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Met Opera audience apparent joined Occupy Lincoln Center protest last night?

westsider2
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Philip Glass gave a speech and there's a video of operagoers joining the protest by Alex Ross of New Yorker. Did anyone see this? Pretty wild: http://www.westsiderag.com/2011/12/02/stunning-footage-from-occupy-lincoln-center-your-life-is-the-opera-for-real-for-real
Footage of opera audience joining Lincoln Center protest
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PalJoey
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That's pretty extraordinary.
FindingNamo
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Wow!
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BirdOnWing
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What a bad decision on the part of Ross and Glass.
Lincoln Center is almost entirely funded by the donations of the 1%. If it weren't for their donations, Glass would not be living as well as he does. You think he makes a fortune off album sales? Ha.
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I guess you could reread his statement three times to maybe glean a bit of understanding. Unless you've made your mind up.

(It just occurred to me how Philip Glass it is to have read the statement three times.)
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wonkit
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(It just occurred to me how Philip Glass it is to have read the statement three times.)

Namo, you have totally made my day with that comment!

I was in the Opera House listening to his opera when he was outside reading/reading/reading a statement. But he came in just in time to have a bow during the curtain calls and a roaring standing ovation (for him and for the extraordinary singer, Richard Croft, who had just given a splendid performance as Gandhi).

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So, a splendid time for all!
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sskeats2
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Philip Glass spoke after the opera. I was there at the Met. Coming out, it was clear that Occupy were not allowed on to the Plaza which is where they wanted to be. In fact, they handed out little flyers asking the audience to call Lincoln Center and the NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs tp ask why they weren't allowed to assemble.

The police had barricaded them on the street. What they wanted was for the audience to join them on the steps to watch Glass speak. However, the police were rushing audience members off to the sides to exit the Plaza. In that way, they were preventing Occupy the right to demonstrate to the Public. A few, and I mean only a few, of the audience ultimately joined the demonstrators on the steps.

It was far from a proud moment and it's clear that some in the 1% are scarred.

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Citizen movements are messy. The important thing is that it happened, that it connected the subject matter of the opera (Gandhi's nonviolent resistance) and the composer's personal feelings with what is going on in the world today.

It ultimately doesn't matter how close the demonstrators were to the fountain. What matters is that the percentage of the 1% attending events at Lincoln Center that night witnessed the OWS movement. Their outlooks--and the course of their lives--will never be the same.

That's what Gandhi meant by "Satyagraha."
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An amazing moment.

Powerful and beautiful.
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I think that it's great that the protestors were trying to use art to get people to see their viewpoint. However, there were two key things that I don't think were smart moves in this situation.

First off, I agree with whomever it was that said that Glass shouldn't have been speaking with the group of protestors. Talk about a great example of biting the hand that feeds you. His operas are produced by the 1 per cent. It's fine and dandy if he felt the way that he did. But, he should have played politics and realized that the people who are being protested against are also the same people that produce his work. Therefor, it is okay for him to feel the way that he does. But, it does him better to keep his mouth shut on this one.
Secondly, I am all for public assembly when it is on a public space. Lincoln Center Plaza, although a place that is accessible to the public, is not a public space. It is not even a publicly owned private space like Zuccoti park. Lincoln Center owns it period and as a result they can choose who they want there and who they don't.

If the people that frequent Lincoln Center are people with large incomes and write big donation checks to the center, do you think that they are going to want their donors or potential donors to exit onto a sea of protestors that might make them uncomfortable? No, of course not. The last think that they need is for rich patrons to get so offended and uncomfortable that they don't donate or come there again. Lincoln Center rerouted the exit path of the people leaving because they didn't want to offend or make their customers feel uncomfortable. Not to block out people's first amendment rights.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
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So many things wrong with what Winston wrote. Wow. What a complete misconception of the ultimate purpose of art.
"One no longer loves one's insight enough once one communicates it."

The opposite of creation isn't war, it's stagnation.
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Your worry for Philip Glass's job security is well-intentioned but misses the point.

His words, from the text of the opera, derived from the Bhagavad Gita, were perfectly chosen to support the demonstrators and give the opera patrons an additional taste of art-meets-life, which they will be repeating at holiday cocktail parties for the rest of the season and in anecdotes about the opera for the rest of their lives, thus spreading the message of the movement:

"Oh, my dear! What a thrilling evening. It was just like being in a revolution! And then afterwards, as we were leaving, that dear, sweet Mr. Glass addressed the rabble behind the barricades, in words from the opera, and he said them THREE TIMES, because, well, my dear, Philip Glass never says anything once! Or even twice, for that matter. But, I swear, it was as if Gandhi himself were addressing the crowd. Or Buddha. Or the Guru Maharaji...remember when the Beatles suddenly went Hindu? We all om'ed for years! Oh, my dear, I felt so inspired that in the cab going back home, I leaned forward and whispered to the driver, 'Darling, I am in such solidarity with you. I am the 99.' And he looked over his shoulder and I felt so...so...so Sat-ya-gra-ha. There's no other word for it. Yes, please, another glass of wine, but just a wee one."
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There's a fair chance Philip Glass is part of the 1% himself; that doesn't preclude feeling that income inequality and the banking industry in this country are out of control. Just like being in the 99% doesn't preclude deluding yourself that those poor rich people are just being persecuted.

And if joining in an Occupy protest somehow makes him less popular or patronized as a composer - which would really, really surprise me if it happened - well, I'd rather shake his hand for putting his convictions over pecuniary interests than shake my head in concern that pretty much comes down to "oh noes, we mustn't offend anyone ever."
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Stick to priest,

There is nothing wrong with my post at all. Do I believe that art has the power to conjur up change and how people see or feel about something? Of course I do. However I'm a realist. The sad fact is when it comes down to it, theatre is a business. And the sad part about if being a business is that when it comes down to it, producers would rather have a show that is putting money in the bank rather then a show that is thought provoking and powerful.

