by Michael Schultz on May 18, 2013
The paper had a feature called “The Insider”. It’s an arts feature that takes you behind the scenes revealing the lives of entertainers. ( THE GLOBE AND MAIL, May 18, 2013, M3 – Brad Wheeler)
In this one, headlined ‘We’re the island of misfit toys’, Toronto’s Rebecca Kohler discusses heckling with Brad Wheeler.
Kohler, a comedian, talks about the depressing environment of the casino and performing there. People end up losing money and then come to her show. Tough crowd I guess. When asked if these casino crowds heckle Rebecca had the following to say:
“The audience tends to be raucous. I’m not sure I’m supposed to talk about this, but I will. Comedians are given specific instructions by the casino in Niagara Falls to not talk back to hecklers. Because if we upset the hecklers, they might leave and not gamble anymore.”
Obviously this handcuffs the entertainer – slightly unfair in my estimation. Another good reason not to like casinos. Apparently comedians have lost their gig by not complying with casino staff.
Then the issue of whether a female comedian gets heckled more than a male comedian came up. She admits that females heckling females can create tension. As Kohler says it becomes ‘kind of a cat fight.’
Here’s a look at Rebecca Kohler at work on Comedy Now:
She and Nile Seguin are performing at the LOT Stand-Up Comedy Club – a new place in TO – May 23rd. I think it’ll be night of fun and I hope she puts any hecklers on notice.
by Michael Schultz on May 17, 2013
My book is now available online both as an eBook and now as a paperback.
You can click the book cover to the right of the site to order! Thanks. Hope you enjoy it.
by Michael Schultz on May 17, 2013
I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of graffiti. Much like tattoos, graffiti doesn’t do much for me. I’ve seen our culture ‘hand the keys over to the inmates.’ Speaking out has a place. A chalkboard at the urinal of your favourite restaurant is one thing, the side of a building is another in a peaceful community.
In Canada, the post office decided to decorate our red mailboxes by covering them with postal code designs. In effect, I think the strategy was to fight graffiti vandals by taking ‘their’ space. It may not be blowing up a mailbox like you are in the FLQ but marking up a mailbox with spray paint used to be not just anti-social but illegal. Mailboxes have been the regular target of graffiti artists in Canada.
I’d be the first to admit that graffiti is a) communication and b) a form of art. I just don’t think this form of expression should be allowed to go unbridled wherever the artist deems acceptable.
So it is that the Egyptian Ministry of Culture has set up special workshops in Cairo to teach newcomers how to spray graffiti and murals on the city’s streets. Of course the ‘established artists’ believe this defeats the original rebellious intent of graffiti.
So perhaps the one exception that should allow graffiti is when a corrupt government needs to be overthrown . The heckling nature of artistic images and messages by revolutionaries seems to celebrate and communicate to the people and fuel the movement . Graffiti in this case is like the political cartoon in the newspaper that says what the people are thinking. It’s the writing on the wall.
In Egypt, as you can see, a large number of the murals are dedicated to those who have fallen during the revolution.
When order is restored you would think that graffiti’s purpose might end. Humans have, as we know, been expressing themselves on surfaces for years. Witness cave art in France from thousands of years ago:
I guess it all depends on your message and what you have to say to the world.
by Michael Schultz on May 16, 2013
Actor/singer Ricky Nelson died in a plane crash while touring on December 31st, 1985 in Texas. I remember it well. I was with my family in Naples, Florida and about to enjoy New Year’s Eve when it happened. I can still remember pulling the newspaper from the box that morning and seeing the headlines. I was saddened.
I was in Florida last Saturday, May 11th, almost 30 years later and took in a show called “Ricky Nelson Remembered.” It features his two twin sons Matthew and Gunnar. They played a nice place called the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts near Jacksonville. They are very musically accomplished and did a great job bringing their dad’s music and times to life that evening. A show that was only supposed to last 3 months is now in its 2nd year and seemingly going strong. They played all the old songs – and that’s why they came.
Flashback to the late 60s and early 70s. Nelson had initiated a country rock group called the Stone Canyon Band. I had their first vinyl album being a fan of the genre. Wish I still had it. I had enjoyed his previous 1950′s – early 60s material but was intrigued at Ricky’s new direction as we all went through the late 60s together.
