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Subject: Re: STRIKE!
From: Scott Grunow <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 13 Oct 2018 13:44:33 +0000

text/plain (24 lines)

I haven't been to the Lyric Opera in years because of financial exigencies. For many younger persons, wages have remained flat, student loan debt is crushing, and rents rise astronomically in Chicago. Because of my career change, I am in the same position as many millenials. And not just millenials are suffering. 
Years ago I complained to Danny Newman about his subscription dynamic which was difficult for many on moderate incomes to accommodate, and he called me a Communist. I should have thanked him for the compliment, and he also claimed he had to get off the phone because he was Jewish and celebrating Passover (which I thought was a festival of liberation from oppressors, hmm).  
This confrontation occurred after I had published a letter in the Chicago Tribune asking opera audiences of being rich elitists, and by elitist I did not mean educated, but rather than some of social-climbing Philistines, or already established wealthy persons who showed up because if was the thing to do, and wouldn't know Wagner from Walgreens or Netrebko from Nordstroms (not my words exactly).  
I have been to a few of the Met HD broadcasts, but the latest update about assigned seating is worrisome. Someone is going to become injured with a cane or a walker as scuffles may ensue, and I am not being crude or facetious. I've already in my time going to them witnessed two  verbal alteractions, one involving seats, and one involving the level of talking before the feature. Take cover. 
Overall, younger persons don't go out as much as they used to, and if they do, they are connected to smartphones. .
 I've seen this same dynamic in a club I used to be involved with. We aren't getting younger members. The traditional events held in physical spaces (even advertising using specific email technologies) don't appeal. This club is aging out, and in the United States, I wonder if classical music audiences are experiencing the same. If younger persons go, it's a novelty. A few might get hooked, but the long-term cultural and social investment isn't there, unless they happen to become wealthy doctors and lawyers or whatever it takes these days to rise in the ranks and display some noblesse oblige. 
I have attended Chicago Civic Orchestra events, but only because seniors get free or really cheap tickets and, guess what, open seating. The audience was seniors and young people who were there because their friends or family or classmates were playing in the orchestra. I haven't been to the Chicago Symphony in a while; the last time I went, the audience wasn't even nouveau riche, just dowdy, and I'm not just talking about clothes or physical appearance.  
Auntie Mame has left the country.
And since I am in charge of the twitter feed for the faculty union where I teach, I will be following this strike closely, by the way. 
Mezzomaniac of the Religious Left 

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