Portrait of Sara Erenthal
The Ecstasy of Influence
Cryptomnesia is a very interesting concept. It implies that we might plagiarize without being aware of it because of a kind of memory glitch that makes us unable to recall an original memory. I had this happen to me as a kid when I thought I wrote the song “Happy Together” by the Turtles.
The whole idea of not knowing you’re stealing something is very interesting. What is the difference between taking from inspiration and plagiarism? Perhaps it depends on how aware a person is of this inspiration and the knowledge that we hold on to from what we take in as observers in this world….
The article ties in nicely with the sound walk I took. Gentrification can in a sense be compared to plagiarizing or appropriating someone else’s culture. Since someone’s culture is a part of a person’s identity, appropriating aspects of someone’s heritage that doesn’t belong to you is, in a way, stealing it from them.
Being a musician, I’m well aware of the concept of “borrowing” and “stealing” musical notation. We may derive a tune from something we heard in passing on the radio without fulling thinking about it. But the end product will only speak to originality if it gets away with and thoughtfully pays homage to the source of inspiration.
Embrace The Remix
This Ted Talk implies that everything that exists comes from something that has already existed. What makes something new and interesting is putting your own personality into it.
As a side note: there’s one example here that reminded me of another song they didn’t mention when they brought up “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons” by Paul Clayton. It sounds a lot of Cat Power’s cover of “Sea of Love.”
The Allergy to Originality
This was a hilarious animation with a similar message that “Embrace The Remix” had. It goes a step further to explain that unoriginality originates from ancient times.
On The Rights Of Molotov Man
This article made me think of what permission Facebook and Instagram need in order to repost or own the property rights to private photo’s uploaded to their webpages.
It’s incredible how many times the Molotov Man was reproduced and the drawn out legal dialogue it created. It reminded me of the Banksy image below:
In conclusion, it seems that the right thing to do is to try and be aware of where your influence comes from and to give them credit! Nothing seems to be completely original.
I took the Southside Stories walk down in Williamsburg. It was easy to follow the route because I walked at the pace of the audio guide, Shannon Carroll’s, footsteps. Having lived in this neighborhood in Brooklyn for the past 10 years, I was very familiar with the scenery and the many ways it’s changed over the years. Gentrification has been very obvious in this part of the city and unfortunately, I do realize that I’ve played a role by moving here. The sound walk was a trip down memory lane, however, because I happened to move to N1st and Berry with my girlfriend, now wife, to my second apartment in the area. We would always pass by the open parking lot with “Coco” and we even met Louie when he was still alive. I treasured the vibe “old’ Williamsburg had, but I know that the former neighborhood to me was not the same place as it used to be in the 80’s, 90’s, and even early 2000’s.
The tour starts at the Dunkin’ Donuts which used to be Northside Pharmacy. As we walked down Bedford Avenue, most of the locations mentioned have already been replaced by newer, more commercialized buildings. It was strange because all the places she mentioned I knew about, but they were gone and some of them replaced twice over since the recording.
The first place we stopped at, Verb Cafe, had already been replaced a few years ago. It happened to be one of the cafe’s I frequented when I first moved to the neighborhood. They mentioned the Mini Mart that has also been renovated since.
Then we walked to Metropolitan Pool. Where my roommate used to tell me stories about frequenting the gym and seeing all the Hasidic women go into the pool area.
The senior center across the street really got me reminiscing because I had no idea the parking lot with stuffed animals had anything to do with the woman living on the second floor. It was a treat to find out information about Carmen who eventually took over the lot for Louie when he died, and dressed the animals for passers by to look at.
I always wondered what happened to Louie. Now that I know he passed away, it makes sense that the amount of theatrical animal installments have boiled down to only three main actors.
The bakery the audio guide spoke of was gone and turned into an overly expensive restaurant.
The church was no longer boarded up as it had been the whole time I have lived here. It is also now an overly expensive restaurant.
I didn’t see the mailman when going to 300 Bedford Ave. but that’s probably because it was too late.
Bedford Realty happened to be one of the few buildings that was still standing – in fact, I went there to sign a lease on one of the apartments I lived in.
Building 155 used to be a drug den. The violence in the neighborhood that is described during these couple of blocks reminds me of what my mother said when I first told her I was moving to Williamsburg. She said, “Oh no you’re not.” My mother comes from a Brooklyn Italian family and knew this part of the city as a dangerous place. It reminded me of old New York City. The city I grew up in. She would also say how cheap it was to buy a building on Sealy St. or Vanderbilt Ave. and how expensive it is now just like Angel, the former drug lord of this area, spoke about.
Ironically, El Regresso, a rehabilitation center lives right down the block from 155.
The garden down the block still exists, but it wasn’t open so I couldn’t converse with anyone there.
Finally I arrived at The Caribbean Club, 244 Grand St. An unassuming place, a hidden treasure.
Where I met Maria! The lovely woman behind the last Puerto Rican Social Club in Williamsburg – and I had a $2 (it went up to $3 since the recording) corona in the back while eating home cooked, delicious rice and beans.
The audio tour was a blast from the past and a humbling experience for me. I really enjoyed the interviews and revisiting areas of the neighborhood I haven’t seen in a while. Ending up at The Caribbean Club made me realize just how different this part of Williamsburg used to be. I felt like an outsider being there, which is what I imagine they must feel like now having the area taken over by gentrification. It left me feeling guilty and respectful. I never would have found myself in that bar if not for this sound walk and for that, I’m very grateful.