LivingArts: I FEEL YOU


I feel you. 

That’s not what you think it means!

I have a heightened sense of how people feel and I anticipate how they are GOING to feel.  It’s a problem, because I sometimes get caught up in the anticipation of how someone is going to react and start talking about it.

It comes across as if I am narrating our interaction.  For example, right now you are thinking:

“Geez…what is this guy talking about?....hmmm…I wonder if somebody else liked the cute picture I just posted…”

Am I right?  I’m probably right.        

You may not know this, but Hamilton’s JUNOfest producers are the first in history to include Classical music in the general festivities leading up to the big show.   Traditionally, the Classical crowd looks after themselves, which is fitting because their crowd doesn’t usually like to ‘mingle’ with the unwashed of the rock/hip-hop/every-other-kind-of-music crowd.

Or so I believed until Friday night.

Working with the JUNOfest producers, I organized a Classical vs. Indie crossover event that brought together artists from varying backgrounds and encouraged them to cross-pollenate.  The results: a packed house with an eclectic mix of folks of all ages and backgrounds, reflecting the eclectic mix of music presented on stage.

The response was 100% positive – which was surprising.  I mean, there were people in their 80s there and people who were born in the 80s.

It’s funny – when the JUNOfest producers and I first pitched the event, there was a general feeling of who is going to come to this concert?   Well, about 175 people came to the concert and they loved it.  Now I’m looking for an opportunity to do it again.

I guess it just goes to show that it’s hard to tell what will work until you try it.  

That’s true not just as promoter, but as an artist as well.  For me, the audience is always a part of the creative process and, at times, I get caught up anticipating what they will like or dislike.  In the end, it never works and I end up frustrated and disappointed with the results.  You don’t know how people are going to react until you try it on them. 

 That sounds like the kind of message that GI Joe would tag on the end of an episode:

[Kid practicing the violin alone in his room with a pouty expression, looking outside at other kids having a great time playing kickball.  GI Joe character enters the room:]

GI Joe character: “Hey Billy – why the pouty face?”

Billy: “I don’t fit in – those kids are playing kickball and I play the violin.  I wish I could be friends with them, but they won’t like me because I’m a nerdy violin kid.”

GI Joe character: “Why don’t you practice your violin down on the street and watch them play kickball?  Maybe they’ll like it?”

[Billy runs down to the street and plays violin next to the kickball game]

Kick-ball kids: “Wow – Billy is so good at the violin!  That’s so cool!”

Billy: “Thanks GI Joe – I didn’t realize that they would like it so much!”

GI Joe: “Well now you know – and knowing is half the battle!”

You have got to give the kickball kids some credit.   Maybe they’ll think playing the violin is cool.   

[Next month: Steve finds a way to compare Dundurn Castle to Castle Greyskull]