|by Doug Yetter|
|Everything Old Is New Again
I grew up in Denver where the air was thin and the heads were thick. Back when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, Denver was known as "The Queen City of the Plains" or sometimes "The Gateway to the West." I can only hope that the Chamber of Commerce has come up with a better slogan since I left there in 1985 and moved east. And trust mewhen I was a kid it hardly felt the "Queen" city of anywhere.
Denver had two newspapersThe Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. The city's residents were evenly split among the two and more avid about the paper they read than the political party they favored. I was a Rocky Mountain News guy because it was the morning paper and I never missed my morning paper! While still in elementary school, I'd wake up, throw on my robe and run out in the driveway to grab the paper and retrieve the milk from the milk box to start my morning ritual. Before I began the crossword puzzle (in ink) I started my day with my favorite RMN columnist, Gene Amole. Gene was not only a writer, but the morning announcer on the classical music stationKVOD (The Voice of Denver). Gene didn't allow pre-recorded advertising on the station in those days and would read the ad copy himself. Single-handedly he turned local businesses into overnight successes. All he had to do was mention Vollmer's donuts on the air and the whole city took a unison coffee break. Sometimes I didn't even bother to look at the headlines, but went directly to page 3 to find out what was on Gene's mind that day. He was my hero.
All of these memories flooded back the other day when I realized it was time to finish this column and get it to press. Gene used to have days when he couldn't think of anything to write about and was visited by "The Idea Fairy." Every few weeks, "The Idea Fairy" dropped by his desk and talked about recent columns, how things were going, why he'd written that stupid piece on the National Western Stock Show.... It was a way for him to have a "conversation" with someone instead of another column wondering why the Denver Symphony had such lousy French horn players that season.
As I started writing I thought about Googling Gene to find out if he's still alive, but realized I don't want to know. I want him to stay exactly the way he was. The truth is I want my whole childhood to stay just the way I've re-written it. This way, Gene's column will always be available to me, the milkman still delivers, I can still run over to my piano teacher's house whenever I want, my grandparents will still answer when I dial 364-0798, and mom never had that stroke.
How did I get so attached to my past and forget that the world has changed? Don't we all remember the time when we thought our parents were so out-of-date because they didn't love "Batman," or screamed at us to "turn that music down!" when it was too terrific to listen to it any other way? I don't have to ask my son to turn the music down because he lives with his iPod attached to his ears, but I also have no idea what he's listening to. In the past few years I've suddenly started to feel very disconnected to popular culture. How did this happen???
How did I go from being so connected to the world to somebody who can attend a movie and not recognize one actor in the entire film, unless Ernest Borgnine shows up in a cameo!
Newsweek had an article on The Jonas Brothers, a hot new boy-band. They've guest-starred on Hannah Montana and suddenly their famous. Now I have no idea who Hannah Montana is, do I? Turns out (and I know you all either know this already, or don't care) that Hannah Montana is played by Miley Cyrus, who is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus. Hold it! Billy Ray Cyrus isn't old enough to have a daughter, is he? Well, certainly not one who is able to speak yet. How can there be "a hot new boy-band" when I never paid attention to Hanson, or the Backstreet Boys?
And suddenly I'm old. Old and out-of-date.
So I'm here to let you know what's going on. At least in our little corner of the universe. Let's all try to stick with what's going ontoday!
Clear Space Productions presents, "An American Songbook 2008" a concert featuring songs from Camelot, Porgy and Bess, South Pacific, Crazy for You, Lion King, Sweeney Todd, and more! My partner in art and life, Ken Skrzesz, sings with yours truly at the piano. We're joined by Bruce Chappelle on bass and Ken Schleifer on drums in the Little Theatre of Cape Henlopen High in Lewes. February 10th at 2 p.m. For tickets call 302-644-3810 or visit the website to purchase: www.ClearSpaceProductions.org.
The Milton Theatre presents The Cemetery Club directed by George Spillane. Described as a tender and poignant comedy by Ivan Menchell. Three widows who live in Pittsburgh help each other on a mutual journey through bereavement. During this scary period, their friendship helps alleviate the loneliness, grief, and anxiety they all feel about starting their lives over again. The show plays February 29, March 1, 2, 7, 8, 9. Check their website (www.miltontheatre.org) or call the box office 302-684-3800 for more information.
Twelve privately owned art galleries in Rehoboth are in the midst of forming an Association of Galleries, called the "Association of Fine Art and Craft Galleries in Rehoboth" but don't quote me on thatcocktails may have been involved! The plan is that they will start having "Second Saturdays" open houses from 6-9 p.m. starting in May 2008 and recurring every-month thereafter. Keep your eye on this column for more news!
Lots of rehearsals starting this month as wellClear Space is readying Sherlock Holmes: the early years for production in March. The Southern Delaware Choral Society has dusted off The Mikado for a May showing. Possum Point Players has cast Little Shop of Horrors which goes up in April. The Clear Space Chorus has started work on A Grand Night for Singingthe Music of Hollywoodtheir spring concert to be held on May 4.
So much going on so early in the season! Get out those 2008 calendars and start writing in the dates so you won't miss anything and won't end up not knowing what's happening.
If you know if Gene Amole is dead, don't tell me. But if you know what a Honky-tonk Ba-donka-donk is, or have an arts-related event you'd like to have featured you should definitely let me know.
Doug Yetter is Artistic Director of the Clear Space Theatre Company. Email him at email@example.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 01 February 08, 2008