Some Strangers Become Friends; While Others Annoy….


A couple of years ago we went to the recreation of a  1959 Thelonius Monk concert at Town Hall, New York, performed by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.   While I lined up at the toilets at intermission the manservant got to know the man sitting next to him.  Coincidentally he was also a Physicist.

Last year we received a lovely surprise in the mail when the gentleman sent us two tickets to a performance at the Kennedy Center which he and his wife were unable to attend.  We had a lovely evening at a jazz concert and later invited the couple over for dinner  as a thank you.  They are retired and regaled us with really interesting stories of their lives.

Then a month ago we received tickets for another performance they could not attend. So last night I put on a pair of those untangled pantyhose and a few other clothes and we headed off to the Kennedy Center to see Kurt Elling.  Alongside Ellling were: Laurence Hobgood – Piano;  Erik Privert – Bass;  Ulysses Owens – Drums and John McLean – Guitar (The Kurt Elling Quartet plus one).

Elling sang such classics as Joe Jackson’s Night & DayDedicated to You,   My One and Only Love;   She’s Funny that Way.     The highlight was probably a transition from the poem “Man in Space” (US poet Billy Collins) into the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood.   He finished the evening with In the Wee Small Hours.

The show was wonderful but the same can not be said about the audience.   A couple directly in front of us should’ve gone to a restaurant because they obviously wanted to talk – we could hear the psst, psst, psst sound of loud whispering as they moved their heads together.  The woman next to them seemed to be suffering fever and chills as she continuously alternated between putting her jacket on and taking if off.

These things were certainly distracting directly in front of us but the latecomers were the worst.  There were a huge number of people who dribbled in after the performance had started blocking the view of the stage as they went down the steps and then disrupting those already seated to get into theirs.  I remember at the Sydney Opera House and other live theatres, if you were late you had to watch it on screens until there was an Act or Set change!  Then, and only then, would the ushers let you in.  (I’m not sure if that still happens as I’ve not been in 10 years – though I hope it does).

This performance was only 75 minutes long and there was one couple who arrived with only 20 minutes left!   Why bother?!

Anyway, the performance was superb and another dinner party is in the planning.

This is the Hall of States where flags from each State, Territory and DC hang from the ceiling in the order that they joined the union.  That is a small gift shop on the right all decked out in Christmas decorations:

This is the fountain at the entrance – taken from the Taxi Queue.  I don’t know who Charles Scheffres was:  


33 responses

  1. That’s so wonderful that they gave you tickets.
    I last went to the Opera House in ’06 and they still had that policy. Long live manners, I say! Let the bastards wait rather than disturb those of use who arrive in a timely fashion. Harrumph!

  2. live audiences make me crazy!! people no longer have any manners. fortunately, i haven’t attending anything where people were allowed to enter without waiting for a break. that would really upset me.

    but it’s awesome that you got to go and that the other couple has taken to you and vice versa.

    • It’s cool how the chance seating at a concert has led to a friendship. I don’t normally talk to people I sit next to because I worry that they might chatter through the performance/movie/whatever once it starts! It was strange that the manservant struck up a conversation because he would normally sit in the seat and read something!

  3. What a glorious hall that is! I’m happy for you guys that you get to enjoy surprise tickets from time to time. I haven’t been to Tanglewood in years but we enjoy the performances there.

    Ugh, people are bad at operas, movies, theatres…..down South was the only place we went where people seemed well behaved at those things. Otherwise it’s constant interruptions, as though the people think they’re more important than the show that’s going on. I like the sound of the Sydney Opera House rules.

    • Tanglewood is a nice name for a venue. I think it’s really disrespectful of people to behave like this. Perhaps I need to move South – I’ll certainly be wishing I was further south when the cold weather comes 🙂

    • It’s wonderful to find friends in such a random manner – the gentleman and the manservant have a lot of interests in common. The lady was a Professor of English – I love her properly formed sentences!

