R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for the A.R.T.S.

There’s no explanation for this title, really. I will probably aim for various references, so you might get some, others you might not get, and hey, that’s fine! You know why? Because I’m glad you even found this blog, to be honest!

I started blogging back in 2007 in university, back then still in German and in Germany, while starting to write a novel as well. Ambitious, I know. Without further ado, I am back now and will not give much of an explanation about as to why I stopped for so long. That will soon be in the “About” section, so don’t fret. Just to give a short explanation: Life gets in the way.

So, what am I ranting about? Respect for the arts? Well, more so about the lack thereof. And no, I will not just be an angry German complaining about North America. I will also try to give a bit of constructive advice with all of my criticism. So let’s start.

Last weekend I was in downtown Toronto to enjoy a performance of Eddie Izzard at Massey Hall. The performance itself was great and there’s not much to say. Either you like him and his style or you don’t. What really bothered me though was the audience. Not that they were rude to him or anything, no. But their choice or clothing, behaviour and body language did not show much respect. Now I don’t want to say that everyone should sit straight and laugh at each joke or anything like that. But you should try at least. I remember back in Dresden (when I started the blog actually, but too early for a full circle yet) I went to the Semperopera and while, as a student, I did not have much money, I did try to at least appear presentable, with neatly cleaned and ironed jeans (yes, they look better like that, don’t be lazy, readers), a proper shirt and a sports jacket. I learned that from my parents. It’s how you show your respect to the performing arts.

Now we did the same for this event. Dressed up nicely, even suit shoes, suit pants, shirt and jacket. And mind you, those shoes were not the best choice for driving, especially since we got stuck in a traffic jam on both ways and I own a standard… so yes, my feet were angry with me. Regardless, I think it’s the least I should do, especially in a historic setting such as Massey Hall.

When I looked around though, I could only find a few people that had the same idea. Most of the audience looked as well… they were going to a ball game. Hoodies, saggy jeans, sneakers… now I don’t have anything against those in particular, I wear those myself on a day-to-day basis (mind you my jeans don’t sag). And I know, I know… it’s a comedy gig, but there’s no reason to be like that. So if anyone who was there reads that and feels offended, you have no right to.

Granted, Massey Hall itself does not help the cause. Yes, I mentioned that it is a historic place. And it is! So much that it seems that no one wants to disturb the history anymore. In other words, it’s run-down. It definitely needs fixing, music that was playing brought flakes of stucco down from the ceiling. The seats are old and worn out, uncomfortable even, and the whole building just looks bad on the inside. The worst part is though that they sell beer on these events. That should really not be necessary. And to the audience: You don’t need beer that desperately in a 2 hours show that you pay $9 for it… and buy another one after!

So, a little open letter to whoever feels responsible for Massey Hall… Stop being greedy, close it down, invest in a restoration, the place has so much potential! The ceiling and the painted glass windows alone would make it astonishing. Don’t sell beer. That’s just not necessary. It’s not a stadium. Which reminds me… I heard someone talk about season tickets for Massey Hall. Seriously? You are either interested in a play or not, but you don’t just blindly buy a ticket to see anything that they offer. That doesn’t help the cause, either. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, also fix the seating… less seats, more comfortable ones instead. I know it will cost you more money and bring in less, but it’s necessary. People have gotten taller in the last few years, believe it or not.

And to the audience. Don’t buy beer for events like that. Don’t act like you’re curling up to watch television. Dress up a little. Try at least. It will make the event so much more memorable. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Bottom line, I still enjoyed myself. I just wish people were more European here. But who knows how things will change. Now that actually is somewhat of a full circle. For the blog’s title at least. How about that!

In that regard…

Your Janner

 

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