Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I give it away- a lot. I write for free. I record music for free. I do churches for free. I give away art work, books, CDs and guide hunters for free. But, I try to never put myself in the position of being exploited. If I give it away it's because I want to, with no expectation of any return. It's all good. I do that kind of art. We live in a corpocracy that is constantly attempting to bamboozle its citizens (especially the young and talented) into giving it away for free. Internships are a prime example of this. The youth are told that an internship is an avenue towards a paying position in whatever field. Art, fashion, publishing and music industries are notorious for this approach. Work for free and you'll make friends, contacts, network, and eventually get a job. The truth is that this rarely leads to anything but another internship- slavery by any other name.
    What got me on this rant? Last night I received a forwarded email from DD titled "Peace Walk Outdoor Exhibition"- new and exciting opportunity for artists within Sullivan County. It detailed a proposed project that would consist of 15 "Peace Signs" along the old rails to trails between Mountaindale and Woodridge. I usually pay no attention to such projects, but since Steve and Edy were involved and DD sent it to me, I investigated. Hey, I got community spirit.
   To my dismay this amounts to nothing more than a positioning of the power structure to seem "art friendly" at a time that everyone is jockeying for a piece of the Catskill pie. We here in the Catskills are at a water shed moment in our history. The Hassidic/Hipster community in Williamsburg are beard to beard in critical mass in Brooklyn. Monsey and Kyralis Joel are similarly packed. Many Hassidic developments are already poised and ready throughout the county. Once the memo goes out, the mini-vans will head north. The hipsters are going broke, having kids and can't take the city struggle anymore. Add to this the impending onslaught of casino money and we artists are primed and ready for exploitation.
    My Dutch kin have been walking barefoot through these hills since the 1600s. I may have matured in SF and gone on to have a tiny impact in the EV, but I'm about as "local" as they come. The Jewish and Italian mob depended on my bootlegger folk during prohibition for product and delivery. And now that all that casino cash is about to flow into this county I for one do not want to sit idly by in poverty as all the fat cats make piles of ducets, pretending to support the arts. I'll still do plenty of "art" for free, but as always it will be on my own terms. There is a vibrant artistic community up here. You want artists to participate in events that put the county in a positive light? Pay us. It's only fair.        


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