An open letter to Nick Cave and the American Cinematheque
Hello Cinematheque staff -
Last night I attended the Nick Cave Sick Bag Song event at the Egyptian. As a dedicated fan, I jump on every chance I have to see him live, and was very excited about this event. I also love the Egyptian and get there as often as I can.
BOY was I ever disappointed. So much so that I feel the need to reach out to you.
From start to finish, the whole event was one Epic Failure.
1. Nick's headset mic failed completely, and the hand-held wasn't much better. Really? No sound check?
2. How on earth did you choose That Guy to interview Nick? That was by far the WORST "interview" I've seen. He just made a bunch of vague statements, leaving poor Nick to try to come up with "answers." It was pretty much, "Dude. I read your book. Awesome." Incredibly unprofessional. He was clearly unprepared. I was embarrassed for him and mortified for Nick.
3. The two videos - I liked the LA one, but the trailer for the book is posted on the Sick Bag Song website and can be seen for free. I didn't mind seeing it again, but when I realized it was one of only two videos, I started feeling a bit short-changed.
4. The Q&A - Have you never done a Q&A before? This was an even bigger mess than the rest of the evening, which is saying something. Eventually, two people with mics moved through the audience, but there was zero organization and a lot of wasted time. Here's some free advice on how to do a Q&A: BEFORE the show, have people write their questions cards (either while they wait in line or once they are in the lobby) and hand them in to staff. There was plenty of time for this last night. Your performer can review the questions, choose which he wants to answer, and maybe even prepare a bit. This eliminates the need for roving mics, repeated questions, and questions your subject doesn't want to answer. You're welcome.
5. The staging - I was seated in the fourth row and all I could see was the heads of the people in front of me. The seats sink very low (yes, this is great if you're watching a film), but you should have compensated for that by building a platform or riser so Nick and the interviewer sat high enough to actually get seen.
Honestly, I probably wouldn't be so vocal had this event cost $25. But it cost $65 (plus TicketBastard's usury fee). For that price you should have included a copy of the book (and/or put on a professional show).
And by the way, Nick had NO IDEA the book was on sale in the lobby. He talked a lot about how this was an experiment in publishing; that the book was ONLY available from the website - while members of the audience held freshly-purchased copies in their hands. Again, I was embarrassed for Nick. You made him look stupid - something I never thought possible.
The only moments of value in this very short event were Nick reading from the book and the LA video. I would have been much happier to see more of him reading, much less of him being interviewed (or him being interviewed by someone who knows how to do that), and a Q&A (if you must) as described above.
I've seen better-organized events at a junior high school. You should be ashamed.