S P O N S OR S H I P:
AS BOTH THE PHENOMENA - AND MODUS VIVENDI ? 7
In re-worked fragments from Russian version of the post-promo poster,
(c) Boris A. Podkosov, 1997-2000)
Vitali D. Shalduga ... was the only sponsor of both Far-Eastern JAZZ-ON-AMUR '90 (JOA '90) festival in Khabarovsk - and of the forthcoming unprecedented (?) pan-USSR tour of British impro music duo SHAMS ...
Tall lean man, slightly over 45 or so, polite, quiet, and with the evident habit to power, he seemed one of the impersonations of the mid-level Soviet industrial/trade top-managers. (The definition of their psyche/types of personalities - when of the interest - lies beyond both the topic and my modest abilities though ...)
Meanwhile, it was maybe the mission for him to support arts - and he had displayed himself as rather the rare example of cultured industrial (wholesale supply/trade for industries) Soviet boss ... and the loyal community member back then already.
The text covers both enigma of his phenomena within phenomena of sponsorship itself - and within the context of a common jazz situation back then. He could hardly predict the funny fate of his funds surely... Some welcomed results of it and tricky, silly and self-ironic recollections of the events producer are enclosed. This time, it is the bed 1 for English version of the text here ...
(From "Jazz Situation ...")
The more so valuable for the fest was the sponsorship aid provided to the JOA'90 festival by the organization with the name that it is not so easy both to reproduce and to illustrate ... 2 - so I shall be calling it "Commercial Center" for short. There was our single - and maybe not too much intelligible and insistent - appeal only, and it was heard immediately and equally immediately (rather suddely ...) realized in amount of SR 15.000, the real life equivalent of - approximately! - at least US $ 25 to 40 thousand (as it seems now - one can hardly calculate).
It surely could not secure all the - jazz - people until their death point, when it was enough for the festival of course ...
After the headache of acquaintances and intercourses experiences to all other preceding sponsors this was the celestial semolina! ...
... to feed the available to us jazz with ... - that we were doing indeed.
... who aided jazz so invaluably back then, was the CEO of the "Commercial Center", Vitali Dm. Shalduga.
He had done it in the fast, voluntary, welcome manner, with absolutely no visible reasons to us - with no any requests / claims from his side. "Well we surely must aid" were his only words during all the affair.
Until now, I am not fully aware about his motivation - and so here is the attempt of analysis below.
What could he expect in return?
To be mentioned by (domestic) press as the related one to the festival? One can see it was not both the most cheap and the most rational way of publicity - and readers (who were brought up in the deficit type of economy where publicity was rather the kind of derision instead of a path to success) could hardly understand him ... (in his waiste expenditures ...). And well, the press was at least silly enough here to make an acceptable ad, picture, interview or so comparable to the reality and real meaning at least ...
To be mentioned in posters? The strife with a different trend of thought (or rather with a diversity as such - in any of its manifestations) in USSR dealed with posters as well. It had not supposed yet the chance for small and unformal public communities to release posters of its own and to write there all the things imaginable. The (mass) experience of graphic design (in USSR) was at least not quite enough (comparing to the West), and the access to polygraphy - limited enough (say just due to the historical / ideological weakness of the latter). (Everyone can say music communities were evaluated at absolutely the same severe basis as all of the rest ones - for were surely subversed to Western influences greatly, etc.)
So could these approaches be efficient in any way?
Recalling him from stage? Once more, it is (no more than) the "casting" to the limited in amount, non-pro (to his business) audience during extremely dubious - due to common top manager of a big enterprise point of view - concert conditions (and slogans) ... ("Hey you all, so let's all together thank our Lord, fate and the "Commercial Center of GlavSnab" in the face of the latter's CEO for the chance so kindly endowed for us: to show you all that jazz ..." - did (any)one expected to hear this from stage?)
State owned, both radio and TV, more or less able to mirror events, were generally ignorant to the music public initiatives - they were just disoriented in terms of "how to react to". Private media were not born yet ... ( - and anyway it have taken them at least seven-eight years since and the new generation of journalist to enter the field a bit in step here). And, the main thing, them were fully disoriented in terms of what is possible (read "permitted") to do and what is not - yet! ... The same was true for the press as well. So there is no wonder they all were not able to say their word of pro or contra.
One of the most amazing and ridiculous things of the situation (and of the socialist economy as its entailer per se first) is the enterpris of the sponsor needed no damned publicity at all !!! - instead: it was the monopolist and the object of (almost sacral) worship (as such) - from potential (industrial and wholesale) customers (i.e. the same state owned enterprises).
The (wholesale supply) enterprise had hardly needed any "pretty face" before the general "community" (of the city, territory etc) as well. First, it worked for professional consumers only. Then, "pretty face" was known to the educated natives of course - when was valid just within the source: books on "bourgeous management", no more ... And should I say the very term "community" does not sound so loud here in - distant regions of ... - Russia until now? and hardly existed back then?
So all our (silly ones - as a producer of jazz fest and jazz community -) potential services here and within this light seem at least ridiculous.
Owing to it, the variant of the inert mercy (or rather "alms") is not fully excluded - just due to the plain fact the enterprise was not - supposedly - legally able to use its (over...)profits fully to bonus its staff or the staff's social needs etc and just gave all the profits back to the State (i.e. Government). It had certainly lost nothing bringing a part of the (potentially vain ...) profits to someone else ...
The variant of the hidden promotion is not excluded as well - for the CEO to back up his renome within pretty narrow - when (pretty) magnitudable for him - social layer: top managers (CEOs etc ) corps (future industry+ owners, as we shall all see in the Russian economics history later ...).
