Monday, October 26, 2015

Uncle Ben's Converted Politics

At a private benefit show last night comedian Paul Rodriguez said he would not like to be the President; mainly because it ages a person so quickly. He said, "Look at Obama. In eight years he has gone from Danzel Washington to Uncle Ben".
I thought it was funny, but comedy is dangerous. A lady in the audience, who obviously had never purchased  rice, clearly didn't know who Uncle Ben was. By reason of the event, the way she dressed and by her sense of entitlement, I assumed her to be one of the wealthy 1%ers in this country. She made the leap in her mind from Uncle Ben to Uncle Tom and assumed the joke went like this.  "In eight years *we* have gone from Danzel Washington to Uncle Tom."  Referencing President Obama as Danzel and Ben Carson as Uncle Tom. But this obscure interpretation of Paul's joke speaks volumes to the strange political bed the GOP has feathered.  
Although I don't think he has a real chance to get the GOP nomination, Ben Carson, like Donald Trump, defies all political logic.  No matter how well Dr. Ben Carson is doing in the Iowa polls, I can't see him as any sort of a real contender.  Remember those same Iowa primary voters have gone for Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee in the past few election cycles. Like Santorum and Huckabee, Tump and Carson are both poster boys for the extreme right.  
I am no political strategist, but it seems to me there is a reason that Trump and Carson are doing well in the early stages of the election. Trump is the very model of the successful capitalist. The perfect representative of the extremely rich 1% who use the government to protect their own interests at the expense of the other 99%. Trump could be one of the most famous 1%ers in the world. In today's model of the American Dream, where money seems to be the only reward, Donald Trump is a winner in that money game.   Modern philosopher Noam Chomsky once pointed out that the rich "privatize their profits and publicize their expenses."  The example he uses is that of nuclear energy.  The rich energy companies use the government to lift regulations so they can make millions and then puts the responsibility and billions in the expense of cleaning up the mess  back on the government. For the rich the government is used as the executive assistant who pays the check at the end of the meal.

Ben Carson fits another mold of the conservative template. He has the credentials of a scholar, yet he makes statements that seem to come from a third grader. There seems to be no focus to his gaze. He is shy and soft spoken with a delivery that makes it seem like he has just gotten out of bed and is not thinking to clearly. He appears to be easily influenced with no real qualities of leadership which is a very good thing for the wealthy. But the unspoken quality the conservative rich like most about Ben Carson is that racist similarity to Uncle Tom. Although the consumption of alcohol can not be totally ruled out, this confusion of black men might account for the misinterpretation of Paul's joke by this wealthy lady. For those who do not remember a time before smart phones, Uncle Tom is a character from Harriet Beecher Stows novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin". From Wikipedia here is what they say about  today's social meaning of an Uncle Tom.  

"The phrase "Uncle Tom" has become an epithet for a person who is slavish and excessively subservient to perceived authority figures, particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people; or any person perceived to be complicit in the oppression of their own group."

Like the tenure of modern racism requires, no conservative would ever admit that this subservient quality is what they like best about Dr. Carson.  Likewise they will not admit that the major reason they don't like Obama is because he is black. Being black is okay as long as *they* do what *we* want. Conservatives can tolerate most anybody who will join them in lock step and not get too "uppity". 

Most importantly to both Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson is the fact that they are both outsider candidates with no experience in government of any kind. There seems to be this prevailing belief that to fix the government we need to have someone who is not part of the system to take it over.  Politicians have screwed it up, let's get someone else to do the job. This is the equivalent of saying, "The last time I flew a plane it was a terrible flight. These pilots seem to be screwing up. What I want is a person who doesn't know how to fly a plane to pilot my next trip." 

Once again it appears that next years political elections will come down to a vote, not for the person most qualified, but a vote for the lessor of two evils.  With the country so hatefully divided I doubt we will ever have one person the electorate will find totally acceptable. But how can the country make an informed decision when there are rich ladies at fancy fund raisers who do not know the difference between Uncle Ben and Uncle Tom.  
Those are only my thoughts. I'm sure yours are different.
As you were,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Face of Success

