Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Steve Lopez

It is 9:30PM.

I hope that people see this blog before 10 PM. I saw the Tavis Smiley show tonight. It is being aired again at 10. Steve Lopez was on the show. Tavis interviewed him about Nathaniel Ayers, the musician about whom the movie, The Soloist, is based.

Since I came down to Skid Row I have heard a great deal about Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers. I lived next door to one of the Lamp Locations.

When I first arrived at the Transition House, a man showed me an article that was written about drug addiction on Skid Row. He slept three beds away from me. He showed me a very long article with his picture on it. Steve Lopez wrote the article.

Steve Lopez explained, in short, the story of how he met Ayers and how their friendship developed. He explained how he took a cello to Nathaniel as a gift. That explained alot because I was on the movie set and in one of the scenes, a cello is taken to Nathaniel. Before tonight, no one talked about the cello. They talked about Nathaniel and the Violin.

On Skid Row, many film makers, photographers and writers come and want to capture it on film. I receive emails all of the time from people who want me to give them tours of the area. The want to capture something but feel they need an escort. What they want to capture can not be done if you have to have an escort around to do it. That would kill the energy and it also means that you do not know the area. You do not know the people.

Many people have an opinion on Steve Lopez. Some believe he is an opportunist. Some believe he exploited Nathaniel Ayers.

I listened to this man very intensely. I believe Steve Lopez is a very compassionate man. He appreciates stories from which he can learn alot. He marvels at how life can throw you tremendous curves and details how one's path can change abruptly as a result of that curve. He studies the attitudes and spirits of those who experience life altering events. They are his heroes.

It is clear that Nathaniel Ayers is one of Steve Lopez's heroes.

The word passion has a special meaning to me. I will not go into that subject now but Steve Lopez brought that word up. He remarked at how he wished he had a passion. He talked at how Nathaniel had such passion for music. He mentioned that he was in awe of Nathaniel because he had no regrets. He questioned the definition of success.

I recently had conversations with different people about those very same topics: success, passion and greatness. What are they? Are most definitions of success miguided concepts?

I look forward to hearing more from Steve Lopez. He is a very humble man, in my opinion, who seeks out the truth, a truth that he feels is the thread that runs so true in the human fabric but is never worn on the communication waves and print vehicles that we use to search for relevant meaning.

I learned alot from Steve Lopez and Nathaniel. It is funny. I mentioned something about a scene in the movie that was shot. I saw one scene that was shot. It was a gripping scene. The camera work at the end of it will leave you with an image that will rivet you in thought for days. That is what it did to me. It just so happens that I came to work today and my co worker talked about a scene where bulldozers knocked down all of the tents on San Julian. That real life scene was similar to the scene that had me in deep thought for days.

However, it was the creativity of Joe Roberts and the cinematographer that showed me how dramatic lessons of human fragility are presented on the screen by the way the shot the scene. Meaning and relativity of those scenes are being presented to me by my independent study and search for my truth as I experience life, in various forms and phases, on Skid Row.

The University of Skid Row is a marvelous place at times. Fascinating in what it can teach you. They say growth comes from pain. Well, I have experienced pain. Furthermore I have seen and studied a plethora of different types of pain on the expressions of people whose paths I have crossed while being here.

Tonight taught me alot. It may take me a few more months to understand what Steve Lopez was talking about today. It may take a few more years to appreciate what he was talking about today.

Thank you Mr. Lopez. You and Nathaniel Ayers have moved from umbrella figures of my experience on Skid Row to becoming Professors of LIfe's concepts and meaning.

Do not get me wrong. The men and woman that I meet and observe and with whom I interact are professors as well. Each teach in their own way. Some explain what others have been attempting to convey and vice versa. Mr. Lopez helped me understand and appreciate what my daily instructors have been trying to get me to apprecciate. LIfe. Live it. Have no regrets, only understanding. Appreciate the beauty of my experience that came from my pain. Grow .

"The Soloist" by Steve Lopez will be on the shelves tomorrow. IT says on the cover "the healing powers of music." or something like that. Compassionate people who live to tell the stories and meanings of the lives of others, and the beauty of their spirits have healing powers also.

Good Night


peggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peggy said...

Hi, I too saw Tavis Smiley this morning with author Steve Lopez and his book about Nathaniel Ayers.
It touched me enough to do some more research online, call up Barnes & Noble to see if they already had the book AND write Tavis Smiley an email.

I have written Tavis Smiley before and he actually responded in person per email. Another time his assistant Danny responded, making clear he actually read my email.

In my email I asked Tavis to invite Nathaniel - and maybe not interview him as this may make him uncomfortable but have Nathaniel play his music and let him speak that way. I believe music would convey the essence of Nathaniel Ayers best and along the way provide the enjoyment of music itself.

Like you by the way, I had a long unexpected discussion with a man, who is normally too busy and always working, about the same topics you mentioned in your blog. The discussion left me redefining my friend's interpretation of success.
I actually, came to the same conclusion as Steve. I meant to pick up the conversation again and convey it to my friend, but instead decided to get him the Soloist. He can figure it out himself and hopefully feel better about himself.

Also, Nathanial gave me another inspiration expressed through Steve who is I'm sure much wordier than Nate but the inspiration comes from Nate, not from Steve.
It is to have no regrets. Lately I have been wondering what to do with shame and regrets. Not to carry them with you and just drop them (after the lessons from them are learned) is the answer. That is what I get from Nate's story.

Well, thank you for your nice review! -- Peggy.

PS: I was actually surfing the Internet to see if Nathanial found treatment for his mental illness. A good friend, a good therapist and possibly medicine (I'm hesitant about the medicine) might help him. I like to see him takin' care of. Hopefully, like with the people sending in violins and even a piano, others will step up to offer him help for his illness. I know this sounds a little corny and Hollywood happy ending like, but I would like to see the man growing old, healthy with a good woman by his side so he will have a small but albeit a family. He seems to already have made a lot of friends. If he can get his mental health taken care of, he might be able to lead a fulfilling life off the streets.

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