Artists and Money

June 29, 2009 by  

It Is Okay for Artists to Make Money…No, Really, It’s Okay
From a Harvard Business School ‘Working Paper’ published June 3, 2009 by Robert D. Austin and Lee Devin:

When art and commerce are mentioned in the same sentence, many people become bad-tempered or think something needs fixing. This paper argues that more artists ought to make more money more often. Harvard Business School professor Robert Austin and theater dramaturg Lee Devin identify and undermine three fallacies about art and commerce, and suggest that it is necessary to carry on a more careful and less emotional conversation about the tensions between art and business and to overcome a general aversion to business common among artists and their patrons. They also stress the need to develop better theories about how art and commerce can achieve integration helpful to both. Key concepts include:

  • The interests of art, artists, and business can be best served if more commerce enters into the world of art, not less.
  • There are three fallacies, often implicit, about relationships between art and commerce: (1) art is a luxury and an indulgence, (2) art is clearly distinguishable from “non-art,” and (3) commerce dominates and corrupts art, and subverts its purpose.
  • Good art should achieve appropriate commercial value consistently, not just occasionally. A conversation takes place when art and commerce are in tension, a conversation in which neither artists nor managers should dominate.

Pay My Rent
Alan M. Berks, writing on the blog Minnesota Playlist, June 28, 2009
Would you feel comfortable with a part-time dentist? Someone who’s got some talent filling cavities and performing root canals but who only squeezes them in at night, after she comes home from the full-time job she does all day, typing at a desk, let’s say, to pay the bills? Or, do you think, the work is going to be a helluva lot better if your dentist could concentrate on the job full-time, all year round? What about your plumber, lawyer, electrician, and accountant? Why then do we accept a system where performing artists have almost no expectation of making a real career in their chosen profession?… I don’t believe that everyone who wants to do theater deserves a living wage. For most people, theater is always going to seem like more fun than dentistry, so more people will want to do it. I think that a market that squeezes young performing artists a little so that they have to choose whether they’re really committed to it is probably appropriate. But anyone who doesn’t think that theater is already a ruthlessly competitive market has no idea what an audition is.

Summer Reading and Such

July 8, 2007 by  

If you have not noticed in the right column I have added buttons for books, music, and movies. This summer, more than others, I have been more conscious in doing as much of these three as possible.

In the area of reading I was introduced to a great website called At the website you can rate books you read, add books you plan to read, and add friends to see what they are reading. I already have a pretty good list going. My goal is to read a number of plays as well as books. With an hour plus commute into the city three times a week, this give me a good opportunity to get some reading done.

In the area of music, has been the website that I have been using. It tracks the songs I play on itunes and then creates a radio station that fits my taste. This is great because at work I can play and it plays all the bands I love plus introducing me to artists I have not heard of, or songs I have not heard from the artists I love. We were also able to go to a David Wilcox concert this summer in north New Jersey. I was introduced to this folk singer back in college and can not get enough of him. We have been to two concerts in San Diego and was stoked to see him in the east coast. He is a must listen to. Also my friend introduced me to Lucy Kaplansky. We were able to see a free concert of hers at Madison Square Park in NYC. She is a folk artist as well. I enjoyed her music, but have not been able to listen to her too much yet. She is definitely on the list. Also over at the Burnside Writers Collective they created a great Summer Mix Tape 2007. You can download all the songs for free.

Last is movies. We use Netflix as there is a distribution plan right here in New Brunswick, which makes for them to be pretty fast in the email. I am finishing up the first season of LOST as I never saw it, yeah I know it is the best season. I have enjoyed it, but it is hard to fully be into it as I know what is going to happen. We are counting the days till February.

Back in LA

February 10, 2006 by  

We are back in LA. The auditions went well. University of Iowa and Rutgers were the two schools that seemed the most interested. Indiana University also expressed some interest. Overall, Rutgers gave me the most positive feedback, saying they wanted to fly me out to see the school.

I still have Cal State Long Beach audition tomorrow and UCLA in two weeks. More and more I am thinking about it, I think Rutgers is the place Karen and I will end up. I have always received good feedback from them. While at the interview they told me they wanted me to come last year, but I did not officially apply to the school. Last year would not have been a good year for Karen and I to leave LA for New Jersey. This year is a little different. I will not know for sure till I hear back from schools in April. We plan to go visit Rutgers the first week of April, after we return from Europe.


February 4, 2006 by  

We are officially in the windy city. We arrived at Midway Airport at 6:00pm and met up with Karen’s cousin Alan. He flew in from St. Louis to spend a couple of days with us. It is great for him to be here for numerous reasons, but mainly it gives Karen someone to hang out with while I am gone all day at auditions.

