John Barrette

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August 13, 2014
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Scene In Passing: Richard Cory and all that jazz trump TV

Mork made his choice, one that seems alien to most of us.

Mork, better known as Robin Williams, left life’s stage this week and left fans shaken, bereft, even bewildered. He was 63. By all accounts, it was his own decision. While that seems beyond comprehension, judging it is a waste of time and energy. One reading of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory” tells us life and such deaths are too mysterious for analysis. Too complex as well.

Palaver about it from television talking heads, unavoidable eventually if a TV is on now, reminds us television is less a news medium than a pictorial blabber box. TV should just report his death and show his body of work.

Try this: report his suicide, read “Richard Cory” and then show “Dead Poet’s Society,” one of the finest films of Williams’ career. Read “Casey at the Bat” and show “Good Will Hunting,” another fine film. Read Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din” and show Williams working in “Good Morning Vietnam.”

“Mork and Mindy,” a sitcom showcasing Williams, was ridiculous even with his talent. It seemed the essence of Newton Minnow’s 1961 comment as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission branding TV a vast wasteland.

Jerry Mander, an advertising executive, once was asked about his own book, “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.” He said it’s tough to summarize complex information on TV. Television “requires everything to be packaged and reduced and announced in a slogan-like form,” he said. He said TV increases passivity, changes family relationships and sends reductionistic blather into society.

It’s a performance art medium; TV news is infotainment. Real entertainment is better. So here are some real opportunities in the city or region this weekend.

The Sierra School for the Performing Arts’ “Fiddler on the Roof,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, is at Hawkins Outoor Amphitheater on Bentley Ranch Road in Washoe County. The 29th Bowers Mansion Bluegrass Festival, also in Washoe County, kicks off at Davis Creek Campground Friday evening and the main event is at Bowers Mansion Saturday. Headliner Peter Rowan performs at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Summerfest at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village offers classical music of composers Haydn, Ravel, Elgar, Mozart and others Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, right here in Carson City Jazz & Beyond has this lineup: Friday at 7 p.m., rock by the Atlantic Giants, 3rd Street stage; Saturday on that stage Lucky Diamond with the Solid Jackson Band at 3 p.m., the Buddy Emmers Blues Band at 5:30 p.m., and Rick Hammond blues at 8 p.m. At Comma Courtyard, Dixieland by the Carson City Rascals is at 1:45 p.m. Niall McGuinness’ New World Jazz Project is at Comma Courtyard at 4:15 p.m. Saturday and, at 6:30 p.m., the USAF West Winds performs at the Governor’s Mansion.

On Sunday, Jazz & Beyond ends with three gigs: STRAZZ is at 3 p.m., and New West Guitar Group at 4:30 p,m., both on the Legislative Plaza, then No Comprende performs at the Capitol Amphitheatre at 6 p.m.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Aug 13, 2014 12:27AM Published Aug 13, 2014 12:27AM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.