Thursday, January 21, 2010

Arts & Culture Junk Direct Marketing Mail

Because I occasionally buy tickets for plays, concerts and other artsy things, I wind up on mailing lists and receive more direct mail marketing pieces than I can stand. I wrote this goofy little piece a few years back as a reaction to all those earnest, yet somehow annoying, solicitations.

For its 2009-2010 season, the Symphony of Greater California has gathered the most innovative artists in the West to perform an exhilarating repertoire of international classics and exciting new music. Under the baton of Music Director Seiji Tilson-Williams, the symphony and its guest artists will deliver an unparalleled musical experience for anyone willing to pony up 75 bucks per ticket.

The season is sponsored in part by the Pecksniff Charitable Trusts and HyperCorp. International -- "We Know What's Good for You"

September 10 through October 15
Follow the progress of world music, from two wooden sticks struck together in a Paleolithic village to a Web page that plays an endless loop of "My Heart Will Go On." See how Darwinian theory applies to everything from the symphony orchestra to your local skiffle band. Discover how the wily and agile violin schemed its way to the top, while the slow-witted and awkward bassoon took a turn down an evolutionary dead-end. Witness a duel to the death between a harpsichord and a clavier. Program may be too intense for young children.

October 20 through November 15
A three-concert series, consisting of "Mostly Mozart," Basically Beethoven" and "Completely Weill."

November 26 through December 24
Our Children's Holiday Program
Does the thought of sitting through yet another production of either "Peter and the Wolf" or "The Nutcracker" cause you to break into hives and uncontrollable muscular spasms? Then you're in luck this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice season! Based on Gunnar Gunnarson's 15th-Century, 34-volume epic poem, this 45-minute program brings Scandinavian folklore to life, complete with live reindeer, on-stage ice skating and freakishly huge marionettes of Glinka the Frost Witch and the evil ice dragon, Frigidaire. With a lively score by Bjorg Bjorgenson and the Umlaut Quartet, "Babes in Iceland" is sure to entertain privileged children for generations to come. Special guest Robin Williams will perform the part of Snorri, The Annoying Troll Who Weeps and Grins Simultaneously.

January 5 through February 20
An evening of no discernible harmonies or melodies, using as few notes as humanly possible. Highlights include Bromffman's "Amplified Dripping Faucet" and Chayefsky's "The Sensory Deprivation Blues."

Here are just a few of the rave reviews this program has garnered.
Minimalist Monthly: "This music is good."
Tortured Intellectual Weekly: "Never before has a white-noise generator been taken to such rhapsodic heights!"
Elmer Hobart, long-time subscriber: "For the love of God, kill me now!"

February 28. One Night Only.
America's favorite sandpaper-voiced troubadour interprets tunes from "Oklahoma," "The King & I" "South Pacific" and "Carousel." The highlight of the show comes when Waits dons a wimple to sing "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" from "The Sound of Music." Special guest Lou Reed provides a touching rendition of "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair."

March 1 through April 15
You hear them on the radio, on TV, at the movies, even through your computer speakers. They're the songs that have been co-opted by giant, faceless corporations to promote their products, services and Orwellian ideologies. Now these tunes have been woven into a musical tapestry that will set your toes tapping and put your mind in a free-spending groove. Selections include "Rhapsody in the Public Domain," "Fanfare for the Common Consumer," "Sixties and Seventies Sell-Outs" and "The Music from That Volkswagen Commercial Where Everything's Moving to the Beat of the Windshield Wipers."

Tickets for all concerts may be purchased at the box office, online or through an antiquated and vaguely frightening voice-mail system. Subscribers will eventually be harassed with dinner-time telephone solicitations, while one-time ticket buyers will be left to contemplate their cheapness in ominous silence.


RAB said...

The capsule description for The Evolution of Music in particular is pretty damned funny. It's all good, but that just made me laugh out loud for real.

Michael Berry said...

Thanks, RAB. That part gets some of the biggest laughs when I read the piece before an audience.