The Playgoer: Quote of the Day

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Being here with tonight’s honorees, reflecting on their contributions, I’m reminded of a Supreme Court opinion by the great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. In a case argued before the Court in 1926, the majority ruled that the state of New York couldn’t regulate the price of theater tickets, because, in the opinion of the majority, the theater was not a public necessity. They argued, in effect, that the experience of attending the theater was superfluous. And this is what Justice Holmes had to say: 'To many people the superfluous is necessary.'

The theater is necessary. Dance is necessary. Song is necessary. The arts are necessary -- they are a necessary part of our lives."

-President Barack Obama, saluting this year's Kennedy Center Honorees.


Anonymous said...

So does this mean Obama is about to give us a break on ticket prices?!?!

The Mayoress said...

If only federal arts funding matched this sentiment. :$

MaestroDSCH said...

There was a time when the price of all tickets sold for non-profit orgs were a write-off on your tax returns. Would make sense for congress to bring that back. More people might attend concerts if they knew they could write-off the cost. Slatkin's been talking about this for years.

Brendan McCall said...

Thank you, President Obama. The arts have never been superfluous. It is how we define our lives, as well as how we understand and enjoy the interval between birth and death.

Think I'm being grandiose? A thought experiment:

Have a week in the US where art is removed from daily life. Every theater closes--from Broadway to downtown, from regional theater to storefront indie. Same with every dance, concert, symphony, opera, live event.

No more television programming. No cinemas. No netflix. No iTunes. No music on the radio.

No bookstores, no literature. Remove all of the short stories, poems, cartoons, and other art works in every magazine and newspaper.

If American artists were to do this, en masse, for a week--I guarantee you that the audiences--from the Federal government to your neighbors and the people in your communities--would realize the "value" of art, and realize that it is worth paying for, worth making, worth supporting.

Brendan McCall
Director, Ensemble Free Theater Norway