Today, on the anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death in 1994, I'd like to propose a bit of a debate.
Can an athlete's performance be considered art?
Art is a word that has the capacity to ignite ferocious debate. Most reasonable folks can agree that the works of Mozart and Shakespeare and DaVinci and Miles Davis are on equal footing when it comes to applying the "This is Art" label. But is "Piss Christ" art? Is Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" art? Are Jackson Pollack's splattered canvases art? Are the works of Ruby the elephant art?
What is the definition of art?
I'm not an art historian, an art scholar or and art expert of any kind whatsoever. I do appreciate art and consider its creation to be one of the defining characteristics of humanity. I think The Who's "Live at Leeds" is as important an artistic statement as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, so take my opinion for what it's worth. But that's where I go for my definition. I tend to think of art as any expression of the human condition. Art, like beauty, is all in the eye of the beholder.
So the question is, could Ayrton Senna's performances in a Formula 1 car be called a work of art? Do those drives say as much about the human condition as Charles Mingus' "Epitaph" or Michelangelo's "Universal Judgement"? Can an athletic performance be considered art?
While you're considering it, find "Senna" on Netflix or wherever you get your movies these days, and watch it.
With the arrival of the SENNA film at the SXSW Film Festival in March this year, motorsports fans and film buffs have shared a collective passion for the first time in many years. Striking the chord of emotion, competition and passion, the SENNA film has reached an wider audience in the U.S. than the film's team ever imagined.
Due to the on again/off again reports, we decided to take a walk down to the "filming set" early Saturday morning. Actually, we heard the car when we woke up in the AM. We would have loved for the event to be a full-on show car exhibition, but understand this filming was for a promo shoot, similar to this:
About 200 people showed up for the closed set filming and I think it's safe to say that NO ONE was disappointed.
We were lucky enough to score a post-run interview with THE David Coulthard himself. We'll post it next week; right now we're working to make the return of the SENNA Movie to Austin a smashing success!
"Congress Bridge," for short, is where we hope Red Bull Racing will film DC's inaugural F1 drive this Saturday.
I've been keeping an eye on the City of Austin's permit filings since DC revealed his intentions to take the Red Bull Racing Showcar for a spin in Austin and LA during his summer holiday this month. We were beginning to wonder how Red Bull would shut down the main artery of downtown Austin, Congress Avenue, for such a worldly event, as it has never happened in the US before. I was convinced a vague, yet rejected, permit filed for Fox Sports Promo was going to be edited the day before the event and thereby approved, until a new revelation last night - a permit not-so-stealthly titled "F1 Comes to Austin" was filed on Friday.
David Coulthard at RBR Showcar event in Singapore - April 2011 - Image from Red Bull Racing
We believe, via numerous sources, that the Red Bull Racing Showcar expedition will be in Austin this Saturday, August 20 (and in LA on the 19th). And, that's about it. No word on time. No word on location. Their permit language is confusing in that it says: "Film crew will be shooting a Formula One Car Driving driving down Congress Avenue towards the Capitol Building and exiting towards 15th street." This could put us north of the Capitol and headed south, or on our preferred path from the Congress Bridge and heading north towards the Capitol.
Wherever we end up, this is going to be a great event for F1 in the US. We were looking forward to a weekend of F1 fun, with the SENNA movie premiere slated for the 19th. However, the release date for Austin has been pushed back a week, August 26, so you'll just have to make two trips to our fine city.
Plus, this is not Red Bull's first rodeo. They're used to creating wildly successful public events at the drop of a hat. Austin's 2007 Red Bull Flugtag competition drew the largest US attendance of over 85,000 people to the Auditorium Shores of Lady Bird Lake. Were you there?
Heads up: we also enabled hotel booking on our site last week. Why should you book with us? Because we support local businesses and invest back in the Austin community whenever possible. $2 of each hotel room rental per night will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters; having been a "Big Sister" in Central Texas since 2004, this charity is important to AGP. We can also help large groups with easy booking - contact us for assistance.
