Occupy Wall Street + Steve Jobs = a Wake-up Call for Creativity by Diana Rivera

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” –Steve Jobs

Right now matters. I often feel that way, but a surge has overcome me, the sound of which is a child crying and I am its parent. Right now matters. We are the matter. Have you heard the same cry these days waking you from a deep slumber?

Everyone seems looped in to the conversation of #Occupy Wall street and its reigning umbrella organization, Occupy Together. If you haven’t, it concerns every part of our collective future, please do. It may mean different things to you than it does for me, but I have a good feeling that as the collective mind may be concerned, we are all considering the future of our collective world. Here on this blog, dedicated to the passion, process and productivity of creative artists and professionals I ask, where does creativity fit in all of this? Or rather, how is this not about creativity?

It is at once sadly ironic that this week such an iconic innovator of our time, Steve Jobs, has passed in the wake of the international movement. Tapping on the keys of my MacBook Pro thoughts on the occupation while texting on my iphone to friends on wall street, this is a result of Job’s innovations and how protests of this nature are made possible through the advanced, creative technology he and others designed.

As I gaze into the eyes of the bull, sharpened by the smoke ring, the sound of the cry is made more symbolic with the fall of this innovator. It represents the passing of a torch, and that torch is creativity and innovation. My hope is that it’s not passed on to one or few, but to many so that these many can be the next creative innovators to solve the greatest challenges of our collective humanity, particularly the ones put into question by protestors. That the passing could be a rite of passage for them, where the innovators may wake from their slumber of unconscious self-absorption to question the world from the perspective of Steve Jobs, yet with the focus of a bull and balance of a dancer. It may come from the encampments in NYC, the readers of this blog, children at home bored restless and waiting for their imagination to be tickled feisty into excitement for the possibilities before us. May it be all of them.

Creativity is this. It is the design of the matter, the fabric of the innovators, the ring of hope circling the very posture of the pose. We are the creative occupation because we are what matters and how it matters is what we should creatively design. As Steve Jobs said, “Design is not just how it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” How the design of our times will work for all, not just a few, requires the awakened heart and mind of creativity.

To be a creative artist is synonymous with change-maker. Sometimes we do that in our community, in our studios, in our imagination and now we’ll do it on Wall street.


Hedy Lamarr: Patent Beauty, Patent Invention by Diana Rivera

“I have not been that wise. Health I took for granted.

Love I have demanded, perhaps too much and too often.

As for money, I have only realized it’s true worth

when I didn’t have it.”

–Hedy Lamar

Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000) is a Hollywood starlet in a luminescent observatory. She has been waiting for the exact moment to enter spotlight most likely to be reckoned with by you, by me, by the millions of others that’ll discover and muse over her. She planned it this way. Hedy was stunning, and her beauty was glorified at the exact aesthetic time to capture that quintessential black and white starlet look incorporating jewels, deep red lipsticks, silks and fur.

Hedy was an Austrian native, married six times, divorced, rose to fame. Somehow it reads like another starlet’s life, yet it would be simplistic to clump her along with everyone else because she is not like anyone else. Although Hedy is famous for her beauty, her style and her films, to me she is famous as a creative, collaborative inventor.

What you may know is that growing up in Vienna, she was introduced to the piano by her mother and mentor, Max Reinhardt. Her background in music and the future learnings from her first husband, a munitions manufacturer who did research on control systems, led to a major discovery.  After her divorce to him, once she had come to Hollywood, the U.S. went to war with Germany in World War II. She was determined to help the effort and she began to collaborate with her musician friend, George Antheil.

Hedy was constellar in her thought process. Together with George, they united her second-hand learnings of music, the german weapon systems, and his expertise with player pianos to devise a new invention. They created a frequency hopping system, which would protect U.S. radio-guided torpedoes in the Second World War from being intercepted by the Nazis. “However, the US Naval Department would not take an idea proposed by a beautiful actress and a musician seriously, even when that idea had the support of the newly established National Inventors Council. Hedy was encouraged to support the war effort by selling kisses to promote the sale of war bonds, and she did so very successfully.” (Crammond, p. 523).

Although Hedy and George patented their idea, it wasn’t used in U.S. ships until 20 years later after the expiration of the patent.

How are beautiful actress’ of Hedy’s era understood? In the broadest way, they are adored for beauty, not innovation. In the most creative way, they could be seen as prismatic as the diamonds they wore, not just a pearl on a pillow.

Conscious or not, legacy-driven or not, Hedy planned a beautiful room of innovation to greet her in. Close enough to the spotlight where she was personally driven to, the observatory hosts a constellar vision of what passion (in her case political), learnings from previous relationships and artistic experiences can be when in concert with another.

