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In appreciation of appreciators

There are two sides to the musical equation. There is the person that plays the music and there is the person in the crowd that listens to the music. Here’s my tribute to the people in the crowd.
As DJs, we are professional appreciators. On the day-to-day we are presenting other people’s creative work. We fall in love daily with art: finding new underground tracks makes our palms sweat and our minds race. Finding passion projects makes us weak in the knees. Listening to an artist bear her heart on her sleeve, well, it keeps us up at night.

But this can be an uncool position.

The artist is always heralded as the genius, worthy of praise. They’re the ones standing in front of hundreds or thousands, cheered on and off stage. We’re just the ones cheering.

But as a fellow appreciator, I can appreciate the appreciation of a good appreciator.

Did I lose you? OK, take, for instance Christopher Novak.

You might not know Christopher Novak, but if you’re in the Milwaukee music, comedy, or film scenes odds are Christopher Novak knows you. And he appreciates you.

Christopher Novak is in the front row of your friends’ band’s show.

When everyone is holding back laughter at a local comedian’s open mic set, Novak is doubled over, giggling in fits.

Know someone that has worked six years on a 30-minute short that will screen once at the Avalon Theater to an audience of one hundred people? Christopher Novak is one of those hundred.


As a fellow appreciator, I can appreciate the appreciation of a good appreciator.

He, and people like him, are what makes the scene a scene. He is the appreciator.

There is no ulterior motive. He doesn’t come to your show just so you’ll come to his. He’s not there because he knows the bartender, is trying to impress a crush or just wants to flaunt a new leather jacket.

His appreciation is a love for art, a love of people. And it’s not just Novak. This might be you too, or someone you know. It’s everyone in the crowd every night.

There are so many more people in the audience than on stage. But no one’s cheering for the audience. No one is standing up and clapping for the guy who has to go to work at 8 a.m. the next day, didn’t even go to the show with anyone, but went out anyway.

There wouldn’t be acts to see if there people in the audience. And these people deserve credit, too.

So here’s to appreciating the appreciators.