It’s been a manic week at work, so tonight’s activity gave me the chance to blow off some steam.
There were lots of new things involved: A trip to Harlem, a visit to the famed Apollo Theater and most importantly my first experience of openly – and very overtly – booing (and meaning it).
I headed to the theatre, which is on West 125 Street, with John et al. to see Amateur Night – a variety evening where the audience cheers or boos for each act. It launched the careers of the Jackson 5, Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Ross, among many, many others. The performer with the loudest cheers wins and they go on to the next round, eventually getting the chance to take home $10,000 if they’re good enough.
The thing was – most of these guys weren’t.
The first round was made up of four kids (aged 11 to 15) who were great – and ridiculously brave for getting up so confidently in an auditorium full of rowdy grown ups.
But they set the bar a little too high for the adults, who were singers, rappers and drummers. A couple of acts were hard to hear over the boos – and one even got kicked off. At first I was like ‘Nooo, be kind, they’re so braaave’. But after hearing plenty of ‘Off! Off! Off!’s from John, I was soon in the spirit and unleashed my worst. Especially as some – particularly the rappers – were awful.
This was a great night out – it didn’t run too late and yet provided tons of entertainment. The audience participation also made for a relaxed atmosphere, and there was a bar to get us through the direst acts.
Obviously we were all cowards for sitting there yelling but the performers (mostly) took it in their strides. And afterwards we made ourselves feel better by telling them how great they’d been.