Let's look at the factors: the economy sucks. Many folks don't have extra money to throw at good causes. Those who do are freaked out by the election. This election is the most expensive ever. Four billion dollars, more than a quarter of that spent in the presidential campiagn. So donations to non-profits are down. This means that many worthy organizations, like say, in the arts are in trouble.
The arts are important. Feeding hungry people, saving the rainforest and a bunch fo other causes are importnat too, maybe more important. But we as a people need a culture. We need music. We need the arts. Fudning the arts is vital to us as a cosiety. And arts funding has been slashed by government. California is not finding the arts right now.
what this means is that worthy organizations like Other Minds are having a massive cash shortage. Other Minds, which I am on the board of, has had to take out an amergency loan. Cash flow is going to recover late in the year, but in the mean time, they need some help.
Giving money to chartiable organizations is tax deductable. This means that if you're paying income taxes, the money you give to, say, Other Minds, counts towrds your taxes, so you get money back after you file your taxes. You're going to pay the tax money anyway, but if you give it to a non-profit, you get to decide how your tax money gets spent. Instead of spending it on bombs, no bid contracts for Haliburton and corporate give-aways, you can send your tax money to the arts.
If you want to donate, there is a secure, on-line form that you can use. This money is tax deductable and they will send you a reciept. You can just give a little if you can give a little. If you don't have money to give away, but have a budget to buy stuff, you can also order a CD. I'm fond of Antheil Plays Antheil which features a recording of "Ballet Mechanique" and I also dig Amy X Neuburg's new record Residue.
If you do decide to donate, you can get free stuff (this makes your gift less deductible) and a good feeling of smugness. Even if you don't give money, you can get free stuff from Other Minds, like their on line radio station.
I'm listening to the American Maveriks PBS series on the web right now. And one thing they're talking about is forging an American musical identity. Are we different from Europe or should we (musically) just follow where Europe goes? Is an American music a worthwhile goal? I think it is. I think it's one real strength of the US. It's something to be patriotic about. All of these issues of creating an American Music are doubly so for California Composers. New Yorkers whine about being the in the shadow of Europe. California is culturally dominated by New York and by Europe. Our composers are not taken seriously. If we're so great, why aren't we in New York? Then New Yorkers want to know, and then, if we're so great, why aren't we in Europe? Certain composers, like Aaron Copland have created an American Music and hae helped fight this tendency. These composers, like John Cage, Lou Harrison, etc had the help of organizations designed to promote their music. Other Minds is one such organization. Other Minds helps define an American Music and also a West Coast Music. Unbeleivably, many east coasters still diss Lou Harrison for beign too tonal and too Californian and unorthodox. For serious. We need Other Minds to combat this. Other Minds raises the prestige of West Coast Music and of American Music. If you think there's something to love about art music in the Us or in California, then there's something to love about Other Minds.