I learned of the passing of Joan Rivers today and of course it brought back fond (and yes, not so fond) memories of her life, career and inextricable link with pop-culture Americana. She was always a present and constant source of creativity, of exploration and expression that cannot truly be valued in modern terms of success and failure. I was fortunate enough to see Joan live in the Castro district of San Francisco a few years ago (I reviewed that show here –> https://rorydean.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/joan-rivers-live-at-the-castro-san-francisco/ ) and while it was a joyous and special evening I couldn’t help but pause at times in astonishment over her fearlessness and brazen personality. Her work wasn’t for everyone and very often garnered as much praise and appreciation as negativity, even vitriol. What can we hope for in this life as artists but to elicit strong responses with our work, to reach out from and into the void for a little while and tickle the silences, nudge the incurable distances and ponder – did we leave a mark at all? Yes Joan, you left many, many marks and your uniqueness will not soon be repeated – if ever.
[Original Article Joan Rivers (2011 A Piece of Work documentary https://rorydean.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/joan-rivers-2010-a-piece-of-work/%5D
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is part documentary part reality television turned in on itself as if to capture both the viewer and the subject in the quasi space that only truly exists where the past and the present merge – turning legend into lore and sometimes the other way around. Let’s face it; Ms. Rivers has been working so long that most twenty-something’s only have the faintest of ideas who she really is, was, or came to be – red carpet commando, QVC celebrity saleswoman, and sadly victim of circumstance under the cosmetic-to-be-young knife. This isn’t so much a movie about Joan Rivers the public spectacle, the woman with the loud, often abrasive opinions about everyone and everything – generally those who appeared, at least temporarily, superior only to fall on the sword of fame and fortune as so many have and continue to do so today. …
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