David Bowie: A Celebration Of Life Unleashed
By John Mikeska
In the wake of many icons moving on from this world, I’ve hardly seen such a widespread reaction and outpouring of sentiment like we’re seeing today with the passing of David Bowie. The reaction surrounding the announcement of Bowie’s death has been one of the more inspiring aspects of his passing. First and foremost, the man who was born in a conservative English suburb on the outskirts of London who’s predominantly known for his music, is an enigmatic figure that left a mark on history, society, and culture that could hardly be quantified in any traditional sense.
David Bowie bravely navigated personal tragedy amidst professional success numerous times throughout his career. In many ways, he serves as a testament to the regenerative force of getting back to the roots of your inspiration and focusing on your craft. His response to the social prejudice of the time was to re-invent himself in a way that would take on the form of a recurring self-actualization throughout his life. He approached this aspect of the journey with a fearless embrace that decidedly fell short of reckless abandon. There seemed to be an assured, almost calculated sincerity to the creative eccentricities of Bowie. The source of his inspiration didn’t break down, destroy or lay-waste to social barriers as much as it did rise above and soar among the expressive possibilities of his creation.At the end of the day, Bowie was an entertainer. And with that comes an inherent responsibility to not only inspire, but to challenge. Challenge the audience. Challenge the critics. Challenge the people who may not be familiar with his art.
Bowie did this both as an artist and as a social icon, much in the same way that many jazz musicians can cause their followers to rush home and practice for hours after seeing an idol play.. The concept of theatrical presentation was never lost on Bowie. He explored profound levels of passion on personal and artistic levels that were seemingly paradoxical. From having a very public, open relationship early on to a more structure married life, complete with a child, he then went on to openly announce that his sexual attractions weren’t gender specific. On the artistic end of the spectrum, he brought the iconic Ziggy Stardust to the stage and rose from the ashes of his cosmic creation with the clean and polished look of “Fame”.
He had the unique ability to consistently gain and lose fans, which, in retrospect cultivated interest and served as an enduring part of his legacy.
David Bowie’s ascent to the far reaches of the cosmos transcended the confines of humanity in ways that truly blow our minds. He forged through social and musical paradigms with a gender bending mystique, requisite of an intense bravery that remained devoid of arrogance. In this sense, Bowie was the ultimate rockstar and the anti-rockstar. He managed to personify and animate the most intimate parts of his psyche in ways that allowed his art to be profoundly accessible yet challenging of all preconceived notions. Keeping this in mind, I would venture to say that Bowie wouldn’t want anyone to copy his style as much as he would urge us to find the Ziggy Stardust within, so we can all be “Heroes”… If just for one day.