... In any case, it is the pretty dangerous business: to donate funds in order to aid some funny crancks of whom it is not that evident what to awaite from! ... to invest into sounds 3 - in fact,
to waste money (for wind(s) 4) ...
... Well, indeed, the enterprise was - or seemed ? - so big and mighty, the amount of the donation was probably some speck of dust in the eye of an elephant for it back then ...
"Traditions of Russian Maecenate-ship" 5 ? In that conditions - the not too much well known and unlikely thing (though, look "mercy" /"alms").
"Love to jazz"? When one could know domestic (Communist Party, municipal, economy etc.) leaders of that years, it is pretty hard to suspect any of them in such a folly. (In the times being, i.e. 60-70ies, they say even Prime Minister Alexey Kossygin had not gone farthermore than - they say huge ... - collection of - mainstream - jazz ...)
"Love to music in general etc"? I don't think some of them leaders - as well as the sponsor himself - had (ever) indulged in the vices like that ...
Maybe realizing of the art (and all the dung it represents by itself - I am rather valid here ...) as the thing that was and is an ingredient - and probably natural - part of life due to be supported one day and by someone indeed ... ?
Some membership to music etc in the past?
The Donator's personality as such?
(As I can see him: the strong, calm, benevolent, steady one ...)
The list of the motivations and reasons is exhausted here ... - when could be continued until infinity though!
... Until now, it is ...
... "The Unanswered Question" P.S
The most likely, it was the combination of the factors taken together that had worked out - and in the extremely favorite proportion for jazz ...
I do not affirm there were no other potential sponsors around in exist back then on principle for I know for sure: they were. Yet, any potential should be realized yet - and it was already realized here in (a kind of, I may just suppose ...) classical Western non-wearisome for both sides and civilized (at least from the sponsor's side ...) mold ... - and one could only wonder if it all is no more than his personal - "plain" - modus vivendi ?
N O T E S:
1 "No Bed for Beatle John" ...
2 A bit more of dull economy/politics.
During USSR years, "GlavSnab" ("Major Supplier") was the kind of sole organization in charge of all the material resources available in USSR, with the branch(es) at every administrative territory (as large as say US "state"): no even spool of threads could be sold/bought before passing through its pan-USSR structures in this or that way, both material one and as the idea only, and without dealing with them. (Imagine something like that for your native Hamburg, London or New York or so ...). I.e., it possessed with the enormous (hidden...) economic (and related - in a country with the distibutive type of economy and the lack of consumer goods ...) power(s).
When the paths to "goods" were damn so ineffective pretty often, enterprises had being contrived to make (huge ...) extra-stocks of its own for a direct exchange (a type of - potentially huge - hidden market).
During Perestroyka, territorial "Commercial Centers" of "GlavSnab" were created to manage this hidden market - as a kind of the "new type", more mobile (and state owned, of course ...) structure. Before privatization, the rights for private activities, etc, "Commercial Centers" embodied a kind of material exchanges (of the Western world) - and have died as soon as the latter came in really during early 90ies. When before, they were really big, yet ...
(Well, material exchanges have died pretty soon as well in this Russia, and I'm not too much sure for stock exchanges - when currency ones are working ...)
3 "We called him "Banana" for short" (ROLLING STONES about familiar black magician in some early interview ...).
4 Not too much ones here were aware about the industries of sound in the world ...
5This is the exact Russian extension to the English term - to fully fit into jazz idiom ...
6 Patronage of arts, with no material or other returns expectations - just sheer goodwill.
7Later, his aid to some other arts (newborn repertory theater, folk teams) became known.
8 Compare: well known (in USSR/Russia) JAZZ MODUS free jazz trio (Agre/Zakharov/Parastchuk) from Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg now) was invited at JOA'90 ...
As always, I have missed something the most significant in my - waste... - analysis (of '97), and as always, "was standing at the feet of a giant" already (with "etc") ...
Years later, I have asked Vitali Shalduga what were his real reasons to sponsor us at last. Nothing special was told "behind the scene" mentioned above: the same "the community member due" - except for his probable "love to music" was rather the love to performing arts instead: during his institute ("University" for you, Western residents ...) - five - years in Kharkov (North-West Ukraina, inhabited with mainly Russian-speaking population, be they Ukranians or Russians, when sharing Ukranian folk cultural traditions jointly&extensively) he was very fond of Slavonic (etc) folk dances and practiced it within formal students' dance companies as hard as he could ! ...
The more, he kept on his love to dance (not really dancing himself of course) safe until now - through all the perturbations of "a plain passage" from socialistic "state" capitalism to the democratic "wild" one ... (His dinosaur enterprise mentioned has gone forever as far as its "predecessors" millions years ago, then he led few other big state owned industrial enterprises - where sometimes positions of top managers were even life-risky due to the repartition of state property (initiated by Gaidar / Tchubais) involved in all the circles of society including black business and criminal circles etc. Then, Vitali Dm. Shalduga ran his own private business, much smaller in size and (very relatively ...) more safe: realter or so.) Currently, he is in the confectionary business and still loves dance companies - to look at, of course ...
The most of all, he claims for "not vegetables only, there should be some flowers also", and -he laughs, indeed!
These newly discovered circumstances turns me for calling all of us to be more attentive to the circumstances and the details during fundrasing ...
And indeed, "it is the time to throw pebbles, it is the time to gather it": no one knows where the influence of the culture (read, "jazz', "improvised music", etc; add-on your own magic buzzwords ...) can exert its power ... (I'm still kidding with the idea all the time here until now indeed!) So "Let's We All Be Happy Near The Waters of Babylon" or so (apologies, it is hard to be exact in Bible when born in - particularly - naturally atheistic/agnostic country ...)
(c) Boris A. Podkosov, 1997-2000