Art (Life) in Unexpected Places
Dan and I have enjoyed our share of plays in the Austin area. Most recently we saw The Tempest as described in an earlier post, but we’ve also seen a couple of productions at Hyde Park Theatre (Good Thief, Marion Bridge – Good Thief was an amazing one man show), August Osage County at Zach Scott (excellent show, talented cast- very moving/tragic-comedy plot), a smaller production at The City Theatre, and a few others that fail to come to the forefront of my mind at the moment.
As life would have it, we, along with our friend Ali, made it out to Present Company’s production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale over the weekend. Not only was it a complete coincidence to see two Shakespeare plays within a couple of weeks of one another, but it was also a complete coincidence that I stumbled upon Present Company’s website and we ended up sitting on a blanket on Rain Lily Farm in East Austin enjoying a well-done show by a troupe of seasoned actors with a passion for Shakespeare.
Before the show we met at Rio’s Brazilian Restaurant on Pleasant Valley, also in East Austin. The restaurant is brightly colored but rather small and modest from the exterior. Inside there are well-placed bursts of color and an eclectic assortment of modern art that echos the Brazilian/South American ethos. It was calm, laid back and cultural. The food was quite delicious – we enjoyed some beef, chicken and cheese empanadas and had some mussels and shrimp for dinner.
Then after the show, as we were walking about a mile to where we parked, we happened into an artist’s collective gallery space and took in some recent projects by local artisans – photography, collages, modern sculpture. It was in a mostly nondescript building along our route, and was just about to close before we popped in.
All of these experiences (Rio’s, Present Company’s show, the gallery) reminded me of how lovely it can be to find joy in unexpected places. I would have never anticipated Rio’s to have such a hospitable vibe and such vivid art inside; little did I know how pleasant Shakespeare could be when intermixed with the smell of hay, and seen from a seat on cotton sheet on a farm; and I although I know art can live and breath anywhere, I would not have anticipated a group of folks to be putting on a small gallery showing that just happened to be along the route we walked.
Now I know its often said that the little things are what matters, and that often times the simplistic/quaint can be the most beautiful. And I think those ideas are true. And it was nice to, for however brief and fleeting the moments were, experience joy and artistic creation (yes, I think the culinary arts are truly art along with theatre and fine art) when I was least expecting it. These experiences remind me, yet again, of how important it is to be present in the here and now as much as possible.
I’m an idealist – I can spend hours upon hours dreaming of what could be and what the future might bring, and to be honest the dreams provide me much bliss and inspiration. However, they are only dreams until they arrive, and in the meantime, I could definitely do well to spend some time savoring some seafood, enjoying the company of the people I love, experiencing Elizabethan drama, and exploring the arts. Because it’s only in the present that Dan and I grow closer and learn more about ourselves and each other; it’s only in the present that I can share experiences with friends; it’s only in the present that I can hope to understand emotion and the mind-body connection; and it’s only in the present that I can be who I am without the worry or trappings of a potential future or a burdensome past. It’s only in the present that I get to be, me.
Thanks for reading, S