I sat down to write our last message to ask humbly for a donation for our year-end fundraiser, but it kind of devolved into some free-form thoughts about our year and the future. We do need your financial support, but I mostly just wanted to take a moment to talk about what TLES means to me:
It’s become my annual tradition to remark to myself “I can’t believe we did ALL OF THAT last year.” And it is just as routine for me to absorb the enormity of all that the TLES will do in the coming year mere seconds after I’ve thought about the past months and freak out a little. I’ve done this for nine years now, it never gets old! It certainly never gets easy, either. After an 11-hour day, I’ll still go sit in the corner memorize music for our next show. And before soundcheck on a show day, it’s still me and Andy (and maybe Dennis) lugging all the gear around town–or maybe off of a plane–before playing a full program of that memorized music. But it is all more than worthwhile when we see all of our beloved weirdo friends grinning from ear to ear when the show starts. Or screaming “Michael, row your boat ashore.” For weeks afterwards the last thing I think about before I fall asleep at night is something nice somebody said or did for us, even if I forget to send a card.
But it is this work that has yielded the most meaningful musical experiences of my life. We go to extremes and explore every corner, and my god the risks we take! Many a time I’ve walked off stage with Andy and giddily thought “I have no idea what we just did out there. But it felt like something substantial and belligerent that spoke its own unapologetic language. It demanded a lot of everyone on stage and in the room, it tickled me pink, and I think it stole my car and rifled through the numerous membership cards in my wallet.” Maybe a few years ago it clicked that the hardness and strangeness of it was, in its own way, transcendent. And that’s why it’s art.
That commitment to those around us and the involvement of others is central to the mission of The Living Earth Show. We do it for all of the composers, artists, fellow musicians, listeners, audience members, and most of all for our friends who overlap in all of those aforementioned categories. To make you laugh, or think, or get pissed, or scratch your head, or cry, or trip out. You keep us going. You are the most valuable part of us. Please give if you’re able. And catch us at a show, or send us your thoughts in 2019!