Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gobshite Mick says: "Chill....."

This blog is supposed to be entertaining and informative. I will say things everyone knows, but no one will say out loud. Speaking truth to power is one of the tenets of the Quaker faith. In my world it is speaking truth to ignorance.

So...without an editor....this all for free, after all.....and without much of a super-ego, get what you get.

I thought I was a better writer than apparently I am.....

Here is the deal: I (if I say "we" it is not the Imperial we....but the consensus of my fellow workers, pounded out over hours, days, weeks, years of conversation over hard work. I value this consensus vastly more than that pounded out over alcohol, anger, or other over-rated stimulants).....we do not hate the Bach Festival.

I don't hate I-40 in Arizona between Kingman and Williams, either. I don't like or enjoy either one, but neither of them have been part of my life for twenty or thirty years. I can't muster much feeling one way or the other about either.

We especially have absolutely no grudge against the Bach Festival's Master Class....and we positively worship David Gordon. Our dear friend and mentor, Virginia Adams, originally funded the voice Master Class....and David was the first Master. He was dear to Virginia...and therefore dear to us.

David....from a caterer's a rare artist, and even rarer human. I think he switched from baritone to tenor....which no one can do (think switching from basketball to soccer). David will sing for you, the most obtuse, work-bound idiot in earshot will find tears welling up beyond control.

Past even that, David is an inspired teacher....and was able to take Virginia's vision and make it real. Very likely it was his vision to begin with.....and she helped him make it real. Regardless, there was a kind of magic about their relationship that caused us to pledge to run through machinegun fire for either or both of them....forever.

Haven't heard from David in possibly twenty years...until my post. The book he gave me twenty-five? years ago still sits over my to my other treasures.

In my simple Irish mind I have never connected David Gordon, Virginia, and the Master Class with the Bach Festival. One is pure and wonderful, and made of all the stuff that makes life worth living....and the other is a tarbaby of social and politcal horror.

Despite having been a hardworking caterer in Carmel for 33 years....we have never worked for the Bach Festival. They have never asked. Not even once. That is weird. Well, they did ask once...but their budget was so ludicrously small that it was below what even we do for the girls' soccer team at RLS. And they had demands.....

So...that doesn't count. The guy who took the job bought brownies at Costco and cut them in triangles and put Costco vanilla ice-cream on them and called it profiterolles or something.

As if.

We also do not hate the Carmel Public Library. The Library, and the dear souls who support it, are to me the quintessential distillation of much that is good about the mild Carmel social and intellectual whirl.

What I/we hate is power/ego hungry social asswipes who hijack institutions like the Bach Festival, the Library, the Symphony, Forest Theatre, the Museum, the Marathon....whatever.

Right now at the Library, you have folks who have personality differences or some strange agendas with people who love them and have been working hard for them for free for thirty years. What does this have to do with having books available to a reading public?

Asswipes can strike at any moment.

A really good 501.c3 has a good board, and a good director (paid from the proceeds of the fundraising). One or the other can flail, and even be truly awful....and the other can compensate and pull the irons from the fire.

By law, the Board of a 501.c3 is supposed to set policy, and the staff implements it. Many times, the Board are clueless socialite idiots with nice bank balances....but the staff is concerned, committed, underpaid....and is highly skilled at work-arounds. Many of these work-arounds involve the caterer, so we are un-indicted co-conspirators with the staff...Still, the work of the organization actually gets done.

Other times, a director is appointed who is power-mad creature looking for a pay-check and a life-style....and runs rough-shod over the hapless board, however well intentioned. Staff turns over, the organization is a lead balloon....with just the energy and connections of the Board keeping the money flowing in to keep the thing just above the ground. Stockholm syndrome philanthropy.

Other times, for whatever reason....the staff are long-time, amiable incompetents, who the Board chooses not to fire....and does the work for them. Sort of like ignoring the fact that Sparky no longer barks at the mailman...and pisses all over the museum quality Kerman every night. We don't actually want to deal with the fact of her senility, incontinence and we just invest in Bravo paper towels.

Still other charities can survive both crazy incompetent staff, and nutcase directors....because the donors and tradition are strong enough to deal with it.

To me, that is the Library right now. And maybe the director is OK, or just in thrall of a nutty Board. Who knows? Wait two is all good. long as I have pissed in the soup my take after 33 years of dealing with local least the ones that hired us.