President Obama has faced the same treatment that Jackie Robinson did when he broke the color barrier in Baseball.  Both endured  impasses, hatred and bias just because they were the first black man to do a particular job.  Only the methods of prejudice have changed.
Although the opposition to a man of color being President of the United States today can not be blatant racism as it was in the days of Jackie Robinson's baseball career, it is still there just below the surface of every action Obama takes.  The methods of marginalizing a person of color have become more sophisticated and racism is hard to point to as the underlying reason but it is still there.   In the game of modern day racism words and motives are parsed with great care so that there can always be a plausible denial of what is truly meant.  Things like, "He was not born here." (because he's black).  "He is a Muslim" (because he is black)" "He is a socialist/communist" (black) "He is not a patriotic American" (black) "He is destroying the constitution" (even though he is a constitutional lawyer, he is black).  If you look carefully at the extreme criticism President Obama is receiving you will see it is mostly shaped not by his political actions or policies but by the color of his skin and his ethnicity. 
The Republicans and their jack boot storm troupers, the Tea Party, have challenged and obstructed anything this President has tried to do.  Because of their inaction and lack of meta-goals they stopped governing and started blocking anything everything during Obama's watch.  Then they spin this stalemate as if it was a lack of ability, lack of leadership and lack of knowledge on the part of the President.  The ignorant public accepts this revisionist history as it is drilled into their consciousness with a constant repetition from right leaning media like Fox News.  They have succeeded in the notion that ANYONE could do this job of President better than Obama (read: better than this Black man).  
Their smear campaign has been so successful that the two top contenders for the Republican Party are a loose cannon Billionaire who seems to be promoting a reality show rather than a political platform and an ex-brain surgeon who doesn't believe in science and who can't put an intelligent sentence together.  Neither of which has ever held elective office, nor served in any form of governmental capacity, including the military.  But because of this constant drum beat of Obama's incompetence almost half of the Republican electorate believe either of these two bozos can do the job. Once again the signals are very well hidden. One of the leading candidates is black so the race issue seems to be off the table, but the face of a Clown is always white.
This Saturday October 24, will be the 43 anniversary of Jackie Robinson's death.  We now know that Jackie Robinson wasn't just a great black baseball player, he was a great player. He was inducted into the Baseball hall of fame in 1962.  He was not given the job to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers because he was black, he got the job because he was a really good Second baseman.  
Suppose the Brooklyn Dodgers of 1947 decided they didn't want to play the game with him on the team. What if they purposefully did not pitch to him, or would not make the extra effort to catch a ball he threw them and did everything they could to make him look incompetent on the field.  What if they decided that anyone could do that second baseman's job better than he could, even a guy with no knowledge of baseball who never played for any team before?  The result would have been a failed team.  A team that didn't care if they won games as long as they embarrassed the second baseman. As stupid as that might have been for a baseball team, it seems to be totally acceptable for Congress.  
Although some would argue that President Obama is not the statesman that Robinson was a baseball player, the way we calculate success in sports is very different than how we determine a great statesman.  I feel, when the statistics are in for this last eight years and the racist Republicans have found a new straw dog to fight, the facts will show that Obama had some major accomplishments in spite of a congress that did everything they could to throw the game.  
Just my thoughts, I'm sure yours are different,
As you were,

