Friday, July 2, 2004

louder than words: reloaded differed from the Matrix sequel I jokingly subtitled it after in two significant ways:

1) It didn't completely and unnecessarily alter its tone from its original incarnation;

2) The turnout was much lower.

In fact, the paid turnout was exactly the same as the last show back in May: 21. One difference was that it didn't adversely affect my mood as I wasn't adding up how much money was coming out of my pocket this time, thanks to a renegotiated deal for the door to something more appropriate for a Tuesday night slot.

Another was that there was no disappointment over the lack of support for Eric to deal with, who was performing in NYC for the last time before heading west. It wasn't like the Borg were doing anything special for him the following Monday! Or the previous.

The most significant difference, though, was the energy in the room. The most and best audience participation of any of the shows so far, helped greatly by Taylor Mali playing 5th man from the floor. Bassey was on point, frequently going toe-to-toe with Taylor who seemed to be gunning for her for reasons still unclear. Her's was a textbook lesson in speaking one's mind intelligently and spontaneously, without equivocation. Answer the question first, then clarify further, if necessary. Imagine that for a concept!

She and I flowed well together, too, I think.

Rich and Dawn were solid, if frequently drowned out by the audience input. Not a bad thing, necessarily, and the moments they were able to speak up were good ones. The only glitch came at the end, with Dawn defending Taylor against a perceived slight, and delivering the winning line of the night: "Does that mean just because you go to strip clubs, that you understand the plight of women?" It was random and out of left field and afterwards I teased her about it. Being Taylor's girlfriend and being a part of the same scene where he is equally loved and hated has to be tough. He takes some cheap shots sometimes and I can understand her feeling punchy about it.

The audience, though, was really the star of the show, from Taylor and Eliel to Steve and Dyanna, to Abena and Oscar and the others who spoke up, it was as close to what I've envisioned for the show yet and certainly recharged my batteries.

Except for the turnout.

And that's a big deal. When I booked the first two shows on Saturdays, guaranteeing a minimum at the door, I said if I couldn't get 36 paid audience members in the house, I shouldn't do the show. We've gone from 60-something to 40-something to 21 to 21. That's enough to get a show canceled on UPN!

So for those looking for an answer about whether I'll do another one, the answer is...I don't know. It's more Bob's call than my own. And beyond that, it's up to the audience.

It's one thing to say an idea is a good one, but it's another thing to actually turn those words into action and actually support it. And this isn't really directed at the regular readers of this journal as the majority of you, those in the local area, have come out and supported the show.

So I don't know the answer, to be honest. Here's a suggestion, though: if you like the show and want to see it happen again, email Bob at the Bowery Poetry Club and let him know.

Like they say on MTV, choose or lose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to begin a supportive post with a cheap plug. I'm sorry to say that I haven't been to one show because I work 3 jobs and I just started a business and I am producing 2 projects with my own sweaty labor. I took a break from the summer festivities at the Bowery because I've witnessed first hand how difficult it is to get people to come see a show indoors during the Summer months. Unless you already have legs and a strong following it's difficult to sustain. That's why I tried to give you as much email love as possible. I admire your passion and I don't think you should throw in the towel yet. If you believe what you're doing(and I know you do) then I think you should find a way to make it work. Guy you might have to freestyle a little more but you couldn't possibly be worse than me :). Reload and continue. I know you can do it. Peace and Blessings, Shawn Randall