50 years ago today Stanley Kubrick’s classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” debuted in Washington DC to mixed reviews, mostly negative ones.
A few days later at its New York premiere, people booed and walked out.
“It lacks dramatic appeal to a large degree and only conveys suspense after the halfway mark…. The plot, so-called, uses up almost two hours in exposition of scientific advances in space travel and communications, before anything happens, [including] the surprisingly dull prolog… Film ends on a confused note, never really tackling the ‘other life’ situation and evidently leaving interpretation up to the individual viewer. To many this will smack of indecision or hasty scripting.” – Variety
“A small sphere of intellectuals will feel that Kubrick has said something, simply because one expected him to say something.” – NY Daily News
“It is phony on many points, even for specialists. For a true work of art, the fake must be eliminated.” – Andrei Tarkovsky
We are here for a heartbeat. We are iPhones with no battery charger. When we die the poor will ravish us for our copper.
So while we are here we can sit around like a dolt taking orders from this one or that one
Or we can rock.
You don’t need confidence, you don’t need talent, you don’t need courage. For even a dog when he sees a cat knows to run after it at high speeds.
Life is the cat.
Run after it.
At high speeds.
Kubrick had a vision. He worked with the author Arthur C. Clarke. He built props and stages. He never used many of them. He had a vision. Were people who weren’t Stanley Kubrick in his ear telling him that he was spending too much money or that the script was lacking or the music was wrong or there weren’t any stars in the film?
Were people saying, why is half of this space movie about prehistoric monkeys who don’t say any words?
Probably. But because Stanley Kubrick was a dog he ran after what he was supposed to run after and we are all luckier because of it.
And for damn sure we should celebrate that some jackhole didn’t tie him to some tree in the backyard.
Live your life. Make your art. Make it weird and beautiful and unlike anything that anyone has ever seen.
Those of you who make art, that is actually your job.
Don’t be a thief. Be you. Be the most you you can be and if people don’t like it, good. People didn’t like the Velvet Underground or Van Gogh or GG Allin or The Replacements or Tsar or even Pinkerton when it came out.
But people sure loved Milli Vanilli. A whole bunch of them voted to give Milli Vanilli a Grammy. Where is the list of those geniuses?
Make art, not friends.
Make the artiest art you can art. If people say peeee-youuuu, kiss them on the cheek because I bet you those people are not Lou Reed and you need to give those people the kiss of death.
50 years after you have made your art, no one is going to say “Yes but I wonder what Kathy Lee and Hoda thought about it.”
They’re gonna say, Tony Pierce made that and I loved it.
And I love it even more now.
Now go catch that fucking cat.