Memoir of a Media-holic

My Personal Influences

Jean Houston, a philosopher and advisor to Hillary Clinton, once said, “I firmly believe that all human beings have access to extraordinary energies and powers. Judging from accounts of mystical experience, heightened creativity, or exceptional performance by athletes and artists, we harbor a greater life than we know.” Whether we’re writing a paper for college or writing the next hit song we all demonstrate our creative powers on a daily basis. Creativity has been a major part of my life and I always welcome it when it comes. Creativity has had a huge influence on the movies I watch, the music I write and even my personality.

First of all, I consider myself to be a movie buff and if I were to make a list of all the movies that have influenced me, they would all have at least one thing in common: creativity. From Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World to Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, the most memorable movies I have seen are highly creative works of art. Lloyd Kaufman is known for his gory and raunchy movies, from the incredibly graphic scene of an eight year old boy’s head being crushed by a car, to his own sexually explicit version of Romeo and Juliet, Tromeo and Juliet. Few people see him for the outgoing and creative genius he is. He has made use of cheap but powerful effects such as filling a cantaloupe with butcher scraps in place of a human head and using Bromo-seltzer tablets and food coloring to make actors look as if they were oozing green foam from their mouths.

Lloyd Kaufman makes great movies with considerably low budgets and distributes other people’s movies when no other company will. Most notably, Lloyd Kaufman agreed to distribute Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s movie Cannibal the Musical, before their fame with South Park. Besides being a creative man, Lloyd Kaufman supports other’s creativity and gives independent filmmaker’s movies a home with his independent film studio, Troma, which has influenced me to support independent film.

Secondly, the creativity in the music I listen to has been a direct influence on me. When I started high school, I suffered from anxiety and depression on a daily basis. I was serious all of the time and I couldn’t take a joke. It wasn’t until I discovered the music of The Dead Milkmen that I realized not everything has to be serious. I found comfort in lyrics like “Birds sing and babies cry, life sucks and then you die, big deal.” The Dead Milkmen showed me that you don’t need an American Idol voice to be a musician, which inspired me to become a musician myself. I got my first guitar on my fourteenth birthday and since then I’ve learned how to play every Dead Milkmen song. They helped me out of a very dark time in my life and I consider seeing them play at the RedBull Riot Fest in Philadelphia as one of the greatest days of my life.

The Redbull Riot Fest was an all-day show. My girlfriend and I arrived at 11:00am, knowing the Dead Milkmen wouldn’t play until later that night. We watched other bands, most of which we didn’t care for. Eventually, we spotted Joe Jack Talcum, the guitar player and lead singer of the Dead Milkmen, in the audience. The crowd was small, so there were about twenty feet of empty space between me and my idol. I stared at him for several minutes, trying to work up the courage to talk to him. I noticed him glancing in my direction several times, I was wearing a Dead Milkmen t-shirt, and I figured that’s why he noticed me. I soon realized once Joe began talking to security, that I was making him feel uncomfortable. In my shyness, I had come off as a stalker. Later, I saw Joe briskly walking to the VIP area. I managed to work up the nerve to ask him for an autograph, but he said that he was busy. My girlfriend said “I’m sorry dear, I’m sure he was just busy,” to which I replied, “Of course, he said he’s busy. I’m not upset. He probably thought I was going to stab him.” When the Dead Milkmen finally went on, I got chills. I had been on my feet for hours, but now I was filled with energy and loudly cheering for my musical heroes. Ever since I was a teenager, The Dead Milkmen had influenced my creativity, humor and musical tastes, finally seeing them live was a dream come true.

Lastly, stand-up comedy has had a lasting influence on me. Stand-up comedians such as Woody Allen, Bill Hicks, and Demetri Martin put creative spins on comedy that made me want to become a comedian myself. Woody Allen and Demetri Martin used their natural neuroticism and wit to deliver original material. Bill Hicks used his intelligence, cynicism and anger to pick apart political issues. I also idolize comedy troupes such as Kids in the Hall and Monty Python. Eric Idol of Monty Python is not only a stand-up comedian, but also a writer and musician. He has contributed countless songs to the Monty Python films and musicals he has written. It is because of Eric Idol’s brilliantly creative works that I too want to write a musical comedy one day.

Creativity has had a tremendous influence on myself and culture as we know it. Whether it’s the music I listen to or the music I make, creativity is always present. The creative works of comedians, musicians and filmmakers have all inspired me a great deal and have been

a big part of my life. Every new technology and invention is a result of innovation and creativity. If it wasn’t for the brilliant minds of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, we wouldn’t have most of the things that we take for granted today. The creativity of the movies I watch, the music I listen to and the technologies I use every day have had a great influence on me and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t have them in my life.

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