The Arts: The Rockettes Thrust A Mighty Kick Into Trump’s Butt


Donald Trump probably wishes he were Henry VIII. If he were he could simply command performers to entertain at his coronation, I mean, inauguration.

The list of nuh uh, we won’t showfolks is adding up: Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, KISS, Sir Elton John, Garth Brooks, John Legend. Others who won’t be asked based on obvious support for Hillary during the campaign: Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen.

The basic “A” list has left the building.

Donald tweeted he doesn’t want the “A” list. He wants real people.

Whatever that means.

Thus far, three performances have been announced: 16 year old singer Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Radio City Rockettes.

Side note: As a young Brooklyn boy I would cut high school, take the subway to Manhattan and spend an entire day at Radio City Music Hall. I would sit through the same movie three times in order to partake in the bonus: in-between film times the Rockettes would take the stage and kick up a storm. I’d sit first row center in this massive 5000 seat auditorium and watch what was accurately described as a spectacle.

The Rockettes are always imagined as one large group, united in movement. One week consists of four shows a day, six days a week, three hundred kicks per show. All in unison.

But uh oh. Trouble in Paradise.

The American Guild of Variety Artists, union for the Rockettes, stated that individual Rockette’s are forbidden to boycott the event. They would lose their jobs.

I’m sorry. What country do we live in?

This isn’t a Democrat/Republic thing. The Rockettes made appearances at both the 2001 and 2005 Inauguration of George Bush.

It’s a personal thing.

This week one of the Rockettes, Phoebe Pearl, exercised her individual voice through social media by saying the following:

“I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed. The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. We will not be forced! #notmypresident.”

Immediate pressure from the media and public forced the group managing the Rockettes to announce that performing was optional. This will take more defined shape over the next few days.

The greater question is: will the entertainment community’s reaction to a Trump presidency and his continued denial of why they are upset with him create a No Vacancy For The Arts sign hanging from the North Portico of the White House?

From a purely economic perspective, Trump should take his thin-skinned self out of the mix. In 2013, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated the value of arts and cultural businesses in the American economy at $704.2 billion, producing a $24.1 billion surplus in foreign trade. In other words, the arts is one of the bright spots in Mr. Trump’s otherwise dour sense of the trade imbalance.

His response when asked about this? “The free market will inform us on what enterprises will flourish and which ones will fail.”

In other words: “Drop dead. I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other about the arts.”

Will federal money for the arts, therefore, dry up out of spite for a community that eschews him?

Will our children grow up without the influences that can help form the next Rothko or Maya Angelou, the new Beyonce or Misty Copeland?

Will we not have a Poet Laureate to raise appreciation for the creation and reading of poetry for the next four years? Eight years?

Will there be no Presidential Honors given for lifetime contributions to American Culture?

And if we lose that particular basket of inspirationals, will we gain a basket of aspirationals whose cultural phenoms consist of reality show stars and those famous for being famous?

And speaking of famous for being famous, in case you’re interested, we haven’t heard from the Kardashians yet as to whether they will attend the inauguration.

Although let’s be honest, they’d show up to a door opening.




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5 thoughts on “The Arts: The Rockettes Thrust A Mighty Kick Into Trump’s Butt”

  1. I bow to that courageous Rockette who spoke up and caused enough of a stir to make it possible for others to take a stand, too, without losing their livelihoods.

    We need more people like her!

  2. He wants real people as entertainers, and we want a real person in the White House—not just someone who makes a SHOW of reality. (You don’t always get what you want.)

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