Snow business like show business

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As the TV weatherfolks built drama for the FIRST BIG STORM OF 2010, I checked my e-mail box Thursday morning and found that the opening of the Emily Kennerk gallery show at Christopher West Presents on Mass Ave. had been postponed a day. "Stay safe and warm" stated the friendly note.

So much for the planned first stop on my Thursday evening.

To make sure that part II was still in place, I called Dance Kaleidoscope and found out that, yes, there would be a performance.

Turns out the highways were clear and the downtown roads were very manageable. I even got a street parking spot just an intersection away from the Indiana Repertory Theatre.

The orchestra section seemed about half-full, but that’s not surprising for a winter Thursday. But I checked with Jan Virgin, DK"s executive director and found out that, for the evening show, 205 people either canceled or exchanged tickets. Things were rougher for the matinee, which lost 129 of 228 patrons, understandable since that included five retirement and nursing homes and five school groups.

What is surprising, at least to me, is how little is said about the impact of the over-dramatization of the weather conditions on arts and entertainment groups.

This week, for instance, a new group is opening a show at the Indy Fringe, Theatre on the Square launches a local premiere, the aforementioned Emily Kennerk show is opening, Beef and Boards officially opens its winter comedy, the ISO offers Tchaikovsky, and much more. The artists themselves don’t seem to be afraid of a little snow. They understand that, in most cases, you just need to put away the cell phone, keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, and allow for a little more driving time.

The patrons, though, seem to be more reactive. I’m guessing many potential audience members will be on the fence about going out this weekend not because of the actual conditions but because of the hype.

So are we just cautious or are we wimps when it comes to Indiana weather?

Your thoughts?

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