The issue is how we chose to respect art and artists.
Several years ago I went to the see the Jean-Louis Foraine exhibit at the Dixon. I was carrying my moleskine journal and when I pulled out an ink pen to take notes, one of the security guards told me that I couldn't use a pen, I'd have to use a pencil. Not long after, I was pointing at a particular painting when another guard warned me about holding my hand too close to the painting.
In the moment each of these reprimands felt unnecessary, mostly because I felt embarrassed. But I realized two things. One was that these paintings are largely unprotected--they're vulnerable to carelessness. The other is that I really loved the exhibit and despite my faux pas and correction, I'm glad for the sake of the artwork that the security guards confronted me.
All live performance audiences, including these ladies, are capable of damaging art like a play, ballet, or concert in the same way. A live performance is not a video. We've become so comfortable with remote controls and mute buttons allowing us to pause our entertainment, and cell phones to interrupt, that we've become desensitized to realities and value of a live performance. And, simply because "Sylvia" is not immortalized in the Muse d'Orsey in Paris, like Foraine, doesn't mean that it's not valuable art. All artists make a huge leap of trust in their performances, and every audience needs to respect this, regardless of where they are.
No, it's not acceptable for an actor to break character, even in the face of the much less acceptable telephone ringing on the stage, even though I feel Mr. Isbell's behavior is understandable. The real culprit here is the theater. Unfortunately, I feel we're at a place where theaters need to monitor the behavior of patrons who act so disrespectfully to other actors, audience members, and the theater itself. I think people should be kicked out of performances where this happens.
Well, argued, John. And I think the key word in all of this is: Long-term. Memphis doesn't seem to look down the road to the future very well, very often. The local media can be blamed in theory, but in reality, it's we Memphians ourselves who are to blame. How this can change, only Heaven knows.
What downtown needs IS traffic. How many major cities deny vehicle access to their major center city residential and commercial districts? A few here and there, maybe; but Memphis is unique. Our city faces a challenge that many American cities and towns (even much smaller ones) don't: restoring not only financial investment into its city center, but more than than: confidence and hope. Opening up a now-blocked street may seem like a small task when compared to restoring trust between the city and its people, but at this point it's not only the immediate that needs to be considered, it's the long term as well. In the short term this should help. Once we have a downtown center with enough traffic and revenue, then we can shut it down.
C'mon, guys, you sound like the board of directors at Wal-Mart. Act a little enlightened here. Freeloaders do suck, but I doubt that someone who is so obviously concerned about a friendship as this person is should be so summarily accused of taking advantage of her friend. Her awareness of her debt is the clear sign that she's not a free-loader. This lady is torn and all you can do is talk about who sucks. I can't believe that anyone who reads this paper would respond so caustically. You can always spot the poor conservatives who think they're liberals because they watch the Daily Show and hate Baptists a mile away. You guys really should go look for jobs as mining company directors.
Not the same place. Not the same.
Memphis doesn't need a HoB. We are the HoB.
But this leads me to wonder why we even feel like we have to give in to the commercialization of Beale St. in the first place. I mean, I've lived here my whole life and I never go down there: unless I'm with someone from out of town. Why? Because it's become something like a shopping center that serves drinks. If Wolfchase had opened up on Beale its ads would read "Come Shop at the Home of the Blues." Really, how's this any different from what it does now? I mean, how many Beale visitors have even listened to Robert Johnson or BB King? Does Beale even offer them the blues?
What we need is our OWN venue--Memphis owned, Memphis run--that offers entertainment and but isn't part of some corporate "packaging." Something unique, genuine and soulful. Somewhere that hosts REAL blues musicians--not Lynard Skynard cover bands.
By Toby Sells
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