Shower Variations

Why is it that the best ideas come to us in the shower, the worst moment to jot down a note or dictate a reminder? But so it is, for exactly that reason – not much else to do but have deep (random) thoughts.

I had an epiphany of sorts in the shower a few weeks back and I’ve been diligently reminding myself to write about it – in the shower.  So here I am, and you guest it, not in the shower, at long last alas.

The chain of thought started with a joke on TV that kept making me laugh – hours later. As I was wondering why this – very silly and pedestrian – joke kept me entertained long after it was over I realized that it was the repetition of the same funny line through out the show in unexpected ways and in different contexts that made it so funny.

This led to the realization that funny and successful stand up routines are at their best when the audience is “in” on it and that happens by either talking to an audience that is like you; say fellow Jewish single upper west siders, or people with a mother. The first limits your audience reach significantly; the latter limits your range of material. But if you establish early on in your routine a joke that you thread throughout you have an appreciate audience “in the know” no matter what your ‘stick’ is.

This led to the realization that probably a lot, if not MOST successful art lives within the repetition or expansion of a theme, a variation.

Take the Chopin’s and Bach’s Variations (sic!), Scorsese’s Films that all deal with redemption of some kind or another, of musical themes assigned to different characters in a musical or opera, to visual artists who re-visit a theme, technique or color over and over again.  Isn’t it cool to hear music or walk into a gallery and recognizing the artist? Isn’t that “being in the know” a huge part of the attraction? The feeling to be a part of the art and to understand it?

Give me an example of non-repetitive art…