Thursday, December 24, 2009

There is a Santa (and he drives a yellow cab)

A few weeks ago, we had a benefit wine tasting for CST (I'm pretty sure you heard about it...). Afterward, we caught a cab back to Brooklyn. Since there were four of us, I sat up front with the driver. As we worked our way toward the Manhattan Bridge, the cab driver asked me where we had been. I told him we'd been at a benefit for my dance company. We had a brief conversation about the performing arts, including how he knew a lot of artists. When he expressed interest in the show, I asked him for his email address to keep him posted. He told me he didn't use email and gave me his mailing address instead. I told him I'd do my best to notify him of the show.

Then he said to me, "you need to get yourself a 501(c)3." Not words you expect to hear from your cab driver, even in NYC. I told him that I was fiscally sponsored, so I could benefit from tax-deductible contributions. He then said "My accountant told me that I may need to make some contributions to take off of my taxes." He gave me his phone number and the address of a newsstand he owns, telling me "Call me after Monday and I'll have a check for you to pick up. Make sure you bring me a receipt."

I waited a week (okay, 10 days) to call him. I had a lot of excuses. I was busy, I had a cold, I kept forgetting. But it stayed in the back of my head. Finally I picked up the phone and dialed. I got his voicemail (thank goodness). I left a message, "Hi, this is Jeramy. We met in your cab on December 6. You mentioned that you might like to make a donation to my dance company. Well, I'm just following up on that. Call me back. Okay, thanks." I kinda figured nothing more would come of it.

Then he called back and left a message, twice within an hour. We played phone tag for a day. Finally, on Friday, logistics were worked out. He asked me to pick up a check at the newsstand on Tuesday. But I would be away for the holidays by Tuesday. I asked a friend to pick it up. Then he called back to say the check was at the newsstand and I could pick it up. Then he called back and said "Do me a favor. Bring any printed material you have that I can spread around. I know people." On Saturday I headed into the city to go to the newsstand. It was closed. I called the friend who had the original pick-up duty. On Monday he picked up the check.

Some would say (have indeed said) that this was a lot of legwork for a $100 contribution. I disagree. Here's a guy who undoubtedly works hard for his money. He's willing to support the work of an artist he doesn't even know. Sure, he "needs a deduction." But who really "needs" a $100 deduction? And if that's all he needs, he could find a much more convenient way to do it. I think he actually thinks that artists, emerging, independent, whatever-the-term-is-this-week artists make our city more livable. And he wants to support that. And I want to support that. And I hope this story makes you want to support that (and to be nice to your cab driver).

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Welcome to the Homeland Blog!

Hello blogosphere!

If you're reading this, you probably care about modern dance. Or at least about CatScratch Theatre. Or at least about me. Or perhaps, all of the above. Many of you have been telling me for quite some time that I need a better website. I've always agreed with you. Now I've finally done something about it. I'm working with a real, live web designer. She's fantastically talented and I think she "gets" us. She'll have something up for us by the end of the year. I'm so excited. I'm so excited that I'm starting a blog.

I know that you spend a lot of time looking at your computer screen. I know that, once in a great while, you get tired of facebook and think to yourself "if only I could see into the creative process of CatScratch Theatre. I'd love to see what they worked on last night in rehearsal for Homeland. Then my day would be complete." Well, get ready to have a few more complete days every week. Visit us when cyberspace gets tiresome, or when the tubes of the internet seem to be sucking more from you than they're delivering. Here, you can take a moment, read a note from me or one of the other dancers, look at a short video or see some photos of rehearsal. Maybe even hear Kaoru say something in Japanese. Then, you can get on with your day with a renewed sense of purpose.

Here are some photos to get you started...I'm working on learning how to upload the videos...