Tuesday, April 08, 2014

round of applause

I’m constantly awed by performance, even if I misunderstood it before this weekend. More precisely, on our drive back from Wilmington, as we were talking about the Carolina Chocolate Drops show, X used a turn of phrase that truly described what I couldn’t ever quite put my finger on.  It’s not a show , nor is it for us. There’s a massive difference in my mind between a show and a performance – a show is 5,000 people; a performance is far fewer in attendance. The connection between those on stage and those on the floor is lost once we cross a certain number. Think of a Lion King show in the West End – thousands crammed in attendance – to something like The Hostage in the 100-seat Keegan Theatre in DC. It’s not a matter that the performers in The Lion King aren’t immensely talented, it’s that I neither see nor feel the effort and skill that I should understand.  It’s all very distant and shallow. When you can see faces and really feel the flow of music and instruments washing over you, be it in a bar or club, then you are there. That’s performance.

We are there to not to take but to acknowledge the craft before us – we aren’t an audience in the sense of “give me something”, we are there to pass along our wonder and awe at what we witness. The best music shows have been small affairs, from a cramped 7th Street Entry where Slobberbone blew off the doors, to something like our Saturday night in an historic theatre; feeling a musical history being duly recognized. Yes, they are up on the stage performing, but it’s our presence in cherishing the skill that is at the core of the emotion.

Okay, let that go for a minute.

On Sunday, as we were looking at a DuPont exhibit and awaiting entry to Downton Abbey stuff, X and I both looked at a few portraits of olden times women (I didn’t read the blurbs so I have no idea who there were – I’m like that at times) and wondered, aloud (museum aloud) to each other:

Me: “Did that artist only know how to paint George Washington’s face? Because it look looks like he just painted George’s face on that poor woman.”

X: “Yeah, he could have at least done her the favor of making her look a bit more attractive. As the ‘artist’ it seems like the best thing to do. Sort of and early airbrushing.”

We wandered a few more feet examining some silver, broad cloth, and other artifacts.

X: .” I just had a thought. Maybe that painting does make her look better. Yikes.”

See? She’s like that.

Weather was garbage today. And, our furnace is broken. You can’t have it all.

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