Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 30, 2021

As intrigued as I was about “Ladies & Gents”, the offbeat theatrical production being staged in Central Park’s public restrooms, I doubted that I’d be able to find a date willing to share the experience.

Well, luckily I did, and we got to see the show a couple of nights ago. And luckily for her — and for me, come to think of it — the bathrooms weren’t nearly as stinky as I imagined they could be.

Neither, for that matter, was the play itself. It had a unique structure: Two acts, which were played out simultaneously in the separate Ladies and Mens “conveniences” (Irish idiom for restrooms). Accordingly, the audience was split into separate halves, which were then filed into each bathroom to watch their particular segment of the story. At intermission, the two groups filed out and then switched restrooms, to see their concluding half of the play (which, given the nature of this narrative, isn’t properly the “second” part).

Just my luck, my date and I were separated into the two separate groups for the duration of this performance. But that actually turned out okay, because:

Given the cramped conditions, audience arrangement took the form of standing up against the walls, forming a rough circle around the “stage” where the actors did their things. It was the ultimate in intimate, and lent a real unnerving feel to the whole show. But it also meant that there was no opportunity for comparing notes with one another, because even the faintest whisper was impossible to disguise. So there would be no advantage to being paired up during the performance. That’s if it would even have been possible: The staff herded us in brusquely (I even said “Gestapo tactics” out loud), and “assigned” us our standing spots without any regard to preference.

And in fact, we ended up having more to compare and contrast about afterward because of this. We realized that we were experiencing the same story but in a different sequence, so we retraced how that affected our perception of the events. It turned out to be not so much, but I’m not sure it would have come so readily to us if we’d been watching the same sequence at the same time.

You’ll notice I’m being very light on the narrative specifics. You could say that I was more captivated by the format then by the creative content itself. The cloak-and-dagger noir setting in 1950s Dublin was satisfying, but nothing groundbreaking. The story moved along at a rapid-fire pace; combined with the staging elements, it just worked.

I’m not sure if I’m waiting for the next toilet-bowl production. My companion came up with the idea — prior to the night’s actual audience separation — of dividing the showgoers according to gender, thereby having all-women attending the Ladies room portion and all-men in the Gents facility. Maybe some enterprising playwright can work on that concept.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/30/2008 11:12:11 PM
Category: Creative, Media, New Yorkin'
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Baseball’s Washington Nationals are starting this season in brand-spanking-new Nationals Park — and in this age of stadium naming rights, that kind of default facility name is bad news.

If, for no other reason, the depreciative effect:

Had a deal been in place already, the corporate sponsor would be identified with the park from its first day of existence — just as CitiBank will be identified with the New York Mets’ still-to-come Citi Field, just as telecommunications behemoth MCI was linked to Washington’s MCI Center two years before it opened. Some experts believe a relationship that begins on Opening Day — or, in some cases, years in advance — means the fan base will permanently link the corporation with the team.

“With every day that passes once the ballpark is open, the value of that rights deal could very well decrease,” said David Carter, the executive director of the University of Southern California’s Sports Business Institute. “There’s so much upfront media attention and buzz, and that impacts how the name would be received by the public… The opening weekend is a tremendous amount of positive publicity, and that could have a halo effect to a sponsor if one was in place.”

It’s strange to think that a phantom facility is more valuable, marketing-wise, than an already-existing brick-and-mortar structure. But it’s true, and I’ve noted that mindshare has an awful lot to do with it:

The chief reason why the naming-rights prices are super-sizing is that they’re being applied to brand-spanking-new buildings. That’s key. Instead of slapping a new name onto an old building — that comes with an entrenched name and tradition that, sometimes, never gets completely supplanted — the naming-rights holder gets virgin territory. So there’s no chance of Prudential Center being referred to by its “old” name, because there is no old name for the stubborn voices to hang onto.

In a way, things have come full-circle in the stadium naming game: Corporate branding of an events edifice has gone from a crass rarity to an essential element. And as the DC situation illustrates, it’s now even a top-of-list priority.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/30/2008 09:57:09 PM
Category: Baseball, SportsBiz
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There’s a strange dichotomy going on in wedding-gown fashions today:

- On the one hand, body-conscious modern brides are opting for downright risqué outfits, designed to show off well-toned and well-tanned skin (and tattoos, even):

[Natasha] DaSilva is typical of a growing number of brides flouting convention by flaunting their curves. More vamp than virgin, many are selecting gowns that bare a generous expanse of cleavage, midsection, lower back or thigh, temptress styles that may be better suited to a gala or boudoir than to a church or ballroom…

Determined to look torrid on their wedding day, they are picking dresses modeled, say, on the one worn by Christina Aguilera, who was married in 2005 in a gown with a plummeting neckline and ruffled fishtail hem. Or maybe the hope is to emulate Sarah Jessica Parker, who, in the forthcoming film version of “Sex and the City,” spills out of the front of her wedding dress.

- At the opposite end of the blushing-bride presentation is Disney Bridal, which lets a girl walk down the aisle in as snow white a state as possible without being animated. (I’m guessing the groom who marries a Belle wannabe will have to endure Beauty and the Beast jokes all through the reception.)

Both ceremony options are fueled by a particular pop-cultural fantasy. I can’t say one is any more grown-up than the other.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/30/2008 09:19:58 PM
Category: Fashion, Pop Culture, Society, Women
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Dane Cook likes to call it a relationshit. (That must be why he’s so “edgy”.)

Me, I think a better description of a relationship gone sour is… a relationshipwreck.

True, it takes the effort of mouthing an extra syllable, but I think it’s worth it to get the point across.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/30/2008 08:36:26 PM
Category: Comedy, Wordsmithing
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