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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Backstage Lounge

Once I worked at an entertainment complex which included an arena and a theater.  It was called Bayfront Center.  The center also included a lounge called the Backstage Lounge where alcoholic drinks were served.  The lounge was decorated with features one might see if one were backstage of a theater—bare ropes, utilitarian light fixtures and exposed ceiling beams painted a dull black.  It was a funky place and suggested that here one was “off stage.”  Here, one did not have to appear in perfect “presentation quality” as if one were performing before an audience. Of course, I’m sure some of the lounge guests could put on quite a performance there.  But the idea of a place where one didn’t have to perform—to appear “presentation perfect”—had a fundamental appeal to me.  It is literally true that I have known male individuals who never use a public urinal.  To urinate is not presentation quality.  One is on stage even in the bathroom.  I have to wonder how healthy this unrelieved performance pressure is on the psyche, even on the fundamental need to be real. So I tip my hat to those places backstage where even political candidates can leave off their public personas of seamless perfection and bear witness to fellow human beings of their vulnerable, fallible nature.    

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