Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Update: John Zorn/Earshot Jazz situation

To follow this story from its origin, I'd advise you to scroll down to the initial post (with a similar title) and work your way upward. Thanks!

Earlier today, after calling the Moore Theater and chatting with a manager, I was told---by the second person from the theater---that I needed to take my issue up with the Earshot Jazz Festival, despite the fact that I purchased my John Zorn ticket at the Moore Theater box office.

So, I've decided for right now that I'm simply going to put the conspiracy theories dancing around my head on hold for a minute and simply follow the advice of the manager, assuming that everyone is working in good faith and that I'm not being tossed around the brick oven like pizza dough.

That being said, I fired off an email to the events coordinator at Earshot Jazz.

Here's what I wrote:

What I am bringing to your attention today is something I have not done before, in my attendance of over 100 concerts and performances in my lifetime.
I purchased a ticket for John Zorn at the Moore Theater on 11/4, this last Sunday. I purchased the ticket at the Moore Theater box office in advance and paid $34 for it. I understood that there was an “outside-the-box jazz performance” to be expected, as I own many of his works, and that is how I will describe what I actually saw that night. That’s fine, no problem, I figured you’re running a jazz festival. I did expect, and would reason, one of the performers to actually be John Zorn… since his name was printed on the ticket.
When I attended the performance, John Zorn did not perform, so I guess that essentially makes the performers I was watching… a surrogate band, I guess? Since John Zorn was not in attendance onstage?
Now I have an issue.
In the lobby, I presented my concerns to the manager, along with 2-3 others in the lobby who were also confused the same way I was, and feeling like they’re wallets were taken advantage of. They were asking the managers how they could get a refund, but I wasn’t at that point yet. I was just trying to understand what was happening and if John Zorn was going to be performing. The manager of the Moore Theater, I believe an Asian woman in her late 20s, mentioned that others in attendance were asking the same question and expressing confusion. She was also confused and didn’t have any answers.
The manager then saw who she believed to be an official from Earshot Jazz, and flagged him down; who I recall as a tall and thin gray-haired gentleman. When she expressed the concerns being brought up, I piped in as well to try to understand what was happening with the performance. I got some story about “literature” explaining what John Zorn’s intentions were with the performance or something to that effect. Three days later, in writing this, I’m still unclear about what “literature” the man was referring to (assuming he was not talking about the print on the ticket I purchased), and I was basically asked “why I was the only one in the lobby clueless and asking these questions while 800 folks in the theater were watching the show.” Since the gentleman was being abrasive and defensive with me, and talking down his nose to me as if I was a moron, I had to walk away from the conversation before I lost my temper.
My response to that comment now would be:
  1. I was not the only person in the lobby who was confused, asking questions, or trying to determine if a request for a refund was in order.
  2. I cannot speak for the attendees in the theater and what their level of confusion might be, but I did witness several shouts of disapproval of the performance – including but not limited to shouted questions about “where John Zorn was.” That being said, I would like to reiterate that I am not taking issue with the quality of the performance itself that was happening onstage.
Look. I might not take issue with this if I paid $10. I could let that go… but I paid $34 for this performance – where, in all fairness, I reasoned that I should be seeing John Zorn perform. If a performer’s name is on the ticket, I expect to see said performer. If I buy a ticket for Jason Moran, I expect to see Jason Moran. If I buy a ticket for Ornette Coleman, I expect to see Ornette Coleman. I saw Andrew Hill perform last year (and his name was printed on the ticket), and he still made it to the performance despite playing in pain and struggling to remain alive with cancer. The guy was totally sick, yet he still performed his entire show.
You are running a jazz festival, so help me understand this. What am I missing?
I am asking for a refund of my ticket price, which after more thought I find to be a reasonable request. I look forward to a response from you and finding a way to feel better about this – through a refund of my $34.
Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns, and thank you in advance for responding. Other than this “unfortunate event,” I have attended many other Earshot Jazz performances and have had no issues. I hope to attend more next year and in the future.
I'll let you know what kind of a response I get---this might be VERY interesting---I hope you're all on the edge of your seats waiting with baited breath for an update on Earshot's response.
Ooooooh, I can't wait, can you? S

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