Amazing. I thought for sure that by now I’d be typing about the finale of Project Runway, but alas, I wasn’t able to catch the final episode due to my temporary cablelessness (I’m moving!). It’s already verging on late afternoon/early evening and I haven’t yet even bothered to hit the Internet to suss out who last night’s winner was—excuse me while I do that right now. Okay that took, like, two seconds. Cue drum roll. As all of you that were the least bit interested already know by now, the flamboyant wunderkind winner of season four of the greatest reality show in the known universe is: Christian. I would throw around some confetti, but it feels like I somehow missed the boat by not watching the broadcast along with the rest of the civilized world—I’m going to have to witness the magic moment via—shudder—reruns.
Nobody seems to like reruns. The distain of repeating what’s already been seen and heard—by all, or only a few—also materializes in the new music scene, especially among presenters, and the performers (and composers) trying to catch their precious attention in order to get programmed. Admittedly, I’m a fan of being at the premiere—there a slight air of exhilaration added, like that from-the-jar maraschino cherry atop the sundae—but the reality is that the third or fourth subsequent performance is more likely to be more confident, if not stronger and downright better. Unfortunately, unless there’s a consortium commission backing a new composition these days, the piece may never make it to its fourth performance.
Television programming has its sweeps week, as well as its tedious holding-pattern lulls, packed with rerun filler that keeps enough folks interested—mostly those who missed out on the “it” show the first time around. Concert programming is a little different, in that it seems that presents try for sweeps week all season long. Why not try something really dull to attract those of us willing to watch reruns? It could be interesting to have entire concerts consisting of pieces that haven’t been played since their premiere—for sure there’s a glut of repertoire out there that fits this mold. If something merits a second or third listening, there are many of us ready to line up to hear it. With the American Composers Forum’s Encore program on hold (pending future funding), it’s now more than ever that the unheard masterpieces need a paradigm shift inside the minds of presenters. Bottom line: Just because something is not a premiere doesn’t mean that the new music community will not show up.
Sure, if ABC decided to re-air Mork & Mindy and Three’s Company as their first-string lineup, the results would be disastrous—thank god the writers’ strike is over. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind watching a few episodes of Knight Rider for a change of pace. When it comes to older new music, I think it could be fun and rewarding to revive a few gems, as long as we’re careful when choosing what to resurrect. Then let the marketing department go wild on how to spin the whole retro-programming. Excuse me, is that a life-sized David Hasselhoff cardboard cutout I spy?