Posts Tagged 'DMA Arts & Letters Live'

Adventures with Stephen Tobolowsky

On April 18, Stephen Tobolowsky will return to the DMA Arts & Letters Live stage to celebrate the release of his second memoir, My Adventures with God. In preparation for his visit, I had the privilege of interviewing Stephen about his acting turned writing career and some of the things he learned along the way. His answers are insightful, relatable, and as always, humorous. From the aspiring artist to the admiring onlooker, Stephen offers advice, intentionally or not, for anyone interested in advancing his or her own path to success and level of self-awareness. So, what did I glean from our interchange, you might wonder? Well, as a young professional embarking on a long career ahead of me, this interview reminded me that I do not need to have all the answers, That I can trust my instincts, and that, even in times of doubt, I should cling to what gives me strength and a sense of what makes me, me. Below you can read just a snippet of our discussion and get a glimpse into what’s to come on the night of his much anticipated appearance at the DMA:

Sara: In this book, you continually return to Judaism as a kind of grounding force throughout the vicissitudes of your life. Can you speak broadly about how you understand the role of faith, religious or not, factoring into one’s lived experience?

Stephen: This is the question from which all questions come. We like to think that we are fixed quantities that move through time. We are not. We are equations with more than one unknown. I think this fundamental uncertainty about our existence is why we cling to things we feel are certain. Like science. Like art. It’s why people like cats. We are certain of their uncertainness.

The only protections we have from false prophets and the despair that grips us all at one time or another is beauty and in embracing a good philosophy. Judaism provides both.

We live in an age that popularly views religion as primitive and elevates science. I like science, even when it is wrong. I find the pursuit of answers inspirational. But for my money, I don’t care how smart Steven Hawking is or how interesting a black hole may be, if he doesn’t understand the Holiness code of Leviticus, not to curse the deaf nor put an obstacle before the blind, it doesn’t add up to much.

Judaism is a layer cake built over thousands of years. The different layers reflect that age’s relationship to truth. In some ages, it was popular to think that truth can be known. You end up with the Ten Commandments. In other ages, it was popular to think the truth was hidden. You end up with mystical works like the Zohar and the Midrash. There are very few creations of man that have existed through so many conflicting times and have survived so many hardships. The wisdom embodied in Judaism has endured. The philosophy in a nutshell? From Hillel over two thousand years ago: “What is hateful to you do not do unto your fellow man. The rest is commentary. Go and study.”

To read the entire interview, you can visit Stephen’s website, where he posted the exchange in two parts: Part I and Part II. The Museum is excited to welcome Stephen back to DMA Arts & Letters Live, so go grab a copy of My Adventures with God in the DMA Store and join us for an evening full of inquisitive minds, entertaining anecdotes, and rip-roaring laughter.

Sara Beth Greenberg is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Ten Times Dwight Schrute Was Your Spirit Animal

Sage Life Lessons and Wisdom from the Duke of Dunder Mifflin Himself

In anticipation of Rainn Wilson’s visit to the DMA on March 19 as part of our 25th anniversary season of Arts & Letters Live, we’ve pulled together a list of ten times our favorite obnoxious beet farmer just “got us,” with a little visual help from art in our collection. For you Jim and Pam types out there, I apologize, but let’s be honest, our pre-coffee selves will always belong to this mustard shirt-wearing maven.

Calculating Speed…

Fred Darge, Survival of the Fittest, c. 1941, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift 1944.13

Fred Darge, Survival of the Fittest, c. 1941, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1944.13

“I am fast. To give you a reference point, I am somewhere between a snake and a mongoose . . . and a panther.”  

Brain Power…

Salvador Dalí, Spectacles with Holograms and Computers for Seeing Imagined Objects, 1976, Etching, Drypoint, Lithograph, Silkscreen, and Collage, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Lois and Howard B. Wolf © 2008 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Salvador Dalí, Spectacles with Holograms and Computers for Seeing Imagined Objects, 1976, etching, drypoint, lithograph, silkscreen, and collage, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Lois and Howard B. Wolf, 1998.6.1, © 2008 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

“Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will.”  

Healthcare…

Edward Hicks , The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-1847, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund 1973.5

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-47, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, 1973.5

“In the wild, there is no healthcare. Healthcare is “Oh, I broke my leg!” A lion comes and eats you, you’re dead. Well, I’m not dead, I’m the lion, you’re dead!”

Flu Season…

George Platt Lynes, W. H. Auden Reaching into Garbage Can, 1947, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of William B. Jordan and Robert Brownlee 2000.375

George Platt Lynes, W. H. Auden Reaching into Garbage Can, 1947, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of William B. Jordan and Robert Brownlee, 2000.375

“The principle is sound. To avoid illness, expose yourself to germs, enabling your immune system to develop antibodies. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this. . . . Maybe they have something against living forever.”

Water Cooler Gossip…

Susan Magilow, Seven Deadly Sins: Gossip, 1986, ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift 1989.126.6

Susan Magilow, Seven Deadly Sins: Gossip, 1986, ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1989.126.6

“It’s a real shame because studies have shown that more information gets passed through water cooler gossip than through official memos. Which puts me at a disadvantage because I bring my own water to work.”

Stress Management…

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, The Satyr in the House of the Peasants, 1739, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Carnegie Inc. 1940.48

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, The Satyr in the House of the Peasants, 1739, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Carnegie Inc., 1940.48

“Nothing stresses me out. Except having to seek the approval of my inferiors.” 

Dealing with Crowds…

François–Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J.E.R. Chilton 2011.27

François-Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. E. R. Chilton, 2011.27

“Why are all these people here? There are too many people on this earth. We need a new plague.”

 The “R” Sound…

Fish knife, c. 1870, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The V. Stephen Vaughan Collection, gift of the 1991 Silver Supper 1992.7.10.1

Fish knife, c. 1870, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The V. Stephen Vaughan Collection, gift of the 1991 Silver Supper, 1992.7.10.1

“No, I disagree. “R” is one of the most menacing of sounds. That’s why they call it murder not ‘muckduck.’”  

Utopia…

From Paintings in Old Imperial Palace, n.d., hand-colored etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. B. Hopkins 1964.44.9

From Paintings in Old Imperial Palace, n.d., hand-colored etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. B. Hopkins, 1964.44.9

“In an ideal world, I would have all ten fingers on my left hand so my right hand could just be a fist for punching.”  

Paying Attention…

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise in a White Shawl, c. 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection 1985.R.58

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise in a White Shawl, c. 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.58

“You couldn’t handle my undivided attention.”  

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

 

 

 


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