I went to a performance of ABBA music at the Kennedy Center recently, and it was just as disconcerting as you would expect a performance of ABBA music at the Kennedy Center to be. It isn’t often that you get the National Symphony Orchestra and a disco ball in the same room. (To my great disappointment, they turned the disco ball on for just the last song. As if we hadn’t already been grooving for ninety minutes.)
Before the show and during intermission, I pretended to read a book on my Kindle app while secretly eavesdropping on the groups around me. (It’s an intelligence-gleaning practice I have perfected, if I do say so myself.) As I perused The Mental Floss History of the United States (WINK), I overheard both the couple on my left and the group on my right mentioning the musical Mamma Mia! as the reason they came to this show.
I’ve no doubt Mamma Mia! is a wonderful show, as it has spawned a film version and earned many millions of dollairs.*But if you come to an ABBA concert and I hear you say something like, “Oh, these songs were in Mamma Mia!” while looking at the program, there’s a decent chance I will slap you before the 85-year-old lady usher realizes what’s happened.
Similarly, I would expect a true ABBA fan—someone who remembers that 1974 Eurovision contest—to slap both of us. Because we are both Johnny come latelies** when it comes to ABBA and how DARE we pretend to know anything about anything? I don’t announce my entrance into Mormon churches (temples? halls?) with “Oh, I’ve seen the Book of Mormon so I’m all set.” I don’t know whether Mormons slap people, but they would be within their rights to do so on this occasion IMO.
Okay, so back to the concert. I was in a section specifically set aside for “young people” (ages 18-30) under the Kennedy Center’s MyTix program. It’s a great program, exposing poor uncultured youngsters like myself to the grandeur of the tay-uh-tuh. Though I buy a full-price ticket when I have to (see Book of Mormon, above), I’ll happily use MyTix to get two cheap tickets and drag along friend-of-blog P (also 18-30, very cultured) for an evening of drama, music, or what-have-you.
So when I see people very obviously NOT 18-30, I get a little miffed. By which I mean my normal level of miffedness gets dialed from 10 to 11.
There was a couple probably in their 50s sitting in the seats in front of me. The woman had that preppy look going on wherein the sweater (with very prominently-displayed Polo logo) is tied around the neck. My reaction, obviously:
My favorite commercial of all time, Cheerios. Well played.
This is not the first time this has happened, and it’s enough to make me consider ushering at the Kennedy Center just so I can throw out every person with a MyTix ticket and a pair of reading glasses, grey hair, and/or knowledge of what a ditto machine is.***
* I’m no Julie Klausner, but I try.
** Anybody know the capitalization and punctuation on that phrase? You hear it all the time, but too rarely do you see it used in your reference materials and your periodicals.
*** I was going to put in “memories of Burger Chef” as the last item in this list, as a callback to Mad Men’s excellent season, until my helper hippo informed me that the last Burger Chef didn’t close until 1996.