Genuflect by Gordy Grundy
November 2004; Issue No. 71
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ARTIST
LIVING IN WARTIME, PART THIRTEEN
Every artist, who is not supported by tenure or a trust fund, must keep an entrepreneurial eye on the financial horizon. Our axiom "Making Art Takes Time and Time is Money" demands that the ol' Day Job must offer the most drachmas in the least amount of time. Now that the elections are over, I have begun to look at various Business Opportunities in hopes of finding my golden cash cow. The effort has revealed three investment goldmines. I hope to sink my shovel into one of them and shout, "Eureka!"
I.) Munitions continues to be a growth industry. Like food, medicine and DSL, munitions can be considered one of those staples that we just can't do without. The profit margins are huge. The defense business seems to do a lotta entertaining on yachts in the Mediterranean which suits me just swell.
Unfortunately, three reasons prevent me from great success in this field. First, you need a lotta capital to make bombs and I can't afford a firework stand. Second, I am a Lover not a Fighter, an attitude which lacks the necessary instinct that might make success in this field more assured. Third, I would rather Create than Destroy which again is a recipe for defeat. I knew I had to look beyond my limitations.
II.) With tensions high and climbing, wartime provides a steady market for inebriants and their detractors. In times of great stress, folks like to dance it off and the devil may care. Drug dealers, liquor distributors, tobacco growers, recovery centers, faith-based initiatives and televangelists are popping corks over their wartime success. When society is waiting for the other shoe to drop and the Alert Level to leap, Bacchus-based initiatives are on the rise.
I just hate to see someone give up something they love. I had an idea, a new concept in Better Living, which I called Vice Transference Recovery System (VTRS). The concept is simple. Rather than try and eliminate the habit, we will help you transfer the object of your desire. Sex addicts are refocused to become stoners. Dragon Chasers are told to follow a pair of dice. Wanna quit smoking? Have a drink instead. Unfortunately, the VTRS Concept failed. In self-testing, it was actually adding vices rather than transferring them. Another dream bubble had burst. And I was looking forward to having celebrity clients...
III.) Sometimes the most obvious is the hardest to see, which makes the third opportunity so brilliant. I went back to the basics, to the tried and true, to one of the oldest professions. Throughout the ages, religion has been one of the world's greatest moneymakers. You say 'Fervent' and I say 'Customer'.
I took a gander at various beliefs, thinking that joining an existing institution would be like buying a successful franchise. Due Diligence took a look at all aspects of various faiths. Unfortunately, every religion known to man was scratched off my list for either logical, dietary or libertarian purposes. If I couldn't buy into a church, I'd have to start my own.
Having recently discovered and concluded the true Meaning of Life, I am well qualified to establish such a spiritual venture. As a Los Angeleno, my environment is endowed with a long tradition of health fads, twisted cults and evangelical start-ups. It felt like a fit.
There is a deep and meaningful philosophical core to the Fellowship of Fortuna (A.K.A. The Church of Chance). Due to space limitations, we will gloss over the Glory and focus on the sizzle.
In brief, the Fellowship of Fortuna celebrates those things that unite every human animal, the first and foremost trait being Chance. While most call her Lady Luck, we know her as Fortuna. Every church needs an icon and the Roman Goddess is the inspiration for ours.
As a figurehead, Fortuna stands tall, swinging a down turned sword, back and forth like a pendulum. With it, she dispenses Luck, both fair and foul. She does not wear a blindfold for her impartiality is her integrity. She has a beautiful, intriguing face with a quirky smile. Her steady gaze can both comfort the misfortunate with tender empathy and wink gaily at a winner.
The members of the Fellowship of Fortuna, known as the Fortunates, are an active and involved bunch. In our congregation, there are a great many artists who focus their talents upon the infinite interpretations of Fortuna. (The church website features a great deal of their artwork. www.fellowshipfortuna.com)
A collective of engineers and marketing types who call themselves The Continuum, are dedicated to the swing of Fortuna's sword. With physics, probability and statistics, they are trying to quantify Chance.
The Flamin' Fortuna's, our car club, got its name because all vehicles have the (illegal) ability to shoot flames from their tail pipes.
Our sports teams win most titles in their leagues. These men and women, the 'Falcons of Fortuna', are scoring trophies in basketball, tennis, horsemanship and water polo. Our cheerleading squad, the Frisky Fortunettes are so compelling that a network wants to devote an entire cable channel to their reality show.
Unlike most other religious institutions, the Fellowship of Fortuna (A.K.A. The Church of Chance) has a high threshold for joy, fun and frivolity. Laughter figures prominently into the doctrine as well as the services.
'The Skulls of Fortuna', a Mod/Goth-styled support group, generates most of our customs and rituals. Sunday Services are rather entertaining and fast moving. An organ and choir have been replaced with a DJ and dance team, the 'Fly-Fortunes'. Music, skit comedy and rousing sing-alongs are a part of the program.
Communion has been given a makeover. The 'Body of Christ' is no longer represented by a thin wafer but with a bold petit filet breakfast steak served with two eggs. The ridiculous notion that grape juice can signify 'The Blood of Christ' has been redeemed with a spicy Bloody Mary.
And I agree with the critics. The brunch buffet is awesome (or as they say in church slang, "It's hey-fortunato!")
Currently in the planning stages, the cathedral La Sagrada Fortuna features a design inspired by Gaudi and the Pacific Dining Car steakhouse. Pews will be replaced with red leather booths.
Whereas the Catholic Church has the honorable Knights of Malta as their premiere service group, we have the Flyin' Libertines. The Flyin' Libertines travel allot. Lavish, first class trips feature brilliant speakers and a gourmet taste bud. Despite the rumors and tawdry tales, it's really more of a study group.
On the deeper issues of Life, the Fellowship of Fortuna has a doctrine, "The Massive Missive" which is currently being written by the Plumes of Fortuna, a forward-thinking bunch of radical intellectuals who can't agree on anything except how to have a good time. The Massive Missive (or in church slang, the Double M) is heavily footnoted with references to the work of Umberto Eco and Jean Beaudrillard. Art-centric, church influences can be found in Minimalism, the Hyper Realities and an aggressive freedom that can be won only through our trademarked brand of Neo-Nihilism.
The FoF is open to all and discriminates against none. Tithing is strongly suggested at thirty-five percent (35%) of gross income before taxes. "May Fortuna Swing Favorably With You!"
GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist. His visual and literary work can be found at www.gordygrundy.com.