What happens when you put a total showman, part ham, part Mr. Entertainer, and all Barihunk, on stage? Well, when it comes to Jonathan Estabrooks, you just don’t know until the show begins. And, even then you may be in for a shock, because he has such a sense of humor, sense of fun, and a sense of showmanship that is terribly rare, and not just in opera. You just sit back and enjoy the show, and don’t forget to purchase the commemorative Barihunk Calendar on the way out! (They’re sold out for 2013)!
About fifteen years ago, The Pink Flamingo met with one of the venerable western writers, Ben Traywick. Over the years, writers have come and gone, but Ben has been there, practically forever, in Tombstone at Red Marie’s Bookstore, where he has a residence on the second floor. He is a WWII vet and a survivor. You can learn a lot from a survivor. I did.
Next to Larry McMurtry, and several venerable fiction writers, Ben Traywick is also one of the most financially successful writers in the field. He told me his secret. He does it on his own. He was an Indy Writer, before people even knew what Indy Writers were. In the writing game, you can sell your book – if you are lucky. You get a stipend, if you are lucky. Oh, you get prestige, distribution, and reviews, but that’s about it, if you are in my chosen field.
I soon discovered that 90% of all non-fiction published in the wild west genre is Indy. (Indy is a euphemism for self-published. It sounds better.) Long story short, Ben almost literally wrote the book on the subject. It takes, according to him, 4 books in order to successful market. He’s right. He was also right in the fact that I’ve realized more money from two of my non-fiction books about Tombstone than the dudes with the big contracts. He was at least 25 years ahead of his time.
Now, something exciting is on the brink of occurring in the operatic world. One of The Pink Flamingo’s fave baritones, Jonathan Estabrooks is raising money to cut a CD. It’s a cool idea, allowing the opera fanatic and baritone junkie to participate in a little artistic history. If you aren’t familiar with the Canadian’s work, let’s put it this way – he’s more than just a Barihunk. Yes, he was one of the featured pin-ups in the 2013 Barihunk (tasteful) Calender. He’s more than just a Barihunk, he’s a showman – a real showman, something very rare these days. The Pink Flamingo would like to go on record that the man belongs on stage, headlining in Vegas. Yes, he’s that good!
THIS is a real showman!
Once upon a time, talent like this would not be allowed into opera because of the way the ‘sport’ was managed and regulated, especially during the repressive era of Rudolph Bing. Instead, a talent like this would have his own traveling show, and end up on television, on Saturday night, with a star-studded variety show of his own.
Unfortunately, those days are long over – not the repressive years of Bing, but the fact that truly good entertainers no longer have a venue on television. That’s a shame, because Estabrooks is a throw-back to the era of Frank, Bing, Andy and Perry.
Yes – he’s that good.
And, this Barihunk really does do opera, quite well, BTW. Anyone who knows The Pink Flamingo, knows that I am a total and absolute bitch when it comes to my music and my opera. I’m such a total snot I don’t bother going to hear many people, or even attending many productions. Like a cousin once told me, why waste your money when you have recordings of the greats.
I would go out of my way to see this particular Barihunk.
The Pink Flamingo is quite positive that the Barihunk in question will not mind a little exploitation if it helps raise money for his CD! (And, yes, this is all in good fun). We’re talking about a nice guy, friendly, with a great sense of humor. He needs a break!
So, now it’s time for the money pitch, right? That’s what they do on PBS to raise money. The great thing about this project, is that everything is planned and budgeted. It’s not like donating money to some bawling TV preacher with mascara running, or some dorky dope sobbing as he writes dribble on his chalk board. You will know where every cent is going in this project.
That’s cool. It’s honest. I don’t know about you, but The Pink Flamingo likes honest even more than I like my Barihunks!
If you’re a little concerned about an artist taking charge of his own CD including the distribution, The Pink Flamingo thinks it is a wonderful idea. Like the Indy writer, I suspect this is a an idea whose time is coming, quickly. Gone are the days when someone like your humble scribbler would send out a million letters to a publisher and be rejected a million and one times. That’s over. We’re now controlling our future.
The Pink Flamingo has been watching things around the opera world. It looks like there are a few courageous souls who are ready to venture out and take control of their lives. When this happens, let’s face it, we the Baritone Junkies of the world are the ones who are going to benefit most.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this project! I suspect this is going to be the future for opera. If it is, it may take a little time, but Estabrooks could be the Ben Traywick of opera, breaking new ground, doing it himself. And, yes, like doing it yourself with a book, there are risks. My first book went to the publisher without the corrected galley proofs being exchanged for the original manuscript. That also happens to a major publisher and author, so I didn’t sweat it. Once you learn where the traps are, you don’t make that mistake again.
It’s not going to be easy for him, but my gosh I’m excited. By attempting to re-invent the wheel, we’re watching what I hope is a pathfinder paving the way for others. The truly important part of doing it yourself is YOU retain the rights to your work. This day and age, when everything is going digital, this is terribly important.
We’re watching the beginning of really incredible new operatic stars. If they are truly the future of opera, then, instead of the end being neigh as some snobs suggest, the genre is just getting stared, heading in a brave new direction. Yes, The Pink Flamingo is gushing, but I know what happens when you decide to take control of your own career. No, it isn’t easy, trust me. I think it takes longer, but, and this is the most important part – you own it.
Way to go!
NOTE: No baritones were harmed in the creation of this post. There may be some gratuitous exploitation, but it is for a good cause.