Creative endeavors break rules

Julie Seabaugh

Creativity: undefinable.

But, like pornography, we’ll know it when we see It.

If you can emerge from the introductory gobbledygook (“aiming to surpass and uphold the mid-20th century and modern luminaries which inspired it ...”) unscathed, chances are your self-image is pretty healthy. You’re probably in your mid-20s. You’re likely reading it in a loft at some time between 2 and 4 a.m., or wish you were.

Las Vegas-born Paul G. Maziar and artist/Cold War Kids bassist Matt Maust’s What It Is: What It Is certainly embodies a distinct cool/rebellious/independent-thinking factor. It’s poetry, prose and coffee-table art in one, with Maziar’s words grouped geographically (East Coast, West Coast, Vegas, Everywhere Between, Deep Within the Heart) and concerning seeing, hearing, thinking and reacting. “Let’s light up our lives/Dance out the demons/And switch me on, to soul bright fevers,” Maziar writes in his “Vegas Blackouts” section, mining big feelings from even the smallest scenes.

Maust, meanwhile, contrasts the emotional outpouring with gritty, stark photography. There’s darkness in both, but there’s also a yearning for understanding. And as any hipster would attest, such a need transcends categorizations.

What It Is: What It Is

*** 1/2

Paul G. Maziar & Maust

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