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lunch at Musso's

Turk Pipkin (The Nobility Project) Phil Proctor (Firesign Theater),
Richard Sherman (Mary Poppins), Elizabeth and
Harry Anderson (where to start),
Milt Larsen (the Magic Castle) and Jay Johnson (Soap). 
They say one picture is worth a thousand words.  For this picture that's not nearly enough. Some stories require more than 144 characters to tell. Those are usually my favorites. 
You have to start with the setting. This is Musso and Franks Grill on Hollywood Blvd.   We are sitting in the Ralph Edwards Booth. Although squatters rights now belong to Milt Larsen. Milt wrote most of the funny stuff that happened on the Edwards Game Shows over the years with offices across the street and down the block for decades. Milt's Magic Castle is just up the street and some of the day waiters at Musso's are night waiters at the Castle. 
I think because of a song that Richard Sherman and Milt wrote together about a one eyed pilot, the beginning lunch conversation evolved into one eye jokes. As it does. 
Richard started telling a joke about a guy who lost his eye in an accident. You have to understand, telling a joke in this company is a like a wire walk without a net.  Milt and Richard have been friends and partners for decades. Milt will take every opportunity to get a laugh interrupting Richard, particularly if Richard is telling a joke.  
Richard is not even midway through the joke when Phil Proctor shows up. The joke is interrupted with a flurry of greetings. 
After a few one liners,  Proctor settles in. Richard explains he is mid way through a joke. After much harassing from Milt he starts over. Richard has somewhat of a slow Mel Brooks delivery.  
"There was this guy who was missing one eye." 
The waiter comes up and asks Proctor if he wants a beverage sending the eye joke to the back of the conversation line. There is one thing I know about a comedy track that is this fast.  Make the point or the joke quickly because comedy minds have the attention span of a rim shot. As time goes on, there is no way to explain what we are laughing at, it's just the music of incredible conversation. Most funny people love to laugh why else would they love comedy.  At some point Elizabeth and I heard something that caused us both to bust out laughing together.  At this table if you weren't saying something funny you were laughing at someone who did. 
Milt says, "What about the eye joke?"
"Yeah, Yeah, so he goes to get a fake eye....."  Before he can get much further  -
Turk Pipkin arrives and the eye joke is completely derailed as everyone has at least three one liners about Turk's beard.  Separated from Randy Quaid at birth was just one. Turk has heard them all and has toppers for each.  Lunch arrives and it becomes the art of eating and not choaking from bad timing between swallowing and laughing. Eventually the dishes have been removed from the table along with all sharp objects. 
I get a glance from Milt. He smiles a demonic grin and shuffles his look back and forth at Richard. He is going to do it, he is going remind Richard he didn't finish the un-finishable eye joke.  "What about the glass eye, Dick" 
"Okay, so he couldn't afford a really good glass eye, so he had to settle for a wooden eye..."
Milt is aware that everyone at the table knows this joke, but he is having such a great time watching Richard try and finish it, therefore the attempt continues. 
I look at Harry. He is fumbling in his pocket for something. He fishes from his pocket what appears to be a small altoid's tin.  He is trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to interrupt the joke again.  
I thought. 

He takes some object out of the tin and covertly shows it to Elizabeth who smiles and nods. 
Richard has gotten further along with the joke than any time before. He has every one's attention, except for Harry. Richard is sitting to Harry's right. Harry turns his head away from Richard and puts his hands to the left side of his face. 
I have known Harry Anderson for a very long time, and this strange behavior only means one thing. He is setting someone up, I am certain it is Richard, and I think I know what is about to happen. 
And it does. 
Harry's magic teachers taught him that a good magician always has three magic tricks on his person ready to perform anywhere. Harry is a great magician and learned that lesson well. With a deck of cards alone Harry would have hundreds of tricks ready to perform; and he is smart enough to know you don't come to the table (Especially THIS table) unprepared.  We will never know what he might have prepared specifically for this audience, because he used something he always carries around.  
Richard is to the part of the story where the man with a wooden eye goes to the dance.  Harry is now leaning forward listening to the story intently trying to make eye contact with Richard.   I am sitting across the table and am intently waiting for Richard to make eye contact with Harry as well. Harry is waiting for that moment when Richard looks at his face and realize that his left eye has been "replaced" with an actual glass eye that is not only a different color it is focused in a different direction.  
Richard is close to the end of the joke.  He is circling for the punch line.  There have been multiple attempts to complete it but this is it, he is leaning into the punch line going for the tape.   It is not until Richard says, "So he asks her to dance and she said, 'Would I' and the guy yells..."  Richard has chosen to deliver the long awaited punch line to his friend Harry.  It is the first time they have made eye contact.  
There is just a moment of silence as Richard comprehends what is happening. Richard is thinking he will get surely get through the eye joke this time, but instead is looking into Harry's glass eye wondering off toward Musso's walls. Richard bursts into the most genuine, completely taken by surprise, laughter. His laugh is so contagious, spontaneous and loud everyone explodes as well.  I briefly thought the ancient roof of Musso and Franks would collapse.  The unfinished joke got the biggest laugh of the lunch.
Comedy is all about timing. If you carry a glass eye around with you long enough there will come a time at just the right moment, when sticking that piece of glass in your own eye and waiting for the perfect comedy moment will bring down the house.
If heaven does not include laughter I can not see any reason to spend eternity there.
As you were,

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Red Carpet Recollections...

It would seem to be one of the very special perks reserved for celebrity types: being asked to walk the Red Carpet at some glamorous function.

What could be more exciting than photographers flashing their cameras saying, "Over here, look this way... one more please?" All the "celebrity" has to do is smile, pose, model and be regal.  One might think they have "made it" when directed to the red side of the velvet rope.
For me, it is less a red carpet I have to walk than it is a gauntlet I have to survive. That Velvet Rope is there only to keep me from escaping. I feel completely vulnerable.  I don't like the experience. I never have and probably never will.  If red is the color of the devil then this carpet must be the path to hell. 

