Shia LaBeouf: Artistic Narcissist or Viral Genius?

If you haven’t heard already, Shia LaBeouf has minutes ago wrapped up his 72 hour marathon watching his movies. The thing is, he set up a live stream of himself…watching his movies. yeah. In New York City’s Angelika Film Centre, he sat through, in reverse chronological order–I can only assume so that people would see his better works first, for three days. AND, you could watch him watch his movies for the entire time that he was watching his movies…wherever you were in the world. HERE is a link to some of the feed that was recorded.

I can only assume that millions have tuned in to see what the big deal was about. He made news headlines, the story hit viral on multiple sites, twitter exploded with people who were watching or were in the theater with Shia watching, facebook tossed around his live stream site, etc, etc. Some were tasked to watch as much as they could to take snapshots of all the best moments of Shia watching his films. At roughly 7pm East Coast time, the marathon ended with Shia getting up and walking out of the theater to everyone applauding. He shook three hands on the way out, but then it was over. As quickly as it began, it ended.

I would say that I watched about 30-40 min of his live stream. Some yesterday, and some today after work. I made sure to catch the end of it. I have to say, I had some thoughts about the whole thing during and after it was all over. It’s not news to me that in the past five years or so, Shia has been branching out artistically. He will do things to make people think, or to seemingly shock and awe people. People would think him weird and odd. Some would say that he has mental issues or that he’s “not all there.” I wouldn’t be so quick to label Shia in this way.

Artists have the keen ability to cause reaction. It’s kind of what they are in the business of doing. Whether it’s movies or on a canvas. Theatre or performance piece. Abstract or sculpture. It doesn’t matter. They are all trying to make you feel something…experience something. So what was Shia doing? Was he acting out Narcissistically? Was he so totally full of himself that he invited everyone to come enjoy himself with himself? Was this another weird, oddball artistic performance piece that cause the viewer to say, “Why Shia?? Why?” Or, did Shia know exactly what he was doing. Like the “Just Do It,” green screen viral video before that, his SIA music videos, or the Shia LaBeouf Live video. They all are apart of his viral presence. Knock him all you want, but Shia has his finger on the pulse of what it means to be known. His craft of “going viral” is well tuned. Whether this is what he meant to do or not is neither here or there.

In an interview he did for a magazine I read a long time ago, I remember Shia saying that he used to drive his motorcycle on the highway, then stop on the side of the highway, get off his bike, and wait for someone to notice him. That’s a very poignant thing to say. Fame isn’t the easiest thing to grapple with. When you’re a kid, and you’re a happening star….one minute you mean THE WORLD to everyone. Then, as time goes on, people care less, and you mean NOTHING to anyone. That can be a hard thing for someone to grow up with.

In the Angelika Film Centre, Shia watched his entire life’s work. He watched it with other people. Vulnerable, exposed, and mute. He didn’t respond when an actual viewer, at the end of “Man Down,” said, “That was s***. I just watched a piece of s***” I think about a man watching everything that he has done in his career fly by in a haze of popcorn, coughing, shuffling, yawning, soda drinking, and whispering. There is fragility there that I’m sure was witnessed by those seeing it…if not by himself. I wonder if he thought, “This…this is my life’s work,”…and then thought, “Could I do better? Was it well spent? Did it have purpose?”

There were moments in the haze where you got to see the joy that Shia takes in the work that he does. Maybe a bit of embarrassment as well. I really want to know what film he was watching when this moment happened, but it looked pretty great for everyone.

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But most of the moments looked a lot like this:

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This last photo was a snapshot I took seconds before the final veil dropped on the final movie. He wasn’t sleeping, even though his eyes were closed. They were only closed for a second. But, I wonder if in this moment, he felt the weight of what he did, and whatever it meant to him.



What did it mean to anyone else? Well that’s art isn’t it…the meaning is subjective.

To me, I thought what Shia did was kind of cool. I’ve always liked Shia, even when he started doing some weird stuff. There’s something about his total commitment to something that is oddly entrancing. Yes, I initially thought, “Why Shia, why??”, and also, “This is pretty weird. Another ‘Shia stunt’ strikes again.” And ultimately, in the scope of things, WAY too much of a deal was made about this than it probably deserved, and yes, I am not helping it by writing about it. STILL. I write about things that make it’s way past the surface and go deeper, and I think that for whatever reason, this did.

If you have thoughts about it, feel free to comment. That’s all.

Life Lessons: Raised on Movies.

I grew up in a house with over 900 movies in it. My father loved movies. I grew up being able to recognise movies within seconds of seeing a random scene from them. I also grew up on the classics. Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Star Wars, and many, many Disney films. In my years growing up, I learned a few things about life from movies. This is bound to happen with so many movies in the house. I decided to create a list of things that I happened to learn from the movies that I watched. They are mostly 90’s movies.

