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DID YOU READ

New Washington theater will encourage texting and cell phone use

New Washington theater will encourage texting and cell phone use (photo)

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Perhaps you remember my Movie Theater Etiquette Manifesto and Petition which I published earlier this summer. Perhaps you remember its second bullet point, which followed a call for patrons to shut their mouths when the movie’s playing. It was “Turn Off Your Cell Phone When the Movie Starts.” That means no answering calls on your phone, no texting on your phone, no checking the time on your phone, no nothing. If you have a job that requires your phone stay on during a movie, you should sit in the last row of the theater so you don’t disturb anyone when you use it. And if you’re waiting on an emergency call at the movie theater, maybe you should have picked another time to catch “Happy Feet Two.”

In the months since this I wrote my Manifesto, I’ve spoken to many people who agree with me about this rule and witnessed plenty of people in movie theaters who clearly and sadly do not. And it appears things are getting worse, not better. The New York Times reports that a new theater — not a movie theater, but a venue for plays and live musical performances — opening near Seattle, Washington in 2014 is being built in such a manner as to encourage texting and “nondisruptive” cell phone use. From their article:

“This is the wave of the future for the people we worry about attracting,” said John Haynes, the theater’s executive director. “Simply forbidding it and embarrassing people is not the way to go. So we are wiring the building in anticipation of finding ways to make it work over time.”

At The Tateuchi Center in Bellevue, Washington (concept art above), those ways to make it work will include a building-specific cellphone antennae to boost reception and service inside the hall and the distribution of light-dimming screens to customers who plan on texting and updating their Facebook pages during the performance.

I am sure the people who work at the Tateuchi Center are thoughtful, intelligent people. I don’t think they came to the decision to be a texting-friendly theater lightly. They probably are being forward thinking in considering the way that technology is transforming the way we consume media, and for that, I can theoretically commend them. But if I lived in Seattle I would never under any circumstances attend any concert or live performance in this theater. How could you, knowing that you’re almost certainly going to be distracted and disengaged from whatever you’ve paid to see by people using their personal electronic devices?

The Tateuchi Center’s plan calls for “nondisruptive” cell use but in my experience a)all cell use is disruptive cell use and b)even if tweeting and texting are considered nondisruptive, encouraging those activities encourages the disruptive ones. If people are playing with their phones, they’re more likely to leave their ringers on and more likely to answer their phone when it goes off. Once you give people an inch with their smartphones, they take a mile. Pretty soon it’s dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria. But, hey, if you enjoy when orchestral performances are interrupted by the theme to “Danger Mouse,” the Tateuchi Center will be the place for you!

Maybe as an old fogey over the age of 30, I’m outside the youthful audience the theater wants to attract. And it would not surprise me — though it would depress me — if by the time the Tateuchi Center opens it is not the only concert venue in the country to offer phone-friendly seating. Personally, I look at it this way. By acquiescing to the desires of the impatient and the rude, you’re acknowledging the entertainment you’re offering is too boring to hold someone’s attention on its own. If you have no faith in your programming, why should I pay for it? If I want to watch other people use their phones while I listen to music, I have a wife with an iPhone and a whole wall of CDs right here.

What do you think of the Tateuchi Center’s pro-texting policy? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.