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  • Joel Brown
    writes for the Boston Globe and many others.

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May 16, 2008


Thomas Garvey

I'm not a Pops fan, and I have little interest in their format, but I'm intrigued by the idea of "adventurous" programming you put forward here. Are Amanda Palmer and My Morning Jacket really "edgy"? I mean at this late date can rock music ever be "edgy" at all? Both the acts you mention seem to me essentially nostalgic - the Dresden Dolls are a reworking of mid-70s Weimar, and MMJ is rockabilly pastiche. Of course the Pops have always traded in nostalgia - my point is that they still are by programming Amanda Palmer and MMJ. As for attracting "young people" - you actually mean boomers, don't you, i.e., middle-aged people who still listen to Elvis Costello. There's nothing wrong with an effort to make money off that audience - my questions revolve around how you're framing these efforts. I get the impression that you imagine that you yourself are a young person, or that you like to imagine that you identify with them. But of course you're not a young person (and neither am I). True, the tubby yuppies with enough money to afford Pops tickets are "young people" compared to the blue-hairs who dominate Symphony Hall; still, it would perhaps be more accurate to describe "Edgefest" as "Middle-Aged Spreadfest."

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