Okay, here’s the thing. Last month I wrote a post about crowd source funding that led very smoothly into mention of an ongoing funding for a project that is very very dear to my heart: the Glasgow Cabaret Festival. Perhaps I was a little too subtle. Perhaps most people switched off at the mention of crowd sourcing and never got to that part. We’ll never know. Anyway, the message clearly didn’t get through, and the festival is now well behind on its funding target.
Here’s what the directors are saying:
So that’s it in a nutshell. The festival needs pledges of money otherwise it’s not going ahead this year. Why should you care? If you’re a practitioner of the dramatic, musical, cabaret, variety, spoken word or burlesque arts here’s seven really REALLY good reasons why.
1. It’s up to us. There’s no-one else doing this in Scotland. This variety thing. Only us. And by us I mean anyone who practices any of the above listed activities. In Glasgow and Edinburgh alone I can easily think of a dozen variety enterprises of different stripes and flavours, each working away doing their own thing to an amazingly high standard. Imagine what it would be like to gather them all together, along side some of the cream of British and international performers, in one single event curated by a team of experienced and innovative directors. We have the will and wherewithal. But it’ll take all of us to make it happen. And if we don’t step up to do it, no-one else is going to.
2. It’s a community thing. And it’s AMAZING that it is. There are so many people out there doing their own thing from beautiful burlesque to pornographic poetry, from card magic to satirical songs, from juggling to jiggling. The beauty of being involved in variety is looking at the other people on the same bill and marvelling at their skills. The more I perform, the more I realize what a genuinely supportive, encouraging, nurturing family I exist within. And that’s why we *all* have to take ownership of this thing. It’s not just for Glasgow, it’s for the whole community. And it’s about making something happen that reflects the spirit of that community.
3. A platform to create genuinely innovative theatrical experiences. Seriously, outside of the Edinburgh Fringe (and, yeah, that’s over for this year) you won’t get a chance to see so many talented theatrical innovators in the space of a week. If you’re a theatre lover or a music lover or a lover of the spoken word, this is the perfect chance to expand your horizons, to stretch your expectations and discover what’s going on off the beaten track of mainstream entertainment. And without running the lottery associated with the choosing from the thousands of shows on offer at the Fringe: there will be no banality, no ineptitude, no dross at the GCF. Guranteed.
4. A chance to see the stars of alternative variety. Have you seen the pre-announced events? Variety gods, Frisky and Mannish! A new show by Desmond O’Connor! The latest installment of the beautiful 20s themed Gatsby Club. Not only that but also, fresh from the Fringe, The Creative Martyrs’ sinister and bewitching Tales From A Cabaret show. And Frank’s Wild Band’s full Tom Waits – I chose them over Pulp at this year’s T in the Park, and let me tell you, I made the right decision.
5. How much? How little, more like. Seriously, you can’t afford a tenner? A fiver? That’s less than a couple of pints. Every little helps, but they need people to pledge money now. And don’t forget, there are VIP incentives the more you pledge.
6. It so IS your sort of thing. Listen, Cabaret is not what you think it is. It’s not Seaside Special and Sunday Night At The London Palladium. Honest. If you’re the kind of person who likes a night out, I guarantee you’ll find something at the cabaret festival that you’d enjoy. If you like comedy, it’s there. Music, satire, poetry. Beautiful girls, beautiful boys. Circus, magic, puppetry, dance. Yup, all there. If you’re a performer, or someone *thinking* about performing but unsure where or how to go about getting on the stage, you’ll find it absolutely inspiring. I know I did two years ago.
7. Doing it again. The last one in 2009 was amazing. It was a week of intense, glittering performances. Every night there was something to go home talking about. F&M at Spangled, Les Romanesques at the Tron, the Ivor Cutler marathon and the epic Missy And Layla show. All of them just brilliant. The thing is: doing it one time might be seen as a flash in the pan, something nice to look back on: “Remember 2009, that was when they had that Cabaret Festival. How did that not come back again?” Doing it again? Doing it regularly? That’s evidence that variety is a one of the strongest, most vibrant, most challenging and most exciting strands of our culture. That’s why you ought to support this event, that’s why you’ve got to help make it happen.
If you’re a Glaswegian, donate a little in support of a great event happening in your city.
If you’re a Scot, throw in a little to support the creative efforts of your country.
If you’re a performer, contribute a few quid to support your community, your brothers and sisters, and yourself.
If you’re consumer who wants to get the chance to experience eye-popping, rib-splitting, jaw-dropping entertainment, throw a little in too.
And if you’re a friend, you know me, and you know I’m not bullshitting when I say this is a supremely worthy venture. I’d consider it a massive favour if you’d consider pledging something to support great art.
And if you need an added incentive, the first person to pledge a tenner or more and post that they’ve done so in the comments on this thread will get two tickets to the GCF event of their choice as a present from me.
You’ve got four days. Go.