There are actually two kinds of Red Carpet experiences. One of them much more tolerable than the other.  The best Red Carpet is at an event with which you are directly involved.  Sandi and I walked the Red Carpet when I was nominated for a Tony Award; that tops a list of wonderful experiences. It is a well managed professionally conceived high profile event.  The New York press is informed. If they haven't read all the releases telling them the reason you are on the red side of the rope, then publicists walk ahead of you quietly reminding them who you are. The photographers pretend to know who you are if even for only that moment in time. As they take your picture or ask their questions they are wishing you well.  It makes you feel as if you earned the right to be there. It is just one of the reasons I love New York.  A city that thrives on live theater produces great live press events. The fantastic experience of walking the Red Carpet at Radio City Music Hall as a nominee for a Tony Award can only be topped by walking out of Radio City Music Hall on the Red Carpet as a Tony Award winner.

This is Halloween season, Time for scary stories. So in the spirit of Season I will tell you the dark and scary side of the Red Carpet. That side facing all those people taking pictures. Dim the lights, grab a blanket and listen to a cautionary tale. A story that proves, nothing is always as it seems.

Some Red Carpet events are comprised of predominately paparazzi. These are people who make their living selling news pictures in the bountiful digital age of social media. They're mostly hoping to catch some celebrity with his zipper down, or toilet tissue stuck to a starlet's beautiful stiletto high heal shoe. To catch the best angle on an actresses wardrobe malfunction would be a wind fall.  In today's market the picture of a recognizable person is valuable, but not as valuable as the picture of a recognizable person misbehaving badly, looking ugly or both.
Along with the Red Carpet photographers there are also video reporters. Theses videographers are looking for the same sound bite or some  bizarre quote coming out of the mouth of some Hollywood icon. The advantage of video is the possibility of catching a moving image of a moment of insanity. 

Unfortunately for photographers and videographers, I can deliver none of their requirements for a good picture or sound bite.  I am not likely to say something bizarre and I am certainly not the level of celebrity they need to sell a photograph. The best they can hope for with a  picture of me is to sell it for an article titled , "What ever happened to?"  That whole Red Carpet experience becomes a disappointment for them and an embarrassment for me. But this is only the beginning of the Red Carpet horrors. This is where the story turns creepy.

The following reenactment didn't really happen recently or ever ago. But certainly not recently.  It's just me remembering thoses Red Carpet nightmares.

I really don't want to walk on the devil's red carpet path. I have never been very good at beating my own drum. I like to be on stage not a path. But they say, how about just some pictures. I say fine, a few pictures are okay, but  just no interviews or video okay? 
 Right this way, and my wife and I herded toward red velvet ropes fencing off a scary path. 
As I straighten my coat a bright light blinds my vision and a microphone is thrust toward my face. It is suddenly so hot from the light I catch the scent of  my nose hair burning. A stranger who is now my best friend says, "Hi my name is Burton Bertock,  host of my video blog entitled, "Hey look who I saw".... and you are???"

I reply, "Jay Johnson".

This is followed by some Burton Bertock rapid eye movement as his brain cells spasm trying to figure out who I am and why I am here.

"Well....uh.... Mr. Johnson. What brings you here to this gala evening?"

"This evening? Well, this evening it was that black limo over there."

"Ha. Ha. That's a good one. Are you a comedian?"

"You tell me... was that funny?"

"I ask the questions on this vlog...What are you looking forward to at tonight's event?"

"I am most looking forward to reaching that bar, just inside the door." I say.

"Oh yes all the celebrity perks,  it's a lovely evening for all the celebrities. And why do you support the National Referendum on the Elimination of Genital Warts?"

"Is that what NREGW stands for?"

The video interviewer, off camera quickly checks his notes in a panic.
"Yes, " he is relieved, "Yes, that is what it stands for. Why is it that you support the elimination of genital warts."

"I have a lot of friends in the video blog business who suffer badly from genital warts. I'm here for them and you of course."

Burton's eyes seem to cross at that moment. However, having finished the obligatory questions about the charity he now switches to an actors favorite subject- himself.

"So", Looking as his notes, "uh, Jay Johnson, what are you working on now?"

