Tuesday, March 5, 2013

PSA: The Power of Live Performance


(Don't let this AMAZING O'Reilly clip confuse you. This is a very serious post.) 

This is a public service post.

On Sunday I witnessed something truly remarkable, and I witnessed it live.

It was a story told by the actress/host/storyteller/comedienne/teacher Suzanne Whang about finally finding the love of her life at age 50. It was the most romantic thing I have ever heard outside of a scripted movie, and it ended with a surprise so big that I burst into tears. I am, for once, not exaggerating. One friend in the room said, "that was the most insane thing I've ever seen on a Los Angeles stage," and from the looks on many other people's tear-splattered faces, they agreed.

Suzanne told her story at this month's SUNDAY NIGHT SEX TALKS, but this is not a plug for my show (sorry, but I couldn't not include a hyperlink). This is a plug for experiencing something live.

I was kicking myself as Suzanne told her story because we don't tape or record Sunday Night Sex Talks. What happens in that room happens once and never again. If you're there, you see it. If you're not, you don't. It was originally arranged this way to protect the privacy of the performers. Moving forward we will likely record the stories just in case something as magical as Suzanne's tale gets told. It was something worth saving, even if it's only for my locked files and Suzanne's safe keeping. But we don't have Suzanne's story on tape. It exists only in the memory of the 50 or so women who were sitting in that room, and I kind of think that's amazing.

Suzanne closed the show, and for the next twenty or so minutes, everyone stood around talking about what we'd just experienced. I overheard people talking about their own romances. I eavesdropped on a conversation about other live shows in L.A. One woman couldn't stop crying because she had been through a similar situation that didn't end quite as well, and there was a line of people waiting to thank Suzanne for her performance. We all connected around a shared experience, and it was awesome.  

I tried explaining the whole thing to R when I got home. I re-lived the whole thing as I attempted to make what happened in that room come to life again. It was a good exercise in memory retention, but I don't think R got the full feel. There's really no way you could.

I'm a big fan of podcasts on account of how much time I now spend in a car. I listen to The Moth,  Savage Love with Dan Savage, The Treatment on KCRW and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I have had truly remarkable experiences listening to these recordings. I have cried in my car. It's still not the same.  

Go see something live. Comedy, music, storytelling, theater, I don't care. If you have access to any or all of those things, support them. Podcasts, YouTube, and TV recaps are great. They broaden the whole world's ability to experience things limited to certain places, but they're no substitute for the real deal. 

On Sunday night I saw the real deal, and I'm not at all embarrassed to say that it changed my life. 

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