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June 27, 2014

ADAMCZYK: What it takes to draw a crowd

Tonawanda News — Hertel Avenue in Buffalo looks like a street in Barcelona these days, whether the United States is represented in the soccer field (soccer pitch, more accurately) or not. The foreigners, the U.S.A.-born, the soccer enthusiasts in town and other hangers-on convene there, and elsewhere, under international flags and banners, before television screens large and small for the quadrennial tournament we in America considered only bemusedly a few years ago. 

The World Series, formerly a dead-grandmother-worthy reason to skip out, is just a blip on the national radar now; Bosnia-Herzegovina against Iran on a hot afternoon in Brazil? That is something for which to drop everything.

Everything evolves, unless it doesn’t. What does not advance requires government grants or scholarly assessment to give it relevance and perpetuity, the reason jazz is studied in schools and polka music isn’t. Writers require fellowships to create novels, while stage magicians practice their hocus-pocus in basements and at any venue that will have them; you tell me which is the healthier art form.

There is something about the same damned thing that irks me, big time. Some things tend not to change, and not because they are perfect, merely durable. Parades. Canal Fest. The way television sitcoms pattern themselves, typically unsuccessfully, on the riotously popular “Friends” (young working people relying on one another to make sense of the world and their place in it, with bars and coffee houses prominent and anyone older than they, especially parents, an impediment).

More and more, what’s in one’s pocket is central to life. I refer not to wallets but to that device that started as a for-emergencies-only telephone but whose use has evolved to a lifeline superseding face-to-face itself. It was not long ago that radio, plain old over-the-air radio, served a similar purpose.

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