Non profits of any kind survive off of donors. If your running a non profit and there is a person or persons who donate a large sum of money then you do what you can to make sure that they are willing to do that again. All of Lincoln Center's theatres are non profit with most of their patrons being doners or subscribers or at least having the potential to become one. I never said
That what the security crew there did was good in any way. I simply said and will repeat that the folks over at Lincoln center were simply acting with their wallets in mind when they re routed traffic away from Occupy Wall Street.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
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What it says to me is that you are a coward - who encourages others to shut up to get paid.

Many, many times we are faced with moral decisions that juxtapose what is in our best financial interest against what is the right thing to do.

Enron, the financial crises, Penn State, the abuses by the Catholic church - all happened because people were so busy making money or protecting their interest that they turned a blind eye to what is the right thing to do.

Me, I applaud what he did and will go out and buy one of his CDs even though I am not generally an opera fan. I am now much more interested in what he has to say and how he says it.
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And man, it says so much about the times we're living in that the crazy, radical act we're talking about here is joining some peaceful protesters and reading from the Bhagavad Gita. No calling for the heads of rich, no violence, no advocacy of overturning our system of government. If people think this is radical...well, given the board we're on, think of Emma Goldman in Ragtime or Assassins. The Occupy movement is a bunch of kittens by comparison. (And I don't mean that in a bad way.)

I can't believe I am honestly hearing that chanting in front of opera-goers constitutes a protest gone too far, that stairs have become too scary for fear of insulting the 1%'s sensibilities, when what's being protested is an entire country going to ****. Holy crow. This is exactly how we fell into this situation in the first place - because those of us who aren't obscenely rich live in constant fear of the tenuous toehold we have on being able to financially support ourselves and our families. And it shouldn't be that way.
Updated On: 12/3/11 at 03:41 PM
westsider2
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It's not clear that Lincoln Center outright "owns" the space. In fact when it comes to liability, they've tried to hedge their bets. From NY Times piece:
"The city-owned land at Lincoln Center includes the fountain plaza, the perimeter sidewalks and Damrosch Park, the square of green between the Metropolitan Opera and the David H. Koch Theater, which is home to New York City Opera and the New York City Ballet."
Lincoln Center Updates Plaza and Maybe Its Liability
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Winston, there are two key things wrong with your post. One is that "protesters" is the preferred spelling.

The other is that you seem to have no grasp of the basic idea of standing in solidarity, where wealthy people stand in support of those poorer people trying to get their voices heard, for instance. It's an acknowledgment of the connective tissue of our humanity; it works the way music does to bring people across all strata together.

And three, there is nothing anybody associated with the Occupy actions can possibly do that you won't find criticizable.

Finally four, you need to stop focussing on individual actions and realize it is a movement, it is cumulative. I know you think because you have a job you are somehow a personal target of the Occupy movement. As the second wave feminists taught us, it's not about YOU personally, take what you can use and leave the rest.

Five, you're strangely defensive.
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And honestly, Winston, Philip Glass put neither himself nor the Metropolitan Opera in any danger whatsoever of losing a single grant.
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This news from a friend of mine who was at the performance of FAUST Saturday night: before the start of the second act, a man in the upper part of the opera house began to chant "Occupy Wall Street" loudly and repeatedly, until he was removed from the auditorium.
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Yes, I was there. He was in the balcony but able to be heard. It was the end of the 2nd intermission. The lights went down and the conductor was about the enter. He then shouted "Occupy Wall Street" for about 2 minutes. He received a good amount of applause and then one person yelled he should be thrown out. He eventually stopped yelling on his own, it appeared, and the applause petered out. There was no confrontation, but I think he was escorted out.

Regarding the discussion earlier on Philip Glass, the suggestion that he or other audience members shouldn't or wouldn't support the ideas of OWS is simply based on ignorance of the opera audience and the work of the Met.

Of course, most major donors are in the 1%, and lucky they are or the Met wouldn't survive. Some of these donors provide 10s of millions to fund productions - just as Broadway producers do. There is a difference, though. None of these donors ever expect to get their money back. They're often the same people who fund museums and art exhibits.

It is often far cheaper to attend the Met than a Broadway performance. I usually pay $25 or $35 an opera - for a couple I've paid $80. Yes, the cheaper ones are not the best seats, but they're good. And if you don't mind standing in line, anyone can get rush tickets in the orchestra for $20. These tickets are subsidized by a generous donor, who pays the difference to the Met for every single ticket. They also have online lotteries for free or much cheaper prime seats for several performances a week, also provided by donors so that people without a lot of income can see an opera.

Of course, there's also the much-cheaper live HD transmission of many Met operas in local theaters.

Finally, the Met and Met Opera Guild do a heck of a lot of work in NYC and Boston schools where music has been cut from the budget. Carnegie Hall does the same - 100,000 students for them, I think - funded by.... guess who?

I've been a Met supporter for years - I've never made anywhere near six figures, and I've never been able to contribute much at all to them. But, the theater they produce is magnificent and I appreciate the work they and Carnegie Hall do for school kids.
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Bravo, BosBroad, well said! As someone who used standing room at the MET for years because it was all I could afford, I am glad you pointed out that the assumption that opera goers are all wealthy devil-may-care (oops, FAUST reference) people is wrong, like most assumptions.
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Thanks, wonkit. Appreciate it. Yes, assumptions are a dangerous thing.