So, our question remains - Will DC and Red Bull COME AND RACE ITTM?
*We make no guarantees or assurances to the vailidity of planned events and are not responsible for cancellation or changes to revised event dates. Details provided for informational purposes only and no warranties are made or implied.
We are excited to celebrate with you the one year anniversary of the announcement of Austin, Texas as the future home of Formula One™ in the United States starting in 2012. It was also one year ago today that we founded The Austin Grand Prix and embarked upon our mission to bring the most comprehensive news surrounding this announcement to fans around the world. Our mission was simple: “To bridge the gap between racing fans and Austin and welcome everyone to the future home of Formula One™.”
On location at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX
3 June 2011: The FIA World Motor Sport Council will meet and discuss rescheduling of the cancelled Bahrain GP and preliminary talks of a 2012 race calendar.
November 2011: Expected announcement of finalized 2012 race calendar.
June 2012: When COTA has been told to “be ready” for an inaugural race. Also, a June race date would make logical sense, if the track was ready by this time, because the cars should already be on the North American continent, coinciding with the Canadian Grand Prix.
September/October 2012: Another logical date for the USGP because the cars are shipped through Dallas, Texas (about a 3 hour drive from Austin) on their way to Brazil in South America for the Brazilian GP. Also, back in April, the University of Texas said their Longhorns Football Team would consider moving a football game to accommodate a race weekend in Austin - which would be unprecedented!
Headed to Montreal!
We are also excited to be packing our bags for Montreal in two weeks for the Canadian Grand Prix from 9-13 June. We hope to meet as many F1 fans as possible and have created a casual meet up in Montreal, which you can RSVP for on our Facebook page and stay tuned for more information.
"SENNA" Wins The Hearts Of Austin
It is hard to believe that it was just two months ago that we had the great Kerri and Kevin with SENNA Director Asif Kapadia at SXSWhonor of working alongside Director Asif Kapadia and Working Title Films to help promote and welcome the Texas premiere of the SENNA film during Austin’s famed South By Southwest Film Festival. Thank you for helping sell out both screenings of the film at the iconic Paramount Theatre on Congress Avenue. If you were able to attend a screening, we hope you enjoyed the film as much as we did! If not, check out this exclusive video interview of Asif at the Social Media Clubhouse. Please also continue to support SENNA for next week’s UK release (3 June) and a broader US statewide release planned for 12 August. We want to continue to serve as a reliable resource for the SENNA film so please check our website in the coming week as we roll out some amazing new SENNA film features.
How Can You Help?
Another question we are frequently asked is how our fans and supporters can help. Here are a few ideas:
Sign-up for our newsletter and tell your friends and colleagues about it!
Got an idea? A burning question? A referral? Send us an email anytime atOur fan and friend Heath showing his support at the 2011 Australian GP!Info@TheAustinGrandPrix.com. We would love to hear from you!
Get your hands on the first product promoting the return of Formula One™ to Texas via our COME AND RACE IT™ shirts! We will also be adding more products in the coming months.
Please send us your pictures in your COME AND RACE IT™ shirt, as we are compiling photographs of our fans from around the world, just like the one shown here from Down Under!
We are extremely grateful to our fans and supporters because we have been building The Austin Grand Prix to serve you. Sometimes we are asked: “Why is it the Austin Grand Prix? Don’t you think that is exclusive of the rest of Texas, or the US, or North America?” We are the Austin Grand Prix because we are a part of the social fabric of the Austin community; we believe over the next twelve months you will start to understand why we love this great city so much. We look forward to welcoming you and we hope you will join us in 2012 for the inaugural United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Image Courtesy Working Title FilmsJalopnik has posted a handy dandy guide to convincing others, who probably don't maintain the sort of fevered emotions about racing that we do, that they should go and see Senna. We here at The Austin GP are ardent supporters of this film, not just because it's about the demigod Ayrton Senna, but because it is quite simply a great film. You should go see it at any and every opportunity, then send Asif and Manish an email thanking them for doing the impossible - making the esoteric accessible and captivating to the average person.