Home > Uncategorized > From the Guy Who Used to Hate Jazz and Westerns

From the Guy Who Used to Hate Jazz and Westerns

While I have a moment to breathe…

Firstly, I’m reading an interview with Red Plains writer Caryn A. Tate on Sequential Art, and I just read a rant from Caryn that made me yell out “right on.”

I run into a lot of folks who think they don’t like westerns as a genre, but I continue to encourage them to check outRed Plains, because it’s not what you’re expecting. And to disregard an entire genre because you’ve run across some duds is absurd. That would be like disregarding any other genre of storytelling — crime, sci fi, superhero or whatever. Think how much you’d miss out on if you didn’t watch or read any of these other genres. Or like folks who say they can’t watch black and white movies … I mean, there’s a world of great stuff out there! Why stay ignorant of it due to simple prejudice? I really believe most people could be western fans — they just have to be exposed to a good one. And there are loads of great ones out there, among them Red Plains. People want good stories, to be entertained, so what does it matter where or when a story is set?

And, to be blunt, I’m really tired of hearing creators say they’re “revitalizing” or “reinventing” the western. The western doesn’t need to be redefined or revitalized, and it doesn’t need a white knight to swoop in and “save” it. Especially not by someone who really doesn’t know the world as it truly is, or was. The genre is just fine as it is — it just needs folks who have a true love and respect of the genre, and who strive for good storytelling.

I myself never like jazz until I was exposed to Kermit Ruffins and others through the HBO show “Treme.” I’ve been listening to Kermit’s stuff and wanting to make mad, passionate love to all of his songs. So it’s not that I didn’t like jazz, it’s that I hadn’t heard the right kind of jazz.

Just like television turned me on to jazz, Karen is using the comics medium (for free on the web no less) to deepen or introduce people to Westerns.

For what it’s worth, I too hate when people set out to “reinvent” or “reinvigorate” the Western or any genre. When I hear those words, it makes me think the writer/director/etc. is just lazy and doesn’t want to put in the proper legwork to tell a good, true to life story. “I’m reinventing the Western, which will explain away all of the things you dislike and everything I did wrong.”

I still probably hate most jazz. Hell, I still probably hate most Westerns, too. But I love the potential in the genre. And really, if you think about it, more than anything we’re just particular in all genres about what we like. It’s just a matter of finding and locating the best – and right – examples in order to realize their full potential.

Alright, off to rehearsal. By the way, we open on Friday for The Importance of Being Earnest. Buy tickets and go!

And I hope you’re all following the TU blog, since most of my writing these days is being done there.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Chris
    May 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    “Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented. Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does.” – Tony Wilson

    • May 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm

      Said the man who thought Shaun Ryder was a brilliant poet.

      I think he was confusing Jazz with Manchester. OOOOOO, BURN, TONY WILSON. BURN.

  2. JES
    May 11, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Have you seen Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man”? One of my all-time faves in the Western idiom (and one of my all-time faves PERIOD), though there may be a bit of “reinventing the Western” about it . . .

    I think jazz is very much like extreme metal or rap. Those who don’t listen to it very much think it all sounds the same, and are apt to declare “It’s not really MUSIC, is it?” It does take a little bit of investment to appreciate the different colors and flavors, but once you get that toe-hold in, it’s extremely rewarding.

    JES (listening to Eric Dolphy as I type)

  1. May 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm

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