Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thanks, Bon Jovi Haters

Today I entered a photograph of the shrine in an art contest that I read about on the internet. 

Shrine 2010

If I win, The Creative Allies 2nd Annual Design Contest will display my artwork at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (presented by Shell) and in the New Orleans Museum of Art. 

The theme for this contest is "How New Orleans Music and Culture Inspires Me."

According to the festival's own website, "The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell is the greatest music festival in the world. Headliners in 2011 include: Arcade Fire, Bon Jovi, Jimmy Buffett, Sonny Rollins, Kid Rock, John Mellencamp, Wilco, Robert Plant, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Willie Nelson, The Strokes and John Legend & The Roots, plus hundreds of Louisiana musicians."

Late last night, I was reading some comments on  that were written by some JBJ haters. 

According to mic, who commented on the article "New Orleans Jazz Fest looks to the future, even with Bon Jovi" that was published on on January 29, 2011, 

"People hate Jazz because they think it all sounds like Kenny G. New Orleans, the birth place of Jazz now chooses an artist over real emerging jazz artists in this city? New Orleans needs to take this festival back and have less money to not make such stupid decisions: Kid Rock? Bon Jovi? Tom Jones? Eddie Brickell? Cyndi Lauper? Kenny G? and many more. It's the most commercialized festival yet, Greed and capitalism showing through in spades. I would rather give my money to a local musician than support AEG in their endeavors in our great city."

Comments like the one made by "mic" are exactly what inspired me to build the 2009 International Special Sacred Shrine to Jon Bon Jovi to begin with.

Some people really like going to Jazz Fest, and while I don't identify with the desire to stand in the sun in a crowd, I understand that it's a social and cultural tradition for many New Orleanians. However, if I wanted to see really good New Orleans jazz, I would not go to Jazz Fest - not because Bon Jovi and Cyndi Lauper are performing there but because the festival is hot and expensive and New Orleans musicians play all over the city seven days a week.  I would prefer to see New Orleans jazz at Vaughn's or The Candlelight or in the street the way I usually do.

If one wants to appreciate New Orleans culture, there is no reason to go to that festival when wonderful live jazz can be enjoyed for free all over this city.  

If a local wants to go to Jazz Fest, his motivation cannot be simply to hear jazz. 

 Complaints about musicians who are not "New Orleans" enough to perform at Jazz Fest strike me more as petty gripes voiced by people who are looking for things to complain about than legitimate complaints about the availability and cost of New Orleans music. 

 If someone were complaining about the musicians themselves and the fact that they do, indeed need money, I would agree whole-heartedly, but complaining about having to listen to Bon Jovi while attending The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival makes me  want to respond with "Then just don't go to Jazz Fest. Nobody is making you give all that money to Shell oil when New Orleans musicians typically display tip jars."

The price of a General Admission One Day ticket is 45.00. A New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Big Chief Package Weekend 1 pass costs 925.00.  (I explained my feelings about the festival and shrine in my post "On Not Being a Spiritual Tramp - Bon Jovi to Play Jazz Fest 2011" on the old Shrine of JBJ blog before I got tired of using Wordpress). 

As far as the contest is concerned, despite the fact that I do not expect to win,  I entered photographs of the shrine in the "New Orleans Music and Culture Inspires Me" category because even if Shell oil does sponsor Jazz Fest, there is still no other city in which I would have built this shrine. The culture that permits shrines is what attracts visitors to this city, and if Bon Jovi is part of that package, I certainly welcome his fans.  

The Sacred Shrine to Jon Bon Jovi - which I built - is an absurd reaction to absurd complaints.

I am grateful to all the Bon Jovi-hating locals from 2009 who actually made me stop and wonder how a Bon Jovi fan - a fan who came all the way to New Orleans to see JBJ play in a city he'd always dreamed of visiting, a fan who probably dropped at least a grand on airfare, lodging, food, tickets, straw hats, and sunscreen and probably encountered local music inside and outside the festival - would feel if he knew some members of the local community were determined to criticize any enthusiasm about music that is not "New Orleans jazz."

Tom Harrison wrote a great article for yesterday and explained Bon Jovi's popularity and that "Bon Jovi hasn't been fashionable except around the time of Slippery When Wet, when it was the fashion. In 1992, Bon Jovi released Keep The Faith. It's been true to its word."  This holds true for Jazz Fest too.

To anyone who loves Bon Jovi, or shrines, or porches, or mid-city and to everyone who needs a place to discover free and whimsical entertainment, I'll be there for you.

By the way, a neighbor who I don't think I have ever met made my day when he posted on my blog and said I could borrow his lawnmower to manicure the area around the shrine.  Some things just rock.

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