The Bitter End/"Did You Have Fun?"

On Wednesday night I performed at an event at The Bitter End in NYC called “An Evening to Occupy Hearts & Minds,” hosted by Occupy Hearts & Minds in conjunction with the New York Songwriters Collective, and benefiting WHYHunger. Wow, that’s a mouthful. The idea behind Occupy Hearts & Minds is to bring the artistic community together to help channel the feelings of the Occupy Wall Street movement. My last blog post was about the lack of socially and politically charged music in the mainstream, and OHM is an attempt to foster more art of that nature. Among many name artists (some of my favorites were The Nutopians, Julie Gold, and the guy who must be the hippest cat in the world, David Amram) and others, I was there to perform my song, “Endless Sky,” thanks to my friend Peter Bliss.

I didn’t play very well. Now, to be fair I didn’t play terribly. I didn’t crash and burn and people weren’t coming up to me saying how much I sucked. But my performance did leave a little something to be desired. How do I know? Well, trust me, I know. Performers may be notorious for being their own worst critic, but I know when I don’t reach my potential. And in case I wasn’t sure, a short while after my performance I was sitting at the bar when Rex Fowler from Aztec Two-Step asked me, “Did you have fun?” Oh, that sucked. Did I have fun? Let me tell you: “Did you have fun?” is probably the worst thing you could say to a professional after a performance. “Did you have fun?” means that the person found nothing about you that they could positively comment on – not the song, not the performance, not even your clothes or the witty banter before you sang. “Did you have fun?” is asking whether you cleared the lowest possible bar with your performance. Which I didn’t because I’m a professional and I know when I don’t hit my mark.

So, there you go. In a world of Facebook and Twitter posts where we’re all trying to make our lives look great and successful to the people looking in, there’s a real life example of underperformance and disappointment. It really happens. It’s called reality.

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