Archive for December 15th, 2010

And Kick, and Kick…….

Dec. 15th 2010

And turn…..

And twist….

And KICK……

And KICK…………

No. I am not dancing to a 1960s Chubby Checker record. I am thinking of a protest.

Say what?

As one who spent many childhood years in New York City, Christmas in New York is magical. Ah…the Christmas  tree lit up at Rockefeller Plaza!  The department store windows decorated—each store trying to out-do the other. The the smell of chestnuts  roasting (burning)  from vendor’s carts (cough, cough….my asthma is now in overdrive). And then there are the  Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh…………..

The lights! The LIVE music…..being able to plunk one’s tired ass into a comfortable seat at Radio City Music Hall after an entire morning of being dragged up and down 5th Avenue shopping.

The Rockettes are a New York tradition. One expects to see the Rockettes in New York the way one expects to find Cable Cars in San Francisco— or Red Double Decker buses in London.

Hold the phone. The Rockettes Christmas show is now syndicated .  They have taken their show on the road. They have shuffled off to Buffalo. 

You can see the Rockettes in Boston. You can the Rockettes in Providence, Rhode Island. You can see the Rockettes at Revere Beach………….Well, not really—Am I clear?  The Rockettes are everywhere.

It is like walking down Polk Street, during the annual “Dress as Santa Saturday,” and there are 7,985 people dressed as Santa, bar hopping, or just roaming the city having fun. However, explain who is the REAL Santa is to your six-year old…………..

“Daddy is THAT the real Santa?”

He is pointing.  

“You see, the one over there, taking a long drag on a cigarette, and holding the light post for stability?”

Cigarette.  Drag.  Stability. Not bad for a verbal first-grader. It must be the books I read to him at night.

  Yes…..(name withheld) this IS Santa! Isn’t he…….ah…….um…….uh…..charming?????? I mean sober? I mean, I do not know what I mean.”

 Oh, my. How do I explain this one?

Back to the Rockettes hitting the road. Isn’t  this watering down a true New York tradition? Diffusing the Rockettes? I am seeing the Rockettes multiply, live, like active cell growth under a microscope. Now how many troupes of Rockettes are there on the road?

And to add insult to insult………….for their road shows, they use—get this—TAPED music. Do I hear a collective GASP?

Oh, no………………the Rockettes traveling Christmas Extravaganza is NOT hiring UNION musicians. Another collective GASP…….followed by an, “Oh,no! Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

So here I am. On my soapbox, asking you to join musicians who are protesting outside traveling Rockettes roadshows.


Was that an over-ripe tomato thown at me? It would not be the first time!

 I anger some people some of the time…..but you cannot have musicians whose “bread and butter time” is the holiday season out of work. Now is their time to blow that horn, make that violin sing, and tinkle their piano keys………and get paid a decent wage for years of artistic training. 

So if you are inclined to see the traveling road show —-with taped music—–I am not stopping you—–however you may have to CLIMB OVER ME to enter the theater.

And lift, and kick, and lift and kick…………………oh…..that is just  me getting hauled into a Paddy Wagon.

I am  protesting for musicians. I am protesting for the arts. I am protesting for tradtion. Possibly—- economic justice? It it too much to ask for artists to be paid a  decent wage for their artistry?

And twist. And turn. Now do what?????????????? Work with me people.

Brendan Ben Feeney

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