I have learned that at this point in today's video red carpet video, the interviewers are not listening.  They mentally check out the moment they discovered I am not Mark Hamil. There is too much noise in the room to hear what I am saying anyway.  Beside the other distractions, coming up behind me on the Red Carpet could be someone they have heard of. The attention span of this new generation of reporters in measured in microseconds.  In the 60's Andy Warhol proclaimed everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Today he might revise that prophecy to 15 seconds.

"What are you working on now?"

"I am so glad you asked Burton. After my performance here this evening I will be heading back to the location set of a new movie I am directing. They are holding the night shoot till I can get there. I told the crew and the actors how important this NREGW event was for me tonight and I told the studio I don't care how much it costs; I am supporting the elimination of genital warts in the entertainment industry. Especially as it seems to affect red carpet video bloggers the most.  So while I am talking to you here, nothing is being done, there on the project of my life. That is how much I care about those genital warts of yours.  I wrote the movie and I'm directing it. There is no physical script, I thought that would just burden the actors, and besides it saves trees when you don't have printed scripts. It's just all up in my head.  So that entire project is idle while I am talking to you. I'm here just trying to help find a cure for your nasty place warts. In fact I was just on my iPhone secretly trying to google you and see what stage of infection you are in, but before that information could load I saw the time. I am out of time.  It's all the time I have to give the NREGW. I have to go. You are very lucky to be the last one I am talking to here on the Red Carpet. Best wishes with your Video Blog, Burton, and for your sake I hope they find a cure."

That Might not have been..

As you were,

Friday, October 02, 2015


Yesterday was October 1st.  I love October. October is my favorite month of the year. We had tickets to see the "Rise of the Jack-O-Lanterns" at Desconso Gardens to kick off the Halloween season. I was looking forward to writing about the amazingly artistic and creative ways artists had carved Jack-O-Lanterns. They truly are works of art.  But something else happened yesterday that tainted my will to write about art.  Yesterday there was another shooting at another school. It's a scary time to be alive. Even before the body count was official, newscasters and police were saying, "We don't know what the shooter's motive might have been."  and "We'll have to wait and try to learn why the shooter did such a horrible thing."  When the shooter was killed in a final shoot out with police, they said, "We may never know what his true motive was." 

Motive? Reason? Why did he do it? WTF and why does it matter. It's as if there is some motive we can discover through our research that would justify his rationale.  Is there any reason that would make us say, "Well those students had it coming. I mean it was the first week of class. They knew education was dangerous when they decided to get a degree."  No, there is no reason, there is no idea that could ever justify mass murder. 

One unsuccessful mass murder tries to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb and instantly everyone flying on an airplane has to take off their shoes before boarding. One unsuccessful bomber tries to take down a a plane with and underwear bomb and now everyone is X-rayed before getting on a plane. Several rumors circulated that terrorist might be bringing explosives on board planes as liquids, and everyone has to declare their toothpaste.
According to CNN from 2004-2013  a total of 313 people have been killed by violence associated with terrorism.  During that same time 316,545 people have been killed by fire arms.  Where is our outrage? Why is it that I need to provide more information about myself to get on an airplane than I do to buy a gun?  There are lots of people who are on "no fly" lists, where are the "no gun" lists? 

Since 1950 there have been 339 shootings at schools around the country. That's only schools not post offices, liquor stores, movie theaters or churches, and the only thing that has been done is well, nothing. I assumed that after Sandy Hook when children were slaughtered the country would finally address the situation.  We were outraged, we set up teddy bear memorials, we said never again, we were all agreed that none of those children  "had it coming" at Sandy Hook.  Yet the sale of guns increased.   

I know that there are some NRA supporters who will now quote the second amendment to me and say that more not less guns are needed.  If those students had been armed then, By God, there wouldn't have been a mass killing. They will also say that we already have laws that keep some people from buying guns.  And if you keep good people from having guns then only the "bad" guys will have them.  
So the solution is to regress to the Wild West where everyone openly carries a gun. Two guys can get into a fight in a Saloon and take it out to the street where the fastest draw will prevail.  Well, I can guarantee that if it comes to that, the "bad" guys will be the fastest draw.  
Oh yeah, but we have the second amendment so that we can protect ourselves from a government take over.  Believe me if the government wants to take over, your 9 millimeter is not going to be a lot of protection against a Bradley Fighting vehicle and trained soldiers with rocket propelled grenades. I suppose you could use that pea shooter to kill your wife and kids so they won't have to suffer, or better yet shoot yourself in the head and just avoid all of it.  
This morning I heard someone criticize President Obama for taking a stance against guns before the facts of this case were known.  Facts? Motive? Reason?  How about 316,545 deaths in nine years as a fact? How about 316,545 shootings as a motive? How about 316,545 deaths because someone one had a gun as a reason? If 316,545 American deaths occurred in nine years from any other reason than shootings it would be considered an emergency epidemic and Americans we would be screaming for a vaccine.

