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Today in My History

2001:  Eye on the World
2002:  This and That

2003:  Super Australia Bowl Day
2004:  Quiche and Cookies and Chips, Oh My!
2005
 Gay Puppies
2006:  Up and Down the Silverado Trail
2007:   She's Home! She's Home!

2008:  Michele and Gautami!


IN MY OPINION
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Books Read in 2008
 
Updated: 12/28
"The Black Echo" 


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GO SEE A PLAY

27 January 2009

We once went to a concert that some friends were giving in Rocklin, which is about an hour's drive from here.  It was a dark and stormy night and as I recall, it poured rain all the way from here to the college where the concert was being held.  But we hadn't seen Jim and Kari in many years and the opportunity to hear them in concert again was too good to pass up.  (Plus they took us to dinner afterwards, which was an unexpected bonus!)

Jim had directed the Newman Hall choir, in which I sang for a number of years.  Kari was our #1 soloist.  In fact, when Walt and I got married, the choir's gift to us was to perform a Mozart Mass (complete with chamber orchestra) free of charge.  It was a very generous gift.

Jim and Kari later married and moved to Los Angeles.  Jim continued to sing, but was also a math professor at, I believe, UCLA.

Anyway, I digress.  The concert was sparsely attended.  Only a handful of souls had braved the elements to come to the concert.  Before Jim and Kari were introduced, a guy got up on stage and began to rant and rave about how empty the house was.  We felt insulted.  We had come to the show, yet he couldn't reach the people who had not come out to hear them, and so all he could do was scold those of us who were there.

It's frustrating to be a part of the arts--any area of the arts--because it totally consumes you -- but, sadly, it doesn't consume the world at large and so when tough economic times (or bad weather) hits, people begin staying away from theatre, concerts, opera, ballet.  Without that income, some companies begin to cut back significantly on their productions, which further reduces the appeal to potential audience. 

It's like my cataracts.  You don't notice that you're losing your sight, but all of a sudden one day you realize that a good part of it is gone, that the world that you once knew isn't there any more.

The Sacramento ballet has announced it is canceling its 2009 season.  Instead of doing full productions with sets and elaborate costumes on a big stage in the big community center, they will do smaller shows in smaller venues, without sets and costumes.

The Sacramento Community Theatre has scaled back productions in its black box theatre.

I've spoken with several people who run theatres in the area and the view is glum.  Revenues are down so far that everybody is worried.  And audience attendance is starting to fall off, as people look at the price of milk and the price of theatre tickets and decide, unreasonably, that they would rather feed their children than splurge on a night at the theatre.

One theatre company is starting a campaign to get everyone in their audience(s) to donate $25 to their operating costs.  They figure that the amount is small enough to be affordable and if enough people contributed $25, it might help get them over this tough financial hump.

I spoke with another reviewer this weekend, who was complaining about people who "only" donate $25, realizing that this isn't going to do all that much.  He seemed angry that people aren't giving big bucks to help keep theatre alive in Sacramento.

I sort of felt like the audience at Jim and Kari's concert, all those many years ago.  He was being angry with the people who are donating and going to the shows, when the real problem is the people who are staying home and not opening up their purses to help the arts (for whatever reason).

When times are tough, all arts suffer - school arts programs are chopped long before anybody will consider shutting down the football program. 

When you are in the fortunate position that I am in, and get paid to see a wide variety of theatre, whether community theatre or professional theatre, you realize what a wide range of offerings there are, at all quality levels.  There's something out there for everyone's taste.

If you value theatre in your life, even if you only go to a show "now and then," if you want theatre to be available when your children and grandchildren are old enough to go, consider checking out what is available in your area and go to a show.  It doesn't matter if it's The Music Man, King Lear, The Big Voice: God or Merman, or some avant garde production that some up and coming playwright has just written.  Pick the kind of theatre you like and support it in some way, however small.  Send a contribution to your local high school drama program, or perhaps to a theatre company that has brought a smile to your face in times past.  Something is better than nothing, and a lot of somethings can add up eventually to a significant something.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

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MILES TO NOWHERE:  93.5 miles

 

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