20 April, 2009

Welcome / Bake Sale / Brooklyn Phil

Welcome to new readers arriving here here via Createquity, and many thanks to Mr. Moss for the kind shout-out. As for the note that this blog is infrequently updated, I'd like to restate my on-going promise to post more often. If the last few months are any indication, this may be a bit of a losing battle, but to willfully misquote Orwell's Boxer, I re-affirm: I will try harder.

So a few things have been going on. Some excellent and some not so excellent; and both, oddly, in Brooklyn. First the not-so-great: I just read that the Brooklyn Philharmonic has not only canceled the rest of this season, but ALL of next season's programming. They've been in the news a lot recently, since they are also being sued by Nathan Currier over what seems to have been a rather unpleasant situation all around. (And one on which I will take no sides, though am tickled to read posts by those who will!)

This is a sad thing, obviously, but the Brooklyn Phil is one of those arts organizations that was destined to get slammed by this economic disaster greed-fest. AA and I were recently talking about this; how the groups to survive this recession/depression will be the mammoth groups and the small-DIY groups. The mid-sized groups will be the ones with the greatest likelihood of going under. The large groups are so--ahem--well-endowed, that they can weather anything, while the smaller groups live on basically nothing as it is--and generally have little or no staff to support--so they too will survive.

And speaking of small-DIY organizations, now for the good news: New Music Bake Sale! Newspeak and Ensemble de Sade have been working like mad for the last four months or so to present the First Annual New Music Bake Sale. And I am pleased to report: we actually pulled it off! And not only that, but it was great, far exceeding our expectations!

This was a union of the small and DIY, and I really mean union. There were groups of all aesthetic varieties, and there was--to be blunt--no bullshit. There was none of the old, storied uptown/downtown nonsense. There was no competitiveness. There were just people who love new music enough to work really hard at it, for little or no money, on a regular basis for a long time. It was a diverse but amazingly supportive vibe. As James Holt mentioned in his kind addendum over at Sequenza 21--"we're all in this together." Another blog noted that "everyone at the tables was charming, friendly, convivial," saying that it was "like a modern day Woodstock minus the mud and the rain."

And I think this is sort of a great way to think about it. Woodstock had Hendrix, Sly Stone, Sha Na Na, and CSN&Y. We had Newspeak, Talea Ensemble, Red Light New Music, So Percussion, Wet Ink, and Dither (and, like 20 others). All at the same event. All very different. All equally supportive. I think it says something powerful about the current DIY generation, and about the sense of community we embrace. Not to get ahead of myself here, but maybe this is how/why we'll ultimately survive. At least I hope so.

Photo from Feast of Music.

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