Hellllo anyone that reads this blog. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go see Alanis Morissette at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. It wasn't a performance, but a conversation with Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone. (Still Alanis in real life...I'll take it.) My friend Mike from college was in the city too, so he joined me, yeah!
Photo cred: Mike Acciardo
A little background for you on me and Alanis. First contact was in mmm...fifth grade when my super talented classmates Lauren and Kim were doing recess performances of Ironic (whilst standing on the picnic tables all of us kiddos ate outside lunch at--priceless memories... :) From then on I was enchanted by Alanis's confessional, angsty (and darn catchy) ballads, so she became my go to girl for those especially moody, temperamental times. She's grown tons as an artist since the 1995 release of Jagged Little Pill (the first ridiculously successful album) and now, at thirty eight, is a married mamma! It was so cool to see her telling her story. Topics discussed included her musical philosophy, personal life, growth as an artist, getting married and becoming a mother, political involvement--the biggies.
Alanis looked killer in a bright green blouse, leatherish, rock star appropriate leggings, highhh stiletto boots, and of course, her gorgeous long black locks. And she was glowing (methinks from being a new mama, but it could just be that Alanis charm I'm in love with). It was about an hour long chat; I thought DeCurtis was dull, but his questions were good, so maybe he wasn't acting like an excited idiot a) because he gets to interview artists a lot and wants to keep things professional 2) because he's not me.
Anyhow, Alanis talked at length about the false veneer of the success + money + sex = happiness formula, which she experienced after the megasuccess of Jagged Little Pill. Maybe fifteen minutes into the interview I started getting really really excited because she was talking about everything I've been reading up on and interested in for the past year. (And goodness, she's quirky-funny in real life. I loved!) She also has an impeccable vocabulary while in actual conversation (as an artist/poet should...) but that made me so happy (Nerdy observation number fifteen).
She's thought a lot about the hollowness of "making it" (a la materialism, the perfectionism/beauty epidemic, huge egos, aggression/violence, lack of true connection with others/oneself/the divine), and mentioned a lot of psychological and spiritual ideas to back her stances. Psychology redux: she's a big proponent of therapy and geeky-PhD-toting-therapy-loving types (me too!). Spirituality redux: she was brought up Catholic and now has a Buddhist bent but says she appreciates all religious traditions. I felt this in the generous way she spoke about these topics; with a strong sense of gratefulness, wonder, and respect.)
One thing that struck me more than the others: she stated we are a profoundly undertouched society. I would tend to agree with that--I'm talking like, real and meaningful touch, like good hugs, holding hands, etc., MAYBE even if you're not in a relationship! Maybe with someone of the same sex! This enriches our connections with others. Yep, not everyone's touchy feely, but it's beyond that--more like, it's good to establish human connections that shows a facet of care through a tactile gesture. My friend Rosy once told me her mom always said we need eight hugs a day for proper growth. This initially completely freaked me out and I thought it was just one of those cheesy quotes...(the Russians aren't the huggiest culture either, and gotta say the hugs can be overdone--but there's studies!) After hugging it out with Rosy for a year I am converted to the hugfest, and agree with Alanis Morissette that we should share the love. (But be concientious about not being creepy...a verbal warning of an incoming hug might be a good idea :)
Alanis commented that the psychological and spiritual communities fight. She herself is an interesting combination of spiritual and psychological insight and exprience. In the U.S., from what I read and have heard from others, I often feel therapy is divorced from holistic care of the person and medication is overused and spirituality just isn't discussed unless the person wants to talk about it. Holistic care and spirituality are almost synonymous on a certain level; holistic care: taking care of the whole person when treating a medical condition, getting their lifestyle and past (psychological, relational, nutritional, environmental) in order to effectively treat physiological symptoms. And spirituality doesn't just cater to the soul/spirit, but absolutely to the body and mind as well. It's all connected. (This is a seperate blog post in itself, though.) I'm also not saying that medication is bad, but what might help more or in combo with medication to start lasting healing versus symptom management is for the person to feel like someone else is really walking with him or her through their hardship (and sometimes walking through it takes a long time.) ...Stepping off soap box now and getting back to more stuff I loved about this night:
Alanis said that although she sees herself as an activist for various causes, her most important activism is parenting (and she says she's loving it.) That really makes me smile.
So, hope I haven't sounded too much like a crazy sycophant; bottom line, it was special to see Alanis in the real! Struck so many chords. (No musical ones tonight though...I did ask for her to grace us with a song on my question card but that didn't pass the DeCurtis test...darn.) So thanks Alanis! Best to you and your gorgeous family and your art.
Anyone want to give me $50 to go to her NYC show this October?
P.S. She's a gemini like me!
P.P.S. Here middle name is Nadine. So pretty.
Bonus: An article she wrote about her thoughts on marriage. Interesting read. The woman has a lot of heart; the authentic kind.
Hugs until next time!
Hugs until next time!