Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Bumpy Path Of Entertainment/ Makin' It


HI THERE!!!!!!

I feel like writing, tonnes on my mind of late. What do you think, scant readers, should I ruin the art-flow of this blog with writing or can the two co-exist side-by-side without confusing prospective new-comers and money-handlers?

Since this blog bears my name, I must tell you that in my life's pathways sometimes I get the frustrating question of "What's your focus?" I'm not trying to confuse or confound. I am trying to deliver pure creative energy, self-expression, a way to let the demons out, with some form of intent, to communicate, perhaps provoke with emotion as well. I write, I make art, I perform, I sing, on and on and on. And through all of that I genuinely hope that something is communicated. I do my best to fully deliver on these goods. I am my own toughest critic and I try to make my works unique and to the best of my ability: I am seriously focused on that. I hope that with whatever opportunity that may come my way (or me to it since I am hustling a mad mother) that will be known but maybe they are confused and unsure. Hmm. What do you think? I am ready, willing, and able with lots to offer and I am perpetually honing, learning, and growing.

At this moment, things seem tentative, nothing is quite locked into place. Some people hype DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture as a place of complete freedom and that can be true. Still, even while shackled to that phrase and free, I do my best to entertain and to make sure that what is produced is of high standards within an extremely limited budget and access to audience (Tho I can safely say that one of my backer-less acts reached far more people than some major label acts ever did).
And having no backers (except my audience) means things can sometimes feel like a free-fall. At this point if I can even just get at least one thing terra firma, it will make the rest easier. I am out there hustling constantly. Not just for a career but for a crummy day job to help me get by and provide stability while I try to continue doing what I am hopefully talented at. When I dropped off my application at Starbucks I saw Neko Case's CD sitting for sale by the counter and wondered, "Maybe Neko can write me a reference letter." It's weird! And humbling. I didn't want to work at the one across from Much Music as it'd be too much of a rock dream crumble, I tried to express that to the young job interviewer at that location and tell her that I've been interviewed on that TV station-not for a job, but as an entertainer to be aired across the nation- and have friends there but she didn't quite get it, I told her that I'd work at any Starbucks location but that one. "We're really nice so are the people from Much, they come in all the time." I know you all are but it's me, it's me. Maybe I'm not humble enough. As an entertainer I have a rather large and fragile ego but I'm learning. Since this was my second Starbucks interview and she was asking alot of the same questions as the interview before, to switch things up a bit she scrambled and asked me my two favourite movies. I quickly responded, "Eyes Without a Face and Night Of the Hunter." I laugh now. That may have been the wrong answer, maybe I'll try Dollarama again. I hope one of those acting agents takes me on, I dropped off packages to eight places on Monday, my demo reel looks good and I did star in a feature that is now out on DVD ("Male Fantasy", it'd be nice if they actually sent me a copy, see image) and that Manson Family movie I came out here to act in a few months back sure helped me with rent- real grateful for those opportunities! I'm not even sure where my writing can fit (and you may notice that alot of places don't even pay content providers, I'm talking blogs with a lot of corporate backing, I had one ask me to do something gratis and I declined saying that I had paying commitments-these assholes want to shaft writers when the people who provide the content are the engine that keeps them running, if someone wants your material for free remember to consider the source- I'm sure that they certainly don't accept advertising for free) I am told that in a new city it takes time. Man, I need to learn patience. I am a product of the neurotic western culture that I live in, I need little to live on but it is still so much more than most of the world: what passes for poor here is wealth elsewhere. Some folks have trouble getting their craft to any audience at all. Some folks have trouble finding food to eat. I recently saw a show of people with autism and Down Syndrome playing music with some Toronto musicians. it was like Jandek at times but in a well lit Community Centre environment. I don't need to elaborate that much on why this show was so important but I will say that I saw total support. To judge it on its' merits as a pure show, it was better than most of the tepid music shows out there and it had a strong unpredictable streak. And, yes, the environment was pleasantly joyous.

Forgive me, my girlfriend is out of town and I miss her, thankfully she's back in less than a week.

