I had a look at my blog because I had thought of something cute and pithy to write about the other day when it occurred to me that I had, in fact, not penned a blog since June 7th. That was a long time ago. While I wish I was able to do the up-keep a little bit better, I know in my heart of hearts that sometimes I get so damn busy living life: making ridiculous costumes, going to rehearsals and practices, hanging by my hair, playing with decks of cards, and finally partying to blow off steam from all of the aforementioned… the documentation slips through the cracks*. Such is life. However since the weather is NOT playing ball and my plans to go to the beach and do my best impression of a sunning pinniped** is thwarted, I’ll stay in, write and glare at the sky from the window.
In the avalanche of all these events that have been afoot, I’ve begun to notice something kind of scary. I’ll use Sex At The Circus as my example… for one night only, we had a multi-troupe group come together as a collective under the eyes of Clown Boss (aka Callio P. Cock) which incorporated circus stunts, sideshow standards with a twist, striptease and performance art. The rehearsals had begun in January, and a shorter version was performed at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival in May. However, this was the BIG full length show last Friday. Did I mention that it was one night only? I think I did, but I can’t really stress it loudly enough. So after many dollars, hours, and not a few injuries this show made it up on the stage. While the people who came to see it were highly entertained, I couldn’t help but be saddened by the turnout. Especially since no less that twelve of my very close friends promised to show up (you know who you are) and after many apologetic texts after the fact, they missed out on a truly unique and wonderful show. This isn’t meant or intended to bawl them out, just if your carrying a baby for nine months, you expect your inner circle (and maybe your outer circle) to show up and look at it. Just sayin’. The difference being is that you can go and look at a baby any time after and it’ll still be there. Nurturing something for several months for one night’s show is painful. I can see why brides can be as insane as they are – it’s a lot of lead up to just one show.
But the sad/scary thing that it’s not just this show. I recall going to see two excellent Screaming Chicken shows (The Abra Cadaver Cabaret and the Duos Show) where the shows floored me, were totally worth the ticket price and the attendance was less than stellar. People were there, just not as many people as there should have been to see the quality of show put on. It actually breaks my heart a little bit every time I go to see an amazing show and it’s quieter than it should be. This isn’t limited to burlesque, of course. I saw the Bellrays (http://www.thebellrays.com) at the Biltmore and again, the place should have been packed and I could still windmill around and not hit anyone. So where is everyone for these one night shows?
I think the part of the problem may be, with the success of regular weekly nights, we’re hamstringing our one-offs. I’ll be the first to say I’m stoked that when people ask me, I can tell them that almost any night of the week there is a great event they can check out whether it be a DJ night, burlesque or music show, or just a really good outing. However, if there is something awesome going on every night of the week, especially a regular night, it can make it harder to draw a crowd out to the one-offs. Considering too, that for a special event, the ticket cost is higher than the cost of a weekly night. So what is an artist to do? How can we possibly continue to do sustain ourselves with weekly gigs and put on innovative performances and entice people (ourselves included) to go to both?
I think the first thing is to maybe admit that as much as we want to attend everything, we can’t go to every show out there. Due to time constraints or budgets, it’s just not going to happen. Not unless Uncle Arthur has a heart attack and leaves you a princely sum and you can maintain your expensive live entertainment habit, you may find yourself at a fiscal disadvantage. What we can do is some of the following ideas:
1) Pick one weekly show per week and maybe one or two (depending on your budget) one-offs a month to attend. Spreading the love around is a good thing.
2) Get someone else or yourself to develop a stalker’s crush on only one or two performers and just go to everything they do exclusively. There is something to be said for brand loyalty, no? Then that slims down how many other performances you need to figure out attendance too.
3) Cross promote. Know a great event that you can’t make it to but other people should? Tell them! I’ve wound up at lots of great events and shows that I’d not have considered if someone else didn’t mention it to me. Either it’s a good idea or I’m highly suggestible, but whatever, it worked.
4) Hire crackheads to steal your neighbor’s televisions. If people can’t sit at home watching reruns of the Simpsons and Family Guy they’ll perhaps force themselves to emerge out and see live entertainment. Or else Burgundy Brixx’s ‘Simpsons’ number so they can get their fix. Again, both work for me.
5) Entice someone to ask you out on a date. Suggest for the date you go to a show/event. Yay for you, you added to attendance and now your date thinks your fun because you showed them a good time. Now go for drinks after and converse about how much fun the show was.
6) Start a catfight. Call your opponent out and tell them you’ll settle their hash at such-and-such a show once and for all. People will flock to see you two throw down and in will increase the attendance. The worst case? People come for your fight and stay for the actual show, but you’ll still have to fight. Best case? Your opponent doesn’t show, you can call them a chicken shit, and all the people who came to see the fight enjoy the show with you, and no one gets a broken nose.
I offer creative solutions to this problem, but I no matter what method or technique you choose, that there is more butts in seats, feet on the dance floor, and love spread around. That being said, I’ll see you Thursday at Sweet Sip at the Keefer in Chinatown, and then Friday night at Glamour Trash for the Monsters and Mascara edition.
Little Miss Risk
*Still haven’t posted photos from VIBF yet, either. Eff.