Big Sur Land Trust: insanely competent staff, insanely competent and insanely diverse Board. Year after year, BSLT hits the ball out of the park. They tell us what they want....they give us a budget...and we say: "Yes, sir or madam!" They always make us look good, and they have never had a bad or even mildly embarrassing event. I have to say.....tears are not uncommon at their functions, and the caterer has been guilty at least two or three times......

Monterey Museum of Art: awful, vindictive director with staff flying in all directions....great board. Peace be unto them.

Forest Theatre: Nice board, I guess. We did a big party for them supporting minority South County youth in drama....and the director later sent us a letter saying we would not be paid even our costs. Never told the Board. Meanwhile, they could have traded us or let us sponsor some movie nights....we are film nuts, with cinematographers on our staff....but we did not make it up to that level of concern.

Carmel Residents Association: You say "Jump!"...we say "How high?"....on the way up, of course. They just tell us where to be, and what to do....and we say: "Yes, ma'am."

Cherry Foundation: They actually insist on paying us and get all bothered because we refuse to send them bills. Ross and Mary Green were supporters, and the Houston we work for them for free....and it makes them uncomfortable.

Monterey History and Art.....Great, committed, volunteer staff.....who knows what goes on above?

Trail and Saddle Club: Steady, solid......the staff is almost annoyingly on the ball. The Board is super. Like BSLT, they tell us where to stand and how much to charge....and we are happy to be a part.

Big Sur Marathon....Up there with the Museum. Nutball director. Insanely hardworking Board. We used to feed 700 volunteers, and 700 VIP's...and handle all the donations and deliveries of leftovers to charities....for $2500. Not cash, just scholarships for the kids who worked the event. The director stiffed us the last year. Hey....the guy wears lifts in his shoes.

The Photography guys at Sunset Center: We did a party for 500 Carmel folk with free smoked salmon/oyster bar, Bechler petites fours, free martinis in real glasses, champagne....and the bill was $900. The dickhead director refused to pay because we had a plastic garbage can with a plastic liner next to the oyster bar. "Ansel would have been insulted." "Fuck you, Brian. I knew Ansel, and he would never have noticed and would have giggled about how crazy it was to offer free Martini's to the entire city of Carmel. We never got paid. But he is fired now, so fuck him.

Carmel Women's Club: The Board is the staff....and we would run through machinegun fire for them. Last week, during a wake for a great local grande dame....I was dismantling and repairing their classic but ancient oven. I lay on the floor with tools and flashlights for an hour during setup cursing like a sailor. In the end, I won...and dressed and got back out front. The daughter of the deceased asked me: "So which word finally worked? " "I think it was 'Let go, you fucking bitch.....'"

Tor House Foundation: See above. The very first party we ever did was for 1976. Tor House Foundation basically started us in business. They are kind, sweet, appreciative, funny, slightly weird, totally committed.....

I could go on.....Planned Parenthood, five stars. Paradox Sports, five stars. Sand City Arts, five stars.

What it boils down to is that some local charities actually believe in what they are trying to achieve....and earn their tax deductible status by doing good and doing well.

For those who are raging at me for knocking dear departed Nana or whatever her name is my last conversation with her....vis a vis her charging us $1,000 to be in the Bach Festival catalogue with a mention, after thousands and thousands of dollars of work in kind donations to David and Virgina:

"Businesses have to pay.....private people don't. You are lucky we even associate with you! Caterers are a dime a dozen. Your recognition is the fact that we even talk to you! And we let our people eat your food!"

The Waitresses: "I know he liked me....he left money on the dresser when he left in the morning!" is the deal: we believe in organic food. Our definition of "organic" is that the food should be good and local, that the purpose of the event should be the same, that the donors, the workers, the suppliers, the venues....who are all living in the community that the event is about...and who are all usually donating from slim resources whatever they can give.....should be treated with respect.

Doesn't seem to weird to me.

Am I wrong?


Blogger kathy said...

I just knew you boys could play nicely together. You're both absolute jewels or gems or whatEVER in my treasured book.

10:44 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

I'm always amazed at the word verification that is selected for me. For the last post it was 'subsou.' Is that sorta like the mea culpa for the chef set?

10:46 AM  

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