Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And now, a LuPonism dissenter

I've been pretty vocal in support of Patti LuPone's mission to remind people what is appropriate and polite while watching a live performance such as a concert or musical. In fact, I wish the people on the movie screen could yell at the audience from time to time.

But fair's fair and I asked saxophonist Kenny G about the LuPone moments on this week's episode of "The Strip" podcast, which is already available for download. (Formal posting with links coming.)

Mr G., who will perform this weekend in the same showroom (for double the ticket price, natch) hadn't heard about her Vegas and New York showstopping moments and was appalled. Here's what he said:

"Just the fact that they’ve already paid for the tickets and taken the time out of their lives to make it to the gig is plenty. If you start trying to tell them how to act during the concert, as long as they’re not violent, of course, that’s taking your role as a whatever, an entertainer, to a level that I don’t think that’s fair. What if the guy’s texting because he’s got a sick kid at home and he’s so worried that he may have to leave the concert and take somebody to a hospital? You’re going to interrupt the concert to tell the guy he shouldn’t be doing that?

You never know what’s going on with people. If somebody’s on the telephone, if I’m playing the most beautiful melody and somebody’s leaning over and whispering to somebody instead of looking at me, who knows? Maybe they’re asking that person to marry them? There’s no way that you can ever, as an artist in my opinion, judge an audience like that and stop a concert and embarrass somebody like that. If somebody’s yelling and screaming at you during a concert, well that’s a different story, they’re getting in everybody’s way.

Generally, speaking, yeah, there’s a lot more texting going on, sure. There’s a lot more picture-taking because the days when they say no cameras are over because everybody’s got a cell phone that’s got a camera. You can’t say no cameras. Everybody’s got 'em and everybody’s using them. Instead of lookin’ at you, they’ve got their camera phone between your face and their face and that’s the way it is."

I followed up.

Friess: You’re saying the folks who pay $75 to see you at the Orleans are welcome to take your picture?

Kenny G: They can do whatever they want to do. I don’t care.

So, Orleans ushers, that's the good word: Stand down. Of course, had the Orleans ushers stood UP in enforcing the rules at Patti's show, she wouldn't have needed to take it upon herself to deal with the issue.


LV_Norm said...

Well, Kenny G is simply wrong! I paid for my ticket, I took time out of my life to attend, and I may have to take a sick to the hospital. Bull shit! Where are manners and common sense. Turn the damn things off and leave them off or don't attend the show!

G, I won't being seeing you, Kenny, but if I did, I'd want to be obnoxious to you. I bet I could get you to react.

Anonymous said...

Kenny has a point. As an audience member, I don't like seeing the glowing lights of people's phones, even at a movie. But I would be more upset to have the experience of a show disrupted by an egomaniac raving from the stage ala LuPone. It's her job to "educate" people? She just wants to draw attention to herself, get in the news, and annoy the rest of the audience that paid good money to see her. It was especially bad when she pulled that stunt during Gypsy. What about her fellow actors? Or the fact she took the entire audience out of the world of the show? She is selfish and her behavior is unacceptable, much more unacceptable than the yahoo using a cell phone, who is mostly annoying the small number of people around him or her. If she has a problem with it, she should call it to the attention of the ushers that she is especially sensitive to that kind of thing and ask them to do their jobs. I'm not a fan of Kenny G but he is "right on" in his take on diva Patti.