Saturday, February 23, 2008

Freedom Of Art In Tacoma

A couple different diatribes have come up recently in the Tacoma blogland, and they've got me thinking a bit (as I am wont to do, from time to time).

The first is a Matt Driscoll interview with Girl Trouble's Bon Von Wheelie over at Spew. The main focus of the interview is on the world of pay-to-play, and the battle against it. This is something I know a bit about. This Shirt Is Pants played a few shows for Big Time Entertainment, one at Studio 7 and three at Hell's Kitchen. We, I think, had an advantage over some bands, in that we knew exactly what we were in for. A couple of the guys had worked with them before, and so we were under no illusions. But we were also one of the older bands on the bills (in our early 20s)... I saw a lot of junior high and high school kids desperate for a chance to play on a stage. It's likely that they ended up there the same way we did: we could get a show at a decent club with no resume, no demo. That's the attraction, even if the end result is an empty pocket and a sour taste.

Honestly, in those shows, the worst part was not Big Time themselves. The worst part was the treatment from venue staff, particularly at Hell's Kitchen. The sound techs were well aware what kind of show they were doing, and it showed. They clearly didn't give even the slightest crap about the quality of the show. The lease was paid, and it was their job to watch and make sure nothing exploded. And I really think they were missing out on a great opportunity. Yeah, there were some crap bands. But there were also some remarkably talented kids. And how many of these kids were discouraged by poor treatment from venues? This is the biggest harm that I saw come out of pay-to-play.

The second blog that caught my eye was a rant about the lack of genuine art in Tacoma from

3 comments:

propriatrix said...

dude......Yes some one with coin should step up and open a non-profit for artists without many rules at all. We were proud to display artists at rampart, with almost no rules and for a paltry 5% commission, if any, depending on our mood.... long before the latest incarnation of rampart...

ensie said...

What a great piece you've written. Excellent assessment of art in two different styles. I do think the great thing about "art" at the museums is that it changes regularly. What's up now will not necessarily be up later - they have different shows at different times. I've been unimpressed by some art, and incredibly moved by others.

I do love the idea of having additional non-profit art venues in town. I think Tacoma is incredibly lucky to have so many people who support local art, as well as being home to the large museums. We draw a number of different crowds for those reasons and it provides a broad spectrum of art appreciation. Obviously, some people's tastes are going to swing heavily one direction or another, which is why we have the option for either.

Voronoff the GhostCritic said...

I dig where you are comin from, glad to know someone has read what I wrote. The dialogue about the mediocre state of tacoma's 'art scene' needs to be raised to a higher level and maybe no one else is gonna do it publicly but you and me. We just have to keep rattling the cage and making more art and music for the people. I know plenty of folks who like their quiet secret scene but that is not my style, I am goin for the jugular. Cheers-keep it up!