The grand opening of my art therapy space went great. A couple of noise guys came and played: Kenny Yates from Harmstryker and Marty McCavitt from Birds in the Meadow – playing as Rollo Barrier. Richard’s band: IMG played next – they played awesome but unfortunately really loud so we can’t have them again. But the noise band was a great blend with art therapy. To me, it’s really congruent with the tenet of art therapy expression: raw, complicated, juxtaposing different things to jar the ear or excite the mind. Just like what the person creating raw art for therapy, self-expression, immediate communication, and/or story-telling does. I was amazed at who liked the noise band – people I didn’t necessarily expect to like it and surprised at who didn’t like it. Here I assumed my older friends (older than me I mean) would not care for the noise at all, would find the improvisation of it disconcerting but they were the ones who appreciated the juxtaposition of different sounds, the use of an unusual instruement, the blending of a classically trained musician with a modern, self-taught artist. And the people I thought would appreciate the similarites of the creation of noise with the creation of art in therapy didn’t. A person who has made noise in the past, is a trained musician also didn’t seem to care for it as much. It’s always amazing who strains toward the usual, the generic, the comfortable because it doesn’t make you think. I suppose they are the same people who watch a lot of TV and get lulled into the blandness of a safe, generic world. The same people who want to deny the complications inherent in each of us. People are never who you think they are. I posted on Kenny’s blog a comment regarding his despairing of the difficulty in getting a noise voice heard in Richmond. I think it is fear of what noise is saying, that noise, experimental music, experimental art, raw expression frightens people because it brings up the possiblity of such intensity in all of us: the violence that can be brought out of anyone, the fears that can immobilize a person, the alienation we can all feel from each other, even from the ones we love the most. We have more and more violence being brought to us and yet we want to retreat into music and art that puts a bland and shiny finish on. People want to gravitate to what they think is popular because it gives them comfort and validates their own avoidance of deep feelings. Within the happy, shiny music, people can pretend all is well in the world, all is the same and therefore valid, can tell themselves that if everyone else likes it then I must be okay too. We are afraid of ourselves.