Points to ponder:

  • What is a gift you have that might appear to be a secret to others?
  • How might that gift be part of a larger, constellar vision of the world?

Crammond, B. (2011).  Women and Creativity. In M. A. Runco  &  S. R. Pritzker,  (Eds.), The  encyclopedia of Creativity, 2nd ed., Vol. 2. (pp. 521-524). San Diego: Academic Press.

The Echo Park of Ganesha and Creativepreneurs by Diana Rivera

Every period in humanity has a power source they are connected to. By that I mean the engine of the vehicle, the mega watt electric tower, or as Shakespeare said,  “the bigger light.” Artists can feel it happening in their blood, their bones and some times a work of art can even show proof of that power as it eloquently typifies the times.

Observing the status of the mega-verse we live in with high-speed travel, milisecond-sent-to-your-box techno-media outlets and the tweets of the twitter, we are the flapping wings of a hummingbird. Arriving to the edge of the wing is fantastic when you are ready to fall unto the lap of Ganesha, the deity elephant.

I was at a cafe in Echo Park, Los Angeles, contemplating the edge of humanity as I sourced the right name for the audience I serve. This was the perfect neighborhood to do it in as it has become a haven for the creative professional in LA, still looking for a raw, yet hip-to-the-beat, community-spirited place in what could be streets of superficiality.

I came up with Creativepreneuer. This is you: the individual, the friend, the family member, the entreprenuer, the creator, the artist who envisions and shapes our times through your creative passions, products, projects, etc. You, the creativeprenuer, are getting it done, and sometimes faster than the speed of light.

As I stumbled from the cafe, I saw Ganesha, the elephant, painted on a garage door. Ganesha is a deity of the Hindu pantheon. He represents the removal of obstacles and is a patron of the arts. It stood bold and beautiful, up against the light, fearless.

I thought of you, I thought of me, I thought of the small artisans who have opened up shop on that small street trying to make it in today’s economy. We, the creativepreneuer, step out of one’s comfort zone as a daily meditation, fall off the wings of what-is to worship what-could-be and answer to the higher creative source as a daily prayer.

To be the creativepreneuer of our time, we must overcome the tangible and intangible obstacles around us. As the elephant on the garage door reminded me, many obstacles crawl their way back, far from Ganesha’s view, to be dealt with again, and again, and then again. It takes courage to deal with every one of them.

I felt something deep in my heart, a gift from Ganesha in Echo Park that day: the creativepreneuer is someone I honor without obstacle. I serve you in my writing and my programs. I am here at this period of humanity to support you and the power source that brought Ganesha to a garage door opening.

Lennon, Ono, the Creative Frequency and the Big Message by Diana Rivera

John Lennon, Yoko Ono and a group of creative professionals in a 10-week program called the Creative Frequency relate more than just in my imagination. Firstly, a couple things you should know about me as the writer of this blog: I love to blow bubbles into thin air and admire the colors; I also love playing scrabble and patterning words to other words, instinctually. This is all to say, I like to make rippling connections between experiences that bubble to surface and than heat into a relationship where words are needed to simmer  it down.

This past Saturday I  ended a 10 week series that I had carefully constructed a year before. The purpose was to bring together a variety of creative professionals from a variety of creative fields (performance, art, design, music). We focused on empowerment of creative aptitude to the skills and strategies of creating a final product. We came together that day so everyone could present for 30 minutes their final outcome. We ate, we talked, we laughed, some of us even cried. One of the participants even skyped in from NYC. It was, like the title of the project intended, a frequency of high creative energy bubbling between us. In one moment, it dawned on me like a spectrum of color that the imagination is capable of creating anything.

This is where Lennon and Ono enter upstage. Driving through Hollywood, I noticed this huge wall poster that had been pasted to a cement wall. It was of Lennon, Ono and a sweet dog. Although the image had been rained on, I could see their figure a block away. I knew they were there to connect the frequency of energy and spectrum of revelations with one triangulating message that Lennon and Ono had written in the poster, “All you need is Love.” This was their 5 word pattern message as a united, creative duo. It was simple, and in that simplicity penetrated internationally and inter-generationally, making me ask myself on my ride home: what is your message to the world?

One of my messages is the belief that the imagination exists and it is the key to our individual and collective future. I had felt it with the group that day and I knew it by heart. Then, a flash: the sound of the song “Imagine”  arrived, twirling into clarity of gesture. The lyrics laid themselves before me. Whatever you can in your greatest vision imagine is only half of what is possible, but that half you are fully responsible in creating.

