Pressing the Play Button as the Pause Button


Last month was a busy month, but I was still able to make time to attend Arts and Culture events.

Like staying hydrated and eating a vegetable every couple of days, giving the brain some variety can be helpful for doing things well.

Or at the very least, for not burning out altogether.

Three Programs in black and white (L-R: David Sedaris, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic) and an admission ticket for the Sixth Floor Museum below the middle program on top of a black wooden table. There is a silver octagonal paperweight between the left two programs.

Event #1: David Sedaris

I’ve been a fan of this insightful and hilarious author for about ten years now. I can’t really think of anything original to say about his works. Brings you to another world, but somehow it’s a familiar world. Makes you laugh (until it hurts) at the things that you usually consider mundane or tragic. Refreshingly helps you hit the pause button during a chaotic time.

What I love about his style is it doesn’t take too much effort. Sedaris has this ingenious way of giving the reader a cleverly vivid experience without putting up too many intellectual walls to push through.

Ticket Price: $59
Something of basically equal price that I paid for last month: Doggy stairs (so that my arthritic pug can comfortably get on/off our bed).

Event #2: The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

For the second year now, the Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts co-presented something called SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras. Ensembles from around the country are brought in for mini-residincies in the DC Metropolitan Area. This year, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was one of the selected orchestras, and I got the chance to hear them for my first time.

The opening piece at was “RIFT” by Anna Clyne, which was presented in collaboration with members of the Texas Ballet Theater, choreographed by Kitty McNamee. Then, the Leonard Bernstein “Serenade after Plato’s Symposium” for Violin and Orchestra with soloist Augustin Hadelich. And rounding out the program was an orchestral suite from Jimmy López’s opera “Bel Canto”.

This concert presented so much beauty and excitement from repertoire that is entirely new (or relatively new) and written by composers who, to put it bluntly, aren’t/weren’t “straight white males”. I was very glad to catch this program.

Ticket Price: $25
Something of basically equal price that I paid for last month: My electric bill.

Event #3: The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Last month’s travels took me to Dallas. Since I’m a Presidential History geek, and especially since I work in the designated memorial to President Kennedy, the Sixth Floor Museum was of great interest to me. (It’s deduced that JFK’s assassin did the deed from the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository.)

In addition to the details of that fateful day–and the ensuing investigations and conspiracy theories–the museum does an excellent job “setting the scene” to give the assassination context. Truth be told, as a Chicago area native, I never took into account that Texas would be a rough place for Democrats in the 1960s. Some felt that JFK had been too soft on anti-Communist foreign policy, and others believed he had gone too far. His Civil Rights agenda had also upset some factions of Texans. Basically, Kennedy and his entourage were headed into a risky situation, and I didn’t realize this until taking the tour.

I’d also like to point out that the museum doesn’t make the assassin and his actions the central focus of the content. I doubt this is an easy thing to do, and I greatly admire when institutions who focus on tragedy go to great lengths to make sure they don’t inadvertently give the bulk of the attention to the sources of evil. (The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at the Smithsonian is another example of this.)

Ticket Price: $16
Something of basically equal price that I paid for last month: Barbecue. (Because Texas.)

Event #4: The Los Angeles Philharmonic

The LA Phil is on tour as I type this article. DC was treated to a concert at the Kennedy Center as one of their first destinations. (The Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts were once again co-presenters.) On the program was the almighty Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, preceded by Esa-Pekka Salonen’s newly-written sonorous “Pollux”. Salonen is the LA Phil’s Conductor Laureate.

It was a powerful and terrifically executed performance. And, going back to what I said at the top of this article, a very welcome breather during a hectic month.

Ticket Price: $75
Something of basically equal price that I paid for last month: Groceries for 10-ish days.

About Doug Rosenthal

No one told Douglas Rosenthal to give up playing music. Not even his patient siblings, who endured many early-morning practice sessions; even they encouraged their brother to follow his passion. As the years passed, that passion evolved from simply playing music to advocating for music, musicians, and music-lovers. Douglas is based in Washington, DC. He is the Assistant Principal Trombonist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra. He currently makes his home on Capitol Hill in DC with a pug named Jake, who serves as a constant reminder to relax, eat well, and sleep plentifully.

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2 thoughts on “Pressing the Play Button as the Pause Button”

  1. The comparisons are always interesting, especially for the cost of 2 tickets compared with the cost of 2 tickets to something else. Then we could assume that any event-related dining out and possible parking fees would be comparable.

    As someone involved in small org arts marketing, I think an apt comparison, especially for couples, is Your Ticket vs. chilling at home with Netflix. Back in 2015, at peak times, Netflix accounted for over 30% of internet traffic.


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