Anjali and I had to quit our Knitting Factory gig in New York this week. It was not something we wanted to do, but we felt like we had little choice. When we first agreed to do the night, one of my main concerns was how to successfully promote the night from three thousand miles away. We were told that the club would take care of all the posters and flyers. Great. Anjali and I are frustrated with how crazy busy we are all the time, and we were very happy to have someone else take on the work of designing and printing flyers and posters. We were already going to be in NYC a few weeks before our first show, so that would actually give us the opportunity to distribute some posters and flyers ourselves while we were there.
The only holdup was that the club wanted a name for the night and a tagline, which we had some difficulty in deciding on. Really we just wanted to be Anjali and The Kid, to help get our names out there in NYC. We didn’t finalize our tagline and promotional verbiage until the beginning of our week-long stay in NYC. As much as we would have loved to have flyered all the record stores and Indian stores that week, I understand that the flyer designer couldn’t necessarily get something designed, and the club get it printed, in time for us to flyer that week. Unfortunately, when we returned a week later for our gig, there was no sign that anyone else had flyered either. In fact, there was no evidence that any flyers had even been designed or printed.
The night of our first gig there were no flyers or posters for our night in the club itself, even though there were posters covering the walls for every other show at the venue. Nor were there any flyers waiting for us to hand out to promote our next night. We had asked that there be flyers to hand out to people that came to our show, and for us to distribute while we were in town. No dice. We gave out our Portland flyers to the enthusiastic people that attended instead. Every attendee told us that they learned of the show through our own electronic promotional efforts. The general manager of the club met with us that night and told us that he was committed to making our night a success, and that the club would “flyer the shit” out of NYC, the Indian community, and various club nights. As much as there had seemingly been no promotion for our first night, we were cautiously optimistic that things were going to get a lot better.
The week before our next appearance at the club, we were emailed a digital image of the flyer for our August show. This was more promising than our first month, since we had evidence that a flyer had actually been designed. We hoped that in the few days left until our show, that the image would be printed and distributed to advertise our appearance. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the club, we once again found not a single copy of the poster anywhere in the club. Neither did we see any flyers, except for ones our friend Pooja (bless her heart) printed out from the digital flyer image to help us promote. Neither were there any flyers for our next scheduled appearance at the club, that we could have handed out to the attendees, and used to flyer NYC ourselves while we were shopping at Indian businesses and record shops that weekend. Once again, everyone in attendance at our night was there because of our own electronic promotional efforts.
I already had a wedding gig booked a year in advance, so our September appearance at the club was going to be Anjali by herself. She made several email inquiries about whether there would be flyers or posters. At one point she was assured that posters had been sent out, however Anjali was never sent an image, and had no idea what these alleged posters might look like. When she arrived for her gig, she once again saw no sign of a poster or flyer anywhere in the club. Neither were there any flyers available to promote our next appearance.
Every time we played the Knitting Factory, the people in attendance were so enthusiastic that they wanted to help us flyer and promote the night. Unfortunately we never received a single flyer to promote the night, despite promises to the contrary. Not only could Anjali and I have been promoting while we were in the city four separate times, but we actually had multiple individuals who wanted to help, if only they had the materials to do so. So why didn’t we print our own flyers? Because every time we were assured that there would be flyers, and we were apparently far too trusting that this would actually happen.
Anjali and I have often learned the hard way that the only way to assure that something will be done right is to do it yourself. We have handled the vast majority of our promotions ourselves over the last seven years. When the club told us that they would do all the flyering, Anjali and I wondered if we should make our own flyers anyway. If it wasn’t for how crunched we are for time in our lives, we would have. As it was, we believed the promises that flyers would be designed and distributed for our parties. Maybe they were. Maybe the streets and stores of NYC were filled with flyers and posters, and there just never happened to be a single one at the club, or at any of the record stores or Indian stores that we frequented on our trips. Maybe. We never saw any physical evidence, and only ever saw a digital design (that was allegedly to be printed) for one of the nights. If the club was doing their best to promote the night, then their efforts were entirely ineffectual, since the only people who attended our shows came because of our own online promotions. Since all the signs pointed to a complete lack of promotional support from the club, we had little choice but to cancel our monthly, since our electronic promotional efforts from three thousand miles away were not enough to make the night an immediate success.
Thank you to everyone who came out and danced and was so enthusiastic about our New York appearances. We have not given up on New York, but are looking for a more appropriate and supportive venue in the future.