“Shut up and make something.” — Danielle Morrill
I went to the Apollo Theater last night for Amateur Night. I went to watch, not perform. That’s probably for the best.
I have personally stood on some amazing stages, but I’ll never be on anything like the Apollo. For performers there, it’s just you, and this decades-old theater, and a crowd ready to boo you at the first missed note.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Apollo, read that sentence again: Bad performers really do get booed off stage. (They even bring out a guy called “The Executioner” to escort you off.)
But the Apollo is kind of brilliant in that way. Most places, if you’re on stage and you suck, people stay quiet. They clap politely when your performance is done.
At the Apollo? Hell no. If you’re bad, you’re getting booed off stage. You know immediately whether or not what you’re doing is working.
And that’s brilliant. That’s how all our work should be.
Do work. Put it out there. See what people say.
Then do more. And more. Keep putting it out there. Keep inviting reactions.
See what sticks. Learn what doesn’t.
Yes, it will suck sometimes. It will hurt.
But nothing really matters until you get on stage.
That photo at top is of the Apollo Theater, and I took it.