulfill your dreams.

tania l ramos