Being receptive

May 31, 2008

I woke up thinking about a person’s choice to be receptive. This can apply to a variety of issues and situations that one can be receptive, or open to.

  • Love and friendship
  • liking a work of art or not
  • having your mind changed
  • sex
  • changing jobs, abodes or partners, traveling, putting yourself into unfamiliar situations

And then there is being receptive to one’s own inclinations, thoughts, beliefs, hunches, and ideas. This can include artistic ideas, scientific discoveries, philosophical, and practical discoveries as well as self-delusional opinions and beliefs. The latter includes a person who thinks they are the reincarnation of John the Baptist to situations where one THINKS that something is true, and it therefore is. Meaning, their mind somehow splits and convinces itself that something is so, based upon either insecurity, faith, opinion, or laziness.

We all have our own view of the world and how we make sense of it. Some of us are receptive to have that view changed or challenged, and some of us are not.

– – –

On a less cosmic level, yesterday I attended a concert where buses of middle school and high school students were brought in to attend a concert of some of the all-star chamber ensembles at UCLA. The concert was to only be an hour long. All the cool stuff was at the beginning, and the final piece was a Walter Piston trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon. Perhaps interesting to composers and lovers of chamber music, but to a room full of hungry students: BORING. They were well behaved, but you could just tell that they wanted out. Bad programming. Instead, they should have put the sexy jazz group on last, or the brass quintet with the dude with the mohawk that all the girls were screaming over. (You would have thought he was a Beatle the way the girls took to this guy!) Now THAT music would have kept their hunger at bay. Piston, not so much.

– – –

The second performance of HOMER IN CYBERSPACE went very well. We sat in a different part of the theater. It was not as loud, and was farther away from the stage. In a “duh” moment, I realized the spectrum of receptivity in a performing arts offering, aurally and in terms of being NEAR the action as opposed to sitting in the back. (Not unlike the issue of the parishioners who sit in the front of the church, and those who prefer the back.) Although this is not precisely a receptivity issue, the thought crossed my mind: does sitting closer to the stage help an audience member be more receptive to experiencing a new piece? To see the performers face, watch the spit fly from their mouths, see the veins popping on their faces, see the sweat, and look into their eyes? Getting lost by virtue of proximity and therefore open to its seduction. When you sit in the back, you are more subject to distraction of late comers, or anything thing disturbing that might visually happen in the room that is not on the stage. For seasoned concert goers, it is likely a balance of where they prefer to sit in the hall, the acoustics, and the nearness to the stage. Many will only sit in the first balcony. Others have to be as close to the front as possible. In pop music concerts, fans are notorious for crowding around the stage if not hanging onto the stage.

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