Concert Etiquette: learn IT, know IT, DO IT

Did I miss the train on this one?

Nearly every year since I was five, my father has given a concert with the classical chamber orchestra he conducts in New York City. At least one Saturday night a year for the last 23-years, I put on something nice, sat in my orchestra seat, and was to take in the sounds of Mozart, Bach, and whatever else my Dad had up his sleeve for the night with his orchestra members.

However, this particular night in 2011, became particularly memorable and I have certain families to thank for it.

During the first pieces before intermission, this family comes in late and I think nothing of it at first. They have a small child, and of course, I give the benefit of a doubt. Let’s all just get settled and enjoy the music.

Nope, looks like that’s not going to happen. This particular couple decides to unwrap candy for their young child throughout the entire first piece, the small child talking the entire time, and drinking a bottle of green juice with his parents not doing anything to stop any of it. After about 10-minutes of this bullcrap (with a few other people giving them scathing stares), obviously the stares weren’t working and I finally said it in plain English: “Could you stop that please?” (Mind you, I was sitting four rows from the front and my dad was literally in earshot of me). And THAT finally stopped it, the real out-of-mouth directions. You’ve got to be kidding me.

PS – there was a cafe’ area RIGHT OUTSIDE the concert doors. One of you couldn’t just take him outside?? no of course not.

If that wasn’t enough from little Juice Boy, the family in front of us had a boy of about 10-years-old with no excuse for why he was jumping up and down from his seat with his dad doing absolutely nothing to stop it….

I said it before, I’ll say it again … Did I miss the train on this one??

Now, my aunt told me the next day: “Oh, just wait until you’re a mom and then you’ll understand.”

… really? because as I understood it when I was little, I had to sit, be quiet, and listen even if I was bored out of my skull. Why? because it was concert etiquette, and I needed to follow the rules. Someone up there had worked their tucus off to perform an amazing piece and whether or not I wanted to listen, my job was to stay quiet and considerate until it was over. Period.

A recent article by Rob McNeill showed up on msnbc.com a few months ago, basically taking cue from the recent ban of children in a Monroeville, PA restaurant saying it was not because of a dislike of children, but because he had it with parents and their inability to cooperate. Also, LZ Granderson from CNN also ran a similar article  about how even he, as a parent, couldn’t believe that some parents wouldn’t deal with their children despite their irrational behavior.

So here it is, plain and simple, since it seems that scathing looks just don’t cut it anymore and perhaps just directions are to be drawn up instead.

THIS IS NOT THE MOVIES. You want to go to a concert? here’s a tip: don’t bring your child or if you absolutely positively cannot LIVE without going to the performance, TALK to your kid beforehand or sit in the back. I cannot start to tell you just how rude and inconsiderate it is to come in not only late, but continue to be noisy to the point where even the middle row can hear your kid snacking on that candy.

don’t wait for the hairy eyeball either. I’m here to enjoy the music, and so is everyone else. If you choose to ignore the withering glances, trust me when I say karma is a bitch and if your own child is up there performing one day and someone decides to crumple their cellophane wrappers loudly and whisper to each other in the audience, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

This is fabulous in fair comparison to the complete a-hole that decided to whip open a newspaper in the front row and read it while the first act of the concert was going on. Literally holding it up, both arms, while my dad and the orchestra were performing onstage. RUDE! Go sit outside if you don’t feel like listening. The news in that paper isn’t going to change in the next 10-minutes, put it down and deal with it.

– The Golden Rule: Just Be Considerate. When did this concept just completely go out the window? We only have so much time on this Earth, people, let’s make it as good for each other as it can be for ourselves.
I love kids, but there are just some things I will not tolerate about them. There’s a way for us all to learn from each other, let’s make sure it’s before another teeth-grinding moment in public.

Cirque Du Soleil – ‘Zarkana’ : NYC

Radio City Music Hall: one of the many magical places in NYC where shows can come alive. Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Zarkana’ really was one of the new great experiences I’ve had in the place. Not just as a Cirque fan, but really, they transformed the heck out of what is already a fantastic “WOW” factor of sitting in the audience at Radio City Music Hall.

This past summer, I had the task of finding a really great show for two out-of-towners, this one was perfect and frankly, one that gave me an excuse to exercise my right to Cirque as well 🙂

I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect of the show, since the only ones I’d ever attended were in the made-for auditoriums in the Vegas venues. Hearing about what Cirque considered was their ker-plop that was ‘Banana Shpeel’ a year ago, I was a bit skeptical that Cirque Du Soleil would be able to give the same feeling that I had at every show.

But true to form, they definitely stuck to their guns and created immense, colorful chaos that is ‘Zarkana’.

For one thing, the transformation of the space at Radio City (a landmark and therefore one would be unable to alter anything about it) was INSANELY AMAZING. The multicolored lighting alone on the curtain was enough to entice anyone for what was about to come. True to Cirque form: interacting with audience members and getting them hyped up before the performance. The music, the sound system, the lights.. even reaching all the way up to the very ceiling that was right above our heads (we sat in the nosebleeds) everything transformed.

