The Rockettes: A Mighty Kick Into Trump’s Butt

IF he was Henry VIII, Donald Trump 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.

Thus far, these performances from three real peoplehave 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.

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 Rockettes aren’t united in movement in regard to their feelings about Mr. Trump. They’d rather not perform for the newly elected President.

The union for the performers, The American Guild of Variety Artists, state that individual Rockette’s are forbidden to boycott the event. They’d 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 the public forced the group’s management to announce 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 talents of 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.

10 thoughts on “The Rockettes: A Mighty Kick Into Trump’s Butt

  1. Take a look at his Trump Tower apartment. Maybe it’s better that he doesn’t involve himself in the arts. I don’t think the Rockettes are being forced anymore. I loved them too, but I wouldn’t call them the epitome of high art in dance.

  2. Ha, ha. It’s true. This is one case where I wouldn’t mind if he left this category to Ivanka. True: they aren’t high art, but it’s always some Black Swan thing like this that causes the eruption.

  3. Terrific!

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Good one One of the activities planned by my G’ parents and aunt when I was in NY was a trip to RCMH to see the Rockettes. I wanted to be one. ..if only I could dance


  5. Constance Parrott December 23, 2016 — 4:28 pm

    Ooh, Howard! I suspect if Trump were Henry VIII, he’d have their heads cut off. Thanks for tickling my inner Christmas Grinch with a little Trump bashing. A new holiday custom for the next four years? It’s going to be a LONNNG four years. In the meantime, I feel the same delicious guilt reading your blogs, as I used to when I stole my brother’s copies of MAD Magazine. Write on, Howard! Keep me sane for the duration of Orangegate. Gotta run! The Trump fan who sleeps next to me is calling for his dinner…I know, strange bedfellows, but what am I to do? Those first revenge impulses I had following the election were clearly illegal. I’m talking hubby revenge, mind you. Happy holidays and a Happy New Year to you, Howard. You have a very busy four years ahead. 😉

  6. I have a response but can’t print it here.

  7. Thanks, Gail. Hope you’re having a good holiday.

  8. Actually, I go along with Rockettes management on the issue of all showing up for a performance. It’s a job. I can’t tell my manager what I’ll do, or won’t do. Well, I can, but then I might not have a job anymore.
    Since Inaugural Balls include a lot of dancing, though, I’d really like to see folks dancing to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They’re songs are more along the lines of a funeral dirge, than as dance music.

  9. That’s an interesting take on it. Not sure if this is technically part of their normal job. But everyone should probably have some choices in these matters if their philosophy is so counter to what they are being asked to do. I remember watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir when I was a kid. It wasn’t my thing then and it isn’t now. I don’t think I’ll be able to watch the inauguration anyway.

  10. Just saw this, Connie. Thanks for the comments!

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