This evening, Dar Williams did a free mini-show at Easy Street Records on Queen Anne. It’s a bummer that she didn’t play a full show this time around. Seeing a few songs is better than seeing none, but a full-length Dar show is a thing of beauty.
She played a few songs from her new album, "The Beauty of the Rain" ("Farewell to the Old Me," "Fishing in the Morning," "I Saw a Bird Fly Away" and "The One Who Knows") and one of her older ones ("Christians and the Pagans"). Then she came out and did "February" as an encore. It as a very nice set.
There were a lot of people there. Quite a few more than I’d expected. I’d estimate the turnout at about 200, but I’m notoriously inept at judging crowd size. Sadly, due to the layout of the space (merchandise racks everywhere) and the number of people who got there before us, we didn’t get to be very close. That, coupled with lighting too low for available light shooting and the anemic flash on my digital camera, means that I didn’t get any usable pictures of Dar at all. I could have brought a film camera with fast film or an external flash, but I didn’t really feel like lugging that stuff around. And I was expecting to be a lot closer. I learned my lesson about getting to a free Dar appearance late. I’ve been to enough Dar shows that I really should have known better.
Erin at Yale brings up some interesting issues around how labor disputes affect people on the fringes of the dispute. Graduate students at Yale are preparing to strike, and in the process, they’re dragging every undergraduate into the debate.
Regardless of where I stand on a given issue, I usually think that actions with massive repercussions for uninvolved parties are a bad tactic. For example, I almost always side with teachers when they are in negotations. I fully believe that teachers in this country are underpaid and are very often forced to work in very bad conditions. I strongly support any effort to correct these problems. But I generally disagree with teacher strikes because they force so many innocent parties to be involved against their will. It’s not the students’ fault that teachers are underpaid. It’s not the parents’ fault if the contact isn’t fair. Yet these are the very people who are most damaged when teachers go on strike.
This is a difficult subject. On one hand, it’s unfair to inconvenience the students because of problems that are out of their control (and very often out of their realm of understanding as well). On the other hand, drastic measures are sometimes needed to effect change. If there’s a simple binary choice between having the workers be unfairly treated and having innocent bystanders drawn into the debate beause of a strike, which would I choose? I just can’t answer that question…