DUDERANCH IS MY FAVORITE WORD March 20, 2015

Isn't that two words? I'll let Aaron Belz explain that on our podcast. Meanwhile, here's my review of our evening with him:

Mr. Belz reprised his role as literary funny guy at The Row House Forum on January 8th. Part of the Trust Performing Arts Center's "Conversations" series, Belz's gig in downtown Lancaster was part stand-up comedy, part poetic transcendence.

That's what we expect from our old friend.

My greatest satisfaction was meeting several parties representing the emergent literary scene in Lancaster. Tylor Barton of The Triangle, for instance, had conducted an interview with Belz prior to the reading, and showed signs of enjoying himself, as did a writer from Lancaster Newspapers who also got to chat with him.

Once again, I was grateful for the partnership Rob Bigley has pioneered for us at The Trust. We had a full house, around 70 people.  We also gained a lot of publicity thanks to their marketing machine that resembles a 2015 Audi A4. (The Row House machine looks more like a one-owner '98 Jetta, gently used). 

In the week prior to the event, Aaron and I were reflecting on the phone about the beauty and crapola of this life. I forget the exact topic. Off-handedly said he shared that he carries on each day, hopeful that all reality is coming to a point..."in the resurrection." Spoken like a true Donne, one of his heroes.

The only pity of the evening was that we didn't get to see much of this personal side of The Glitter Bomb man. 

For some reason, the Q&A barely veered into his worldview and life experiences, but it certainly could have. We at The Row House forum make no bones about our centeredness in the narrative of Jesus our Lord, yet...

We don't push the Story on our audiences.  As it emerges naturally, so be it. In Belz' case, a lot of spiritual depth lay dormant, which was really fine for some in our audience who were there primarily for the art.

Drawing on Thomas Aquinas' Theologiae Summa,  Flannery O'Connor described the artist as "the realist of distances." So, whether Belz is training his light on the resurrection or pulling back to describe those lame emails that make him hate his life, he's helping us see what matters most. 

We need poets like him to "bring the urgencies of the eschatological realm into the mundane world of the here and now." * 

But if you know me, you know I have to say this too: We need to laugh. Thanks, Aaron, for meeting both needs. 

As mentioned at the top, I did record the Q&A, and it's pretty profound and hilarious.  Stay tuned for a second installment wherein Mr. Belz and I drink coffee and discuss the undercurrents of his art and worldview. 

*Gregory Wolf,  Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith and History, Square Halo Books, 2003, page 87.