Ps, THE SETS: GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS. Many pixelated screens creating what looked like some of the craziest digital backgrounds, but their handmade sets were also just complete works of art. Honestly, I’m in awe of how they could pack up and ship all these sets from Montreal, to Florida, to NYC!! Beyond words, my favorite set had to be the spiderweb for the acrobats. Absolutely, positively breathtaking.

And of course, the acrobatics. Won’t try to give too much away, but there is much to be seen and completely love even from the nosebleeds. Even from up there we were able to see the amazing stunts, people hoisted up in the air, and the impossible still looked crazy-possible from where we were. I will give one act away: My absolute FAVORITE act was of the woman doing sand-art seen above on the big screen to open up the 2nd act. Quite amazing.

One thing I will say though: I actually felt like there were two acts that were a tad painful to watch – the highwire walkers. Surprisingly I found them to be the most raw, and also what seemed to be the least prepared or rehearsed of the performers. Apparently they’re a family act (as many worldly circus acts are), and did fared better on another stunt which was the rotating wheels which we had the pleasure of also seeing at the other Cirque show, ‘KA’, in Las Vegas.

Overall, it was definitely some tasty candy to the soul. Cirque du Soleil: They truly are the incredible artists that continue to push the envelope of great talent, visuals, and extreme hard work that is conveyed 150%. Perhaps that’s just what keeps me coming back in the end, always wanting another taste for good memories. 🙂

Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen @ the Met

In two-words I can describe Savage Beauty exhibit @ The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

BREATHTAKING and CROWDED 😉

Breathtaking and crowded, indeed! Setting the record for the most-visited exhibit the Met has ever seen, Savage Beauty closed this past summer with an outstanding run (with people apparently even pushing visiting to the last day, waiting on line for 3 hours!!). Thank God I was able to visit early on when it first opened in late May!!

With the unfortunate passing of the late Alexander McQueen, came an incredible retrospect of his work at the annual Costume Institute’s display of his work. Although McQueen himself was young, he truly was quite the visionary and whether enticed by fashion or not in this lifetime, I think there was truly something about him that everyone truly could connect to.

Like I said, people visited this exhibit in the hundreds of THOUSANDS and even I got swallowed in the crowd at one point. Tourists and hipster-NYC-fashionista wannabes galore swamped the fantastic realm of McQueen’s work from ceiling to floor, wall-to-wall. Whether getting sideswiped by the young overseas student wanting something to gush about to her art class, or the fan who mourned his death by trying to learn more about who he really was, it was IMPOSSIBLE to WALK. You would inch yourself closer or further away in hopes of finding some breathing room. But when you did find room to look, think, and compose yourself, everything you saw was something to behold. You might not have understood some of it: the conventional vs. the unconventional, but like all art, it existed there plainly for one to take in.

For me and my friend who visited a wonderful day after work, for us this was a huge dosage of refreshment to the artist soul. Not only in seeing McQueen’s genius, but just how he struggled with producing absolutely intriguing work as any artist has. This is the factor which I find grabs my attention when visiting a retrospective most of all: the artist struggle. A visual sketch, a need to move forward or expand, or translate his big thoughts into something everyone could see, these are the things I found captured in everything on display. Who hasn’t struggled to visualize or think in their lifetime? McQueen certainly did. And the results were absolutely dramatic, stunning, theatrical, and a true definition of eclectic-fantastic. 

He revealed much about his views in his work for sure, and one would definitely see this in the clothes he put on display: his Scottish heritage, Romanticism, a commentary on clothing of the Victorian era, etc. All of which he said was to use his clothing to empower women, challenging views of gender, race, nature, and identity. Every crazy detail down to the last bead, stitch, mother-of-pearl shine and feather (that was by far my favorite piece, a very intricate feather dress) he spoke every word painted right down to the last.

The work itself was inevitable to marvel at: enamel platform shoes (more widely known worn by Lady Gaga), and his inspiration drawn from different cultures. My favorite part of the exhibit was written on the wall, a poignant quote he said about his views of racism in fashion:

“I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes… That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers” – McQueen.

I believe McQueen had the right ideas all along on how the artistry of this world is going to move forward. I’m only sorry he didn’t live on to continue his legacy, because we truly needed people like him to help push it forward.

Printmaking: Painted Monoprints

And so begins my attempt to get some creative juices flowing!!

Learning technique in art is where one’s expansion will start to happen. Painted Monoprints are definitely something everyone can try their hand at.

I gave a lesson in monoprinting to some children last summer, and here’s what happened …

It all begins with an idea … but technique will go hand in hand with exploration in art for young children. Just as we’re taught how to use art materials and tools, allowing them to go gaga with paint sometimes just might do the trick.

Then there are other methods you can attempt so that they can further the experimentation: rolling ink, pressing, and eventually using drawing materials to further show lines and colors with certain images they want to convey. Definitely uses the muscles and great fine motor skills, but most of all giving the kids a bit more brainpower on how things could look with their own ideas.

