Rant: Loudmouths at Concerts

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Why in the world do people go to shows if they’re just going to talk the whole time?!

At the end of July, I attended SummerStage at Central Park. It’s fun because it’s outdoors, and you can bring blankets and food and have a nice picnic along with the music. Dawes and First Aid Kit were billed equally as headliners, but First Aid Kit ended up performing before Dawes; I suppose the latter is more well-known, but I was there for the Swedish ladies.


We weren’t sitting that close to the stage (as you can see, that area up front is standing room only), but still close enough to ostensibly be there to hear the music. On the outer edges of the makeshift venue were stands where you could buy food or drinks.

People around us talked the whole time, and using their outdoor voices. The din of everyone’s conversation relegated the opening act to background music. It didn’t help that the volume of the music wasn’t nearly loud enough throughout the whole show.

I didn’t mind so much at first, but once First Aid Kit came on stage, a group of young adults (not pictured) came and sat down at an open spot in front of us. And boy were they having the time of their lives! Just talking and laughing noisily like they were at a bar.

I’m not a confrontational person by any stretch of the imagination, but occasionally I can get going when filled with righteous anger. And no assholes were going to keep me from giving First Aid Kit my full attention. So I stepped over and said to the loudest guy, “Can you guys talk quieter please?!”

It was not my most grammatically proud moment. But at least they finally realized other people were actually trying to hear the music.

It was also — and still is — baffling to me that people would pay money ($37.50 per ticket, not super expensive but not that cheap either!) to go somewhere and just talk over the performers. I get that maybe most of the people were there for Dawes and not First Aid Kit, but what about common courtesy to the musicians as well as the rest of the audience?!

Alas, the same thing happened to me last night at a concert for MS MR. It was a great show with two amazing opening acts (Vérité and Jack Garratt). I was perched at a prime spot on Terminal 5’s second floor balcony.


Just as Vérité finished their set, this white couple about my age came and stood next to me at the railing. And oh my god they would not stop talking!!!!! They blabbered through Jack Garratt’s entire performance, and I could barely concentrate on how awesome he was due to their loud, inane chatter. Eventually, the guy on the other side of them told them to hush.

Before MS MR came on, the people on the other side of me left, so I moved down the railing to get away from the two loudmouths…but they ended up moving right along with me! And continued their inebriated banalities through MS MR’s first few songs.

Seriously, why were they even there?! There are places where you can go and order drinks and talk loudly and it’s called a fucking bar!

I got so fed up that after a few songs, I leaned over and yelled, “Can you two stop talking for ONE SONG?!?”

The guy was like, “Whooaaaa” but neither of them actually acknowledged me. They quieted down some but continued talking, and at that point I had to conclude that they were just drunk. How else can you be so obtuse?

I can put up with a lot at a concert. Invasion of personal space, like when the woman’s long flowing hair fell into her beer and then somehow wiped that beer on the back of my hand, I won’t make a big fuss about if you’re contributing to the atmosphere of the show by actually enjoying the music. If you’re dancing and bump into me, I don’t care.


I don’t know if this is a NYC thing, or a young people thing, or a cheap-ish concerts thing, but oblivious assholes like these should just stay away from live shows. I would posit, however, that it does have something to do with age (and booze).

When I went to see Todrick Hall’s Twerk du Soleil show last year, his opening acts were a couple of aspiring pop stars who were basically mediocrely talented teenagers singing covers. But the audience, comprising also mostly teenagers (yes I felt out of place and old), were respectfully quiet during these performances! Or they weren’t drunk enough to not care.

It pains me that my peers see fit to talk over artists with actual talent, like First Aid Kit and Jack Garratt. They deserve better, and so do I.


The Demise of Facebook Photo Albums

January 27, 2014 § 2 Comments


If you compare my previous two blog posts to all of my other ones, you’ll see that I don’t normally include this many photos, especially personal ones. Normally, if I had a lot of pictures I wanted my friends to see, I would put them in a Facebook album. I used to spend a decent amount of time choosing/editing photos and writing clever captions for my FB photo albums, especially when I was doing fun things like traipsing around Hong Kong. And I totally judge people who dump all 260 of their blurry vacation photos into an album.

But recently I’ve felt that the FB album is…dying. With the rise of Instagram, and especially after it got integrated into FB newsfeeds, the act of uploading or interacting with a photo is that much more temporary. Even people who don’t use Instagram behave like this — my mother, who put together dozens of huge (physical) photo albums in me and my brother’s formative years, is now obsessed with uploading one-at-a-time pictures of sunsets, homemade biscotti, etc. onto FB. (I do find it rather endearing and entertaining.)

Mean Girls gifThe way we interact with media has undoubtedly changed. People take literally less than a second to scroll past a photo on their feed; what’s going to make them stop and click through an entire album? Pages of gifs on Buzzfeed are the exception, I suppose.

This change makes me a bit sad. Photo albums are good for storytelling. You can see a setting, zoom in on the food, zoom out to see the people, follow the camera from place to place. One snapshot isn’t nearly enough to get all that information. Besides, because most of these photos are taken spontaneously and/or with a phone, the quality (content, composition, whatever) usually sucks, unless you’re some kind of pro Instagrammer with hundreds of followers and really great lighting.

