Arts Attendance=Longer Childhood

Due to a horrendous virus attack I missed making an entry yesterday. (Took me 8 hours to get virus software installed and working due to virus interference.)

Because it is lovely summer time I thought I would make an entry that isn’t so much musings and research on helpful resources as it is about plain amusing thoughts.

Both these links come to me by virtue of The first is a study done in Italy that shows a link between watching TV and playing video games and the earlier onset of puberty. It seems that artifical light and exposure to television and computer monitors lowers the amount of melatonin in your body which has been shown to be a factor in hastening the start of puberty. Regular exposure to sunlight and darkness slows this process.

Now my grandfather always said playing outside in the fresh air would put hair on my chest, but it appears he was just plain wrong!

I was thinking it might be helpful for arts marketers to exploit this study. It would be inconcievable that children would sit quietly in the dark without some form of entertainment, so take them to theatre/ballet/opera/concerts. While the performing arts do use artificial light to illuminate their productions, there is far less of it than sitting in front of a TV or even reading under a lamp. Isn’t it still better that a child be exposed to the arts and extend their youth and innocence just a little bit longer? And with all the sexual imagery on television these day, also preserve their brains’ innocence as well? There is less sexual content in 2 hours of O Calcutta than two hours of television.

On the other hand, late bloomers will probably use the study to rationalize why they should watch more TV.

The second article is an amusing column from the St Paul Pioneer-Press (username:, password: access) The paper’s theatre critic writes a satirical article claiming that NEA chairman Dana Goia has teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security and created a color coded warning system to alert patrons that they might be experience “”heightened and specific” threats to the integrity of a given performance.”

These “threats” consist of sitting next to a person who will make multiple trips to the restrooms, cellophane crinklers, cell phone and pager rings, people who explain and narrate the play to their neighbor, etc.

Protecting the arts patron from the terror of these experiences are marshals armed with tranquilizer and curare darts (the latter reserved for the most heinous offenders) and electromagentic gaget neutralization devices.

It is a fun little article. It is even more fun if you make up your own list of punishments for all the offensive behavior you have experienced while attending a performance. Since even the fines system for offenders in NYC is difficult to practically enforce, if you are going to dream, dream big!

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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