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M&Ms and martinis.
Hi. My name is Chris and I'm a composer. And I'm coming up on my 12th year of living and working in New York City. And if you, audience member, really need - while listening to my music - candle lit pools of water around you while you drink martinis and munch on M&Ms, then please, make a note of my name, and make sure you avoid my gigs.
See, what this review describes (IMHO) isn't "inventive programming." It's a scenario designed to make you feel "comfortable," kind of how a Starbucks makes you "comfortable" while you are being sold a brand.
The economy is bad now, and being a composer in New York City is a challenge as a result. But NYC helped me figure out that in spite of that pressure, I have to compose first and foremost for myself. Not for you. I have to make sure I'm growing, challenging myself, and doing everything I can not to paint myself into a corner. Don't you want that spirit in the art that you go to see or hear? These goals I describe somehow run counter to making sure your waiter is taking care of you.
Take a look around you. New York City is raw. Heck, America is RAW. Unfinished. Dirty. I have performed in boxing gyms, empty boiler spaces, and rooms filled with wet clay and silt. The temperature in one space I performed in probably topped 100 degrees. And yes, it is powerful when people are present to hear/see this stuff that I do. But again, my job isn't to make you comfortable. And is that what you REALLY want from your artists?
You may not believe this but, I do like you. I really do. When I see people at shows I'm participating in, I love to take in the variety of expressions: the skeptic, the bored, the friendly, the flirty, the confused, and disgusted...it's beautiful. And I can only create if my heart is open.
But I can't get with m&ms and martinis, folks. I'm sorry. And while I'm trying not to make a moral judgment here (even though what I'm talking about is serious), I am reminded of what a friend of mine - a dancer - told me the other night: "F--- clean."
Chris Becker |
November 08, 2009 at 09:02 AM
Chris, your viewpoint is always welcome; your slack reading is not. Nowhere is it claimed that M&Ms and martinis amount to innovative programming; they're simply an imaginative accoutrement that made for an entertaining event -- one that drew a big, happy audience for a program of contemporary music, not all of which made for easy listening.
What you've written here is not only needlessly insulting to people you don't know; it also reeks of self-congratulatory smugness regarding your superior artistic authenticity. How does that serve as a strategy to support, promote and bolster the overall health of an artistic community?
November 08, 2009 at 09:51 PM
"What you've written here is not only needlessly insulting to people you don't know; it also reeks of self-congratulatory smugness regarding your superior artistic authenticity."
Wonderful. I am now the Kanye West of the new music world.
I support, promote, and bolster my little corner of this community in word and deed. Been doing that for quite awhile now.
I doubt my "smugness" has any effect one way or another on the overall health of NYC's creative scene. But anyone who knows me knows I'm probably too humble for my own good. I mean, I hold down a 40 hour a week day job in addition to composing - that'll keep you humble.
I believe there's another side to this issue; perhaps the tone in what I wrote will provoke some kind of discourse here in the blogosphere?
Chris Becker |
November 09, 2009 at 10:13 AM
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