  4. Very nice to have someone give you tickets. The latecomers and the chatters sound very annoying and rude.

    Your pictures are gorgeous. What a lovely building.

    • I’m glad St. Louis has the same policy on latecomers – I was wondering if I might’ve been expecting too much. It is really nice to receive something unexpected – it makes it seem even more special.

  5. I know where you are coming from, Emjay.

    I almost went to see the new Harry Potter movie but when I saw all the teenie boppers lined up I headed for home. Not all kids have a low attention span but in a big crowd there is bound to be someone who has been drinking red cordial.

    • LOL @ the red cordial! Sadly true though. We occasionally went to a cinema which became known as the “interactive cinema” because people would shout comments at the screen throughout the movie. The filmtrack would get louder to cover the audience – it was not much fun – and these were not all teenagers making the noise. But, we also went occasionally to a cinema where we were the youngest by about 20 years and the oldies would shout to each other “what’d he say? What happened?” LOL.

  6. I sometimes wonder if people have become so accustomed to watching TV at home, they think they can act like they’re in their own living rooms when they’re at a live concert. I’ve had to sit next to people who talked non-stop through a movie; a guy who not only answered his cellphone during a concert but kept talking for several minutes; and another who began clipping his fingernails in the concert hall during intermission! (Ewww!) It makes me want to stop attending public performances, but I’m not sure what the alternative would be. Become rich enough to schedule a private performance for myself and my friends? Buy my own hall and not only eject anyone who made any unseemly noises during the performance, but have them beheaded in the front hall? It’d be like an opera, except real!

    • LOLO HG – you have given me a good laugh first thing in my morning! A real life Greek Tragedy. You are probably right about TV conditioning people. Perhaps live theatre will have to start having little commercial breaks! And people on their cell phones have no courtesy – a guy down and over from us was emailing or texting throughout the performance with that annoying blue light coming on everytime he opened his phone – it must have been really, really annoying to those close to him.

  7. I think it was wonderful of them to give you the tickets again. They probably know how much fun you had last time and would hate to waste tickets. Other than the people problems, sounds like the evening was a big hit. I just love sitting down after something like that and talking about it amongst friends. I feel so re-energized by it all.

    • Yes, talking about a performance, play or movie after the event is also one of the highlights for me too. It’s always interesting to hear how others have interpreted things – so many different ideas from people watching the same thing.

    • The Kennedy Center is beautiful inside but the outside always reminds me of an ablutions block. The latecomers were doubly annoying because the noise of them trooping down the stairs tended to drown some of the quieter pieces he was singing.

  8. Gosh, even at hockey games you have to wait till the play stops before they let you go to your seats. I’m surprised. They had that policy at the Craig Ferguson taping, well, I think they said once it starts you can’t leave or else you will have a hard time of it. I guess they don’t have seat fillers.

    But that is so cool you met those people and they give you tickets for stuff.

    I agree people are rude and it seems as if ‘anything goes’ these days. No one seems to have any consideration for people around them anymore.

    • It is wonderful to have had two outings through these people now. Yeah “anything goes” is not fun for most of us. I imagine if you disrupted the view of some of those die-hard hockey fans you could be putting your own health at risk! 🙂

  9. How FUN!!! It’s amazing where you can find new friends. My sister met her husband in a salon on the day of my brother’s wedding. XD Who would have thought?
    I HATE it when people are late. It is a good idea to make people wait until the song is over, or the speaker is done, or whatever. It’s so rude otherwise. >.< I hate it at movies when people are talking loudly in front of you, or behind you–making fun of a serious part, or just not paying attention. Teenagers do that a lot… I was NEVER like that. 😉

    • It’s a good thing that most teenagers grow up to be respectful adults LOL. I find it irritating when people laugh or make fun of serious parts in a movie – usually it happens at a part where I’m crying! 🙂 That’s cute how your sister and her husband met.

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