Having a seasonal subscription to a theater has been a great boon to my cultural life. Before that, I would rarely motivate to get tickets to things I wanted to see and when I did finally try, the show was more often than not sold out.
This year we have subscriptions to two places: The Opéra de Paris, which houses the Paris Ballet, and the Carré Belle-Feuille. The CBF a small theater in my neighborhood that has an impressive program of touring music and modern dance performances, much of which is family-oriented.
Recently, the kids and I saw a hip-hop version of "Romeo and Juliette" there which featured some great choreography and was surprisingly moving. To the point that Alexander actually punched me furiously afterwards for taking him to a "sad show". (And lest you think me a monster, I did warn the kids beforehand the ending would be sadder than "Gnomeo and Juliette".)
The downside of scheduling all my cultural outings far in advance, is that sometimes other things come up that conflict with dates in question. Recently, I had to miss two shows we had tickets for at the CBF: a visit from the Peking Opera, which we were going to en famille, and a concert by French rock/blues singer CharlElie Couture (yes, that is how he spells his name).
Luckily, I found friends to pass the tickets along to, but I always feel a pang of regret when I miss something I had tickets for (although it's not nearly as bad as forgetting something I have tickets for, which I have also done). CharlElie was mainly for Pierre (I'm not really all that familiar with his music) but it would've been a great opportunity to see the Peking Opera. My friends who went said it was visually stunning, even if Chinese Opera-style singing takes some getting used to. I do wonder how many children actually stayed for the whole two hours or what I would've done if my children had whined to leave.
I've only ever walked out of one theater show my entire life (a production of Hamlet which reproduced exactly the Richard Burton film version, with actors reciting lines on stage along with the film and MOVING FURNITURE AROUND ON ROLLERS to reproduce the shots. ) And I don't think I've ever walked out of a film, including the mind-numbing "Care Bears Movie". Which is why I was particularly shocked by the number of walk-outs I observed at a recent concert we did manage to get to by pianist Tigran Hamasyan.
A 23 year-old Armenian prodigy, Hamasyan's music apparently synthesizes "diverse influences at the crossroads of jazz, pop, classical and traditional armenian music", according to the program notes. There is no doubt he is a technical virtuoso but I admit I had a hard time with his improvisational style, lack of melody and his tic-filled demeanor. During the concert I found my mind wandering constantly, thinking about whether he has Asperger's or just OCD, and whether I should've named my son "Tigran". (Pierre, who is very knowledgeable about music and music theory, was able to enjoy the performance much more).
Still, it would never occur to me to actually walk out on him, as I saw 10 or 12 people do. At the very least, when the guy is world-famous, as he surely will be, you could say you saw him way back at the beginning. Or write about it on your blog.
For whatever reason, podcasting seems to be a largely male-dominated world, so I thought I'd give a shout-out to a couple of my favorite female comedian podcasts.
"The Dork Forest" is hosted by Jackie Kashian, a seasoned comic based in Los Angeles. Jackie's guests (often comedians, but not exclusively) are invited to unload on their 'dork-doms', ie, their particular hobbies/obsessions, which may include everything from video games and comic books to exotic salt and raising bees.
Jackie is a goofy, genial host who peppers the show with stories about her dysfunctional Armenian-American family. She seems genuinely interested in other people's fixations so even if the subject matter one week may not be my bag (sports or cars, zzzzzzz), it's a consistently entertaining and informative hour.
My other recommendation is the "Totally Laime" podcast, hosted by comedy writer Elizabeth Laime. Along with her husband, psychic/sidekick Andy, Elizabeth "interviews" other figures from the L.A. alt comedy world. I put "interviews" in quotes, because the podcast prides itself on "asking the most important people the least important questions."
Which means that the weekly discussions are less focused on the guest's career or personal life than the joyously superficial digressions that arise involving dogs, ghosts or the Oprah Winfrey show (Laime's own obsession).
Both are available for free download on itunes.
What would you consider your own particular dork-dom? Have any of you ever walked out on a show/performance? I want to hear some stories...