At one time the fact that thousands of people were dying from smoking was covered up in the name of making money for the tobacco industry.  These huge companies did not care that they were making a product that was killing people, they just wanted more money.  

The military Industrial complex that General Dwight Eisenhower warned against is here.  From small hand gun manufacturers to the government contractors providing nuclear missiles, it is a multi-Trillion dollar industry that feeds on fear.  They make us afraid so they can sell us "their" solution. They tell us the bad guys have guns so we need bigger guns. They then sell the bigger guns to the bad guys and tell us to be more afraid so they can keep the escalation going. They convince the public that the NRA is protecting our American rights, when the truth is the Military Industrial Complex is actually using them. They think they are being patriotic,  when instead they are helping weapon manufactures continue to make trillions of dollars.  As of this writing it has been determined the college shooter in Oregon had 6 guns with him and another 7 at home.  
Do not be afraid of a government taking our guns, but be very afraid of the immoral capitalistic manufactures that are selling them.  Money trumps everything in a capitalistic economy. Money trumps ethics, morality and truth. Money even trumps the lives of the 10 people killed in Oregon yesterday just like it did  three years when 20 elementary school  children in and 6 of their teachers were shot. 
It is October, Halloween season. It's a scary time to be alive. 
As you were,

Thursday, October 01, 2015

They Kill Dogs....

There is an article online at Mashable about the Dog Racing industry in Australia. I am fairly certain the same is true of dog tracks everywhere. According to this article, the Australian Greyhound racing industry kills between 13,000 and 17,000 Greyhounds a year. They are killed not because they are old, sick or disabled, they are killed because they won't race or don't race well enough. With a live rabbit strapped to a lure the dogs are "trained" to chase after the prey.  If they don't they are killed.  Eventually when they slow down with age, they are killed.  As awful as this fact may be to dog lovers everywhere it is only an example of a point I am trying to make. 
These Greyhounds are bred and raised for only one purpose to race and make money for the owner/trainer/gamblers. If they are not able to race and win, they are of no use to that industry. If they are not making money, they are costing money, and the only solution is to eliminate them. It is not about sport, it is not about the beauty of a dog running, it is not about pleasing the dog, it is about money. It is a business. It is capitalism at its apex. 
Business is the same for every industry, every profession and every career. If the product of that particular industry does not make money, it is of no use.  It is the same in Show business, the only difference is we do not kill performers who do not make money for someone. 
Since I began to perform I was always amazed that some actors I thought had exceptional talent did not make it, and some with minimal talent seemed to rocket to the top. For a long time I just assumed that the breaks were with some and not with others.  Or I thought, some had the right combination of Agents and Managers who were able to guide them to success.  While some of those factors may contribute, the only thing that is true of huge success or crushing disappointment is money.  The more money an actor or act can make for someone else, the more exposure they will get.  Sad but true this industry is not Show Art... it is Show business.  

Art is the game of expression, business is the game of numbers.  The more numbers you can control, ticket sales, record sales, book sales or product sales, the more money is made and there is an industry of people who make a living siphoning off some of that income.  Like mosquitoes they go where they can feed. 
As cold as that statement seems it is simply an economic fact. If your goal is to make money, do something that creates the greatest numbers of people wanting to own, see, experience or use what you are selling.  If your goal is to express the highest qualities of your talent all you have to do is seek perfection, but that is not a guarantee it will generate numbers.   
Certainly be the best you can be with the talent you have and develop it to the highest level you can, but remember one thing:  Popularity (numbers) usually trumps  talent on the capitalistic scale of success. 
Great talent is never to be confused with great economic success. Great talent can bring great success as long as one understands that the true definition of success does not involve money. Only in today's world, and today's economy (particularly in America) do success and wealth become synonymous.
The American Dream is the freedom to do what makes you happy and to rise to the level of your own desires.  Sadly today the American Dream has become the desire to become extremely wealthy. There is nothing wrong with either Dream, but we must understand what Dream we have chosen and by what standards we judge its success.  To understand one's own abilities and happiness is success, not the numbers in your bank account. 

"Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid" Albert Einstein

As you were,