I was asked to open the Saturday morning series of kids’ shows at the brand new Arts Quest site on the grounds of Bethlehem Steel on the first floor of this huge entertainment center. Movie theater, several live music venues, food court, etc., all overlooking the rusted stacks of days gone by. A very surreal situation in several ways.
I was blessed to have Kathy of the Morning Call do a spot light on the show in the Thursday paper, so there was a very nice and friendly crowd of kids, parents and grandparents there, and so we proceeded to kick out the jams. It was a lot of work, but a good show. Several folks came up to me to thanked me for my work over the years, and it was nice to hear, even if I feel a bit uncomfortable about it. And I had several moms coming up saying that they heard me when they were kids. Cool.
My ambivalence comes from the awesome presence of this arts center in the greater LV arts scene. I know for a fact that I was competing with my good friend, and fellow arts entrepreneur Doug Roysdon at the IceHouse for that same time frame. And I know that future acts there will definitely compete with Godfrey’s acts. And that’s where my heart lies…..
I commented on my FB page that, while I spent my freshman year at Lehigh, watching the purple flames of the Steel flicker 24 hours a day, I related that scene to my reading of the Trilogy of the Rings, and I saw Mordor before my very eyes. Plus, it was physically noxious.
That image remains in my mind, with the seeming ‘corporate presentation’ of folk music that is embodied in Arts Quest, future ‘gated’ Musikfest events, and other BIG venue competition with smaller, community-based organizations like Godfrey’s, Touchstone.
But then I have to pursue my trade as a performer. These events put me in front of old and new friends and family, and it is an important part of my community connection and, yes, fiscal well being. Yes, I’m thankful for these gigs, but, still, it makes me think…..
Yes, I look forward to returning to the Steel Stacks.