Anyway, what it boiled down to was that I had a ton of photos from winter break, and I didn’t want to simply upload them to FB because nobody would see them. Thus, they made it onto my blog instead, which was the obvious solution if I was interested in telling a story. I’m not saying that all 1,000+ of my FB friends read this blog, but I believe it served my purpose better in this case.

As for social media, I’m curious to see whether people will find another platform to store and share their photo collections, or if social photography has more or less permanently evolved to instapix.

In the future, I’d love to spend time putting together physical photo albums like my mother did. It’s always such a treat to flip through the thick, yellowing pages to see what we all looked like in the ’90s. (I was scrawny and very nerdy-looking. #teamglasses) Of course, that would require me to figure out how to actually get photos printed, a modern-yet-retro convenience that I never got around to learning, like operating a manual car wash or dishwasher. One thing at a time!


Me at around 9 years old, from a family photoshoot we did (minus dad) in China

Thoughts About Boobs

December 12, 2013 § 7 Comments


I’ve been thinking about breasts lately. Why? Well, I’ve just been confronted with small incidents that made me pause and think. But all this ruminating mostly comprises a mass of thoughts that have yet to lead to a conclusion, so I’ll dump them below in an effort to sort them out. Here goes:

1. Some men are obsessed with breasts

In forums and comment sections where people discuss things like “My husband has a small penis” or “NYC women don’t date short men,” you will inevitably find embittered straight men who compare these perceived physical shortcomings with breast size.

“Women can discriminate based on height and penis size but we’re seen as shallow if we won’t date a woman with small breasts?!??!” they rant.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The “Fat” Lady On TV

October 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been following the hubbub over Wisconsin TV anchor Jennifer Livingston for the past few days with only a passing interest, but after reading the latest news of Kenneth Krause’s half-hearted apology (“I’m sorry you were offended” is never a proper apology), I’d like to express my thoughts on the matter.

Part of Krause’s rationale for his email was his experience being “obese as a child.” I’m tempted to go into the fat-kid-internalized-childhood-hate-and-now-spews-it-as-an-adult territory, but the email reads as more condescending than hateful — a more subversive kind of harassment.

My first question is, how much of his motivation lay in the fact that Livingston is a woman? Women are routinely held to a stricter standard in terms of appearance, and they are also easier to harass because they don’t fight back. Would he write the same email to a male anchor?

When this topic was brought up in my Writing & Reporting class, some of my classmates said it was unprofessional of Livingston to take time on-air to address a private letter. Livingston has said that she only addressed it because of the response she received on Facebook after her husband posted the letter; I’m sure that being a mother of three daughters also influenced her decision. While I don’t think I would’ve made the same decision as Livingston, I support her actions. Any time a woman defends herself in the media is a victory. Women are frequently criticized publicly: If she’s attractive, she’s probably fake or a slut. If she’s ugly, well, she could go die in a fire and nobody would care. If she doesn’t want children, she’s a selfish, emasculating dragon lady. If she’s a mother, she’s probably doing a million things wrong like feeding her children processed food and being too tired to have sex with her partner. This unrelenting public criticism makes it even easier for private individuals to judge one another and believe that it is necessary (and even good) to call out a woman’s “mistakes.”

In his email, Krause suggests that Livingston is a bad example “for this community’s young people, girls in particular.” OK, first of all, what kind of young people are watching the local news and using the anchors as role models? When I was a teenager, those people were old and boring as far as I was concerned. (Kids these days are too glued to their cell phones anyway.) Second of all, as a woman news anchor, Livingston is an excellent example to girls who want to be successful professionals and working mothers.

There’s been some controversy over Livingston’s use of the word “bully.” Stephanie Hanes at the Christian Science Monitor argues that Livingston’s misappropriation of the word “stops the conversation and leads to a fight over the label rather than the content.” Um, the drastic irony here is that Hanes, who begins to make a substantial point about Krause’s “unacceptable” and “sexist” criticism, veers off to point out how one email doesn’t equal bullying. Wow. And Linda Stasi at the New York Post (why was I reading that anyway?) actually goes so far as to accuse Livingston as being the bully (what?). The “you can’t complain about your life because people out there/people like me have it worse!” argument is not valid. And the way Stasi describes other female anchors’ “ample chests” makes it pretty clear that she has no problem judging other women. The fact that most of the commenters agree with her reasoning just makes my head hurt.

It’s worth reiterating Livingston’s point that overweight people know they’re overweight — especially if they’re women on TV — and have probably tried to combat it and don’t need the condescending advice of others. The only issue I have with Livingston’s response is the line “…your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.” Whoa, lady. I know what she’s getting at, but as much as the word is used in that manner, I don’t accept the word “fat” as a flat-out insult, and it’s not helpful to frame it that way.

Other than that, Livingston’s response was measured and well thought out. She didn’t bother naming Krause because she wanted to use the situation as a jumping-off point for a lesson about the true example people set for their children. We need to foster an environment where children choose healthy lifestyles out of self-love and not self-loathing, and I think that both Livingston and Krause were trying to promote that message (the latter in a more…roundabout way). The fact that his identity was even dug out was, I suppose, an inevitability of this era. But it does make for a better discussion, and I hope that women in positions to speak publicly continue to defend themselves should the chance arise.

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