Thursday, July 02, 2009
"Innocent critters squashed on the highway of life."
The road trip is a time-honored motif in cinema. Perhaps it's because it's just a bit too easy....a bit too literal. When the story is about lives in transition, put the characters in motion. Have them in between here and there. When you think about it it's probably a bit of lazy storytelling. A bit too on the nose. Still, it's hard to deny that it works. Some of my favorite movies are road movies, from Fandango to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou to Crossroads--good, great or trite, I enjoy the theme.
So, when I hear that Plaid Nation is heading out on a road trip with another tour, I can't help but wonder why. After all, if you're all about social media, and trying to show what a great tool it is, why not use social media? Using a van, hundreds of gallons of gas and hours of actual face time seems to run counter to the message. I don't get it. But, then again, in the context of the movies, maybe I do. The road trip is never about the trip, but the transformation. Social media is in a nascent form. facebook and twitter are what's hot now, but I suspect in five years we will speak of them only in the past tense. People who grasp the potential of social media understand we've just hit the road, and there's a long trip ahead. Right now, it's all transition. Why not get out there, meet the people who are along for the ride, and see what you can discover together?
Even lacking some great, transformative moment....hey, it gets you the fuck out of Danbury, and that's always a good thing. Right? Okay, looking at the schedule, maybe not. I've had a beer or three in most of those cities, and wouldn't choose to revisit many of them. One date really sticks out: Branson Missouri. Branson is like Vegas, but less classy. Dear God, why? Even the guys who planned the trip don't know. "Who's in Branson that we could profile??" The only reason to ever do anything in Branson begins and ends with Roy Clark. If you're of a certain age, or are Nelson Muntz, Andy Williams puts on an enjoyable show. Other than those two, the best you can hope for in Branson is, "That wasn't as horrible as I expected." If Plaid really wants to do some good while they're in town, the should pay a visit to Shoji Tabuchi. If they can suffer through all the kitsch and dreck, they'll be treated to some truly enjoyable moments of fine musicianship. It's almost worth it. While there, maybe they can do something about Tabuchi's web site, which seems frozen in some bad design from 1997. Oh, and be sure to check out the restrooms at the Shoji Tabuchi Theater. Don't forget to vote.