Friday, February 12, 2010

Rockin' Out the Opera House

Last weekend the old man and I went to see Ra Ra Riot, the cutest band ever, play at the BAM Gilman Opera House. For a while now, BAM has opened its Opera House to musicians and I've missed performances by Joanna Newsom and Sufjan Stevens there, but I couldn't miss the adorable kids in Ra Ra Riot. (From Syracuse, New York!) Their sound would not be complete without their string section, a cello and violin, both interestingly played by women. They are a high energy rock group with a nice mix of fun '80's, fun now.

The Opera House, I must say, was the weirdest place I've ever seen a show. It was very strange to see young people dancing in the aisles. Several people in the rows ahead of me tried to get up to dance, but made it difficult for the rest of us to see what was going on, so they had to return to their seats. I even had trouble seeing when the two men in front of me started talking for a bit. When I sat up straighter to be able to see over them, the people behind me asked me to scoot back down. It's interesting how a venue can be limitless or limiting. What a difference it is that you are supposed to go to an opera and not react at all, just sit there and take in the performance. The old man likes opera and opera has done nothing but teach me the art of ninja sleeping. When I go to shows at, say, Mercury Lounge, the space has a stage with a sort of open pit for everyone to stand in. How fascinating it is that the performances there are supposed to be an interaction; the audience should be dancing and having contact with each other and the music. At the Opera House, the young crowd seemed to have a hard time finding their seats let alone staying in them.

Thinkin' on poetry readings: it's funny which ones tend to be interactive. I gave a reading in New Jersey last weekend at a very local bookstore in Hoboken and the crowd, a small group who have been attending the series for years, talked and asked questions during the reading. By the time I left, I felt as though I was saying good-bye to old friends rather than people I'd just met.

Events vs. Space: I wonder what a poetry reading would be like in the Opera House.

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