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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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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…