Created by VictorInfanteWorcester
Mystery Cabaret, Boston Music Awards and other Strange Adventures in Art
I have long maintained there are only three legitimate reasons for an artist to do anything: art, community and money. If you can hit two of them, to paraphrase Neil Gaiman in Make Good Art, then you're doing pretty well. Playing lousy cover songs for money? Completely acceptable. We all have to eat! Playing lousy cover songs to help raise money for charity? Excellent. Playing whacked out reinvented cover songs as part of my Great Cover Song Challenge? Well, I think it's both good art and good community building, but I'm biased.
The part of this equation I've never been any good at is money. Don't get me wrong ... for all my anarcho-socialist tendencies, I'd rather like to make more money doing what I love, but I don't attract money like that, and so I've learned how to live with art in a way that works for me. I aim to make good art and promote shows that do the same. I aim to create shows that benefit my community in some way. I think I succeed at those things, which is good, because I am just no good at making money.
The recent big exertion was the second Midnight Mystery Cabaret, featuring the extraordinary Walter Sickert and the army of Broken Toys, along with an eclectic collection of poets, musicians and comedians, some of which were invited by myself, others being nominated by other arts organizations, such as Listen! A Poetry Series and The Comedy Open-ish Mic. I like this aspect of the show, but I'll admit, it's draining. Ultimately, though, it's worth exposing audiences to things they haven't seen, and to be made aware that there are amazing things and people in their own community. that said, it is exhausting. Right now, I'm revisiting the idea, and seeing if I want to do Number 3. maybe in March....
Much less stress was the Tale of Two Cities reading at the Sprinkler Factory, a reading of poems that emerged from a call-and-response between poets from Worcester, Mass., and Worcester, England. that was a good time, and a nice chance to connect with local poets I don't see often. Good art, too. All around, worth doing.
My next reading is East-West: Celebrating 50 Years of Beyond Baroque, at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at Howl Happening in New York City, where I'll be reading with some fantastic poets and a couple of my favorite people, including C. Bain, Eve Brandstein, Nancy Mercado, Richard Modiano, Amber Tamblyn, George Wallace and Michelle Wittaker.
Lastly, the most surprising development in my professional life lately is that I was nominated for a Boston Music Award for Music Journalist of the Year.
I'd like to play it cool, but I'm beyond honored to be nominated, and am up against some talented individuals working for such diverse news sources as WBUR, The Boston Herald, DigBoston and Vanyaland. I'll admit, my competitive side is in high-gear right now. I guess it's just that there are precious few opportunities for recognition in the niche of music journalism. Last year, I won a New England Newspaper & Press Association award for Best Arts & Entertainment Reporting, and it was far more validating than I'm comfortable admitting. I've been in this business long enough to know not to put too much importance on awards, but sometimes, especially at a daily newspaper, you can feel a little out off in the fringes, you feel a bit like a luxury, like you're disposable. This is nothing anything anyone has ever expressed or implied — I work with amazing people — but it's nice to have signs that what I do is appreciated, and has value. Really, it means more than I know how to express.
If you're interested, you can vote here:
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Created by VictorInfanteWorcester