Thursday, February 13, 2003

Call me cynical - you wouldn't be the first! - but I've got some issues with this Lincoln Center Anti-War reading next Monday. And no, it's got nothing to do with it being ON a Monday. I've encouraged people to check it out and even sent it out to our mailing list. It was actually a response to that mailing from a friend in Seattle that got me thinking, though.

The CONCEPT is wonderful. A bunch of poets covering the spectrum from establishment to street coming together to speak out against the war is a good thing. A VERY good thing. But what's with the $10-100 ticket charge? I've looked around the Not in Our Name and Lincoln Center web sites and read through the promotional emails I've been sent and there's no mention of this being a fundraiser. Who's this money going to?

My wife - former event planner that she is - says Lincoln Center is an expensive place to hold an event. I don't doubt it and that's what confuses me even more. It makes no sense to me that you'd hold an event like THIS somewhere that isn't donating the space, much less an expensive one. Who are they trying to reach out to? Why isn't this a free event held somewhere that could ensure maximum exposure? Even @ $10/ticket, it's a POETRY show, and all you're doing is preaching to the choir if that's your audience.

Don't accuse me of pulling a post-9/11 O'Reilly on a good cause, either. Seriously. If it's a fundraiser, it should say that SOMEWHERE. If it's not, then it's nothing more than capitalistic opportunism. If the poets themselves are being paid for reading at this thing, shame on them. There's several names on the lineup that I know personally, some of whom I respect greatly. There's at least one whose politics have proven rather convenient over the years, aka if there's cameras, he'll be there.

On a related note, I stopped by the Bowery Poetry Club yesterday afternoon - after my interview, all suited up! - hoping to catch a little of the all-day anti-war open mic they were holding and was disappointed to find it empty when I got there @ 2pm. When I left a little after 4pm, a handful of other people had wandered in hoping to catch something going on, including a photographer that I think was there to shoot the event but with no luck. Somewhere around 3pm, Bang-Holman took the stage to begin rehearsals for their show later that night and that was that. Hopefully it picked up in the evening.

Had an interesting talk with Taylor Mali about anti-war poems and whether or not EVERYONE needed to write one. My thinking is you can be against the war, even speak out strongly against it, without feeling the need to write a poem. Sometimes poets take the easy way out and think that just writing something equals action. Without the motion behind the emotion, it's just words to me.

Anyway, I'm just venting a little bit here. Hopefully the event is a huge success and gets lots of press coverage and people wake up to the insanity of this war that's almost guaranteed to kick off in the next week or two. I'll be at 13 as usual, making sure the people that can't afford $10-100 have a place to gather and share their feelings about the war and everything else.

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