America's Got Talent and Jerks!
I recently received an NBC's America's Got Talent Audition Invitation in my Gmail inbox. Of course, I'm in no condition to perform for this, my middle finger on my left hand is in recovery mode from overuse but even if I was in great physical shape and could do it, I wouldn't.
My name is Marcia Leija and I am a casting producer for the show America's Got Talent on NBC. Have you ever auditioned for our show before? We will be in Seattle on Jan 28th auditioning an invite only group of people and would like to invite you to attend.
If you are interested contact me as soon as possible so we can discuss!
P.S. Performers that are selected for the show do not have to begin taping until around April. Each show taping takes 2 days max. They fly you there all expenses paid, you tape that day and they fly you back the next morning.
I've had two different past invites to participate in your auditions from casting producers of AGT. Let me tell you a story about something that happened to me a couple of years ago, via AGT and their film crew, while they were in Seattle shooting a commercial spot for the show.
First, let me explain that for the last 30+ years, I have regularly taken my talents to the public arena of the street to share with passersby as a street performer. In that pursuit, I've offered my talents to tens of thousands of folks from all over the world, who visit Seattle's historic Pike Place Market.
My diligence at this endeavor has seen my skills as a performance artist grow considerably in the last three decades. My songwriting, recordings and performances have won awards in online competitions with other solo artists and bands of every kind from all over the world and have reaped major international media attention. I've been invited to be featured in major multimedia productions. The accolades that I regularly receive for my efforts as a songwriter, bottleneck slide guitarist, and sawplayer are evidence that I must be doing something right. Many pause to lend an ear to my performances on the street, which is about as great a compliment as one could offer an artist who is making their living in that fashion. I've also been invited to perform regionally at events of all kinds, as well as for festivals across the US and as far away as Europe.
So, you can imagine my surprise, when I learned, as I was playing one day at the Pike Place Market, that the AGT film crew was going to be there shooting a commercial during my set. As performance artists at that historic locale, we pay a permit fee to perform there. Our permits allow us to choose to play a one, or more hour long sets at specific locations within the Market, during specific hours of the day. I felt fortunate that I chose a time, that day, that enabled me to play while the AGT film crew were in the middle of their commercial shoot. I hoped that perhaps fate might step in and enable my talents to be heard by someone within the AGT staff or crew.
Well that's exactly what happened. Except, the results were nothing like I imagined. While I was in the middle of a song, in arguably one of the most difficult locations to perform in that particular street scene, with cameras rolling, a man came over to within two to three feet of where I sat offering a bottleneck Blues song on my homemade 'Nobro' resophonic guitar and in a loud, obnoxious and irritating voice began to shout over and over again, in my left ear, "When are you gonna stop playing!?" He continued this reaction to my performance throughout my entire song.
Needless to say, I was shocked by his tone and treatment of me. His inconsiderate display toward my performance was very upsetting. He was a total stranger to me, as I was to him. I did my best to hold my composure and to not allow his excessively rude and discourteous behavior interrupt my performance, while I finished my song. In truth, in over 3 decades of performing in every conceivable kind of public and private venue and event one could imagine, I can honestly say that I have never before been confronted by someone who behaved so incredibly poorly in my presence and with so little regard toward the welfare of another human being engaged in offering their musical talents in a public place.
Not every street performer at the Pike Place Market engages in their activities there as their sole means of support. As I've indicated, I've had my share of being invited to perform for events elsewhere. Know that I've been offered thousands of dollars in exchange for my performances. So, I knew that my efforts couldn't have been so utterly offensive to this particular guy as to warrant such an ill tempered response. I had a feeling that something unusual might be going on with this man's assault against my performance.
After I finished singing and playing my song, with the agitated listener still standing within three feet of my left side, I decided that if I wanted to continue my set I would have to confront him face to face and explain that he should take his angst with my performance elsewhere. I clutched the weighty metal and wood body of my guitar, cradling it with my right arm. I stood up and turned to face the man and I was surprised at what I saw.
I noticed that he was an African American, about 40 years of age with a muscular build. He could easily have beaten me if the incident came to fisticuffs. He was well dressed. I mean, he didn't look as though he might be someone homeless and living on the street. I could have perhaps understood being treated so badly from someone who knew no better, because they might be suffering from a lessened state of awareness but no, that didn't seem to be the case with him. He seemed to have full command of his faculties.
My first thought was to treat someone who displayed such antisocial behavior sensitively, calmly and passively, so as not to inflame any further altercation. I wasn't a fighter. I wanted nothing more than to get back to my pursuits with as little disturbance as possible. However, the length of his hostile rant being so persistent in my left ear caused me reconsider that approach and use a more stern tone. I looked him in the eye and said strongly, "What's your problem?" and followed that by saying, "You need to find somewhere else to be and get outta my face!" I was surprised when he finally backed off but it was where he went, as he departed, that floored me.
He retreated to where most of the film crew stood, out of the view of the cameras. He was part of the film crew support staff. He was there with the America's Got Talent production for the creation of the commercial.
I guessed that he was harassing me via the orders of someone directing him to do so. Perhaps someone within the film crew staff didn't care for my music bleeding into the sound track that they were trying to record on site and they felt that by sending this fellow over to intimidate me, I'd become upset and stop playing. Despite his best efforts at being as utterly mean spirited in his attempts to dissuade me from performing, I felt determined that no prize was worth winning that wasn't also worth fighting for and I intended to keep on offering my music, as I always had on the street for over three decades, film crew or not.
I could continue but I think you might already have some idea as to my response to your invitation. After being on the receiving end of such a disgusting reaction to my performance by members of the AGT film staff, I'm certain that you understand the reasons why I must decline to accept your invite to audition for AGT. Furthermore, it is my opinion that any organization that openly and publicly claims to be in support of performance artists and at the same time, behind the scenes and off camera, treats performance artists with such disregard, definitely isn't worth my support.
Sarah's blue dress steunt Warchild... Jij ook?
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