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One Last Note From The Poobah:

 

This is my last edition as Managing Editor and Executive Poobah. I’m leaving Haute Dish in the hands of Kristin, Nate and Suzanne. They have their own visions of what Haute Dish will become, but no matter what changes happen I hope that Haute Dish will always be a forum for people to find their art. Secretly, I used Haute Dish to help find my art – photography. All of the photos from past year credited to “John Falstaff” are mine. No one on the staff knew they were mine. I submitted them under a pseudonym because I needed to know – just like every other author and artist does – if my work, my love, my art was good enough.

Haute Dish will change, and for the better. Kristin and Nate are brimming with great ideas of how to strengthen Haute Dish for future artists, writers and staffers.

I think I’ve thanked everyone I can think of at one point or another, but a few people deserve it again: Anne Aronson, Suzanne Nielsen, Lawrence Moe, Mark Matthews and Mary Kirk – I owe each of you beyond my capacity for words. Kristin, Diane, Sara and Eric – my original Piggies – thanks for accepting my flaws and allowing me to use your strengths. Josiah, Erin, Felicia and Nate – the new Piggies – thank you for coming to work for us. You and everyone who submitted their work are the ones who made Haute Dish great. Oink.

In the last issue, I asked for a gift from you: “Something About Me.” Here’s mine, to you.

I'd Like A Cheese Danish and an Epiphany To Go

I found my art, waiting for me with a double espresso and cheese Danish.

I was sitting in Panera over on Hennepin; hiding from a summer day only the Heat Miser would love. Sweaty and anxious and waiting for my first photo shoot of the 2005 Fringe Festival to begin, I was plopped down on the couch with forty pounds of photo gear jammed into a black canvas bag. Across from me was a swishy blonde kid in his mid-twenties decked out in Abercrombie’s latest talking on a cellphone about the MFA program in theatre he’d been accepted to. Animated and excited, he talked about how theatre was his life and his art and his soul. He was going to Lincoln, he said. He was going to completely reinvent directing. I’m not normally the type to eavesdrop, but he just poured himself into the phone and I couldn’t help but listen. Over the next fifteen minutes I became completely engrossed in what he was saying, even though I could only hear his side of the conversation. When he hung up and started to walk out the door, I literally stood in the doorway to keep him from leaving. I had to talk to him. I had to ask him one question:

How did you make the leap from your craft (theatre and directing) being a collection of techniques to it being art, which it obviously has just from hearing you talk about it like you do.

He called his date for the evening, and actually told him he’d be late because he wanted to tell me about his art. I was flattered and amazed and for the next half hour this kid spouted wisdom at me that I’d been searching out for the better part of twenty years. We talked about how photography and theatre can be different but so similar, and as we wound up the conversation he said this:

“Directing theatre – or any art, I guess – is about just one thing: relationships. When the actors stop focusing on the script, or their motivations, or the blocking or anything else and totally focus on the relationships between the characters and the relationships of the characters to the audience, that’s when it becomes art. You have to get everything else out of the way. Until you do, nothing matters. When you do, nothing else matters.”

I was so completely amazed by the directness, simplicity and profound truthfulness of it that my eyes got teary. As he got up to leave, he reached over and touched my hand and said; “Now you know. You can’t ever walk away from it now.”

And I can’t. Because I found my art.

As an editor here at Haute Dish, my goal was to find the visual and literary works that were so authentic and so brave that I couldn’t tear myself away from them. I know at last – at the very tail end of my time with Haute Dish – that what I was looking for were stories, poems, rhetoric and visual art that make me care about these very same relationships. As a photographer, my goal now is to produce images that reflect only the relationship – the relationship between the photographer and the model, the relationship between the people in the image, the relationship of the image and the viewer. Everything else is just a way to get me there. Lenses and lighting and f-stops and fixers and everything else – completely irrelevant.

Can I be completely honest with you? When I first agreed to take on Haute Dish as Managing Editor, I looked down my nose at artists and creative writers. I thought of them all as latte-sipping, beret and turtleneck wearing grant-grubbing artistes who cared more about pretension and being trendy than producing anything great.

Man, was I ever wrong.

Over the last year, I found that Art is that which allows us to transcend our flaws. Art is that which allows us to be stronger than our weaknesses. Art is that which gives us a glimpse of the greatness of the Divine.

In the year and some-odd that I’ve worked with Suzanne, Eric, Kristin, Diane and Sara here at Haute Dish, they’ve all been so patient and so supportive of me. Each of them has been a roadsign pointing towards a me that I was unable to find on my own. Suzanne has been especially wonderful to me. She’s been sweet and kind and tough when I needed. She saw the art in me and made me look it straight in the eye, never allowing me to laugh it off or shove it back into a dark corner of my life where it would collect dust. She forced me to show her the same courage and authenticity that I demanded from Haute Dish authors and artists.

At the age of thirty-seven, I found my art.

I found my art in Sunday editorial staff meetings over bagels, stories about jumping pigs, long hours in my bathroom developing film, and freezing my ass off shooting on Nicollet Mall in February. I found my art under the hot lights of Fringe Festival stages, and in an overstuffed chair at Panera listening to some kid tell me what really matters. I found my art, and if I can anyone can.

Now you go find yours.

Clint Weathers
Former Managing Editor and Poobah Emeritus
Haute Dish Literary and Arts Journal


The Summer 2005 Issue is dedicated to each and every one of you who has had to scratch and claw to find five spare minutes or five spare dollars or five square feet of space so you could pursue your art.

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