We had the good fortune of connecting with Craig Dershowitz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Craig, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Human beings in a mob What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a God? What’s a God to a non-believer Who don’t believe in anything?” – Kanye West In my quietest moments and the in the still of soft, silent breath, I am confident that Artists 4 Israel is one of the most important Israel advocacy and aid organizations to exist. We have not changed the world, nor sought to but we have helped and healed people in need and under attack and placed a halo upon a country that so often deserves it. We prevent the spread of anti-Israel bigotry – a disruptive concept in a community so often regressively battling, not looking forward, and we help heal communities affected by war and terror. If you were to perceive the pro-Israel world as a Venn diagram, with providing real, quality of life improvements for people on one hand and sharp, intelligent, effective advocacy on the other, then we are the power in two clenched hands, holding one another tight. In those same seconds of clarity and control, I am also sure of myself, my leadership, my choices and my reason. But those moments are few and all too far. Hope might be eternal but eternity is ephemeral. Ain’t that some shit? More often, I, we, ride that train of self-doubt: woulda, coulda, shoulda. Chugging through the night and through the gut. Questions pile upon questions, heavy and laden. Comparisons between outcomes, achievements, individuals abound. The comparisons unfold like this: I watch an episode of West Wing and think about how I coulda been a lawyer or shoulda been a speechwriter or woulda been a political operative. Oh man, oh man. What wonderful, noble, powerful, positions. I feel like nothing in comparison. But, then, they too are nothing in comparison to their boss in the show – POTUS himself. Now, THAT is a job. Right? No. Because he is only President of the United States, not King of the World. Shit, even as the leader of the free world he couldn’t stop some fictional African country from killing his doctor or his political operative from being shot or his lawyer from quitting, moving to Orange County and eventually taking a role in a sitcom. Speaking of that sitcom, it is so often compared to The Office. I love The Office, duh, and I think part of that is because it helps me feel superior. Every single time it becomes clear that a character has never left their hometown or that, for Michael, eating good sushi is an event…not a Tuesday snack like us pompous jerks reading and writing this, I celebrate my own self-perceived superiority. But, then, I realize that Dwight owns a beet farm and Jim seems way happier than I usually am (except for the last season but no one watches that) and owning a farm and being happy would be pretty cool even if meant living in Scranton. Kanye is exploring the perceptions of power and success. Exploring the fluidity between strength, accomplishment and space. Clearly he is indicating that the hierarchy of achievement is quite real. It is real though, and shifting – layers and layers being constantly added. It is real though, and cyclical – a non-believer being the highest and lowest. It is real though, and only exists in a pretext where each agrees to it – Gd only existent when others believe him to be. It is real, though. And this hierarchy exists in a million different ways, in a million different structures, in a million different times. I think it was in the song Gd, featuring Gd where Kanye screams “hurry up with my damn croissant”. Truth is, at times, we all feel like men of power, monsters and makers. If we think like a dick, a server is just that, a servant and so we can make demands, be a Gd in that moment, even if just for 30 minutes and $40 bucks over brunch. So, I live my life my creative life in two parts. The first is believing that I contain all the power, creativity, brilliant conception and flawless execution imaginable. I am a King to a mob and a Gd to a King. You can only make moves with supreme confidence and to live a creative life takes absolute faith in oneself and the most obnoxious sense of greatness. If there there Gds before me, then I become a non-believer too. The second way this influences my creative life… One second. Maybe I am just reading into it. Maybe Ye isn’t that deep. But, think about it. The man conquered producing so chose to rap, he conquered rap (fine, fine) so he chose to make clothes, sneakers, homes, art. I think Kanye West looks around his all white house and doesn’t say “what would be fun to do today?” No, I am pretty sure he says “something is wrong, that isn’t enough, what can I do to make me feel complete?” How am I better than Jay, Virgil, some kid who bullied me in elementary school? If Kanye’s life and his words show us that there is no satisfaction, then there is only one chance for survival. If we recognize that there is always someone higher, better, stronger, more achieved then we can find liberation in the fact that the fix is in – we can’t win. And if Kanye has found nothing but new ceilings, new limits, new Gds above him, what hope do we have? And, so, the lesson is we must kill our ego. As such, I strive to treat others with the respect that all Kings and Gds deserve. I try to recognize that there is no surety and be willing to adopt and change. I strive to collaborate. I strive to throw off the constant, battering comparisons and, most importantly, I strive to make it about the work itself and not about how it rates in comparison to others. I try so hard that it not be about how am I vs. another but how am I. We must consider that the I which creates distinctions of power and such is a pathway only to disappointment. Its opposite, the negation of self, its only cure. This quote means, to me: that Kanye West is a mad genius; that when I am feel incapable, I should not; that when I am feeling too full of myself, I should stop and that we contain multitudes, all and nothing and that, most important, we should be careful how we manifest and execute our powers.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Just going to assume this is a pre-COVID question. But, still, my response is fairly limited. I’ve got a kid now so I only go places with parks. And a wife, so I only go places with food. Not that my wife is fat, we are just fat souled and find eating out to be so much easier than being cool. But, should I put that all to the side, here we go. One night would start with Jumbo’s Clown Room trying to get away with sneaking pictures behind the bouncers’ backs and then capping it off with 3am Thai food across the street at whatever that place is called. Wake up to Cofax pastrami burritos (which are now available everyday apparently) and a horchata latte, make fun of the hype beasts lining Fairfax for some new tee drops, Resort Pass it to one of the DTLA hotel pool, home for a nap, pick up snacks and sandwiches at Larchmont Wine which we enjoy on the beach for sunset. I will absolutely not tell you my secret, cutty, beach location with the good parking and the lack of homeless folks, Aaaaand now I will just throw out random things to do/see: Grand Central Market, SK Donuts, Pasta Sisters and Truffle Brothers, Delicious Pizza (told you we were fat). A few “secret” tattoo shops, the Swap Meet that turns into a hipster Farmer’s Market later in the day, the Elysian Fields hike and the fish taco spot called something like Siette del Mar near to it. Def a game – any sport – depending on season with tailgating before it. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The hundreds of artists who have donated their time and talent to helping us heal others.