Dang kids with their coal-burning music! ::shaking cane for emphasis::
June 22, 2011 8:33 AM   Subscribe

ViolaGate, wherein a world-weary techno-busker wails on some catgut and twiddles some knobs (presumably), whisking veteran violinist Bernard Zaslav (slyt) into a cane-shaking frenzy.

Of course major credit must be given to the man for venturing into cyberspace to lay out his objections/reaction. Regardless of age, I think we've all been here...
posted by obscurator (18 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Tempest in a teapot.
posted by schmod at 8:46 AM on June 22, 2011

Regardless of his age, that's an impressive response. But still, it seems like he could have left the performance more peaceably. I don't understand why he thought he was "trapped." ...

I don’t believe, in this situation, that Mr. Zaslav needed to “suffer politely”. In this instance, I feel that the correct response would have been for him to leave. And, in fact, he was asked twice to do so. I was not aware that he had a physical problem leaving, and he never asked for any help in that regard. (When I asked them to leave, they didn’t say “we can’t”. They said “we came to hear Hank.” There was to be an intermission after JHNO’s piece, and then Hank, so they could have easily left the room and returned for Hank’s set.)

Old guy acts without regard to bunch of people. Surprise.

Anyway, I'm going to see JHNO with Carla Bozulich this Saturday. Whee! I never get to go to shows!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:47 AM on June 22, 2011

Tempest in a teapot.

What's interesting to me about the story is the online dialogue and framing of the story by participants and non-participants.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:49 AM on June 22, 2011

posted by humboldt32 at 9:03 AM on June 22, 2011

Joan Jeanrenaud engaged Mr. Zaslav in a very civil conversation, asking him if he would have been among those who shouted down performances of Stravinsky. (To which Mr. Zaslav responded “But that was real music!”)

I get to personally decide what's "real music" worthy of being heard by an audience! Me me me! I hope I'm not that childish when I'm 85.

The logistics of this are confusing me. Having attended a few concerts with ear-splittingly harsh noise, I'm fairly confident that if this was really loud then an old man shouting would have been 100% drowned out.
posted by naju at 9:12 AM on June 22, 2011

Wow, tough crowd. He's 85 with low vision and walks with a cane. It was dark and he didn't think he find his way out and (maybe) panicked a little. At his age, he's entitled. Art has suffered worse fates and yet manages to soldier on.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:15 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sarcastic clapping, booing, belligerent yelling (loud enough that everyone had to shush him), these are signs of helpless panic?
posted by naju at 9:28 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

He's entitled to panic, he's entitled to seek egress and to make a fuss about how difficult that is in the dark, with a cane and what have you. He's not entitled to shout long and hard about how he doesn't consider the performance to be "real music" and to disrupt and disrespect the artist on stage. At that age, he's not entitled to do that - at that age he should know better.
posted by benzo8 at 9:30 AM on June 22, 2011

naju for the win. my money's on this guy cynically playing the age card cause he got busted throwing a grandpa simpson tantrum -
posted by facetious at 9:32 AM on June 22, 2011

my money's on this guy cynically playing the age card cause he got busted throwing a grandpa simpson tantrum

If only he'd had an onion tied to his belt. Then he might have carried it off.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:45 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

First and last links go to the same page, is there an article missing?
posted by chaff at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2011

Blah blah blah - what a bunch of melodramatic much ado about nothing. Grow up, grampa.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:26 AM on June 22, 2011

Sarcastic clapping, booing, belligerent yelling (loud enough that everyone had to shush him), these are signs of helpless panic?

And, clearly, the fact that everyone could hear him over the music is further evidence that the music was too loud and he was in serious pain. Like you, I call bullshit.
posted by asnider at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2011

Oh I see the lead article is at the top of those comments . . . I don't know, maybe he over-reacted, I wasn't there but it sounds like he was in some distress. This quote leapt out at me:

An engineer came up to me later, showed me a pair of earplugs, and said that the amount of decibels that were emitted in that space would be considered illegal in any factory setting in this country.

Now I myself am a big fan of My Bloody Valentine and this sounds kind of awesome, but I'm not 85 and MBV doesn't play in small enclosed spaces. The dude also mentions his vision - he was in physical pain and couldn't see well in the dark, I'm inclined to cut him some slack.
posted by chaff at 10:42 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't understand why he thought he was "trapped."

That's because you don't live in his old, infirm body; aging is experiential and hard to understand unless it's happening to you - like pregnancy.

So sorry that the concert was disrupted though.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2011

I miss the old days before I was born when people would throw tomatoes at a Rite of Spring performance. People try harder and harder to shock, but it can't be done anymore, and the aesthetic value of goading audience sensibility is pretty dubious, in most cases. Nevertheless, audiences sit politely through all kinds of bullshit. (I plead guilty as one who always remains silent whatever stupid untalented wrong-headed "art" is being performed or displayed.)

So, I, for one, applaud the booing of the grumpy old violist!
posted by kozad at 12:38 PM on June 22, 2011

As a performer on the fringes of late-adolescent and undergraduate rock-music culture way back when, I was surely prey to such "performances." Earplugs hung just as vitally from my keychain as my front door keys, and still do.

Though unable to scrounge up any footage, the mere description reminds me of countless such performances during which I was made to feel crotchety and over-sensitive. I would stand patiently and wait for some expression of talent or musical intuition that would transcend the wall of noise.

I've always had sensitive ears, am glad I still do (always handy to hear the boss approaching whilst posting to MeFi..or worse), and probably wouldn't attend such a performance now, and especially if I was getting on in my years. Mr. Zaslav's chaperone/driver/whoever should have been keen enough to read the playbill and determine that the viola's grand tradition might not be honored that evening. But then again, who knew it would be Hendrix-ized?
posted by obscurator at 12:57 PM on June 22, 2011

I'll tell you what was awkward - my experimental electronic project got invited to play at a law school friend's party. He apparently didn't know how loud and dissonant our stuff could get, because there were little ones, no more than 3 years old, in attendance. I've never felt so uncomfortable playing to an audience before.

Turns out most of the adults weren't into the performance at all, but the toddlers LOVED it and were smiling and dancing. Figures!
posted by naju at 1:11 PM on June 22, 2011

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