Most of us stumble into a work of art. We may read a book because we’ve read some of the author’s other work and are interested in delving into his or her career. Perhaps we see a film because a friend recommended it. Then there are those moments when we take a chance on a band we are not familiar with by buying one of their albums, hoping spontaneity pays off. Few of us, however, can anticipate the impact the work will have on our lives, the manner in which it will weave itself into our beings. And yet, we all know that interacting with art is a sacred communion, one in which the work becomes a part of us. That, in the end, is why we seek art: because it shapes us, lends meaning to our existence, and -- sometimes -- even pulls us through difficult times.
While culture always has the capacity to engage and entertain us, it's the rare experience of being nourished and changed by media that we explore in Life Savers. Here are the stories of how a band, book, show, movie, etc. really did save the lives of the writers -- if not literally keeping them alive, then at least offering a transformative experience that enriched those lives. In Life Savers, the writers explore their personal saviors in essay form by analyzing how this piece of culture or person kept them going, why they had the impact they did, and how they feel about them today.
Wednesday, September 14 2011
During the summer of 1995, my life working in a lumber mill was a living hell. The little-known debut album from the Cavedogs, Joyrides for Shut-Ins, was the life jacket that got me through it.
Wednesday, June 29 2011
I realized I couldn't seek comfort in the music me and Daddy shared. I needed something raw, music that would hit me in my chest where only natural, involuntary muscle movements indicated I was still, technically, alive.
Tuesday, May 31 2011
Ours (Canadians) is not an in-your-face passion-filled ‘clutch your breast in pride’ existence. We are but a country of high hopes and slow lopes, of lofty dreams and starry visions, of mighty pragmatism and irreproachable logic.
Monday, February 28 2011
So how does someone go from anti-nuke activist to serious foreign policy maven, student protester to midlife bourgeoisie, and feel the same way about "The Only Band That Matters"?
Friday, January 21 2011
With no girls to flirt with or ask out, how was an all-male prep school boy going to step outside the shadow of his favorite leather-bearing, lipstick-wearing band and establish his heterosexuality? Easy. Take his fandom into the closet and deny, deny, deny.
Monday, November 1 2010
My affinity for Ray Bradbury's work is rooted in his "accidental novels", as well as in the collections that plunder what is seemingly a limitless vault of manuscripts.
Thursday, March 25 2010
Something had to knock this sleepless child out and put her in a blissful somnambulistic state. That something turned out to be the raucous guitar musings of Texas-born blues guitarist Johnny Winter.
Thursday, January 28 2010
Mom died a few days later, and I made my Rufus Wainwright story the focal point of her eulogy.
Thursday, November 5 2009
Using Ben in Leaving Las Vegas as a gauge to measure myself against, my life wasn’t anywhere close to as bad as it could be, but people who thought they had better control of their drinking than me still fuck their lives right up, so....
Thursday, September 24 2009
I felt like a schmuck for holding my notebook in front of me like a choir girl and for stopping mid-song to cry, but I felt better when I remembered how McWilson feels when she first plays a new song.
Thursday, October 23 2008
If Roger Waters existed, if Pink Floyd existed, there was a tiny margin of hope, a filament of promise thinner than jeweler’s wire.
Thursday, July 17 2008
Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis) made me do something I never thought I would again: enjoy pop music.
Friday, June 13 2008
Recently popularized for the success of Mysterious Skin (2006), filmmaker Gregg Araki has exposed the Gen Y-er longing for tenderness in a world drowned in pop culture and violence to movies such as Nowhere, the personal savior of the 26-year-old Justin Dimos.
Tuesday, June 10 2008
Mathers explores how the Ethic was a life saver not in the sense of sustaining him through dark periods, but by changing his sense of what life is.
Wednesday, May 7 2008
Ramisetti realizes that a simple love and appreciation for a song is all that matters in the end -- how it finds you, and how it moves you -- even when it comes from a random YouTube video.
Friday, May 2 2008
In the unlikely form of a Snap! album, Popek reveals how an ephemeral dance track helped her discover both hip-hop and the understanding that all music is for everyone.