Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tiny Bubbles

Yesterday Paul McCartney received the "Gershwin Prize."  Good for him.  And he made a great anti-Bush zinger at the end.  Seriously.

But words are cheap.

Right now, here's what Paul McCartney needs to DO.

He needs to fly to Los Angeles and hold a press conference in the airport.  At the press conference he needs to say this:

"I proudly come from 'working class' roots.  If the California legislature passes AB2446 and the governor signs it into law, I will not perform in the state of California again until it is repealed, and I will not perform publicly or record with musicians who perform in that state.  The future of humanity is now, as it has always been, with our young.  To deprive them of (or provide them with) music and other arts based on their personal economic or social circumstances is reprehensible."

He will then turn around and board the next flight out of the state.

This would effectively quash the proposed bill overnight, but if it doesn't, he will be good to his word and not return.


Dream on, Steve.

You see, currently there is no solidarity in the music world.  The musician's union, with all due respect, is a joke.  Most unions are these days.

We can sing "You are the world."  We can do Farm Aid.  And on and on.  But we can't save our own.

We all know what to do, but we can't bring ourselves to support each other enough to do it.  All we do is report the most recent institutional failure, and then kvetch and lament and wring our hands ~ and then go back to fighting among ourselves.

For example (taking just one of a hundred), all it would take to save the Honolulu Symphony right now is not an infusion of cash from yet another rich control-freak hobbyist, but a focused rolling strike at every entertainment venue in this tourism-dependent state.  Call it "Don Ho Solidarity."  Suddenly, the money would appear.  There are dozens of possible variations on Don Ho Solidarity ~ we're the creative class, after all . . . aren't we?   But will this happen?


All we seem to have the spine for is to blame each other ~ and keep our own precious heads down.

Paul, Lang Lang, Yo Yo, are you out there???


  1. The days of solidarity are long gone. I'm not sure that Lang Lang and Yo Yo are actually interested in their fellow musicians to say nothing of music. Another example is: where are the comductors who are discovering and promoting composers? All these positive phenomena are things of the past. Today's soloists and conductors are no longer interested in being artists or musicians, they want to be stars. As we all know, stardom is far more seductive that artistic integrity and solidarity, so it's now every man or woman for him (or her)self.

  2. High school arts education has economic value! I can think of many examples. Here's only one:

    I know a guy who took drama, band and orchestra classes from the 7th through the 12th grades instead of calculus, PE and "shop" (as they used to call it). (He skipped visual art classes because he was told that he was hopeless.) The dude did not become a mechanic or a plumber. Instead he worked for many years as an executive in the entertainment business, putting films together that made money for numerous companies and provided employment for quite a few people. The same guy also went on to be a lifelong arts consumer, and thus channeled a goodly part of his income back into the arts industry. He even became an amateur composer, and although that did not make money for anybody (himself or anyone else), it did generate a bit of income for companies that design and sell music notation software.

    What does this have to do with high school arts education. Well, the guy I am talking about attributes virtually all of his interest in the arts -- and his career choice, as described above -- to his high school arts education.

    It is a myth that the arts are not an industry. By some calculations, "entertainment" is our largest export. Now you may not call most U.S. entertainment product (by which I mean movies, music, fiction books, TV) "art," but the entertainment industry does provide employment to many artists, and maybe two percent of the time, entertainment productions (movies, pop music) to rise to the level of art. (Or am I being too generous?)