But it was in 1971 at Madison Square Gardens where he was asked to perform at a rock and roll revival concert that he was charged to write one of his best known tunes – Garden Party. Nelson was booed and heckled by fans who wanted to hear his old stuff not the more country honk material he was laying out that October evening. Nelson left the stage. He got his revenge with a fabulous song that hit the charts in 1972. Garden Party was a response to the havoc he faced that night. The famous line from the song is …. “You see you can’t please everyone…so you got to please yourself.” Who knew that “Mr. Hughes” was George Harrison?
Perhaps this is proof that some good comes out of adversity – without ‘the grit’ there is no ‘pearl’. Here is Ricky playing it:
Hats off to his sons for keeping the music alive and vibrant. It was a great show and they both did a dutiful job of meeting fans after the show for autographs and stories. The show was well attended mostly by Boomers who were graceful, adoring and attentive. No boos on this night thankfully.
Here’s a look at the Nelson boys ( and even their sister) doing it right:
If you’re living in the Toronto/Buffalo area, Ricky Nelson Remembered is headed to Niagara Falls, Ontario on October 24th- 30th. Here’s the link:
by Michael Schultz on May 13, 2013
We took in the final round of the TPC at Sawgrass yesterday. Tiger prevailed. Sergio faltered with a 7 on the Par 3 17th. The last time I was here was 2010. Tiger actually packed it in on the front nine of the final round and his life was to turn upside down with all his shenanigans exposed. A fan who heckled Tiger that year on the 11th hole actually got taken down by a cop’s taser gun. Security has definitely been ramped up since I last attended.
As Tiger teed off from the first yesterday, a fan yelled; “Sergio who?” Apparently the two golfers aren’t best of buddies. They sound guy actually put an extra muffler on the pickup to handle the louder reception for Tiger.
The story earlier had been controversy over Fiji’s Vijay Singh’s use of deer antler spray. Supposedly it has an insulin-like growth factor that he was looking for. But it was also on the tour’s list of banned substances. The PGA was going to penalize Singh. Then Singh was going to sue the PGA. It all got pretty silly. Vijay felt he was being treated unfairly and that his reputation had been tarnished. In January 2013, Singh had admitted in Sports Illustrated that he used the deer antler spray to change things in his body.
At the TPC this past week, one guy wore fake antlers on the first tee. On the third hole apparently someone said “stay away from the spray.” Here’s a commentary from a place called Rant Sports:
People were very well-behaved at the TPC….big crowds, great golf and challenging holes. One poor fan got hit on his back by a drive off 18 by Freddie Jacobson from Sweden. Hope he’s OK.
But golfers do get heckled. Here’s a spot with Vijay enduring a loud fan around 2008:
by Michael Schultz on May 11, 2013
You meet the nicest people at the ballpark. We took in a AA game in Jacksonville, Florida recently….the Suns vs. Pensacola’s Wahoos. 3-1 for the Suns, a Marlin’s farm team.
I met a gent and fellow writer near the Suns dugout. Bill Poje grew up in Detroit and in his younger days cheered on the Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings and Lions. Bill has an interesting book out called PAINLESS….bit of a thriller I’ll have to check out. You can see it at:
We exchanged cards and talked about sports and self-publishing for a bit in the stands. He inspired me to research a blast from the past. Bill wrote me and said that the worst heckling of any baseball player he’d ever seen at Tiger Stadium was Gorman Thomas. While playing centre field “the fans had no problem letting Gorman know for 9 innings that he was ( among other things) an ‘ugly MF’ “. Apparently that was the kindest thing Gorman would hear for 9 innings. Bill said; “It was brutal”.
I have a few things in common with Thomas – I’ve been called a few things in my day. I bat right and we were both born in December of 1950.
‘Stormin Gorman’ was no slouch in the game. He hit 32 homers for the Brewers in 1978. He’s even in the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame (2003) even though he’s from South Carolina.
Here’s the scoop on Thomas in a recent article giving a ‘where are they now’ slant:
He’s still active in baseball and as you can see from the picture, he’s really not ugly at all. Fans can be brutal.
Take a look at what Thomas endured at Yankee Stadium…. a strike out of rather different proportions:
Couldn’t really find any evidence of heckling Thomas in the outfield but I’ll take Bill Poje’s word for it. Thanks Bill!
by Michael Schultz on May 7, 2013
There’s a lot of talk about 42 – the film about Jackie Robinson. Can’t wait to see it.
