Additional Music Monday information.
In my article’s original copy prior to being posted I mentioned that my quest was to get an interview with Cordelia Siporin and Ed Carine regarding the violence at a recent Music Monday event. Siporin is the Friends of the Bellevue Avenue Library President and Carine is the sound engineer that was present as well that evening. I got a copy of the actual incident report that was filed with the library. The following is a report of the incident, written by Siporin.
Music Monday Incident Report, 8/10/15:
This story is long and unpleasant, but I will start it from the beginning. A few week ago, a woman (whose name I’m sorry to say I still don’t know) came up to me during one of our Music Monday performances. She appeared to be middle-aged, with short gray hair and glasses. She said she was a resident who lived near the library, and wanted to complain about the noise. At first, I was receptive, and told her that we would be happy to lower the volume, and thanked her for letting us know. I even started to stand up to go over to Ed Carine, our sound technician, and ask him to lower the volume, but I never got any further than halfway out of my seat, as the woman, to my surprise, became increasingly angry, nasty and insulting.
She was completely unimpressed by my offer to honor her request and lower the volume, and started in on a vitriolic tirade, hating violently against absolutely every possible aspect of Music Mondays, and refusing to be pacified no matter what I said. Her complaints were wide-ranging, exaggerated and very, very angry; she raged against the types of music, the bands, the size of the crowds (too small in her opinion, to justify the noise), and said vehemently that Music Mondays were “ruining her entire summer.”
Throughout, I had tried to calm her down, using a calm tone of voice and saying things like, “I see. I’m sorry you feel that way,” and repeating my offer to lower the volume. She did not acknowledge my offers, and insisted with ever-increasing vitriol that the only satisfactory solution was to shut the entire Music Monday program down. I told her we weren’t going to do that, and Jonathan McDevitt, who had been there with me by the table, pointed out that is was a relatively short amount of time, only about 90 minutes, and only once a week, and ended relatively early, at 7:45 p.m. as well, and for these reasons we hoped that most people wouldn’t find it too invasive. But she continued her tirade, getting ever angrier and angrier.
At that point, it had become clear that there was nothing that could be done to placate her; my continuous offers to lower the volume were either ignored or rejected, and she was unstoppably and increasingly angry. Eventually, I asked her to leave, and she refused, continuing her endless stream of complaints and berating me with an ever-increasing hostility. So, eventually, I literally just walked away from her. I said, “I am sorry you feel that way,” one final time, turned and physically walked away. At that point, a younger man walking a dog whom she had arrived with (and who I believe was her son, perhaps in his mid 20’s or 30’s) wrapped his arm around her shoulders and quietly turned her and escorted her away as she continued to shout after me, giving the impression that he had had experience doing this sort of thing before.
I described the event later that evening as, “What would happen if an internet troll were there in person.” Her complaint about the volume had apparently not been the real issue, as she repeatedly ignored my offers to lower it, and considering her completely undue level of anger over the whole situation, I was for these reasons somewhat disinclined to take her complaints seriously. Her boundless display of irrational rage made me inclined to dismiss the complaint, and while I asked the sound technician if he thought we should lower the volume, I did not press him to change it when he said he thought it was fine.
That was some weeks ago. A week or two had passed, and there had been no signs of this women, so I had thought that perhaps the whole thing was over. Sadly, I was very wrong.
Last week, she showed up towards the beginning of the second performance around 7:00 p.m. She immediately descended upon the FBAL snack table where I sat, gripping the edges of the table, hunching down and literally screaming in my face. It was so fast, so shocking and so full of insane rage I couldn’t quite understand her, but I gathered that it was a violent accusation about my not honoring her request to lower the volume (which is somewhat ironic, considering her reactions all the times when I had originally offered to do so), and a stream of threats to the effect that she was going to shut us down no matter what it took. I repeatedly asked her to leave, as did Jon, who came over to the table as soon as he saw what was going on, and, amazingly, she turned and made a running break towards our performers. It looked like she was going to attack them, so Jon and I ran up and tried to stop her. She grabbed one of the lead singers’ microphones away from his face and started shouting something to the effect of, “Shut it down! Shut it down!” into the mic.
This report was published with the permission of the Director of the Montclair Public Library. As the story develops, we will have more information about the report.