Nice article on CNN about the phenomenon of people preferring to cell-video live events when they could be actually watching them:
Leah's article gives three examples but ignores their common threads: the offending parties were drinking heavily, and our cultural view of performing art has shifted greatly in the last 10-20 years so that we view the event as being about ourselves instead of about the art.
We have a local culture that embraces drinking as essential to having fun on a night out. A drunk crowd is a rowdier, noisier crowd. I see fewer pop music concerts than I used to, since a Vince Gill concert I took a family member to was ruined by two drunk women in front of us screaming "WOO" during the quietest songs. Oddly, I did not see that behavior in a Beyoncé arena show on her last tour, maybe because she has more consistently loud, heavily produced sound that grabs attention (and drowns out distractions). I did see it in a Rufus Wainwright show. Maybe the contemporary music crowd is different, but I've seen the same loutish behavior creeping into more formal classical music events and theater. I once had a 30ish couple in front of me at an expensive Spoleto opera chitchatting constantly. After I gave them several dirty looks, they finally spoke up and asked if I had a problem. I suggested they consider staying home and watching a DVD. She huffed; he was embarrassed; they moved to other seats; the soprano sang on so at least I got to hear a little of a gorgeous aria. Since that experience, I have been attending fewer Spoleto events. Maybe it's like Gresham's Law and the bad audience always drives out the good.
Our culture is changed compared to a decade or two ago. Punk aside, good art might be quiet and less commanding of an ADD-afflicted audience's attention than loud art. An audience has to make the commitment to concentrate or take their Adderall or whatever they need to do. People are less likely to view going to a cultural event as a reason to focus, or even to dress formally. Instead, we view it narcissistically as a great occasion to party, with the live performance as our personal party soundtrack.
Dinner at Fez was disappointing in quality, service and value for price paid. The plating proportions are wrong. The duck confit was salty and dried out. Lentils underneath were badly overcooked. Two different servers could not answer basic questions about the food. It's also on the dark side. Appetizer+entree+one glass wine+tip=$42, and I left hungry. Plates not preheated, so food gets cold quickly. Has a exotic-first-date kind of vibe but it's not very French and not very Moroccan (no bread offered, for example). Too trendy by half...
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