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Archive for the ‘Arts commentary’ Category


A trip to Toronto for ROXY MUSIC’s 50th anniversary concert September 7th included an undesired encounter with the new reality of virtual, rather than paper, tickets.

Just because this is an evolution doesn’t mean it’s advantageous or stress free.

Let’s consider some context by harkening to simpler, tangible, past custom.

Once upon a time (i.e. before internet commerce) it was customary to obtain seating for concerts, sporting events, etc. by physically going to a box office to obtain an actual ticket. This facility need not be the event location itself: I can still recall in 1987 going to a Towers department store in Billings Bridge shopping centre, waiting in line to purchase $25 tickets for Pink Floyd’s first date of its 1987 tour, promoting the ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason’ album launch at Lansdowne Park in July.

There are both existential and esoteric qualities to the collectability of such tickets. As well as measuring sticks for rising prices over the years, ticket stubs help propel memories of the overall experience. The visual, tactile nature of the stub is a kind of snapshot, like the cover of a favoured book or record album.

The earliest such memento I have dates back to February 1980, for a musical comedy performance by Martin Mull, at Convocation Hall in Toronto. A much more intimate experience than that generated by Pink Floyd, with a more cozy price. Next in my collection of receipts is one from a memorable show at the downtown Ottawa Congress Centre in September 1986, featuring several stars of early rock under the banner ‘Class of ‘62’, such as Del Shannon and Peter Noone (the latter of Herman’s Hermits fame).

Many will be familiar with comedy legend Bob Newhart. As an unusual illustration of price non-volatility, a decent seat for his concert at the Ottawa Civic Centre in November 1996 was had for $36.64, later at the National Arts Gallery in May 2000 for $36.

Naturally, the generating of tickets has changed due to no longer having to go to a box office. By the 1990s, print on demand at a ticket access point was common, as was greater likelihood that one would be able to retain the whole ticket. Prior to this time, it was likely at admission that a portion of the ticket would be split off. While more consistent, print quality was impacted by the increasing option of internet purchasing and tickets printed at home.

Infrequently graphics have worked their way onto the actual ticket, such as an IMAX theatre logo or performer image; usually, it’s just background colouration and design (assuming printed in colour). In any case, one has a unique stamp of the event.   

My first experience with the cellphone ticket was early this year, forced by the ‘no option to print’ system operating with the Senators. Part of the baby boomer generation, I’m faced with unavoidable discomfort with the virtual ticket world.

This occasion with Roxy Music’s approximately $150 seats involved an extra out-of-town layer of uncertainty. So, as though prompted by the Peter Principle, my concerns about having tickets visible onscreen on cue came to life. Sure enough, when the time came to enter Scotiabank Arena, the tickets would not appear. A moderately empathetic employee advised that the massive surge of ticket holders accessing the same phone app put a strain on the local internet, which led to requiring assistance from a member of the box office staff. A physical ticket would have avoided this.  

One wonders: is the clearly debatable convenience, not to mention omnipresent security issues, of modern ticket download evolution the trade-off for the limited societal benefit of less printing, as well as the loss of tangible connection to memories embedded in the old-fashioned ticket?  

Writing Blogs vs. Writing Books

I’ve written quite a wide number of blogs.

I’ve also recently finished the last draft of my first book.  (I did craft a full length screenplay years ago.  Perhaps deservedly, it’s sitting in a file drawer; a worthy effort, but some re-work from exhibiting film-worthy credentials.)

While it is probably obvious that there are meaningful differences in the approach and execution of the short, to-the-point, blog versus the wide, hopefully well-structured arc, of the full-length story, these are not all necessarily obvious. (more…)


If the average person was asked what trace mineral in the body…

  • Is found in muscles, eyes, the brain, and other major parts of the body
  • Plus, helps regulate our body’s immune response, and is essential to brain development
  • Plus, helps promote sleep
  • And, is the second most common trace element in the human body

…probably not many would confidently answer, zinc. (more…)

Insightful(?) Dichotomies

A brief article in the August issue of Psychology Today looks at the current state of affairs of personality tests.

The inconsistency of some of their standards has given rise to doubting the value of results.  Indeed, popular ‘Temperament Sorter’ and ‘Type Indicator’ programs include undesirable features such as “ambiguous language and false dichotomies”. (more…)

Life Lessons from ‘The Intern’

In September 2015 a comedy-drama film called “The Intern” was released in theatres.  Starring Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway, it told the story of a retired, 70 year-old widower (de Niro) who returns to the work-force as part of a new senior intern program launched by a highly successful, internet clothing company, run since its start in her kitchen 18 months earlier, by its hyper-active founder (Hathaway).

The film’s overall box-office gross overall was close to $200 million (budget approx. $35 million).  It was a financial success, but tended to be overlooked by many in the industry because of its being tagged as something of a ‘chick flick’, and which didn’t feature IMAX worthy special effects. (more…)

Reserved Seating Not Needed Here

Our most recent taking in a movie, at our local cinema house, exposed a new wrinkle in the ticket buying experience.  Notwithstanding that my spouse and I were attending a less than half-filled show in the afternoon, we had to select our seats in advance, like choosing concert or airline tickets on a laptop screen.

Apparently, this has become de rigueur at least at some local screens in the last month or so.  One would have thought some warning or notification, if only for public relations sake, would have been justified. (more…)

The Price of Being Outspoken

Many are those whose careers have been negatively impacted by being considered too outspoken. Especially when such speech rattles the cages of those in power, there may be consequences disproportionate to a particular issue raised.

Many examples through history illustrate this conundrum.  We don’t have to look past our current age to see this conflict play out. (more…)

Life Lessons from THE GOOD FIGHT

Now in its second season, TV series THE GOOD FIGHT, a spin-off from the seven years’ run of THE GOOD WIFE, seems to be firmly grounded in being topical and controversial.  Moreover, the controversy angle has explored more rarefied plateaus, with numerous references to the twists and stumbles, and worse, of the current U.S. administration.

Its opening title sequence, for many series, increasingly has become an art form, and this one certainly fits the bill. (more…)

TOP Craft Show Products of the Future

The year-end holiday season is the ripest time of the year for most retailers, providing more customers the chance to satisfy their gift buying goals.

While the ‘bricks-and-mortar’ version of the typical retail establishment has become increasingly usurped by on-line alternatives, there remains an important factor in favour of the former: the tactile experience of checking out items in the flesh. There are times you need to feel or examine a potential purchase before being truly satisfied the cost/benefit analysis works in your favour. (more…)

TOP 10 Life Lessons from TWIN PEAKS – The Return

For those inspired by the more outré versions of TV programming, ‘TWIN PEAKS’ has represented one of the iconic lynchpins (or, perhaps more accurately, Lynch-pins). It has displayed a chunk of the world with unique, somewhat relatable, people operating from ethical codes which supported their behaviour in bizarre events and developments.

The dream-like atmosphere around the eccentric characters in the original 1990s series was enhanced by a haunting, hypnotic music score. (more…)