BY BRUCE APAR
Digital technology is all about bits. Information and images broken into itsy-bitsy, infinitesimal pieces that can be manipulated googol [sic] ways to Sunday. But what we’ve gained in convenience, flexibility and depth of data, we’ve lost in attention span. Where was I…?
Speaking of digital, it’s also true that – 180 degrees from surround sound – we are willing to sacrifice sonic quality for the ultimate convenience of luxuriating in music anywhere through earbuds and handheld devices. We wear music wherever. It doesn’t sound as good as at home or in a vehicle perhaps, but who cares? Convenience is quality. If we value it, it’s all good.
Speaking of attention span, rather than dwell on one topic for an entire column, as is this writer’s standard practice, I thought a little topic-hopping was in order. I don’t like to eat pancakes in restaurants, but I hop.
Saw Patti LuPone at Caramoor, the estatesque music venue in tony Katonah. Expected a packed house, but there were more than a few empty seats. Then again, Caramoor, which has a nifty new website, is less adept at street marketing than at booking world-class musicians.
La LuPone’s a great talent and performer by any measure. But halfway through the first act, I thought the “Faraway Places” travelogue theme had grown too precious by half, and that the show unfolding before us should more aptly be named, “I Refuse to Sing Anything You Might Recognize.” She pretty much succeeded at that. Nothing from Evita or Gypsy or Company or Les Miserables, though she did warble one Sondheim, from Sweeney Todd (“By the Sea”).
A few folks didn’t stay till the end, so we weren’t alone in our unmet expectations, which were not soothed by inadequate sound amplification in the first act that rendered indistinct the lyrics on every song. But, hey, don’t cry for me. I did enough of it for myself.
For a tasty delicacy of a feel-good movie, try “Chef,” starring “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau, an under-rated Hollywood hyphenate (he also wrote and directed Chef). There’s strong support from legendary Dustin Hoffman (Chef’s prickly boss), witty John Leguizamo (cook), sizzling Sofia Vergara (Chef’s trophy wife), sultry Scarlett Johansen (waitress), officious Oliver Platt (food critic), brilliant Bobby Cannavale (sous chef), and randy Robert Downey, Jr. (entrepreneur). But the real find here is young Emjay Anthony as Chef’s son and Twitter teacher. He just about steals the movie from all the above. This light fare will make you hungry for more down-to-earth, smiling movies like it.
“I’m so sick of the rudeness in today’s world, I’ve decided to open a School of Etiquette called Thank U.” I posted that on Facebook, and it got more likes than I expected, plus comments like “Can I be a teacher,” “I have several students for you,” “Bravo,” and my two favorite: “I’ll be the first student. I work hard not to let others rub off on me but I know I’m failing.” and “I just peed in my bloomers.” But it’s sorta sad people readily agree that rudeness rules.
Here’s just one fresh example: Supermarket shoppers who leave their carts smack in the middle of a parking spot to prevent another shopper from pulling in to it without first getting out of the car to move the stray cart. That’s what I did Sunday, to move the cart all of 30 or so feet across to the other side of the parking lot lane, to a cart station. Slothfulness and rudeness are first cousins.