Some new voices join our Arts + Culture blog today. Manny Mendoza will weigh in later this afternoon. He’s a former arts writer for The Dallas Morning News, currently making a documentary on newspapers called “Stop the Presses.” And right here, right now, we bring you Venus Opal Reese. I’ll let her introduce herself.
The following is from Venus:
Ok. Let’s talk.
I figure I should begin by telling what I am not going to be doing-I think….
I am not going to be a traditional art critic going to events and telling you what is good and what is bad. I’m no good at that and besides, you don’t need me to tell you what to like.
What I will do is make not-so-obvious connections between the performance of self in every day life, culture, and art. So you can think of our relationship as, you know, sort of like dating. It may be a bit awkward at first, but if you give me a chance, I will make it worth your time-even if we decide not to marry.
Not that I want to marry you-well you know what I mean.
I guess I should tell you who you are dating, huh?
Ok. My vitals: My name is Venus Opal Reese. I am in my 30s. (Some things a girl likes to keep to herself!) I am a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. I am an award wining solo-performing artist, poet, playwright, public intellectual, and such…
There’s more, but I figured I’ll wait for our next date…
You should know that you are dealing with an artist of the first waters-I love people. I love everything about them. I love their quirks, I love their failings, I love the way they lie, and I love culture. I don’t collapse culture with ethnicity, although we will be talking a lot about race….more to come…
Just think of me as your over-zealous, intense, sensitive, brilliant, anxious, first date who really wants to make a good impression on you so that you will ask me for a second date, and a third, and a forth, and maybe a night cap…
You know what I mean.
Here is my promise: I will always tell you the truth, I don’t back down, and I am a good time-someone you could take home to mom, but at the same time, someone who has a wild streak and it’s bound to come out in the writing. So I apologize in advance for telling the truth to your face about art as/and culture and perhaps, offending your delicate sensibility. Again, I promise, I will make it worth your while. The truth is, I mean, what I am trying to say is…
I want to seduce you.
I want to have my way with you. Your mind.
I want to say things that entice you to see the world differently.
And I want you to want it.
I want you to come… back, again, and again because I can give you something you can’t get anywhere else…
I want to make you feel things you didn’t know you could feel.
I want you to think things you thought you had given up on-like hope, and grace, and compassion.
I want to show you, you through my eyes…through others who may or may not look like you.
I want to challenge every blood assumption you have ever had about art as/and culture and make you feel good because you dared to look.
I want to move you. In private ways. Ways you can’t say but ways that make you walk differently. Talk strangely. Even the sound of your logic, your voice, your breath will feel different, after you have been with me.
Will you let me?
Let me…have my way with you?
I will give you my passion and my heat.
You will get my vulnerability and my idealism.
You will get my humor and my rawness.
I will teach you how to dream again. To belive again. In people-first. Then yourself.
Tall order, huh? All on the first virtural date…hum.
Makes you want to come back for a second just to see if I can deliver, right?
I am good for it…
Are you game?
Until next time….