We took a cab to the Courtyard Marriott in Downtown Chicago. The picture is our room. What is great is we got that for $39 a night. A STEAL because Alan works for Marriott in St. Louis. I am not one to brag, but that is amazing. That was a nice surprise. After settling in, it was time for dinner. So we walked a couple of blocks (a huge task in 29 degree weather) to Pizza Uno. The place was packed! We ordered a medium sausage, Chicago deep dish for Alan and I and a personal cheese deep dish for Karen. Then we took our place at the bar because the pizza was going to take a hour to make, and by the looks of it, we were not going to get a table till then.

After finishing off a couple of beers our table was ready. Alan tried to worn us about how big the pizza was going to be, but words could not describe. The crust was three inches deep. It was literally a pie. So we sat at the small table, eating pizza, drinking beer and watching the snow lightly fall outside. A good first night in Chicago.

Tomorrow I have my URTA auditions as well as Wayne St., UC Irvine, Univ. of Montana and Regent University. For those who might want to know my audition pieces are Chris from All My Sons and Thersites from Trolius and Cressida.

U2 x 2

December 6, 2005 by  

Back in April when I went to the U2 concert with Greg the people in line with us said after you see U2 once you will want to go back as many times as possible. They were back in November and I wanted to be there. At first Greg and I were trying to get four GA tickets for Karen, myself, Greg and his girlfriend. He had found a site and ordered two tickets. The plan was for me to order two more. The week I was going to do that, Greg called up saying that something went wrong and he was getting his money back. I knew if I was going to get tickets it would be the weekend before at the last minute.

The week before the concert my neighbor said he might be able to score some tickets through connections at work. This would be too good to be true. That was on a Monday and I had not heard from him all week. That weekend we spent in Palm Springs and had about 3 different bids going on ebay and continuously checking craigslist. The eBay prices were out of my price range, but Sunday morning before we left I saw and older craigslist add and emailed the gal, she had one GA ticket left for Tuesday, Nov. 1st. It was not the ideal as I wanted to get two tickets to bring a friend along, and I still did not know if my neighbor had gotten tickets. I could not pass it up and told her we would be home in the evening and I would pick up the ticket. When we got home, the neighbor said he had good news, he had gotten two tickets. My only thought was “Not on Tuesday, Not on Tuesday”. He said he got two suite tickets for Wednesday. YES!!! I was able to go to both nights and see the concert from two very different locations.

I got in line at 2pm on Tuesday and quickly made friends with the people around me. The two guys behind me each came alone, one all the way from Central America. The U2 fans are pretty great. All were friendly in line and willing to chat and keep good company. None of our group made into the ellipse that evening, but we were three deep in front of the outer stage. We were in perfect position for all the events on the outer stage. The one bummer was that the first show in April Staples did not allow cameras, so I did not bring mine this time. U2 heard and said that fans could bring cameras. I was bummed as I would have had some perfect shots. While inside I was standing net to a couple who recently got engaged. It made me fill a little lonely wishing Karen was able to be there with me, especially when they played songs like “With or Without You” and “Miss Sarajevo”.

The second night was different but great. It was great to go with Mike, my neighbor. He is a great guy and always fun to be around. The suite was just behind the Edge and the lowest of the three levels. What was really nice was there was food and drinks. A very much different feel from standing a total of nine hours the night before. They closed with “Bad” the second night which was my favorite U2 song and one I wanted to hear, but 40 is a better closer (which they did in April and the night previous). Nothing can beat the ground chanting “How Long Shall We Sing This Song” as each member takes a bow to leave Larry alone beating on the drums. I was a fan before these concerts and now I am a follower. All I can say is go. Make it happen, pay the scalp price if you have to, but go.

More Photos from LA Concerts:

All the live songs from the Nov. 2nd concert::

Video From LA and Oakland:

Websites for the U2 Fan:

Bono Interview

November 6, 2005 by  

This is a must read article. I read his book that recently came out and the article felt like a continuation of the book. Bono talks about his past, thoughts on God, relationships with greats like Dylan, Springsteen, and the Rolling Stones, as well as political events.

Some of the highlights for me were that Bono had started dating his wife and started the band all in one month. That is a good month. He said some great things about God. My favorite was that he is interested in songs about people running to God or running away from God. God is always in the center. The man has a way with words. The coolest thing is that the 10 hour interview was recorded and is being put up online in increments as a podcast. Click here and you can read part of the article and download two segments of the interview.

The Artist Never Arrives

October 3, 2005 by  

I just finished watching the second part the Martin Scorsese’s documentary “No Direction Home” on Bob Dylan. Today was one of those days for me as an actor. I got a call on Thursday for an audition today for a lead role in a feature film. I was stoked and wanted to prepare. So I schedule a private session for Friday. The session went great and I left with some clear ideas and direction. I spent the weekend memorizing my lines. The audition comes and goes and I did not nail it. This is not one where I did good and just not sure if they will call me back. I outright did not nail it. I was bummed the whole day. I had invested a good amount of time and I did not execute.

