The Margie Gillis interview and my dream ending

If you haven’t seen the Margie Gillis Sun News interview, you may not want to. Because if you actually value the arts, it may be hard to sit through it and not want to punch someone’s face in (especially the interviewer). Posted on June 1st on the Canadian news website, the video shows a rather ferocious interview with contemporary dance artist Margie Gillis. And in the past few days, the video has spread like wildfire among New York City dance circles (perhaps even across the country), striking appropriate outrage in those who view it.

While I truly admire Margie Gillis for keeping her composure through the inteview and bringing up some good points, I feel that she could have had stronger comebacks and better arguments on the importance of dance and art. (Though, the people I know that I imagine providing such responses may have been kicked off the show before getting to them.) Convincing others to value art, especially under such antagonistic circumstances, is not an easy task. But we in dance need to be able to articulate why what we do is important and deserving of respect, appreciation, and support.

If you haven’t seen the video, click on the screen shot below to view it on the Sun News website. Then come back and read my dream ending, what I wish Gillis would have said to the interviewer in a final statement.

My dream response/final comment of Margie Gillis to interviewer Krista Erickson:

I want to genuinely thank you for having me on your show today, Krista. Though it was a “combative” interview, as you say, and you may feel that you are walking away with the upper hand, I actually think this interview shows the true importance of Art. Because the close-mindedness and disrespect that you brought to this interview shows me that you are exactly the kind of person that needs Art. You need what I do, to help you become open to new ideas and experiences and to reflect on the world around you, especially things you don’t understand, in order to become the best person and citizen you can be. You may not recognize it, but I know that you need me. And I’m going to continue to work hard at what I do, with the little support that I get, so that you, along with fellow Canadians, have the opportunity to grow as a person, when you are ready.

So this may be a little harsh, but what would you have wanted Gillis to say? Or better yet, how would you argue the importance of art to someone that doesn’t want to listen? What major points would you make to try to win them over?

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45 Comments

  1. Dianne

     /  June 7, 2011

    This interviewer pounds on Ms. Gillis for almost 20 minutes insisting that Ms. Gillis (and by association any Canadian artist) could never have properly earned the 1.2 M given to MS. Gillis and her dance foundation over 35 or so years. Then she says “you’ve earned it” …um, excuse me but how many millions of tax payer dollars went to the Astro Dome? I’d love to see this media Pit Bull omg did I just imply B*****? talk to a football player like this. Or another Canadian ambassador.

    Reply
    • Kevin G

       /  June 8, 2011

      Dream response to the “there’s no way you could have earned that money” argument:

      -We could have easily earned that money if we had changed the focus of our work.

      -Change how?

      -If we had produced porography instead of modern dance we would have made far more money. Are you suggesting that pornography is more important to our culture than other art forms because of how much income it generates?

      Reply
      • So many things could be cited in regards to the “not everything that is important is profitable” argument. Obviously the interviewer sees the importance of protecting the country, through the military, though the gain is not monetary. I do like your example, though, Kevin – cuts to the chase

      • A Maidan

         /  June 30, 2011

        That is exactly where the Neocon argument leads. Casinos and brothels, both of which are ‘chosen’ by the consumer (having first been ‘provided’) to serve their immediate ‘needs’ .

        What I find most maddening about the neocon argument, apart from the general degradation of meaning and language, is the revolutionary overturning of the term ‘elites’ to mean, not economic elites such as the Ruling Class, but Margie Gillis and othes who live mostly below all poverty lines. The artist who does not serve the state becomes, in fascism, the eternal scapegoat.
        This is a a strategic masking of the Ruling Class by its acolytes – the Oozera Levants and Michael Corens of Fascist Fox News North.

        Margie Gillis, who got 1.2 million in a career of 40 years and out of it paid hundreds if not thousands of others, becomes the ‘stand in’ for the Corporate Elites (the only Elite that matters) which pulled in more than that often in one month, and for one person.

        At risk of boring others as well as myself, I have to say that until the politics of this eternal conflict are understood, the injustice will go on.

      • Annony Moose

         /  August 6, 2011

        Generates income for whom? If these taxpayer funded schemes are generating income then they would not need to suck off the public teet. !!

  2. Mari

     /  June 8, 2011

    Perhaps we should invest in a small simulation then. Let’s cut funds to everything that isn’t profitable in our society. Because what this dried-up husk of an interviewer doesn’t seem to realize is that many crucial aspects of a successful civilization are (surprise!) not directly linked to profit. Before crying about all this money “lost” to the Arts, shall we take a peek at our politicians’ spending? At the First Nations reservations where people are paid to slowly degenerate in silence themselves, isolated – because perhaps free money doesn’t exactly build a life? Shall we look at fraud and the many pits the taxpayers’dollars are going into? Krista, you’ll be falling in a lot of giant gaping holes before you trip over the dent that Culture has made in the cold hard ground you walk on.

    Reply
  3. Robin

     /  June 8, 2011

    Erickson has to be a sophist or at the very least, working only as a hired gun/stooge/thug for Sun TV. That sort of McJournalism cannot be genuine, coming from somebody who used to cover serious parliamentary affairs for the CBC. Wait a minute – maybe it can! Perhaps Erickson was just hiding her true colours back then in her ‘get ahead’ years.

    You’re right, Erickson needs art – and a double dose of it daily until her.. umm.. ‘condition’ is cleared up.

    Reply
  4. “SkyDome cost $500 million to build, financed by government and private industry. The Ontario provincial and Toronto city governments contributed $30 million each and 30 Canadian corporations payed $5 million each.” from: http://www.baseball-statistics.com/Ballparks/Tor/ (1989 dollars). $30 million each! Oh please oh please.

    Reply
    • So $60 million of taxpayer money was spent in about one year’s time for a stadium, compared to $1.2 million over 35 years for an artistic voice. What hard truth that is.

      Reply
  5. Eva Bild

     /  June 9, 2011

    Is this a great country or what???

    HOW did these yahoos get a tv station?

    Bravo to Margie Gillis for trying to teach this unfortunate creature something – pretty well impossible. The interviewer had a single refrain regarding taxpayers’ money. I’m a taxpayer and I LOVE it when that money is spent on the arts!!!

    Eva Bild
    Montreal

    Reply
  6. Douglas

     /  June 9, 2011

    I would hate to tell you this, but I actually enjoy it. IT IS TIME TO DEFUND ALL OF THIS CRAP AND BS. Swan dancing and getting paid? REALLY? MArgie Gillis should get down on her hands and knees and apologize for the wasting of tax dollars that could have gone to schools, roads and hospitals. And I am not alone. In the budget we see the cuts to the Canada Council, and as Tony Clement, Jim Flaherty and I see it; its time to eliminate the council entirely. Watch, and then go back to the Metro and busk. Earn honest money.

    Reply
    • Robin

       /  June 17, 2011

      Douglas = ERROR

      The Canada Council is a vital funding body for Canadian artists. From glass blowers to “swan dancers” (as you say), the council enables artists to explore, critique and communicate through various media and forms of expression. A free and vibrant arts community is where trends in thought and fashion come from, which in turn bolster and inform all sorts of innovation in all industries. Leading Canadian companies like RIM, ManuLife, etc. all benefit from this. Just ask them – they all support the arts, and the gov’t should too. The money that the Canada Council doles out to artists is a comparative pittance to what they waste on their own travel budgets, half-assed ideas like hosting the G-20, lopsided farm subsidies, tazer nonsense, etc. If you want to divert funding to schools and roads, get Harper to give up his out-dated fighter jets, leaky subs, and gazebos in Muskoka.

      The narrow-mindedness and lack of vision never ceases to amaze me.

      sheesh…

      Reply
    • Gabrielle Blair

       /  June 30, 2011

      What a cunt! And I don’t mean Margie Gillis.
      And yes, my comment is ‘fair and balanced’ just like Fox News North.

      Reply
      • A Maidan

         /  June 30, 2011

        Apologies to my lovely wife Gabrielle. I used her email to post this salty reply.
        She would never even try to match a bitch like the interviewer in nastiness…but I can.
        Alexander Maidan.

    • Gabrielle Blair

       /  June 30, 2011

      Duggy, its time to defund hockey and all ‘organized’ sports. They are subsidized thousands of times more than Margie Gillis is.
      Trouble is, guys like you will then have nothing to do but beat your wives and abuse your kids.

      Reply
    • Annony Moose

       /  August 6, 2011

      Agreed, a one time grant to help get started then that’s it. You’re darned right she should apologize to taxpayers for continuing to take money that could be used to fund libraries and elder care.

      Reply
  7. Douglas

     /  June 9, 2011

    And if you want fiscal support, sell tickets, and get a real gauge as to your level of support.

    Reply
    • I welcome all opinions to this blog, so thank you for sharing yours, Douglas. Would you mind giving us more explanation as to why you feel this way? Do you think art is not important at all or just not worthy of taxpayers’ dollars? And if you don’t enjoy art, may I ask if you enjoy public parks or sporting events?

      Reply
  8. nicholasT

     /  June 10, 2011

    All I can say about Ms Erickson’s interview is, how sad!

    I cannot believe that anyone can be so ignorant or so uneducated or so unintelligent to be able to say and believe the things that Ms Erickson said to Ms Gillis. I strongly suspect that Ms Erickson is only playacting in the belief that there is an audience of morons ready to swallow anything that is fed to them.

