On Sunday morning I awoke to a cavalier email from Mary Birdsong who has been contracted to play at Afterglow since May saying she can’t come. That she can’t make it work financially (makes no sense since we pay for everything) and that the director of her show who she’s been sleeping with has dumped her (the real reason?). We invest so much time and effort into the performers and were already in a $5K hole with her and now staring into the abyss of what would have been another $3K in ticket sales—lost.
When I first started Afterglow the artists were a dream. And they were also the most successful of their crop. They comported themselves professionally, they were grateful for even the small fee we gave them, because they were treated like gold and liked being in Provincetown all together. It was a something. In the passing years that spirit actually became more, not less, vibrant. But somewhere along the line, as we started reaching out to artists with whom we had less strong a personal connection, the artists started to become as much a source of stress as they were joy.
Some would come to festival with multiple assistants in tow and not see any other artists perform but instead go to other venues. But really nothing takes the cake like this bombshell Mary Birdsong dropped. I first met Mary nearly thirty years ago when we were doing improv together. I loved improv but I hated the world of it. It’s such a long story that. But I need to stay light and in the present. Or as my dear friend Justin Vivian Bond says: Keep it light, keep it pretty and keep it moving. I’m inclined to agree. I also suspect this is the last year I can do this in Provincetown. I just don’t have the support.
It was one thing to get out there and fight the good fight raising money for these artists to come to Provincetown. I put up with a lot of uphill battle in raising funds and also with that awful previous venue owner whose name must not be uttered. But now to have the artists be a source of struggle. And not just struggle but devastation? NO. I’m not putting up with it. It’s all the law of diminshing returns. I just need to eek by and get the fuck out of here.
Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*
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