In a list of no particular order, here are life lessons from 90’s movies:

Jurassic Park: T-Rex can’t see you if you don’t move
The Truman Show: Convinced me that there were moments that I swore people were watching me and everything was about my life.
Sandlot: Shoes make you run faster and jump higher. Also you can survive a 20’ fall off any object as long as you land on your back.
Peter Pan: Having a group of friends and adventures in the wild is good.
Home Alone: If I wanted, I could fend off my home with toys. Also, aftershave really burns the face.
Little Rascals: Club House = Yes. Boxcar Race = Yes (this turned out to be a horrible mistake)
Harriet the Spy: Launched my obsession with being a child spy. Gear, notebooks, the works.
Tom and Huck: Living in the wild would be so sweet. Also, blood packs are cool.
Blank Check: I just wanted 1 MILLION DOLLARS! that’s it. That’s plenty, right?
The Big Green: This kicked off my love of soccer. Still love it. Also, it doesn’t matter how horrible you are, if you believe, your skill will increase 10 fold.
The Little Giants: I wanted a go-cart so badly. Also, I played two years of pee-wee football because of this movie.
Heavyweights: I love summer camp. Also go-carts.
My Girl: Bees can kill you.
Mighty Ducks 2: D2: Roller hockey is something I signed up for because of this movie. Also, the knuckle puck doesn’t work.
Hook: Baseballs can’t break airplane windows. Also, I wanted to be a lost boy.
The Borrowers: When stuff goes missing, for NO reason, it’s The Borrowers. For real though.
Wild America: You can survive a bear attack if you have brothers to help you out. Also, don’t pick up hitchhikers.
Mouse Hunt: It’s actually pretty hard to kill a mouse, unless you have an orange.
Prince of Egypt: This started my obsession with beautiful soundtracks. I would sit in my room an listen to “Deliver Us” and get the chills. Also “Burning Bush.” I think I cried when I heard it for the first time.
Baby’s Day Out: How did those guys not catch a crawling baby? In New York….Seriously?
Iron Giant: I want a robot.
P.U.N.K.S.: I want a crew with gadgets, and cool stuff, and we do stuff together. I may have tried to do this with my friends.
Good Burger: Every time I watched this, I wanted a burger…so badly.
The Goofy Movie: Even the awkward guy can get the girl sometimes. Also, if I need to save someone who recently fell down a waterfall, I just need a fishing pole and The Perfect Cast.
Beethoven: Having a Dog is serious work. Like A LOT. This was a smart move by my parents.
Fern Gully: We are killing the planet.
The Little Princess: I love a good story.
The Secret Garden: I learned that I cry at movies sometimes
It Takes Two: It’s never too late to stop a wedding
Indian in the Cupboard: Not every Cupboard could bring my action figures to life….
Goonies: If you have a knife, you can slide down a canvas sail. Also, some adventures are worth almost dying in cave. Also, wishing wells are deeper than I thought.
E.T.: Reese’s Pieces are actually irresistible…even to aliens. Also, Bike Rides.
101 Dalmatians: Sometimes people get married after they have just met. Right?
Dennis the Menace: Lock your Doors. Also, I want a slingshot.
Rookie of the Year: If I break my arm, I’ll throw a baseball real fast, right?
I’m sure there are more, and when I think of them, I’ll do another edition. Welcome to the Monday ramblings.

King of the Forest

Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?

Recently, I attended a weekend retreat for the internship I took through the Maxim Institute in Auckland New Zealand. Alumni Weekend. A time where interns, past and new get together and laugh about old stories, update each other on what the internship has done for them, eat, drink, and you know…be merry. Obviously it’s so much more than that, but I want to talk about something that greatly touched me over that weekend.

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Happy Birthdays are for Others

September 14th. It was a Monday when I was born. This day is becoming more and more of a day that I just let pass by me. Sure I like birthday parties, having others around me, celebrations, music, cake, laughing at almost nothing, staying up late, and enjoying other people’s company. Of course I love that. Still, I don’t like to make a big deal of something for myself. That’s just not how I do things.

When my 28th birthday was coming up, all I could think about was where I thought I’d be, how old I was getting, what I haven’t done, blah blah blah. But then I realised just what I HAVE DONE. How very much has happened to me. The people I have been blessed to have conversations with, laugh with, know about. I have listened to stories of pain, and joy…sat with people in their darkest, and their brightest. I have felt the weight of a culture nearly forgotten and a people fighting to staying alive. I have learned to be a better professional and a much better human.

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I’m An Extroverted Introvert. Huh? Yep.

Some of you may have seen articles floating around talking about “Signs of an Introvert.” “20 Things Extroverts Do. Introverts, THIS IS FOR YOU!” “ISFP, it’s okay to Party!” If you have a Facebook NewsFeed, then you’ve seen these articles. Most likely when you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, so you skip over the ones that seem formulaic…okay, all of them are like that.

I am an Extroverted Introvert. Party in the Library. A Rave of One. Shots with a Book in my hand. Whatever you want to call it, I do both. Most of my friends who understand Myers Briggs know that this is quite possible. Others may force me to choose a side. How can you be both? That makes no sense at ALL@!!1! How can you love people but also HATE THEM!?!!22!

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