Sunday, May 09, 2010


OK, I've been trying to justify things and pretend all day, but I can't help it, I'm bummed.

House concert last night. The gal was amazing. Classically trained since she was 5, and it showed in her skill and fluency in making the keys express what she wanted to say.

7 people showed up. (Plus 3 little kids, who were adorable and very well behaved, but didn't add to the donation jar. Not that I expected them or their parents to do so at all! Just explaining why I don't really include them in the total.) My brother and I made 9 adults.

She made $56 from donations, I dropped a $5 in at the end. I think she sold 5 CDs at $10 each. So $111.

It was a weekend. There was a ton of other stuff going on. I purposefully left the time at the earlier show time that I usually do on weeknights so that people would have a chance to go out to more than one thing. You know, dinner (which you have to do anyway), music, then head out to the bar and the later starting shows.

I bought groceries and made a whole bunch of soup. Since not too many people showed up, there's a whole lot left, and we'll eat it, so that won't go to waste. Still, I probably wouldn't have spent that cash otherwise.

The house is clean, that's a bonus. Some of that comes from my amazing brother tossing a bunch of crap up in my office at the last minute while I was cooking, which also means I don't exactly know where a bunch of my stuff is at the moment. It looked like a mess, but there WAS an order to the piles... :P Not at ALL mad at him, I asked him to do that and it saved me, just mentioning that it's one more thing I now have to deal with.

I made a FB event. I made an Evite event. I interviewed her on my show, I blogged about that, and cross-posted to twitter & FB. I busted my butt to get the interview chopped to 30min before the weekend so I could have it rebroadcast. I clipped out her station ID and put her songs in the vault. I posted lots of videos of her on FB in the weeks leading up to the show to get people interested and familiar.

I paid $12 to put a few lines in the calendar page of the paper. I don't know how many people read that, but the editor has been good to me with show announcements in the past and I wanted to try and give a little back to her.

I made little quarter page flyers and handed them out during Art Walk and while I was cooking on Saturday, for the most part trying to actually talk to the people I handed the flyers to, telling them how great she was and how fun I thought the night would be. Maybe I need to work on my "pitch" but at least I was doing a pitch and not just handing them a piece of paper to ignore. Granted, it was short notice since it was the day before, but I was hoping it would be a good reminder to people who had already seen the invite online, and show that I really thought they in particular might like to come.

The one thing I didn't do that I could have was put up posters around town, but I am never sure how much good that does, ESPECIALLY for a house concert. I mean, I'm actually a believer in the poster because it creates a repeat impression on someone if they see it all over town. But I've put up posters the past few times I've had a house show and only ONCE have I gotten a call off the poster, and that person didn't end up coming anyway.

The other thing I didn't do that I just can't afford right now is take out a poster page ad, but I really can't justify that. Costs about as much as she made before I dropped in the $5! And again, not sure how much of a difference it would have made.

Several of my regular people who almost always come to everything (and a couple of them who said that they WERE going to come) didn't show up.

So yeah, I don't know.

She got free dinner, free brunch, free place to sleep. She went and picked up a bottle of wine for about $10. It's probably going to be anywhere from $25-45 for her to get to her next stop.

Averaging it out, the donations came out to about $8 per person. Sorta close to what a lot of concerts end up being around here. $8-10... The suggested donation here was $10-15, but it's completely by the honor system, a bowl by the door, so there's not supposed to be any guilt about it. And I get it. Times are tough. Part of why I DO these concerts and help taking tickets out at other shows and such is just because of that! And when you consider also that then a bunch of people bought $10 or $20 worth of CDs from her, each person or family actually did average out to more like $15 each person. $30 for a family. Plus bringing food! So yeah, I get it. Which is why I wish more people had showed up. Even if they all just gave $5 each, 15 people would have been $75, more than she got from the 7 people there.

Geesh. I really could just spin myself dizzy-sick over this. Not last night in particular, but the whole thing in general. And I'm really feeling like I'm squirming around in the nuts and bolts when I should be looking at it on a bigger level of the picture. Like, I would really like to take a poll about why people do/don't come to the shows. What keeps them from coming? Because I took her out to check out a couple of the other local venues after her show, and everyone we ran into was like "oh hey, how was the show?" So they knew about it, remembered at least after the fact... And yet didn't come.

Do they not understand what a house concert is? Do they not like the music? Are they intimidated by the suggested donation? By not being able to bring food to the potluck? I just don't get it... I mean, what should be happening is that I should be having RSPVs zooming in the second I post the invitations, and people should be happy to pay $20 to ensure they get one of the limited seats available. That's how I'd love it to be. But I suppose if there was that much demand it would be time to move to a bigger venue, or something... see? head spinning... eff.

It's not really my job to take care of her. It's hers. She made the choice to live the life. But by taking on the concert, I feel like I AM making an unspoken/semi-spoken deal that I'm going to do everything I can to make a good show happen. I don't really know what's considered a good show. She said she was happy she did it. When she first met me, she shook my hand. When she left she gave me a hug. The people who came paid attention and said they liked the songs and told her how amazing she was, and that they'd help promote if she ever came back. (my defensive hackles rose up at that remark, as if I hadn't been promoting it!!!)

By contrast, she could have been playing in a smoky bar under the TV for 3 hours for tips, gotten some greasy food from the grill and had to sleep in her car. So I guess it could have been much worse.

Maybe I'm so upset because it's seeing the reality of the life that I think and say I want. On the one hand, you could say if she played for 1.25 hrs, she made like $48 per hour, plus merch sales. But the thing is, the job is not just the playing. It's the driving and the setting up and the schmoozing with the audience and all that. Plus writing and rehearsing and booking. So lets say even that she worked for 8 hours of the day, that comes out to $7.50 per hour, plus merch sales. That is getting into working a cafe job wages per hour, plus tips if you're lucky. But at least she's making music, right? huh. And seriously, it has to be less than that because you have to pay to make the records, and there are probably lots and lots and lots of days you work more than 8 hours. But for the sake of this little post, let's just leave it at $7.5o per hour plus merch.

So like, if I'm going to even out to making minimum wage either way, which would I rather do? Is that the question?


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