Then as I watch the movie Dylan says that an artist must never think that he has arrived. He must always be changing, growing, and moving forward. I needed his 60 some years of perspective. The artist I am now will not be the artist I will be tomorrow or 20 years from now. I will always not be there, so what does it matter to dwell on the fact. No matter what success I have as an artist there will always be a part of me that thinks I can do better, and must strive to do better. So in truth I am suppose to be where I am at. And tomorrow will be someplace different.

Following Where You Are Lead

April 30, 2005 by  

That was the under riding theme in David Wilcox’s concert last night. Weaving through story and song so fluidly, as only an excellent folk singer can do, Wilcox shared of his current life circumstances that he will follow. The evening was soothing, romantic, and just right even if we were sitting in uncomfortable pews. If you are ever in San Diego check out Acoustic San Diego, and go listen to some great folk music.

The best part of the evening was a couple we met by the name of Buzzy and Beth. They are a young thirty-something couple, Beth 32 weeks pregnant and Buzzy the quintessential postmodern with a shaved head, squared off glasses, and blue zip up hoody over a stripe green polo. They came down from Orange with Buzzy’s parents. They walked up to us before the concert saying they saw as at dinner and wanted to ask us over, but did not. By the time we finished talking and the concert started we learned that we had met a couple close to our hearts or to quote Buzzy “from the same tribe”. Beth is a nurse at Children’s Hospital, Orange County and knows a mutual nurse friend of Karen’s. Buzzy is a self proclaimed pastor helper. He works for a Methodist organization. We talked ALOT about the arts in the church and shared many passions and books that inspired us. Imagine what we would have missed if Buzzy did not follow where he was lead.

Hello Hello

April 15, 2005 by  

Greg and I were weaving in and out of the 110 traffic trying to get to Staples Center by 4pm. The plan: I was to drop him off and while he waited in line and I would head to an audition and get back by 6pm for when the door would open. Our one concern was if I was going to make it back in time. I had planned a route on side streets to avoid rush hour traffic, but we were pushing it. We arrived to Staples Center with no problems and I dropped Greg off and sped off west on Olympic.

While speeding down the far right lane, the one normally allowed for park cars except for the crucial time of 4-7pm, I called up Greg to get the status. He said I have good news and you are going to hate me. Good news first, always good news first, it softens the blow for the bad news. Good news: It was not a problem that Greg was saving a spot for me in line. Bad news: Right across the street from where I dropped Greg off Bono and the Edge was signing autographs for a small crowd. Greg was able to get s shirt signed. Doh! That was bad news, but I had no time to fret as I had a deadline.

It was 4:40pm and by mapquest time I should have been to my audition by now. I entered Santa Monica and new that something was wrong. Mapquest directions said Olympic was to meet up with Santa Monica Blvd. and the Casting Office was on Santa Monica. That was not true. I had to go north of Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd ran parallel to Olympic. I ended up being 20 minutes late to the audition, with a bigger concern that I would not make it back to Staples by 6pm. I found my way back to Olympic and broke the speed barrier getting back. I pulled in the parking lot and found Greg in line by 6pm on the dot. YES! But…it was 6:30pm by the time they let us in. All that rush for nothing.

For those not hip on the waiting procedure for GA tickets to a U2 Concert. There are two lines: one for the GA tickets for fan club members purchased at and then a line for general GA tickets. We were in the fan club line, but Staples decided to let both lines go at the same time. So though we were #135 and #136, it took a couple a minutes to get in. I heard that to get into the eclipse (right in front of the stage) your ticket got scanned and if a red light shows up you were in. I saw people’s ticket’s get scanned, but no light, I was confused as I enter through the metal detectors and then realized we were going to be scanned a second time to see if we were “in”. I was before Greg so my ticketed was scanned and…

…the computer screen showed up RED!!!! I was allowed in and so was Greg since he was with me. YES!! We were pumped!! We went through a couple more ticket checks as we headed down to the floor and in the eclipse. There was already a two rows started so we jumped in to make row three and the Edge’s side of the stage. We were SO close. Greg and I could not believe it. We were bummed that we had to purchase tickets on ebay for three times the list price, but this made it all worth in. We met a couple who had seen them already in San Diego and Anaheim. King of Leons opened and I was less then impressed. I was no way comparing them to U2, but I still thought they weren’t good. Much rather have seen The Killers. I kept saying Kings of Who?

After the break between bands, the lights went out, the crowd screamed and we heard Bono’s recorded force repeating the words “Everyone”. The band members came out with large lights shining them on the crowd, letting everyone know the next two hours was about everyone there and not just the band. Then in the familiar Irish tenor voice…LAAAAAAY DOOOWWWN, LAAAAAY DOOWWWN…LAY DOWN YOUR WEAPONS. The rock event of the year had begun! With Bono in the front of the ellipse with Larry pounding on a single drum, it was time for rock and roll. What was to come can not be summed up in words. It was simply amazing! Greg putting it best at the end of the night saying it was the best worship he has had in awhile. To see more pictures, read fan reviwes and follow the tour go to