I haven't posted anything in the past few weeks because I've been working on few different things, namely post-production on the new Doorman webisodes. We're doing an NYC screening of the entire first season next month, so stay tuned for updates on that. In the meantime, check out this little excerpt from my short-lived "Chris Russell Blog" spinoff. I'm posting it on here because no one fucking read it when it was originally posted. Now that I've taken it down, it's just sitting on my hard drive collecting cyber dust.
It's funny - ending this blog and starting a new, completely uninspired one last year was one of my more misguided decisions, yet I just recently snoozed when GoDaddy sent me an email warning me that the automatic renewal for the domain name will be processed. So, Chris Russell's of the universe who want to start their own blog - you're gonna have to wait another year, or pony up for the domain name.
Anywho, enjoy my venting about stupid tourists.
Originally written: January 13th, 2014
I went and saw Fuerza Bruta last Friday night with my family. I always try and give the gift of theatre, mostly because I possess the present-wrapping skills of a fingerless chimp, but also because I truly enjoy being able to provide a memorable evening for my loved ones. And while I understand that nothing says “I love you” like a $50 gift card for a fine culinary outing to Applebee’s or Buffalo Wild Wings, I prefer to bond over the arts than a “2 for 20” deal.
When the show started, I realized that the “art” experience was less art and more 65 minutes of booming techno music and redundant flying stunts. Everyone I spoke to who has seen the show beforehand liked it, save for one or two people who don’t appreciate the bane of being required to stay on their feet for more than an hour. My family seemed to enjoy it, or were just putting on a clinic on how to be polite when receiving a gift they don’t like. Personally, while I appreciate the agility and energy of the performers, I found the show to be a steaming, tourist-trap turd.
But that wasn’t my biggest gripe about the experience.
For all of the moving around, changing of viewpoints, and impressive herding of the clusterfuck of foreign mouth-breathers and drunk Americans by the highly efficient stagehands, they missed one pivotal no-no in the theatre world:
Cell phones. Cameras. Recording devices.
The second the show started, a fanny-pack wearing man who towered over me in height took out a digital camera the size of a bar of gold and began filming. He was a tourist, and a Brazilian one at that. I cannot fucking escape these people. Being that this was my day off from getting into altercations with these shopping outlet mongers, I opted to wait for an old-reliable New York City usher to intervene. After all, there was a “no flash photography announcement” at the top of the show.
Five minutes went by. Nothing.
My view of the first five minutes of this show was through the screen of this son of a bitch’s digital camera screen. What the fuck?
I turned to look for a staff member, and they were busy doing other things. I know this because I had to search really hard to find one through the ocean of little mini-screens projecting the live show that these people paid to see, and were funneling through a four inch screen.
Assuming this was acceptable by the show and it’s staff, I told the fucking ogre in front of me that I can’t see the show with his tree-trunk arms elevated over his oddly-shaped dome. He looked at me as if I were asking him to expose his wife’s breasts so I could sketch them. In a huff, he lowered his arm angle and continued on filming the show, eyes still glued to the standard-definition screen of what had to be a digital camera from the early 2000’s. (I guess his "rite-of-passage" US shopping spree hadn’t reached Best Buy yet.)
But it wasn’t just him. The more I looked around, the more I saw people realize it was okay to take pictures and record the show. After twenty or so minutes, nearly half the fucking audience had their phones out and were watching through the screen.
Think about that - these people paid a decent penny to see live theatre and couldn’t pry themselves away from their cell phone screens for a mere sixty minutes. They had actors and acrobats performing dangerous stunts before them and it was more important to record the moment than actually experience it.
Maybe the reason I didn’t care for the show was because I spent the entire hour detesting my fellow audience members. I just can’t fathom this thought-process. There were a handful of people, fanny-pack toting troglodyte included, who filmed the entire show show, top to bottom.
Why the fuck should I be forced to pay money to watch an event through the lens of your future little home movie that NO ONE will ever want to see?!?
Are you really going to go home and watch it again?!?
No, you will never watch it again. Ever. You may think you will, but you’ll go home continue on with your meandering life and delete the file the moment you need space on your hard drive. There’s nothing more dry and boring to other people than a shitty recording of live theatre. Trust me, I have about ten DVD’s from my college stage years to prove it.
Are you going to show your friends?!?
"EHHHH… Look at this clip that I filmed on my phone from this techno circus I visited in New York City!!!!"
If someone proposed that to me, here’s how the conversation would go:
Doorman - “Does a performer fall due to a snapped flying cable and break their spine?”
Asshole - “No.”
Doorman - “Is there an accidental boob slip? “
Asshole - “No.”
Doorman - “Does a violent melee break out in the audience?”
Asshole - “No.”
Doorman - “Not interested. Get the fuck out of my house.”
Seriously, unless you’re capturing the last out of the World Series, put your fucking phones away and appreciate the experience that you paid good money to have. And even if you are lucky enough to be present for the last out of the World Series (as I was in the year 2000, no big deal), put your fucking phone away and take it in, because there will always be another schmuck sitting near you who will post it on YouTube.
That version of Fuerza Bruta closed the following Sunday, but, luckily for you, here’s a high-resolution clip provided by one of their expert audience cinematographers!!!