Thursday, December 18, 2014

Danny Lord plays with Mirrors in 2000 and How Socialization has Changed

Magic and Mirrors, Music and Friends

Fourteen years ago on a beautiful night four friends performed live together. Jerry Barry produced the film of the performance. Sure, you can see impossible videos using editing magic and mirrors left and right on youtube now. Everyone produces their own films and even my phone creates slow motion videos. Watching this video, hearing the lighthearted music of Jerry Barry, Craig Broers and Ty Billings about High School blues I think of how much time has changed. It has only been fourteen years yet now our lives focus around our phones. We constantly tweet, like and share videos and memes. Watching Danny Lord do magic in front of a live audience who WATCHED the stage! No one was looking down into their lap or into their hands. They were too busy laughing and enjoying the magic and amusing antics in the performance. Remember when we all used to do that? Live entertainment instead of YouTube!

I walked through a mall several nights ago amid typical holiday bustle. It was refreshing to see people acting like they used to. Then I noticed them. The silent staring statues with their little boxes raised in worship. Once I saw one I saw many, they were new obstacles that the throngs of shoppers maneuvered around. None of them smiled or noticed the people around them, not even their friends and loved ones who, out of boredom or loneliness also began picking up their personal universes to disconnect with as well. I used to look forward to meeting and befriending random strangers on a jaunt but now people dive into their social media pacifiers instead of looking out into the world around them to make connections.

Last month I was at a Farmer's Market in Oakland. A live musician played the kettle drum livening the mood yet no one gave him tips, many had headphones in. Some people were having very private conversations loudly in public, which seems weirdly ironic. I always want to go near these people and yell "He/She is having this conversation on the street where there are currently over 50 people who have to listen whether we want to or not- thought you should know." Somehow a car disregarded the many signs not to drive down the middle of the market. People looked annoyed and avoided the car. One woman looked up and our eyes met. She said "A Car?!" Then she looked astounded that she spoke to a stranger. I looked equally astounded I think, but it was about the car which resembled a cork floating in a swimming pool. People surrounded it. I would not have wanted to be that driver. I smiled at her and agreed that it was a pretty ridiculous thing to see. It bothered me that we both seemed anxious about talking with each other. When did talking to friendly strangers become a bad thing? All of my friends were friendly strangers once!

At times I am relieved to have all of my friends at my fingertips, yet at other times I have put the phone down and said "I need to get work done or when are you going to put your phone down?" Eventually they will find a way for us to do all of our work via our phones. Imagine, they could simplify the issues with voting if they made an app that allowed users to log in and vote in elections. Elections would be more accurate and more voters would vote.  Why not?

Today I enjoyed watching Danny perform, listening to an audience and watching the audience without seeing them constantly distract themselves tweeting and sharing and liking. I enjoyed hearing Jerry, Craig and Ty play. I am glad that Jerry caught that night so that fourteen years later we can appreciate a social evening, the kind we used to have all the time-the kind we took for granted and seem to have lost.