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.