The “Art” of the Matter

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Once again March is here, and I am in the middle of Tech Week for a show. Like usual during this week, I either find myself thinking about a better way I could have made a costume work or why I believe all children should have access to the Arts at early age. Just this morning I found myself thinking, “Why do so many people push their kids into athletics but not something related to the arts?” I am not a researcher, but as a life long fan of the arts (seriously, I played a sheep at age 5), I feel like the “art” of the matter is that people don’t see the benefits of involvement with the arts.

So what are the benefits? This can vary depending on the type of art form being utilized. To start, let’s talk about the theatre. First and foremost, being in the theatre teaches team work. Unless you’re starring in a one person show in which you also do all of the tech work, you have to work cooperatively with others to stage a successful production. A big component of this is strengthening communication and self advocacy skills. For example, if you’re in the cast, and you lose something, then you have to be able to ask the appropriate person for help. I can’t tell you how often I get asked “Where’s my x?” I’m always glad they ask so that they have something to wear on stage! Additionally, theatre promotes learning empathy (something that I believe is strongly missing in today’s society). Whenever you are playing a character, you have to find ways to understand their emotions and portray them in such a way that you can relate to the emotion. Empathy can also be developed just from watching a theatrical production as well. Obviously, given my 35 years of being in theatre, I feel very strongly about this one!

However, my strong feelings about everyone trying the arts doesn’t stop with theatre. I believe that learning to paint, creating collages, and using clay are essential to developing fine motor skills. Another way to work on fine motor skills? Playing a musical instrument! Learning a musical instrument and how to read music can also help with math skills. In elementary school, I always believed that fractions made sense because of knowing how to read music and understanding the number of beats associated with a given note. Along with teaching math, music can help with writing skills, emotional management, recalling memories, and much more. Seriously, look up all the ways music can be beneficial. One other thing worth looking is the health benefits associated with music and art therapy. If I can’t convince you to get the “art” of the matter, the research might be able to do so. Are you feeling ready to try being artsy yet?

Understand that I’m not trying to say sports don’t have a place. I played several of those while also being active in the arts. Likewise, I’m not trying to convince you to only pick the arts. However, if getting to the “art” of the matter could have a positive impact on life, why not at least give them – or encourage your kids to give them – a try?


The Great Kaysby

“Like a Bat Out of Hell”

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2022 knows how to punch us while we’re down, am I right? Omicron is ravaging us, we’re mourning Bob, the weather is causing chaos, and this morning 2022 got us again when we woke up to the news of the death of Meat Loaf. I’m glad the weather had already cancelled school because I wouldn’t have been worth a hill of beans if I’d have had to work. Instead of doing anything productive, I spent the morning listening to Meat Loaf and reminiscing on great memories connected to his music.

Hot Patootie – my first experience with Meat Loaf came when I was 15. Me and some friends closed ourselves in our drama teacher’s office and watched part of The Rocky Horror Picture Show because a couple of us had never seen it. I enjoyed the beginning of the movie so much that I begged my parents to rent the VHS from Video Vault that weekend so I could finish it. For most people, Tim Curry is the scene stealer in the movie, but for me it was Eddie as I was yet to know Meat Loaf’s name. I totally understood why Columbia “very nearly loved him” over Frank.

Paradise By the Dashboard Lights – Following my enjoyment of RHPS, my aunt introduced me to the music of Meat Loaf. The first song she played for me was Paradise. As a teenager I didn’t want to admit to liking “old music”, but there was something about this epic length song (seriously I think Jim invented extended editions) with full on make out and sex noises brilliantly scripted to a baseball announcer that hooked you. The lyrics and emotions were raw, and the instrumental rifts were unprecedented. Needless to say, the next CD I bought for myself was Bat Out of Hell.

Bat Out of Hell – The album was epic! From the time I bought it, we would measure car trips by the number of songs you could listen to during the trip. Driving to school or work? One or two songs depending on traffic. Going to Grandma’s? The album would get us most of the way through Indiana! Me and my parents would crank it up and sing/yell all the words! Later in life this album and the music of Meat Loaf would become one of the first things me and Mr Kisby realized we like in common! You could say that Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth!

Life Is a Lemon – A lot of people don’t know the Meat Loaf songs that came out between Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II, but they are some of my favorites. I was particularly shocked to be on a car trip and the buddy riding with me knew the words to Life Is a Lemon. That was so cool! That also became the day we jammed to Meat Loaf while out driving a tornado! Side note, the best way to celebrate out driving a tornado is stopping at White Castle!

I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – So many memories of this one! Remember the jukebox at Pizza Hut? Did anyone else have to stick around until this played because they had paid a quarter for it? I also remember this being the first dance song at a friends wedding. We got to watch them for 13 minutes as the twirled around the dance floor all smiling and googly eyed. But my best memory of this song? Four days before LilKsby was born, I was singing Karaoke, and this was my favorite song that I sang that night! Somewhere there’s a video of me with my big preggo belly singing away!

VH1 Storytellers – Now I realize that if you’re under 30, you’re probably thinking what is VH1? It’s where all the good music shows were aside from TRL. The Meat Loaf episode of Storytellers is amazing! I already knew his songs were great, but the stories behind them make them even more phenomenal! I’m not going to spoil the stories, so just check them out on Spotify. Keep in mind the whole episode only had one scripted line: “Welcome to Storytellers.” The rest is just Meat Loaf being real and doing the thing his music did best: tell stories.

I could talk for hours about all of my memories with Meat Loaf songs, but after all of these paragraphs, I imagine you might be getting bored. Also, my phone is almost out of battery. Until my next post, I challenge you to crank up some Meat Loaf, keep rocking, and keep living “like a bat out of hell”!


The Great Kaysby