Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Are You Out There?'

I'm looking at my entries and realized tonight its been over a week since I've made an entry. Part of it has been my 'lack of desire' to write, but that could be because I've been under the weather, ( I was told Austin is one of the worst places in the country for allergies), and have also been busy with all the 'little things' that occur that one must eventually get caught up on. I am feeling better today, the show closed (for December) on Sunday night, and I once again had a very small audience. I'm not disappointed in the work, I am disappointed in the lack of support I received in the Austin area. Most of the audience I did get was generally an all out hustle on my own, with a few stragglers here and there. If I had as many people (from here) who told me they would be there, I would have had good houses every night. I'm not afraid to say, the people of Austin failed me. Oh, well, so it goes with the 'one person show'.

I did everything I was supposed to do when one does a show, (press releases, posters, listings, post cards, telephone calls, face book, street marketing, the works), but still failed to draw a crowd. I overestimated Austin as a city who support artists, or maybe I'm overestimating my faith in a stagnant culture. I'm always amazed at how much money politicians in this country can raise, and yet I can't raise twenty dollars. I'm perplexed, I don't understand it. Still, we never had to cancel a show, which I am grateful. The show always gets great responses from the people I do 'lure' in, but really, if I can't draw and audience, I am a little screwed, and as I've said before, this almost two years of experimenting with making a living from my art form, may not work. Two years is not a long time, but I keep reminding myself, I've done this same thing while managing a full time teaching job. I spent years in service of others, often spending my own money on kids who needed it, or kids who had no one else to turn to. My hope after I left teaching, was to be able to gain some of what I gave back, I suppose as some sort of 'karmic' happening. What also occurs to me, is the widening of the gap between those who are struggling to create art, and those who have the vast means and connections and gain an audience for what they do. In this country, money talks. Oh no, I'm railing on capitalism again! I'll stop... in a minute.

The trend to stay unaffected by the many issues we face seems to be normal in this day, if we don't have a draft, the war doesn't really effect me, if I have health care, why should I rock the boat?, if I am content to let movies and video games be my art form, why should I support the 'living art forms' after all, I don't really have to leave my house. It takes effort to support art, it is vital, but I'm afraid we have become the 85%/15% society of support as well, 15% of our society will support 85% of the art. That leaves me in the 15% that is nebulous. Am I angry? No, not really, I'm just a little frustrated. I've always believed that bitterness is a primary enemy of the artist. No one really asks the artist to become an artist, the artist makes that choice. Art only really works on a wider scale in times of revolution, and that is only if the revolution is wide scale as well. Once people have lost everything, art becomes vital, because it 'does' have some very good answers to very tough issues. It is as vital as science, as vital as government, as vital as breathing. I will continue to do what I'm doing, after all, I've been doing it for so long, that after a while, scrambling in the paint becomes pretty normal.

I'm not really that happy with my entry, and I just lost about half of my 'bitching' session, its late, but at least I wrote something, which is reminding me, that I still have much to say. Is anyone listening? Or, is this all for not as well? Let me know if you are listening...

9 comments:

Gerry said...

I am certainly listening, waiting for your impressions. I think as you assess this experience you will realize that getting the responsse that you desired there would be against the odds. So if you scale down expectation you can count this experience up to going down there and seeing what you could make happen, in other words, it was an experiment. As I see it what you hoped to get out of it, upping your performance level, you have surely done, you have seized the opportunity to put together a better show. I am sure you can't help but be discouraged with lack of response, but cannot forget you are a relative stranger. when you leave you will have absorbed some of Texas and Texas will have taken some of you message in, and that is what you will take home with you, no more or no less. The important thing is not to get discouraged while adding up the results. Once the experiment is over and you have gone, then more of it will have its impact. Art does not die even when it is kicked back to meager expression, you just accept that it is going to be tougher to make an impact and adjust for that.

TJ in Boulder said...

Raymond -
I've been watching daily for the next blog and wondering where you were. There's a card for you in the mail, but this is to let you know there are those of us, in the world, who care about you and wish you well. We can't count on the world to provide anything. Just live each day, each moment.
Stay well. T

Renee said...

I'm listening and reading. I appreciate your blog so much and everything you've written in this post is true. Hang in there.

Connie said...

Years ago my daughter and her family moved from Ohio to Austin because she has allergies and was told it was better for her there and she said it made them worse but her 'then' husband wanted to stay. She divorced and moved to Colorado and says it is good for her allergies there.
Wanted to come by and wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

I think the whole country is in a slump and people are saving in all the ways they can think of..which means less theatre and concerts and go to movies instead.
They seem to be what people do when poor. Hang in there for the last of your run. I wish you were better known...it's even harder for an unknown to make it big..but you know all that. Complain away.
I enjoy it!

Pamela said...

I wish you'd stayed around the LA area a while longer. I drive around and see different playhouses around and think "Raymond could have performed there." Word would have spread perhaps, and then you'd have larger audiences, maybe? I know at some point you'd have had a bunch of nurses in your audience. LOL!

Good luck with your art. I hope it all works out for you. Have a Merry Xmas!

LaRena said...

Yep I an listening always, and look forward to what ever you write in your blog. You have a perfect right to vent those 'bitchin ') feelings and sometimes it can make one feel better. Texas is not my favorite state in the union so I'm not exactly surprised that they don't show much appreciation , no matter how hard you work or how good your performance may be. Karma works sometimes, so keep the faith.

Chuckh said...

Welcome to “The Great Recession” which is keeping people from spending money right now in all areas of life, even health care. I have been told by veterinarians, dentists and even doctors that things are down in their “recession proof” professions right now. It is estimated that 50% of the households in Phoenix are up side down on their home loans, meaning they owe more than the house is worth. This is true in most cities in the nation! My wife has had to endure three rounds of lay-offs where she works, and they have laid off every level of worker from highly paid directors and managers to lowly maintenance workers...basically, things are bad everywhere...Yes, it is easier to stay home and watch TV or go to the video store...But more than that, I am concerned for this country in general, we are spending money we don't have on two wars, healthcare reform and many bail-outs that are sinking this ship with debt...the common man is now poorer than ever...people are nervous and scared, holding onto every bit of spare change they can save...now I'm on the soap box! Yikes. Not only are people not going to the legit theatre as much, but I have been to concerts that used to be a sell out and the houses are ¾ full. I’m talking major draws like Steely Dan, etc. Acts are playing to and in smaller houses. We are living in a time right now that history will remember, just as we remember The Great Depression; we will always remember “The Great recession.” Let's hope the end is in sight!

Cheryl said...

Dave Lee had a comment on his email that if you don't buy books of poetry, you are not supporting poets (my paraphrase). We do need to continually evaluate where we spend our time and money to see if we are supporting what we claim to believe in. You do have a large following, they are just scattered throughout the west.