Albert Einstein, Robert Wilson and Phillip Glass on the Beach by Diana Rivera

Did you know that Einstein interviewed poets to learn about the nature of intuition and imagination? It was a form of collaboration between artist and scientist (Einstein was in fact a versed violinist who would, in a moment of scientist block, play his violin to help him find an answer to his theories), and is beautifully divergent from a stagnant perception that scientists are not artists, and have no interest in the arts. It’s almost symphonic to imagine the words shared between them. Fast-forward years later to a buzzing  conversation between the accomplished Theatre Director, Robert Wilson, and Composer, Phillip Glass, regarding the basis of a collaboration on a 4-5 hour long opera.

Conversations like these are as vast and symbolic as the beach. The ebb and flow of the ocean summons in the tidal wave of an idea; the sky comfortably and sometimes turbulently crowns the idea by demanding more of your attention just to see if you can think in the grand sense of the stars and planets. In both  cases, such conversations led Einstein (whether with a poet or a violin) to create his posthumous findings, along with Wilson and Glass to invent for the four walls of a black box theatre, a galaxy of an idea called “Einstein on the Beach.”

Wilson and Glass will tell you: they were broke before they even began the project in the 1970’s in NYC. Broke but larger than life with a creative notion to collaborate on a popular work of theatre fusing an anti-linear narrative with movement and opera.

Wilson would tell you himself that the opera community was at first unsure of this kind of work. It should be in some artist loft space, not at the MET. With Einstein symbolically at the helm, Wilson and Glass were the poets of this creative equation who knew they were on to something and so it was worth the momentary hardship to produce “Einstein at the Beach.”

Check out this video on the process:

So, where does this information lead us in our thoughts as a creative community? Whether it’s Einstein, Wilson and Glass at the beach, how can we think and believe as large as the sky and create a project as massive as a galaxy? To this result, collaboration is the primary route and it must be done by like-minded and not so like-minded folk. As individual creators, a synergistic conversation between thinkers of different domains (poetry and science or music and dance) can provide a ‘galactic’ quality that advances information and/or the finding of a scientific theory or the basis of a show.

Whatever the outcome might be, the value is higher when having orbited through the fine art and science of conversation. In fact, Einstein’s theories live on for present-day collaborators and Wilson and Glass’ show is set to reopen in 2012 internationally.

Points to ponder:

If you are in the incubation process of an idea, invite a colleague to the beach of your thought process. This colleague could be of the same domain and a different one (again, this means someone of a different field). What is the nature or theme of the conversation you are looking to address? How can you let go of your theories, expand your notions and think ‘galactic.’

Tool Box, Ladder and Lightning: the 3 S’s of the Co-Creator Series by Diana Rivera

I’m a total believer that when an achievable idea clicks, it happens quickly and effortlessly (at least at the beginning) and then it sticks. It’s as if the tick-tock of the inner clock finally strikes at the moment of some timed conception. It’s as if it was pre-designed, pre-orchestrated, pre-choreographed in the waiting room of ideas.

I had that experience recently. I was considering the dynamic advancement of creativity amongst my colleagues. Some ideas stood out to me: in order to advance in one’s creativity as an act of experimentation or as a profession, it might rely on the enhancement of one’s skills, strategies and/or synergies. This idea struck me so intensely as if it had been pre-determined in some way so I decided to build an on-line program/podcast called the Co-Creator Series to address this: http://ccseries.net

I am wrapping my head/heart around this matrix. Here it goes:

Skills are the tool box you are working with. Many of the tools may have been passed down from mentors, developed through intensive training, on the job and/or gifted to you let’s say…pre-birth. Sometimes we need new skills for our advancement, be it learning a new computer program, becoming proficient in a foreign language or taking a class in production.

Strategies are a wooden ladder reaching a sky. They are aligning steps that lead to a goal, an objective, a master plan, a big picture. When an organization garners support for a strategic plan, it directs attention to where the ladder leads. When an entrepreneur decides on their strategy, he/she ultimately builds the ladder with their tool box.

Synergies are a bolt of lightning. They are the connective, energetic threads formed in the sky that strike down at times serendipitously like when two strangers meet at a cafe and they become essential to each other’s work; or two long-term collaborators who finally reconcile the ending of their script; or a moment in nature when a guiding question becomes imminent. Synergies are the elements of dialogue in the physical and metaphysical world one inhabits that finally pop.

With all that said, I had that dynamic moment where there was synergy between skills and strategies. At that moment, I crafted the goal and brainstormed the first wave of interviewees quickly and effortlessly as if the idea was pre-conceived and I finally stepped onto the ladder.


What’s your tool box looking like these days? What might be one new tool that could make a difference for you in building the ladder? Also, what synergistic partnership in your life might support that ladder?

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment