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One of the interesting things about living in Hershey is the Hershey Theater.  I have mentioned the Theater in the past, but the interesting thing about it is that so few people in the surrounding area truly appreciate the treasure it is.  So many people will drive past it, never realizing the smorgasbord of experiences that the theater offers.  One week they will have a world-famous Australian Pink Floyd cover band, the next a Tony winning musical, and then, a few times a year, a real treat comes through and the bulk of the area is completely oblivious.

Such an event is happening next week, and my wife and I are lucky enough to have tickets.  The internationally renowned Martha Graham Dance Company is coming through town for a single evening.  And it was ridiculously easy to get fantastic tickets to the performance.

Thinking about that got me thinking about many of the people I know and how little interest they would have in such a thing.  A high culture performance of that calibre would be something that they would readily turn down for an evening watching reality television or the latest sitcom in their own homes.  And, of course, I know many men that would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to such an event.

I guess I just don’t get that.

I don’t truly understand the aversion some people have to exposure to cultural events.  They treat a trip to an art museum or attendance at a Shakespeare festival like it is a dire trauma.  The idea of going to a touring exhibit of King Tut’s treasures or witnessing the beauty of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. is treated like a poisonous proposition.  Anything that falls outside the modern pop culture bubble, and sometimes even a very narrow slice of that, is something they refuse to participate in without cajoling.

But, I truly believe that if this sort of mentality would let go of its prejudices for just a few hours and truly take in the majesty of these cultural forms, perhaps it could be a transformative experience. 

I believe that the human mind is a thirsty vessel waiting to be filled.  We can fill it with whatever we want, but perhaps an occasional sip of the more esoteric parts of human culture can make you appreciate the beauty of things around you that much more.  Perhaps that small sip can give you a deeper vision of the world and people around you.   Perhaps that one small sip will open new doors.

After all, as the commercial taught us, even Mikey likes a little Life, and he hates everything.

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2 Comments

  1. I have to agree with many parts of your posting. While my wife and I try to instill the beauty of culture in our kids, sometimes it is a fight tooth and nail. While my daughter loves participating in culture, aka Dance, she has an adversity to attending it most time. I find the greatest challenges to having an abundant amount of culture in my life are kids and the lack of money. Neither are mutually exclusive, but play a significant role. I pick and choose my events. I am jealous of your upcoming wonderful evening of culture.

  2. I also have found that, sadly, popular culture can have a prfoundly negative effect on art. While not always the case many playwrights and directors have been reduced to shock art and vulgarism because “that’s what people are interested in”. I just directed “Our Town” A beautiful and truly classic piece of American literature. I found it a refreshing break from the loud, quick and brash world of one act theatre (directing and writing)


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