The Truth About Rejection…Phoebe Legere

12 Aug

The fourth assessment of rejection is offered by celebrated New York artist and musician Phoebe Legere, taking the form of an unexpected parable. 

Ms. Legere has had a critically acclaimed career which has spanned decades and art mediums (producing a diverse resume of performance which includes everything from Carnegie Hall to a staring role in the immensely successful Toxic Avenger II and Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation of Toxie). 

Ms. Legere’s response reminds me of a performance art piece meant for the New York stage which remains so dear to her.                  

Phoebe Legere:

 I once saw two drunks on the Bowery. The sidewalk was covered with p#ss. Their ragged, wretched clothes were rank with the odor of despair, disaster and pain.  Drunk #1 had a crude tattoo that said, “Human Sewage.” on his arm. He was crying.  Drunk #2 was slightly older. Maybe 30. Drunk #2, his skin a mass of bedbug bites, lice and bruises, was holding his friend like a baby. #2, a dark wretch, was so gentle, so like a mother in his tender solicitude, that I had to stop to listen.
he said, rocking him back and forth,
“Bobby…forget about how many record companies rejected your songs, the songs of your heart, the songs of your soul. Just forget about it. They are imbeciles, philistines, bean-counters. They are not music lovers as we are! (Bobby cried louder and blew his nose.)
“They are not refined…they have no stomach for the spirtual values of art. Bobby… (he slapped him on the back)
“you have God inside of you. You are the core, the absolute center of the Universe. Music Corporations, Publishing Houses, Galleries, Museums, Managers and Agents are phantoms, dreams, shadows, with no substance whatsoever.” Bobby looked up.

“What Bobby? Do you want to be famous? You want to be a celebrity? Do you want to tour relentlessly, playing the same six songs, staying in hotels, f—-ing strange women, do you want to end up a burned out, drug addicted slave to The Dark Corporation? No Bobby.”

Drunk #2 sat up straight and stuck out his chin. “Here, on the street, we have found love and creativity and true freedom. Rejection is protection Bobby.”  Bobby looked up at his friend and as he took a sip of wine he smiled through his tears.


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