So, here’s the Coolest Thing about the Kennedy Center. Well, okay, I’m not going to give it away immediately, but I will share some things I’ve learned about the Kennedy Center since arriving here in Washington, D.C. yesterday that, while they’re very cool, they’re not the Coolest Thing.
It’s big. The Concert Hall seats 2,400. Bigger than the Opera House in the same complex, which seats a mere 2,300. (Walt Disney Concert Hall, by the way, seats 2,265 and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion seats 3,197.) But in addition to the Concert Hall and the Opera House, there’s the Eisenhower Theater (1,163 seats), the Terrace Theater (513 seats), and the Family Theater (324 seats). You do the math.
It’s big. I know, I know, I said that already. But if you laid the Washington Monument on its side in the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center, it would fit with 75 feet to spare. It’s the United States’ busiest performing arts complex, hosting more than 2,000 performances each year: music, dance, theater, etc.
None of these things are the Coolest Thing about the Kennedy Center. And this is very subjective. But to me, the Coolest Thing about the Kennedy Center is that through some fluke of nature or twisted artistic irony or maybe by design(?) there is no cell phone reception inside the concert hall. From any of the major carriers.
Isn’t that amazing?
So, last night, in the softest, most poignant (dare I say, pathetique) passages of the Tchaikovsky 6th Symphony, we didn’t have to worry about being interrupted by one of the 2,400 cell phones in the LA Phil’s sold out concert. And, at the end of the Symphony, as the music fades to black, and Gustavo Dudamel holds his arms up in silence for an almost interminable length of time, no one from Nokia or T-Mobile was able to weigh in.
Talk about call screening.
~ Brian Lauritzen