Category Archives: Culture

A True Life Experience at Tanglewoods

It was a busy week for the Pop Culture Gangster last week – not only did I go to Waterfires, and the 4th of July Celebration in Boston, but I also went to Tanglewoods for the first time ever, and accomplished a life goal of seeing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony performed live.

Unlike other concert going experiences, this was very laid back and had a plebeian sophistication to it.  It wasn’t filled with stuck up fans like the Andrea Boccelli concert, but it also was far from rowdy.  It truly felt like a group of true music fans there to hear great music – perhaps the greatest music ever composed – in a unique, historical setting.

The first thing that is unique about Tanglewoods is that picnicking is encouraged – you’re not forced to buy overpriced and poorly cooked hamburgers and hot dogs or stale popcorn at outrageous prices.  Like others, we showed up with two bottles of wine, cheese, crackers, sausage, salami and fruit for a light dinner.  Others showed up with full meals and ate on picnic blankets by candlelight.  Its tough to find a bad spot to sit on the lawn, but some opted for a better view of the dramatic valley landscape than a view of the stage.  Others got close to the musical action, which is never far away thanks to large projection screens.

The sound quality lived up to its legendary status, though next time I would love to hear the show under the shed instead of out on the lawn, as I think it would be more emphatic.  It is a high class but not snobbish event that anyone within a few hour’s drive should experience once in their life – even if you don’t like classical music, there’s sure to be something to entertain you and lawn tickets can run as low as $8.50!  The worst thing that can happen is that you spend a few relaxing hours with friends and loved ones listening to great music and picnicking. 

The drive out is a bit of a bear, but not any worse than other concerts – a long narrow road is shut down to allow two lanes of traffic to get out and only one pompous twit cut me off, unlike the aforementioned Boccelli twit-fest.

Classical music is one of those things that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but there’s probably a piece that will appeal to anyone willing to try it.  It isn’t all quiet chamber music – Beethoven’s 9th is an amazing piece filled with a chorus with a dramatic ending to end all dramatic endings.  The 1812 Overture is famous for its explosive finale.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pachabel’s Canon has become a well-loved piece of relaxing music.

Being a fan of classical music doesn’t make you a better person, nor does listening to it, but there’s also nothing wrong with it and can only help to broaden your experiences.  When put in a setting as gorgeous and serene as Tanglewoods however, it becomes a nearly religious experience and truly a life experience that everyone should be fortunate enough to have. 

Sex Sells

The news wires have been rather sexually charged lately, filled with some risque photos from the World Cup and some rather interesting news bits.

Apparently Japan needs to have more sex.  They have  baby shortage and the main reasons was discovered through a survey which showed "people between the ages of 16 and 49 showed 31 percent had not had sex for more than a month "for no particular reason" — a condition known as ‘sexless.’"  No, that’s a condition called SAD or "CAN’T GET LAID."

There’s really no pop-culture signifigance to this photo.  Its just a factory worker packing condoms into a box (didn’t know they did that by hand…).  I just wanted a chance to point out that I think it is funny that there is a condom factory in Bangkok.  Get it?  Condom?  Bangkok?  Well, it made me laugh.

The caption of this photo is "Misty May-Treanor makes a signal behind her back during a fourth round match."  No… that is a close-up of Misty May-Treanor’s magnificent ASS.  Plain and simple. 

You’d think that being a sports photographer is a pretty cool job.  However, apparently it is filled with many lonely, lonely men.   Not only did I have my earlier post about hot photos from the World Cup, and the above Misty May ass shot, but now we have these:

This serves no jounalistic purpose at all.  Its just three great asses in tight bikini bottoms.

USA! USA! USA! USA! Makes me want to stand up and umm… "salute"

Bounce a quarter off of this and you’ll lose an eye on the ricochet

So here’s my solution to the Japanese sex problem: send the men to the world cup and beach volleyball championships!  They get a vacation AND all worked up.

The Society That Cried Wolf

The fire alarm went off this morning at work.  A loud, ear-piercing alarm accompanied by flashing strobe lights warning everyone that something is amiss and we should vacate the premises immediately!

And not a single person moved, including myself.  After about 20-30 seconds of it going off, I grabbed my phone, keys and sunglasses and started to amble out of my office to find everyone kind of looking at each other (there’s a phenomenon called "prairie dogging" in cubicle land and it was in full effect, with everyone’s heads popping over to see what everyone else was doing), wondering what to do.   The alarm stopped at that point and everyone went back to work.

Why do we ignore fire alarms?  We also ignore car alarms and to a certain extent, smoke detectors (unless they go off in the middle of the night).  I suppose that there are a few theories: perhaps it is because car alarms are set off by a good rumble of thunder and a smoke alarm by an over-cooked pancake.  It could be because so many things have alarms that we have become somewhat immune to them.  Or it could be a fear of acting upon an alarm that could lead to getting into trouble if you do something wrong?  Perhaps it is simply an unwillingness to admit that something is going awry.

It reminds me of a time a few months ago when I was in a supermarket and the fire alarm went off.  Some of us paused, looked around and apparently we collectively decided that since there wasn’t an blazing inferno heading towards us, we were fine.  Others didn’t even bother to look up from inspecting packages of meat and checking nutritional panels. 

Eventually, the staff came out of the back, yelling at us, saying "you people need to GET OUT!!!"  As we begrudgingly left our carts behind and walked towards the front, the distinct smell of electrical smoke – that acrid, burning metal aroma – filled the area.  Everyone became more alert, and started moving faster.  The fire department showed up and I just left, leaving my abandoned cart in the cereal aisle.

Let Me Tell You A Story…

I honestly believe that the ability to tell a story well is a great asset to you throughout all aspects of life.  It makes you more interesting to other people, makes it easier to meet others, comes in handy if you have kids and can even help you with your career, since the ability to express yourself clearly will always be valuable.

Today, Reveries had an article about storytelling that got me thinking about it and wanted to share some of the links that were given in the article:

National Storytelling Festival

The Storytelling Center of New York City

The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild

They should do community outreach for people who are bad storytellers.  Oh you know who they are.  The people who ramble on and put in the wrong details and mix up name and locations and use too many pronouns.  Who give away the ending before the drama and tension is built up.  "Bad storytellers anonymous" – now that is a good idea.