    Reply
    • A Maidan

       /  June 30, 2011

      It is not the ‘stupid’ and ‘ingnorant’ that are the problem. The problem is those who use them and give them a podium to spread false news and false premises.
      Canada is descending, like the US before it, to the status of a continent-wide insane asylum.

      Reply
  9. Rose

     /  June 11, 2011

    Margie Gillis is a graceful human being and she said what she could think of at the time and under a great deal of stress. I do not think I would have been able to say more or less or better than she did, considering the circumstances. But I will comment on the interviewer if I may.

    The interviewer has obviously not thought this through beforehand. Is this because she has been hired by Sun News (and therefore must fit in the image) or it is because she displayed these qualities already that Sun News hired her? We will never know.

    Obviously, she lacks certain qualities such as courtesy, understanding true journalism, how to conduct an interview, how to use good arguments, how to be logical and credible… Another unfortunate example of what a blond (real or not) is expected to be so people can comfort themselves thinking that stupidity is contained to a certain type of people. For my part, I think the lady just lacks of education and credibility as an interviewer. But I don’t think Sun News care…

    Reply
  10. mert

     /  June 11, 2011

    Mrs. Erickson has been kicked out of CBC for very important disrispect of ethics and politics of CBC journalism. She should be kicked out of this profession. I beleive she really is unintelligent to a point that makes me wonder how she even got her diploma.

    The good part of this story is that I didn’t know anything about contemporary dance, I’m more into music and paint and now I discovered this marvellous person, mrs Gillis, who really is our pride as Canadians and Quebecers. I am so glad that some of my taxes go to poeple like her, I wish more of it did.

    Reply
  11. Deborah

     /  June 13, 2011

    I believe that when Ms, Erickson grows a little older, this interview will be a great embarrassment to her. It was not journalism. This was not an interview. She did not, until the very end, allow her guest to speak. She started with a set of prejudices untouched by any knowledge, and proceeded to awe the audience with her own ignorance and rudeness. What came across was the grace of her guest. Deborah

    Reply
    • Robin

       /  June 28, 2011

      Exactly, Deborah – well said

      Reply
    • A Maidan

       /  June 30, 2011

      Plenty of people live… and die… a swinish life. I suspect blondie may be one of them.

      Reply
  12. Deborah, yes, thanks.

    Reply
  13. I think Margie Gillis answered in a way that is very consequent to her own values and engagement towards her community. In your “dream response”, you are kind of attacking “miss Krista”, acting just like her…Margie answered in a very confident way. There was no possible dialogue with Krista. The best way to defend a “posture” is to incarnate it, totally. See what I mean?

    Great post though :D

    Reply
    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Patty, and you’re exactly right – my response would not have been possible nor would it have been the proper course of action. But that’s why it’s my “dream,” what I wish could have been said to Erickson to make a point and put her in her place a bit. Clearly, though, Gillis did the right thing by not attacking Erickson in return. In the end she came across professional and graceful, which was the best tactic.

      Reply
  14. Gabrielle Blair

     /  June 30, 2011

    Apologies to my lovely wife Gabrielle. I used her email to post this salty reply.
    She would never even try to match a bitch like the interviewer in nastiness…but I can.
    Alexander Maidan.

    Reply
  15. Gabrielle Blair

     /  June 30, 2011

    So many great minds, through the ages, have thought about and written about the value of the Arts to mankind. It is appalling, therefore, that Margie Gillis, one of Canada’s greatest exponents of the art of Modern Dance, should have been so demeaned by the self-confessed “philistine”, Krista Erickson.

    Gillis’ outward intelligence, grace and composure are testimony to the life she has lead of devotion to things other than mammon, and the power of this devotion to transform a human being into someone great, when working from the inside out.

    Not only does a person like Gillis deserve all the funding she can get, government or otherwise, but she should be hired by our leaders to steer them in the right direction of governance.

    Krista Erickson might consider taking Modern dance lessons to learn about grace, judging from the way she flailed her arms around in the interview.

    Reply
    • A Maidan

       /  June 30, 2011

      Of course Krista doubly sullied herself in that interview: once, when she described herself as a ‘philistine’ (i.e. ignorant and culturally backwards), and then again by using the term “philistine’, which is essentialy racist as it comes from the word ‘Palestine’ and is an example of Biblical bigotry.
      Congratulations Krista, for methaphorically shooting yourself in the head twice in the span of one statement.

      Reply
  16. Judith Allen

     /  July 3, 2011

    If Margie Gillis is that good, ordinary people would pay to see her. We are retired Canadians who worked for a living and we love Sun News. I know you’re scared of what will happen when more people like us see what is going on. We knew about Arts Grants but to see what we are paying for ridiculous .

