Sunday, October 12, 2008

Building A Life ...

Friday, I mentioned to L.A. Dave that I was headed to The Goodman to see "Turn of the Century" and that I'd just bought tickets to see Steppenwolf's production of "The Seafarer." (I want to compare it to the Broadway version.)

L.A. Dave commented, "You're doing a lot of culture these days."

Maybe, if you count driving up and back to Columbus, Ohio, in one day to see Springsteen sing a handful of songs "culture."

I'm a season ticket holder with The Goodman, because for years and years, I thought, "I should go to more theater," but I never did. So when Doreen asked if I wanted to go to a play at The Goodman a few years ago and we went and I loved it and someone from the theater called to see if I'd be interested in a subscription for the following season, I bit, because subscriptions are kinda ridiculously cheap, considering.

The new season is underway and "Turn of the Century," a musical from the masterminds behind "Jersey Boys," is a really fun time. I highly recommend that you score some tickets before the show ends on November 2. Jeff Daniels (was he "Dumb" or "Dumber"?) stars, and – who knew? – he has a good singing voice. Mind you, Placido Domingo doesn't need to be looking over his shoulder, but I'd never heard Jeff Daniels sing before last night, and I was pleasantly surprised.

But his co-star, Rachel York, was the true treat. She's exceptional. I know some will think me blasphemous, but this woman can give Streisand a run for her money.

Culture, though – concerts and plays and movies and museums and the like – is actually something I lack in my life, if you ask me, which you didn't, but I'm the one writing, so I get to have both sides of the conversation at the moment.

I'm sure I take in more culture than many, maybe even most, but for my own tastes, I want to take in even more. Culture is fuel for creatives. And lately, I'm feeling a bit depleted.

Last year, as an American Express cardholder, I received a pre-sale offer for Genesis tickets. I called L.A. Dave and offered to get tickets for him as part of the pre-sale. He's not the concert-going type, but Genesis is his all-time favorite band. And the prices were very reasonable.

Until TicketBastard added its insane fees. Suddenly, $50 tickets were closer to $75. And suddenly, Dave was reconsidering.

But I said to him, "At the end of your life, you're not going to be lying on your deathbed saying, 'Whew! I'm really glad I didn't go to that Genesis concert!' "

So I bought (and he paid me back, in case everyone is thinking, "Hey, Beth, buy some concert tickets for me, too!"; I wish I could) and he went and he had a great time.

Life is made up of moments that become memories. And surely a memorable moment can happen at any place at any time, but culture ups the odds that a memory will be worth remembering.

Last Sunday was memorable because it was an atypical day. I don't often spend my a Sunday driving to another city in another state to help out on a presidential campaign before going to a rally headlined by a musical icon. Usually, I spend my Sundays running errands or doing chores.

And who really cares to remember a trip to Target to buy shampoo? Or a rousing afternoon of cleaning grout? (Note: I have never once expressly cleaned grout, mine or anyone else's, but "grout" is too fun a word to pass up.)

But culture, I remember culture. Like seeing James Taylor in Grant Park years ago on a perfect summer evening ("the temperature where there is no temperature," my friend Gemma noted), his voice wafting across the crowd, lulling me, the sun setting behind the Chicago skyline. A postcard moment, Gemma called it.

Completely. Exactly the kind that makes you want to write, "Wish you were here."


Blogger Mercurie said...

I really wish I could go to the theatre, but tickets are so expensive these days, not to mention the gasoline to St. Louis or Chicago (the closest places with theatres...I don't count Kansas City). It's sad when culture is so pricey--concerts plays, et. al.--only the rich can afford it.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Are there community theater companies near you? You don't have to head to big cities to find theater. There's some good stuff being done locally.

I'm far, far, far from rich, but you can find affordable options. My season tickets for the Goodman are only $28 per seat per performance. And that gets me in to see the likes of Jeff Daniels and Brian Dennehy and Lois Smith and Stacy Keach.

As for music, there are a zillion bands out there. Start hitting bars and find the next Springsteen!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

Well, there is Columbia just 30 miles south. And a good theatre in Arrow Rock. But the price of gas even prohibits going there right now. There is the Blue Note in Columbia...Cheap Trick and BoC have even played there. Of course, with gas prices dropping maybe I can start going places again!

12:34 AM  

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