While driving to Florida recently we listened to the story of one of his teammates, Ralph Branca. Branca was an All-Star pitcher for the Dodgers. His life story is beautifully portrayed in A MOMENT IN TIME. We listened to the audiobook, a great way to get in a trance on the southbound haul from Canada.
We’re just at the moment that the New York Giants make a comeback to win the NL pennant on October 3rd, 1951 at the Polo Grounds. Of course the punctuation is Ralph serving up a home run pitch to Giant’s Bobby Thomson. It became known ever after as the ‘shot heard Round the World.’
That’s the baseball story. But as I learned in Branca’s book, Brooklyn had their own 10th player in one Hilda Chester. She was the ‘queen heckler’ supporting the Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Hilda even got a lifetime pass to the stadium for her support. Here’s a final testament to her dedication to the Dodgers:
As you can see from the picture in the article, she was a true ‘jeer leader’. Hilda was their #1 fan with cowbell in hand and ‘orchestra leader’ in the stands. I couldn’t find anything about Hilda on You Tube. But I did hear about her listening to Ralph Branca’s memoirs. Hilda was always trying to get the attention of the players. One day she convinced Branca to deliver a note to manager Leo Durocher. Without opening it, he passed it to Leo. Leo opened and read it and proceeded to change pitchers. The Dodgers lost. When Branca mentioned that the note was from Hilda he just about lost it. Durocher thought the note was a directive from owner Branch Rickey.
I doubt that this would happen today. In some ways the crowd is more docile today. Characters like heckling Hilda may be a thing of the past!
They don’t make them like Hilda anymore. As she would say, “Eacha heart out, ya bum”.
by Michael Schultz on May 6, 2013
Humans like to classify. We classify…we understand. Writer Megh Wright presents eight different types of hecklers in the following article at a site called “Splitsider”. You’ll find a variety of excellent clips known and not so known entertainers dealing with hecklers:
One thing is clear. Hecklers are fueled by alcohol, bravado, self-righteousness. At the same time, entertainers can respond angrily and with belligerence. If you throw something towards the stage don’t expect the entertainer to take it. Be prepared to take the wrath of the entertainer…it’s their show – not yours – and they may give it to you like ‘the teacher from hell.’ Corporal punishment may not exist at school but watch out in the dark confines of the audience!
Me ? I’m a bit of a voyeur. I liked to watch and listen to the hecklers and witness how they’re dealt with. In fact, you can sit back and analyze the crowd according to heckling activity at the show. “There….did you hear that? That was a ‘Corrector’ – someone who likes to set the performer straight….and that one? That was an ‘Instigator’ …..they like to get things rolling…..oh, and listen to that guy up by the stage….he’s definitely three sheets to the wind.”.
Better to watch the action than to be part of it.
by Michael Schultz on May 2, 2013
I wrote about the incident in Toronto a while back where Yankee security or ‘goon squad’ extracted a few heckling Toronto Blue Jays fans. That raised interest throughout the MLB asking the question, ‘ when is heckling not OK?’. In my book, I even take a look at policy from park to park.
For most Americans, heckling is taken as an established right – from the time the tea was dumped in Boston harbour and hurling insults at the British.. But it appears that the kid in grade five who used to make rude gestures while the teacher wrote on the board is now sitting near you at the ballpark. Here’s an example in Chicago which will show you what rude gestures will get you.
Watch the guy and then watch the security guys appear. Other infractions at the park that will get you removed might be the signs you hold up or even the shirt (message) you wear. Bottom-line, most parks go by the standard that it’s a family show…not a grandstand for individuals who feel they have carte blanche to speak their mind or act as they please.
I think we may see more restraint down at the park. Hecklers beware. When the cheer turns to a jeer and then turns to an obscenity….as the umpire says; “you’re outta here!”
by Michael Schultz on April 30, 2013
Well, it’s playoff time and the Toronto Maple Leafs are there for the first time in nine years. It’s been more than a drought.
Toronto plays Boston.
The Leafs last won a Stanley Cup in 1967 – May 1967….4-2 Toronto over Montreal….Sawchuk in net…..at home in Maple Leaf Gardens. I was there. I was just seventeen – if you know what I mean.
No doubt there will be some heckling in the playoffs after an abbreviated 1/2 season.
In a recent article, an artist gave fans a few points on how to behave in the stands. Let’s take a look shall we? This piece is called Playoff Protocols and is illustrated by Steve Murray of the National Post.
Good luck Leafs. Here’s hoping. Be sure to read this if you’re going to the game: