In a conversation yesterday, a person with whom I was chatting described Harper’s Other Dad and I as “culture vultures”. I’m familiar with the term as a description of people who are higher-than-average-volume consumers of the Arts. I’d never heard it applied to me before and it is certainly not a term that I would use to describe myself. I don’t think I like it….”vulture”. It sounds like I’m circling above a museum or concert hall waiting for artistic road kill. I don’t think that’s true. It also sounds like I am indiscriminate in my tastes. That’s not true either. Perhaps I am over-thinking this, however. We are, indeed, relatively high volume consumers. I spend a lot of time with my ‘butt in the seat’ at one performance or another.
We try to support local arts organizations when we can so we subscribe to the local opera, symphony and ballet companies.
We subscribe to the Classical series at Phoenix Symphony which includes 12 concerts between September and May. The season began Friday night with Beethoven’s Symphony #9, which I can never hear without thinking of A Clockwork Orange.
Ballet Arizona’s season includes five productions. They is trying something new this season. Celebrating the opening of their new home, they have added a series called Studio Spotlight where subscribers visit their studio space for a preview of four of the five productions.
I know very little about dance. I enjoy the productions. The music is great. The performances are visually beautiful and the athleticism is impressive but my appreciation is pretty superficial. I look forward to learning more during the Spotlights so I can become a more discerning audience member.
Arizona Opera does five productions during their season. All are operas I have seen before but it can be nice to see new productions of familiar material. My one fear is we are seeing La Boheme done by AZ opera and the Met so it is likely the AZ production will suffer my comparison.
Like Ballet AZ, the local Opera is celebrating a new home and one of their productions, Don Pasquale, will be performed in their new studio space. It will only be the second time I have seen an opera staged in a smaller venue. I am looking forward to it.
I addition to the Arizona Opera productions, I am also looking forward to the new season of the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD simulcasts. We’ll be able to see nine productions in their 2013-2014 season. I am most excited to see Shostakovich’s The Nose next month.
Of course the season isn’t all about culture with a capital ‘C’. I enjoy a local theater company called Nearly Naked Theatre. They are doing five shows this season. I blogged about the first of them last month when we saw A Devil Inside.
So, adding up the subscriptions, season tickets, and tickets we’ve already purchased it totals about 40 evenings of entertainment between now and Memorial Day. That sounds like a lot. Especially when one considers there will be additions.
When we first moved to the Southwest, a friend warned us not to get our hopes up regarding the Arts. Phoenix is a larger city than the area from whence we came and, at the time, it was booming economically but, as he put it; “It’s a desert in more ways than one.” After eight years here I have come to disagree. The quality may not match the standards set in the world’s cultural capitals but the quality is acceptable or better and I am just now coming to realize the variety on offer is actually quite impressive.
This afternoon we are joining some friends for a matinee of a musical called Ruthless. I am not familiar with this show. We purchased tickets mainly to join our friends for a nice ‘brunch & matinee’ Sunday but I checked out some clips from other productions I found on Youtube and it looks interesting. I am sure I will blog about it shortly.
One of the local ‘gay rags’ published a ‘preview article last month of all the entertainment coming in the 2013 – 14 season in the Valley from sources great and small. Even excluding the events in which I have not even a passing interest and those I have seen before (which, in some cases, still won’t stop me seeing them) the volume and diversity of the offering is staggering.
Of the national tours with Phoenix stops I would love to see Once and Peter and the Starcatcher. Local companies are doing productions of Katori Hall’s The Moutaintop; David Ives’ Venus in Furs, and Hamlisch & Ashman’s musical Smile.
There are always trade offs to be made and priorities to be established. I am not likely to make time, nor budget, for Jersey Boys, Bring It On, nor I Love Lucy: Live on Stage but will most certainly drive 2 hours to Tucson to see a production of Joe Orton’s Loot. And if we can plan a weekend ‘up the hill’ to Flagstaff around the performance schedule of Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind I will see what I can juggle. I will happily skip The Texas Tenors and One Night of Queen, especially if it makes room in the calendar to see Jon Robin Baitz’ Other Desert Cities or Samuel Hunter’s The Whale.
So many choices – so little time…. and money.