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Art Basel Diary – Mr. Steve Martin

I am a huge fan of Steve Martin. I could tell stories of how I used to memorize his records and perform them for my family and friends, but my family is more than happy to relate those stories in an effort to embarass me. So I have to admit that this was the first time I ‘double-clutched’ taking a photo of a celebrity.

Actor, comedian, author, playwright and musician, Steve Martin

Mr. Steve Martin was in Miami to do a reading of his new book “An Object of Beauty”, which deals with the New York art world. He is an avid art collector and stopped by Art Basel to check out the fair. It was only after I took this picture that I learned (thanks to my loving and ever ‘news aware’ fiance, Caroline) about what happened at the 92nd Street Y.

If you have not heard what happened, Martin was giving an interview about his new book at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan and was stopped midway through when a note was handed to the interviewer asking that the conversation be directed more towards Mr. Martin’s film career. This was because of complaints emailed DURING the interview. The Y later issued a refund to ticket holders saying the interview did not live up to their “standard of excellence.” You can read more about it from The New York Times or read the ongoing commentary on The Huffington Post. Better writers than I have already tackled the subject but I feel I must take a moment to tell you what this means to me, both as a fan and an artist.

People actually took the time to email and complain during the interview that Steve Martin was not being funny enough. They were bored. To me, this is the equivalent of yelling “Freebird” in the middle of the Metropolitan Opera. If you have the time to email in a complaint, you obviously are not paying attention. And so what if it was boring? Does Steve Martin always have to be funny? The man is not only a comedian and actor, but a writer (I still have my dog-eared, paperback copy of “Cruel Shoes” at home, among his other works) and musician. I would not go to one of his banjo concerts and expect a stand up routine. I certainly would not send an email to complain mid way through the performance. Perhaps all most people expect of celebrities is a recitation of ‘the hits’ that they are comfortable with and when they are taken outside of their comfort zone and forced to learn something new, they back away…scared, and feeling like they have been denied what they were entitled to. Personally, I would prefer more ‘well rounded’ celebrities like Mr. Steve Martin.

And now I will step off my soapbox.

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