I Will Get By. I Will Survive…
We did it, folks. I’m not sure how, but here we stand to say that we survived 2016. However, few were left unscathed artistically or emotionally as it proved to be year of saying goodbye to the artists and heroes that we all held dear. From David Bowie all the way through to Carrie Fisher, the year seemed to pass by as a veritable merry-go-round of “In Memoriams” of the people that shaped our childhoods or gave us a look back into the artistry of days gone by. And while each loss is a considerable measure each their own, the collective sense of loss that dominated and, in retrospect, will come to define the year, is a bit more than the sum of its parts. If you believe that it will pass with the changing of the calendar, I’m afraid that you will find yourself disappointed.
As much as many want to attribute all the sad happenings to the fact that “it was a bad year,” the real reasoning behind it goes far deeper and a great deal of it has to do with the break-neck expansion of media itself over the last 40 to 60 years. If we even look at our parents’ and grandparents’ generations of media accessibility, we don’t have to go far to find those that grew up with only three or four TV stations, and many who knew a time with no television at all.
If you think about how many television actors were needed to fill three stations’ worth of content versus how many actors are needed to fill the programming of a seemingly infinite number of channels, you can see what I’m talking about. The same applies to Hollywood, as its volume of product has also grown exponentially ever since its own “Golden Age.” The expansion of traditional media has created many more opportunities for artists and performers to ply their talents and get the fame that could qualify one as a “celebrity.” The bigger the stage, the more actors are needed to fill it.
We Watch the Shows, We Watch the Stars… On Videos for Hours and Hours…
Another factor is the change in content. With the growth of 24-hour news networks, producers have a lot of air time to fill, which tends to lead to a great deal of news coverage of some pretty asinine content. The rise of reality television has made names of these people and because of that, these people make headlines. I can hardly believe that anything that Kim Kardashian does, says or wears can be considered “news,” but how many times has her name fouled up the crawl of your favorite news stations broadcast? This de-evolution of news into pseudo-reality television is not just helping to create celebrities, it’s creating meta-celebrities: people who are celebrities simply because they are celebrities.
And that’s just addressing traditional mediums. In our grand digital age, we now have YouTube, Twitter and Instagram celebrities, for crying out loud. If you type in “Dan” to Google, the first auto fill option that pops up is Dan Bilzerian and the top link is his IG. What has he done? Well, mostly posted pictures and video of himself running around with a bevvy of scantily clad beauties, an artillery to equip a small regiment and often large and expensive vehicles doing silly things. Has this guy created anything like, I don’t know, a vaccine to cure some horrible affliction, or a timeless movie or a piece of enduring literature? Nope. Just pictures and video of him being “alpha” and blowing his seemingly bottomless trust fund reserves. Yet, he is a “celebrity,” just the same.
Your Candle Burned Out Long Before Your Legend Ever Did…
As negative as I may be sounding, there are some encouraging elements of this media expansion. Internet accessibility has made it easier for people to genuinely fall in love with an artist from before their time. I’ve met young folks that are genuine fans of artists like Bowie and Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell and Prince… artists they were able to invest in, explore and appreciate because they have access to those artists and that music and those movies because of these crazy Interwebs. It’s an endless pit of content and knowledge that is essentially there for the taking.
When I first discovered Curtis Mayfield, or Richie Havens or Jim Croce or ELO, the Internet allowed me to hear and learn those artists. I was born 11 years after Woodstock, but I’ve seen Richie opening it up a hundred times if I’ve seen it once. While new media does create its own breed of “celebrities,” it also allows access to others’ work and helps create a fan base that can truly span generations with a few clicks of a mouse or a swipe or two on your smart phone.
Nothing Lasts Forever, Even Cold November Rain…
My point is that as freakish as 2016 seemed, the unfortunate fact remains that every single day, people die and celebrities are no different; years on the road or drug and alcohol use take their toll on the body, even if that lifestyle was long left behind. They’re human enough to get cancer or to have a stroke the day after their beloved daughter dies. Some have called death The Great Equalizer and there is yet profound truth in it. The emotions we feel when we lose an idol is part of that equalization and is our way of relating to those who shared that love and to connect and relate to those idols, themselves.
Just remember that we all will one day fall. This is a continuing call to arms that we should never take for granted. None of us can avoid the reaper, so we need to invest our time and our hearts in those people and things that make our lives worth living while we can. Love another human being, rescue a needy animal, support arts and artists that enrich your life, and commit yourself to your art and your inspiration and find ways to make that creative spark flourish.
While I am admittedly breathing a bit easier now that 2016 is in my rear-view, I do take heed of the bigger message here and hope to use it to carve a path through the next 12 months that is productive, proactive and prosperous. I wish the very same to each of you and encourage you to realize that this new year and all it can possibly be for you lies in your very hands. Go forward with love and happiness and make this year one to reflect on with a smile. I can promise you that I will be doing the very same.
Something Is Happening Here…
There’s plenty of cool stuff on the horizon, but since were are moving to a monthly format, this section may be more bullet points than quirky little descriptions so I can squeeze all the groovy things in here. SO! January 2017–Here we go!!!
Friday, January 6
Jerry Lee Lewis, Golden Nugget
“The Killer” himself is coming to the Lake City! For some “Great Balls of Fire” or a “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On,” don’t miss your chance to see this legend. GO SEE THIS SHOW!
Saturday, January 7
Gregg Allman, Golden Nugget
This surviving patriarch of the famed Allman Brothers Band is bringing plenty of ABB hits and those from his many years as a solo act to the Nugget stage on the 7th. GO SEE THIS SHOW!
Thursday, January 12
Winger, Delta Downs
Eighties fans, get ready as the rockers behind hits such as “Seventeen” and “Headed For a Heartbreak” are Vinton bound! Get your perm on and GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!
Friday, January 13
Cheap Trick, Golden Nugget
They “want you to want them” and they are coming to the Nugget. “Surrender” to the classic rock gods and GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!
And that’s just SOME of the headline entertainment in store for January. Check out our nightlife guide for more shows and details!
Me, Myself, I’m Easy. I Don’t Really Have to Know. As Long as I’m Still Breathing Then I’ve Got Somewhere to Go…
In the words of the great Richie Havens “Paradise is a hard place to find,” and though we may all have different interpretations of the word, I hope this is a year of finding it and discovering it for yourself, and I send a heart full of love to each of you as you seek it out.
I’m looking forward to a great year with you all. I’ll see you all back here next month and until then… I will SEE YOU AT THE SHOW!