Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York!
These streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York…”
Jay-Z’s new album, The Blueprint 3, was released on a day that New Yorkers will always commemorate: September 11th. On one of his hottest tracks, Empire State of Mind, Alicia Keys belts out these words that remind every New Yorker, young and old, what will always be true: If you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere.
H.O.V.A had his live release concert and 9/11 benefit for Answer the Call, a New York police and fire widow’s and children’s fund, at Madison Square Garden. Two days later he and Alicia Keys brought the house down at the MTV Video Music Awards performing Empire State of Mind. I couldn’t attend the concert or the VMA’s, but I saw it all online.
You can too, on the watchitoo Jay-Z show.
I came to Manhattan 5 years ago, not to become a hip hop artist (although that would be a hysterical venture no doubt), but to become an actor and to add my own voice to the deafening roar that is the New York art scene. Friends and family try to make the voyage as often as possible to see what I’m working on, but traveling is expensive and not always possible, and some performances have fallen through the cracks along with a multitude of forgotten live performances.
But like Jay-Z’s momentous September weekend, those performances need no longer be lost to one time and venue. Not everyone has made it to Madison Square Garden, broadcast on network television for the world to see, but with social networking sites like YouTube and now Watchitoo, all you need is a webcam and a little space, and your art can be live for anyone to see.
And with Watchitoo, it becomes more than a showcase. It becomes a dialogue. Even more vital to the artistic process than a passive audience is the feedback that fosters conversation and better understanding. I can not only share a reading of my new play with my uncle across the country, but he can share his thoughts real time with me. With one click, he becomes as much a part of the process 3,000 miles away as I am in a small blackbox theatre in lower Manhattan.
And there is so much art in this city that should be shared. From theatre to music, art to dance and everything in between, culture is not just for those who happen to be in the right place at the right time. All you need is a computer, a comfy chair and a connection, and you, too, can be a part of the concrete jungle that fosters new art every day.