Writer, editor, professor, etc. For more information, see jaygabler.com.
The only signed celebrity photo at Krung Thep Thai is from the pro at the University of Minnesota golf course.
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Best patio in the Twin Cities.
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A post I wrote yesterday in The Tangential, “Does it matter that no one gives a shit about classical music?”, has provoked some fiery responses. Here are my answers to a few of the commenters’ arguments.
Too bad you hate classical music; don’t presume everyone else does too.
Actually, I like classical music quite a lot—I have, contrary to the presumption of some commenters, attended several performances by the Minnesota Orchestra—and if my post helped inspire those who love it to make their voices heard more loudly, that’s great. Because I like classical music, though, I think it’s important to acknowledge that the current model of professional classical music performance is unsustainable. To be viable in the long term, ensembles like the Minnesota Orchestra will have to develop major new funding sources and/or significantly rethink their programming to engage a broader audience.
When you say “no one gives a shit about classical music,” you’re wrong—there’s us!
Yes, clearly the title of my post was an exaggeration for the sake of rhetoric—I know there are people who care deeply about classical music and want professional orchestras to thrive. Objectively, though, the numbers of those people are too small to sustain a world-class professional ensemble in Minneapolis—or any other city of its size or smaller—and those numbers are not growing, or at least not growing quickly enough. That means the options are, as I mention above, (a) heavily subsidizing classical music or (b) engaging a broader audience. Regarding the latter—what would that mean, and how might it happen? Why isn’t it happening? Let’s have that discussion.
Before you wrote about the classical music audience, you should have talked to us.
Actually, I wasn’t so much talking about the classical music audience as about the vast number of people who aren’t classical music fans. Does it help your cause to deny their existence?
Youth symphonies are thriving.
That’s true—and actually, I said precisely that in the post. So why are professional orchestras going broke?
Classical music deserves support.
Maybe so, but that’s a subjective judgment. The Minnesota Orchestra has been hanging on by drawing millions of dollars out of its endowment each year. That endowment will eventually run out—where should the money come from? Who, precisely, should pay?
Classical music education deserves support.
I agree—within reason. Personally, I’d rather see my tax dollars go to music education than to the Minnesota Orchestra. There are many other art forms, though—including many other forms of music—and I wouldn’t want to see classical music education unduly privileged over other forms of arts education.
Shouldn’t a kid be able to live her dreams?
Absolutely, but all dreams have a cost. There are kids who dream about growing up to be professional skateboarders—why shouldn’t we build a $6 million skate park instead of giving that money to the Minnesota Orchestra? Here’s a dream we can perhaps share: working together to find a sustainable way for classical music, and all great art forms, to thrive. The current model isn’t it.
The real problem is that the Minnesota Orchestra is mismanaged and mis-marketed.
I’m not sufficiently informed to comment on the specific management decisions of the Minnesota Orchestra, but it certainly seems like things might have been handled a lot differently—perhaps on the musicians’ side, too. At any rate, I don’t think marketing is the solution: you can’t sell an irrelevant product, and much as those who commented on my post love professional classical music as it exists, an increasing number of young Americans are indifferent to it. No tweet seats or ticket discounts or beer coozies are going to change that—the programming is what needs to change. I’m not saying give up Beethoven, I’m saying think creatively about what new audiences are looking for that the orchestra’s current programming is not giving them.
You are a disgusting, revolting liar. You can’t see because your head is shoved up your ass. You’re obviously not mentally capable of appreciating classical music, and no one cares about your opinion anyway.
Thank you for you comments. Now I think I need to go lie down and listen to some nice peaceful Schoenberg for a while.
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Has any motel ever in the history of the world had a fully functioning neon sign?
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Jay: Right now, I think Minnesota is a great place for readers and writers, but it hasn’t necessarily always been that way. Three of our most famous writers—F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Schulz, and Garrison Keillor—all had deeply conflicted feelings about Minnesota. All three left Minnesota with the intention of never returning, though all three eventually came back for varying amounts of time.
In recent years, though, Minnesota’s literary center of gravity has moved from St. Paul (where Fitzgerald and Schulz were from, and where Keillor now lives and pontificates) to Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities are now home to a strong nexus of independent publishers (Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press) and bookstores (Magers & Quinn, Keillor’s Common Good Books). The Open Book complex in downtown Minneapolis has become a central hub of literary life, and organizations like Paper Darts are supporting a very social literary culture that bridges online and IRL. The Twin Cities also have strong spoken word, storytelling, and hip-hop scenes, and there’s a very fluid boundary between being a “rapper” and an “author.”
Louise Erdrich doesn’t rap (yet), but her life and career illustrate what’s exciting about Minnesota’s literary scene today. She writes, she reads, she runs an independent bookstore, and she’s an inspiration to writers from all backgrounds, especially women writers and Native writers. She’s a hell of a lot happier here than F. Scott Fitzgerald ever was.
These comments from an interview with Emily Gould are germane to a piece I just wrote about The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald, and writers who got the hell out of Minnesota.
One of the reasons he chose to adapt Ivan Turgenev’s 1859 novel Home of the Gentry, playwright Crispin Whittell says in a program note, was that the story has “all these wonderful parts for women.” Such as? The part of the shallow and pretentious mother who wants to marry her daughter into high society! The part of the wisecracking single Woman of a Certain Age who’s not afraid to get real! The part of the sex-crazed maid! The part of the vain and manipulative married woman who can’t keep her hands on her own husband! And then of course, the part of the virginal and (natch) “intelligent” young girl who can’t marry the sketchy-but-philosophical older man she loves instead of the cocky young ass her mother would prefer!
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Two things I do NOT want to think of my body as being: flayed, and Mahler’s fifth.
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The epitome of my inbox.
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