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Judith. There are certainly many sides to this issue and all are valid. Now, I could try to convince you (and others of a similar belief) of the importance of art & culture, trying to change your opinions completely. But I think the better thing to suggest is that not everyone has the same interests. Who’s to say what deserves funding and what doesn’t? Perhaps I enjoy seeing performances and you enjoy strolling through public parks, and so both are supported by public funds because they contribute to the lives of the people. I will also add, regarding your statement about people paying to see Margie Gillis, that we have seen in other comments how public funds have gone to expensive sports stadiums – an arena where people certainly pay high ticket prices to attend, and yet not enough to cover all costs, costs that are picked up by government funding.

      Reply
  17. A Maidan

     /  July 3, 2011

    Judith: You are not ‘good’ but you are ordinary. I am ordinary too and I went to see Margie, more than once.
    And we are not so scared of people like you cuz we have seen Night of the Living Dead and we know what to do.

    Reply
  18. Oh, I’m extraordinary then, thanks! ;)
    Seriously, a lot of “ordinary” people love Margie Gillis (I’m not sure what “ordinary” means here) and all around the world, people DO pay to see her dancing. She’s good at making modern dance accessible… that’s why she got grants!!!

    Reply
  19. Darren Carter

     /  August 15, 2011

    Equating parks and recreation, the police force, the armed forces etc…to the funding of the arts is not rational. The former are necessities within the real world and the other is not. I love blues music, sporting events and other forms of entertainment though I do not expect the government to give monetary funding to any of these individuals or organizations. Before you state that they get funding… I will again state that I disagree with that funding as well. I will pay any fee warranted to support what I like. Is there anything wrong with expaecting all of you to do the same?

    If there is not enough support to sustain this form of art then it is high time that it became extinct or, at the minimum, spent in accordance with the importance it holds within the lives of the audiences. No government should decide what form of artistry is valid or invalid and as long as grants exist we will never have total artistic freedom.

    I also have issues with how much hatred is within this blog. Why is Ms. Erickson so evil because she had the nerve to ask someone why they deserve the large amounts of money they recieve from the taxpayer? I think that this interview should happen more often. In fact, Canadians should demand that these tough questions be asked of all who want a free ride.

    Reply
  20. Bill

     /  August 15, 2011

    Did art exist before public funding? That essentially was the crux of the interviewer’s inquisition. Seems a reasonable question to come from a blue collar tabloid outfit like the Sun. I’ve seen harsher interviews on other more professional news outlets. In this Sun interview I think Gillis fell right into the interviewers trap, bruising her ego by saying Gillis’s dancing is not her cup of tea, totally unhinged her. Gillis’s reaction made her come off like some kind of fragile narcissist who can’t handle honest criticism of her publicly subsidised art. Sorry, but that’s how it appeared to me and I have no axe to grind in this mash up.

    Reply
    • Kayla

       /  November 29, 2011

      Did you really just ask if art existed before public funding? Art’s been around for (almost literally) forever. Haven’t you heard of cave drawing, ancient Greek theatre, sculpture/figures of gods, artwork on vases and plates, dancing and music in rituals, etc. It is an aspect of HUMAN culture.
      On the other “harsher” interviews on the professional news organizations, did the interviewer acknowledge their utter lack of knowledge about their subject? Did they lure their interviewer on false pretenses (because if you do some research you will discover that is what Sun News did)?
      I am a journalism student and there are criteria, codes of ethics that you are expected to follow, and Erickson violated more than one of these codes. I am appalled that she has a job.

      Reply
  21. StychocaZoozy

     /  November 6, 2012

    What do you think? Should I go for it? Thanks in advance. ~ djl … I would take extra kote if you saved enough cash on switching to Yamato-do, … Payday Ameri First, it features a cash-in-advance (CIA) constraint and incorporates the assumption of ….. dyz t /yz t. = (1 в€’ О¶). 1 ПЃ. (yz t yt. )ПЃв€’1 ПЃ. (9). 3.4.2 Intermediate goods …

    Reply
  22. littleironhorse1

     /  September 15, 2014

    As a dancer myself and a visual artist, I have long been a fan of Margie Gillis for many many years.
    This interview by Krista Erikson was absolutely ridiculous. I cannot believe how Sun News can have such a lack of discretion and discernment to hire such a cultural philistine, ( her own description) such as Krista Erikson. Horrible, and an embarrassment to journalist professionalism and plain common courtesy toward the Margie Gillis. Krista Erikson is a loud mouthed, over baring bully. Margie was grace under pressure.

    Reply
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