I started a band. It is my post-giving up band, my post-trying to make it band. Who am i kidding? Even if on the all-elusive label, there'd be no dough but I did want access to a wider audience, to continue creating without having to deal with the business end. Anyways, the urge to continue with song craft and energy and the live setting was too much! And I would like to tour and record (even tho I now have two good albums that remain unreleased due to zero interest and lack of cash). I miss it. So I started making music again with my first four-piece rock band WET DIRT. I still want to work hard on the writing and the art, that is verrrrry important.
The last couple of weeks have been filled with humbling rejection (that can plummet into self-pity which gets one NOWHERE)! I moved to a new city that, while still under the bland glass ceiling of Canada, is said by all to have plenty more opportunities than where I was tho it takes a while to get set up and there's that wacky recession thing as well that's causing all that swine flu (people get bummed by lack of employment and that makes them more vulnerable and open to disease).
I knew going in that I am in a city that has very little interesting to offer musically due to it being a music industry town- when music is so close to industry it can really taint it towards blandness and, thus, entertainment can be lost. But I saw two travelling shows that got me and many others out of a funk and entertained us supremely. Quintron and Miss Pussycat from New Orleans did a puppet and organ dance party show that felt so good, so right- they have braved floods (and their fans have raised funds after they lost so much), theft (someone broke into their van and stole their laptop during the show, Quintron speculates it was probably while he was right at the energetic crest of the set), their van being towed (the first two times they played Vancouver: 1995 and 2006) and evil border guards that make them wait for hours with nasty questions (there is a Canadian TV show called The Border that is supposed to be an unbiased look at the border but they never present how these guards treat touring music acts like drug dealers...no, that would be too realistic for their unbiased show, nor would they mention how the real order censors what films and literature and art makes its' way into Canada: free country, my ass) to bring us this joy. Chain and the Gang, from all over the U.S., played us feel good raw rock and roll with consistently great songs that had heady political overtones, Ian Svevonius is such a charismatic performer and he has something to say. And it reminded me that there really is so little quality entertainment out there and if one can actually convey something as well, man, that's so important (under the all un-important umbrella of rock). People need to be entertained. And I need to challenge myself further creatively, I cannot create trifles trifles light as air!

But sometimes, even with some amazing support from some really wonderful friends, I feel like I have no flashlight to guide me on the best way to go.

So what's your focus?

And how's my driving?

9 comments:

the iron chic said...

Did you actually watch an episode of "The Border?" geez.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Ha ha, bless you, iron chic, bless you! And, thankfully, I have not though I am up for employment if they need me (scruples low). I have seen Night of the Hunter and Eyes Without A Face tho and will not hesitate to tell any potential minimum wage employer about it!
I recently bumped into an acquaintance who moved here to be on The Border's writing team so it was at the forefront of my mind. This fella knows a lot of touring musicians so I asked him if The Border covers the horrible hassles that bands get....I guess showing how nasty the border guards really are would ruin their show's so-called unbiased approach.

mave said...

Man, I feel you on not wanting to work across the street from MuchMusic. I have similar issues. For example, I turned down working for a company that would have had me cleaning the house of a former employer from one of my high-paying ad agency jobs. Senior Art Director to Housekeeper is too much of a demotion for me to handle, thanks. There's only so much soul-crushing a person can take in one life.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Yes, it actually makes me wonder how much it is actually tied into ego but more into some sort of self-respect and personal dignity. For me, as much as I been trying to get disentangled from my ego, I have also had to work hard to get my self-respect as well: few jobs are beneath me. Which reminds me, I have to go track down my dishwashing pay from some jerk cook.

Julian said...

Count your blessings that you haven't ended up like the fellow in Stevie Wonder's "Living in the City" :)

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

What was his focus?

justin said...

rob, you ever heard the edith boxill record on smitsonian folkways, usic therapy with the developmentally handicapped. It's so fucking great.
I look forward to your visit to mtl... you should consider living here, man this place was made for you.
"je m'appel rock"... seriously though, it's been really great for 90% of the folks I know that have moved out here. and you're used to the crappy day jobs that anglos get.

Can't wait to hear the new project.

J.

My focus is finding the right balance between light and heat in my living situation to keep my dog happy.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Hiya Justin!
I want to hear that Smithsonian record- never heard of it!
Montreal is really great but I am hoping to make some career inroads in terms of writing and acting....
Can't wait to play with ya on May 15th! MONTREAL!

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Good focus by the way...