The following letters are in response to Elsa Hahne’s feature “Here’s looking at you, Dick,” in the October issue.
I ache for my girlfriends and the awful things that happened to them.
I have known Beth [Patterson] since she was 17, and I never realized she was dealing with such creeps. No one has ever offered me such insults.
The things that have happened to me have been funny or heart breaking, but never physical.
The funniest was years ago playing at the “Yellow Door” in Montreal. As David and I came off the stage this guy came up to us and said, “You guys are pretty good, but you should play in different keys.”
David started to tell him that we had done practically every song in a different key, but I interrupted him and said, “Okay, thanks, we’ll try that next set!”
He smiled and went back to his seat. David looked at me in puzzlement and said, “We did practically every song in a different key.”
I grinned and said, “Yeah, but we’re going to do every song in the next set in the key of E!”
David grinned back and we did just that.
After the show, the guy came up and said, “See what I mean. That was much better.”
David and I just smiled our thanks.
The heartbreaker was a gig in Detroit. We had the top half of the page of the Free Press, with a great picture of us and a well written story.
Opening night we filled every seat. We were excited and performing at the top of our game. Then I did “Summertime” and the entire club was quiet, except for one table where one guy was chattering loudly with a friend.
We got wonderful applause, but the guys at that table started talking loudly again just as we started the next song. David stopped the music and politely asked him to lower his voice and he apologized and was quiet, but left before the set was over.
When we finished the set the owner told us we were fired!
It seems the noisy guy owned a factory in the next block and he and his employees came in every day and spent more money daily than our audience had spent that evening.
But it was nowhere near as demeaning as sexual abuse and I’m sorry my friends did not at least give such mistreatment a verbal lesson in manners loudly enough. A scream, and a jump and shout, “How dare you!”
If one allows oneself to be victimized, it continues!
Racial victimizing is what our football players are protesting. I’m a vet and I think kneeling is beautiful! You kneel to pray! Kneel to the Queen! Kneeling is what men in armor did to become knights!
I think it is racist to consider such a gentle response to the continuing murder of black men, women and children anything but wonderful.
—Roselyn Lionhart (David and Roselyn), New Orleans, Louisiana
This is an article I’ve been waiting to see for a long time. I hope it gets republished at the influx of every busy season. As I step out to step it up [Sarah McCoy just moved to Paris, France], I’m glad to see a little light shed on a very widely discussed topic. I’ve had days where every single one of these things happened to me during just one show.
Here’s a little outline, and I’ve added a few points of my own:
1. Musicians are not dogs—don’t pet us. (I bite.)
2. We are not jukeboxes.
3. Your bachelor/bachelorette party is NOT what people came to listen to.
4. YES, sexual harassment is still sexual harassment even if you like the band.
5. Unless you’ve been touched by the hand of God and you now have the gift, do NOT bring your own tambourine to play along with.
6. You don’t get to pretend to be the new singer of a band because you’re trashed and have lost all manners. Go do karaoke.
7. NEVER. EVER. EVER. NEEEEEVER TOUCH OUR EQUIPMENT. Just go ahead and cut off your hands first.
8. Sitting right up next to a musician or band and talking about menial BS at the top of your lungs, or rewatching your crappy iPhone recordings of the last song at top volume is unacceptable, and unbelievable, and people do it all the time.
Spread the word, because the struggle is real y’all.
—Sarah McCoy, Paris, France
Mayor, Mayor, Mayor
The following letters are in response to Jan Ramsey’s blog post, “Mayor, Mayor, Mayor. What To Do?” about the Mayoral Forum at the Carver Theater in September.
Politics is such a long game. Perhaps one strategy is to recruit and run a single-issue candidate for mayor solely focused on articulating a vision for New Orleans as a music city. She/he may not win, but would likely generate a lot of noise and support among like-minded members of the community. As someone from “another place,” I have seen this strategy be successful in starting a conversation, and forcing other, “better-funded and thus likely to win” candidates to at least react and address the issues articulated by the music-focused candidate. It has the additional benefit of educating some necessary allies among the citizenry who are likely focused on pocketbook and infrastructure issues. If successful, some items gain a context for presentation / packaging for consideration by whichever administration is in power.
—Rich Grogan, West Chesterfield, New Hampshire
I recommend that the new mayor appoint you [Jan Ramsey] as his Music Ambassador. Your job would be to visit other music cities to see what they have done regarding issues you brought up, as well as consider what is needed by locals. After the findings you would present an 8–10 year proposal that would become an 8–10 year plan. Who would be better than you. IF not you, who?
—John Ariatti, Hendersonville, North Carolina
The following letter is in response to Brett Milano’s review of Charlie Halloran’s recording direct to 78-rpm acetate for “Cé Biguine!” complaining that to his ears it completely undercuts the joy in the music.—ED
My take is the opposite: that Charlie Halloran is conjuring up a particular time and place. According to the Yale University Library, 78s were recorded into the “late 1950s.”
—Paul Goode, Richmond, Virginia
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