Most of all, and above all else .. seeing their own display of work really becomes the great ending of it all. So many questions, visions, and thoughts! Listen up because sometimes they’ll be some of the most clever observations you’ve ever heard.

An Ode To … Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami … you make beautiful work

You make a flat image and acrylic paint look more amazing than anything I’ve ever seen before. Anime is beautiful work in itself, but you have truly dressed it up and helped bring it to the next level.

Your featured exhibit at the Brooklyn Art Museum in 2008 was worth the entire trip from Astoria to Brooklyn, so much that I went 3-times.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the multi-colored LV bag phase, but I’m still a huge fan of your collaborations.

When I was looking for a job after grad school, I found out your Kaikai Kiki Studio was a mere across-town experience for me if I was ever wanting to go. Long Island City as opposed to Astoria! fantastic 🙂

My friends and I ventured over to the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea to see your one piece after school one day. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at how although there was another artist on display throughout the entire gallery, we were more interested in how your gorgeous painting and of course, my dear friend said the fact that the shininess looked like candy just made her wanna go up n’ lick it. =P

I received an amazing Murakami postcard set from my cousin once I moved into my new apartment years ago … and I honestly TREASURE THEM and they will most definitely be hanging in whatever new home we will have for the rest of our lives as wonderful, valued artwork!

Everytime I look down at my pod when it’s Kanye West, I notice I ignore the music at first and merely the image that comes up. It’s the bear you designed! and the album cover.

Your documentary on the Ovation channel was the first thing I ever saw on the channel when we got it. First artist doc I’ve actually held on to watching, and totally fascinated by everything I saw.

 

And finally … the big one that set me literally fluttering out of my seat while my fanaticism was educated those around me about who you were. As I finally got to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade this year and screamed when I saw Kaikai and Kiki traveling down Central Park West above my head as giant balloons, and you celebrating and happy as one of your fabulous flowers! totally amazing, totally awesome.

It’s an extreme pleasure to be one of your fans. Rock on.

 

 

Who Knew? “Artsy People Are Happier”

So I suppose the “tortured artist” effect is a no-go in this case. Apparently artsy people are the happier folk in this world and promoting better health. How interesting. 😉

Now go out and get that enriched culture dosage for today!

Cirque Du Soleil (Las Vegas)- Zumanity

When I first visited Vegas, I made the huge vow that for whatever reason, I would NEVER give the New York, New York Hotel and Casino another thought as to entering it for ANY good time possible (purely out of principle!!!) However, a third visit did in fact, become the charm, as seeing Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity was a total last-minute decision to see this show, literally on the last day of our vacation as plans with a friend got canceled and we were itching to just see one more great show before we left.

We honestly had no idea what to expect from the show, and even continued to think so as we were watching the crowd down below be warmed up by the OUTRAGEOUS characters, once again, in true CDS ambience (two overweight-women in nude suits feeding strawberries to the audience!). The whole thing is served up, cabaret style, and for the record, this is the show that will go down in history as the one show where I laughed so hard I missed the last act entirely and pretty much almost fell down the stairs from laughing too hard... Let alone continuing to laugh all the way back to the hotel, and even on the plane coming home the next day. Poor E having to put up with it all …

THIS IS NOT A SHOW YOU WANNA TAKE YOUR PARENTS TO 😉 Unless of course, it was your parents’ idea and they knew what they were getting into!!!

And of course, here is the consensus:

– Of course, in “sensual” true form.. there was nudity galore. However, this show was by far, sexual Burlesque Cabaret at its best. You have to be 18+ to see the show (for obvious reasons) but don’t be fooled, on top of amazing acrobatics, the show was absolutely HILARIOUS. I have to give much credit to the master of ceremonies who seriously connected to the audience and remained absolutely fabulous!!

– Definitely bold in its choices, tackling much ado about love, sex, fetish, and all with the fantastic signature of Cirque Du Soleil stunts. Prepare to be wowed by two women in a fishbowl, two men fighting in a cage, a small person flying around the place by silks, but the one that truly blew me away, was the incredible aerial-flying, hula-hooping schoolgirl!

– Here’s a little tip though: if you’re already feeling slightly intimidated and frankly, don’t like to be touched too much by raunchy, fun-lovin’ strangers, I suggest you choose the seats up in the balcony. Trust me, you’ll still have a good time and able to see everything!! But if you’re feeling bold, go for the front seats. Ya just might get picked to go on the “lazy-susan-of-sex” towards the end 😉 <– and this is what had me in hysterics. They picked two folks from the audience: Rodrigo (with a sexy tone in his voice) and Kelly, the exact opposite (a conservative woman from Kansas City). Dear God, the entire set alone had me in TEARS from the laughing that ensued from that combination alone and the reactions brought forth from the beloved master-of-ceremonies.

**CONCLUSION**: It was honestly a fantastic end to the trip because of this show, but if an open-mind isn’t your cup of tea, I honestly think you should think twice before coming. I guarantee it will be a GREAT time, but it definitely isn’t for everyone 😉 Though as the show says, “Love sure is grand!”