Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wagner with an asterisk

I expect this will be my last Wagner(*)-LA Opera-Ring Festival related post. That's because Supervisor Antonovich's now failed resolution is, most likely, the high-water mark of the anti-Ring Festival movement. The Gettysburg of anti-Wagnerism in Southern California. Another failed rebellion. Mike A.'s totally impractical suggestions lost by a vote of 3 to 1. I'm pretty sure it would have been 4 to 1 if all five Supes had shown up.

I have one final suggestion for the opera company on how they can allay the fears and complaints of people like me, the unwashed non-fanatical normal people who don't care for opera, can't afford to buy tickets, wouldn't have the patience to sit through a whole performance if they were given tickets for free and who number well over 99% of LA County's population. (My calculation for that made-up statistic is in a footnote here.)

My suggestion is simple. It will cost nothing. It will reach everyone who ever sees Ring Festival advertising, promotion or propaganda. It will be understood by all Americans because it is copied from baseball - which was America's pastime before Nascar. This idea will provoke the unitiated to ask the right questions. It will repeatedly remind the fanatics about the downside of their addiction. Not one program or event need be altered or canceled. Any event, no matter how relevant or tangential to the subject of Richard Wagner, be it academic seminar, hip-hop concert or country western musical, can easily be accommodated. This suggestion will in no way impede efforts by our local oligarchy to get Los Angeles recognized as a great European city by producing their very own Ring.

And it will get me to shut up.

To see how overwhelmingly simple this idea is, check out my version of the LA Opera Ring poster. My apologies to the company for modifying what is obviously their property. This is, in my opinion, a great graphic - simple and to the point. I took a very small, postage-stamp size Gif from their website, enlarged and sharpened it by hand so the text was kinda readable. I added only one small element. Can you spot it?



Yep, there's a little asterisk (*) after the composer's name. The asterisk means that some special circumstance of which everyone should be aware affects the name to which it is attached.

An asterisk, just like in the baseball record books. Everyone, at least everyone here in the U.S., understands that when some guy breaks the hallowed home-run record by hitting 756 of them in one season but does it by taking performance enhancing steroids, he gets an asterisk in the record books. And he also doesn't get into the Hall of Fame. Here's the LA tie-in.

I propose that the LA Opera should add the asterisk to the name Richard Wagner each and every time it appears in their publicity, program books, public displays -- everything!! Even on Festival letterheads. .

Put the asterisk on the COVER of the programs, on the huge banners hanging in front of the Chandler Pavilion, on the flags hanging from the lightpoles on Grand Avenue. Put the asterisk everywhere that the word "Wagner(*)" appears. Make absolutely certain that it appears on the expensive souvenir tomes that the Ringnuts and Wagnerds will treasure for years and decades to come.

Think of it as changing the name "Richard Wagner" to "Richard Wagner(*)" You can just edit your word-processor spelling dictionary to make the asterisk omnipresent. I think that the asterisk is sufficient. No footnotes are required if the asterisk really is everywhere. Sure, a footnote would be nice. It could read "Richard Wagner's name is forever stained because of its evil use by the German National Socialist party."

If my suggestion is followed every person who comes into contact with the Ring, with the LA Opera and with their Ring Festival will be forced to think about why that asterisk is there. Remember, it's Their Festival not My Festival because, if I had been there, I would not have attended. When the Simple Child asks "Why is that asterisk there?" you can reply "Because Wagner was Hitler's favorite composer."

It's as easy as that.

Of course, like all do-gooder suggestions, this will be ignored. It will be ignored by the Ring fans even if the Opera does add the asterisk exactly as I have suggested.

Come on. Allow me my fantasy. In reality LA Opera will only add asterisks if they are forced to - like the cigarette companies are forced by the government to add a notice about smoking being hazardous to your health. And they'll position them graphically in out of the way places. No smoker really pays attention to those notices - at least not consciously. And no true Wagner fan will see the asterisk. At least not consciously.

We at Mixed Meters like to mix things up. Combining things no one ever expects to see combined is our thing. Along that line, here's a picture of the back of a Brazilian Marlboro pack. This one belonged to our houseguest, Joao. He's a worm-guy from Sao Paulo.


I assume everyone, anyone will get the connection of this picture to my suggestion about the Wagner asterisk. The asterisk is a very simple, subtle idea not in your, er, face like this cigarette ad. Both are warnings that certain actions can have bad results.

The asterisk would show us that the LA Opera has a real understanding of the opposing point of view. Sadly, Supervisor Antonovich has shown that no one can force them to change their plans. And they won't do it just to prove how nice they are.

Or will they?


Want to read more of my blather?

Worm-related posts on Mixed Meters: here, here and here.

Wagner-related posts on Mixed Meters: here, here, and here.

Opera-related posts on Mixed Meters: here, here, here and here. (A couple of these have to do with both Sex and Opera!)


Ring Tags: . . . . . . . . .

1 comment:

Gillian said...

I thought Karl Orff was Hitler's favorite.

Hi Dave.