"if the system were working, what you'd be seeing on the screen right now would be..."
price is one of those things that can go either way, (they charge so much for prada because if they didn't, the demographic they're shooting for wouldn't buy it), and here in lowell it can be a fascinating study. last night, for example, during the inaugural show for dick doherty's little traveling comedy circus, at the old court they were asking folks to pony up $20 for the privilege of attendance. ($15 if you had dinner before the show). now i'm not saying $15 or $20 are unreasonable numbers all by themselves. as a matter of fact, i'm going to happily pay $15 to see amy speace tonight at johnny d's in somerville, and i, for one, could not be happier for that privilege. but let me put this in context:
night before last five artists of amazing talent put on multiple hours of soul-stirring experience for anyone with the inclination to simply show up. for free. the proprietors of ole, which would be an estimable restaurant for even just that, but far more so for the stories of the tapas and sangria, (i just had beer, but you know me), indulged their patrons with something that would be otherwise insulted by $15 or $20. (the prada principle, perhaps). to have been part of it was to have been a part of something wonderful--that art is to be shared, and that great art is to be shared most of all. i think, walking up to the old court, had they told me it was $5, i would have tossed them the cash without a moment's hesitation. i further thing, walking up to the old court, had they told me it was $10, i would have thought about it for a sec, and then, probably, tossed them the cash after that moment's hesitation.
but what did these comedy clowns feel they could do?
don't get me wrong, i hope they packed the room and it was a smashing success. more the merrier here in shangri-lowell, absolutely. but i can't tell you about it here in this space, because at the door i had a moment, but not a moment of "ok", but a momen of "whuh???", and made a quick decision that $60 was far better invested going to a dozen jen kearney shows ($5 per harpoon ipa) than lost to the possibility that one of those guys was going to make me laugh. (as the rest of the members of my party observed, they're funnier, anyway, and they're not lying). it's a fascinating thing to me, and it's all about whether the objective is an audience, or a payday. personally, though i never begrudge an artist their just payday, i'm far more likely to patronize those for whom sharing their art is the point. that's the art, after all, worth sharing in the first place. i've probably been part of the dropping of thousands (literally) on jen kearney shows, and i couldn't be happier for having been part of that. the set list from their zep set at the old court a few weeks back is going up on my wall, if that gives you any indication. and, tonight, at johnny d's, i'll exercise my own personal microeconomic payday engine once again and reward someone who is earning that privilege the honest way, and who deserves it more than words can describe. (really---you need to go see amy speace).
until then, dick, best of luck with your shows. but i think you may have lowell figured all wrong.