The most influential event for me in the last 12 months actually occurred at the tail end of 2010 (Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 to be exact), but since today is only Dec 5th, I figured it technically still fit the timeframe. You know us creatives, always having to push the rules!
I traveled to Chicago to see (and visit with) Killing Joke, who were playing at The Empty Bottle. I should explain that Killing Joke have been a huge musical and creative influence for me, and when I was able to actually meet them the first time (in 2008), I was not a bit disappointed. They were (and are) among the most accessible, personable, and REAL "famous persons" I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
This time was no exception. I had the pleasure of hanging out with them after each of their two shows, and was inspired to experience a "backstage" experience not of drunk groupies, nefarious activities, and the other stereotypical 'rock-and-roll' lifestyle goings-on. Rather, I walked backstage and joined a gathering of individuals, from 25 - 65, from a myriad of cultural, social and political backgrounds, and all discussing wildly diverse topics — from the future of the European economy to quantum physics! Everyone there was well-spoken, well-informed and passionate, yet often had radically opposing viewpoints. It was a lively discussion and I enjoyed being a part of it. Hearing other's views — and sharing my own— was invigorating. To be able to share my thoughts and be listened to by persons I might normally think "above" me (I mean, we're talking about Youth — who's worked with Jimmy Page and Paul McCartney! and Jaz — who's conducted orchestras worldwide and been Knighted by France's Order of Arts and Letters!)
So yeah, to be able to actually sit and share my viewpoints (ones I often just internalize) and to know they were heard and appreciated, it really affected me. It made me realize that a good idea is simply a good idea... no matter who/where it comes from... and that none of us are above learning something. I think the key is to be open enough to listen AND courageous enough to express our voice.
This post is part of Think Kit 2011.