Eric Cheng

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Stephen Prutsman plays Tchaikovsky in Santa Cruz

Geoff and I drove down to Santa Cruz this evening and met up with Warren, Elaine, Ray, and John to see Stephen Prutsman play Tchaik with the Santa Cruz Symphony. Stevie had left tickets for us at will call under his name, which was interesting because the folks behind the window refused to give them to us without photo ID. Uh... they were, like, comps from the performer? Of course my ID isn't going to match. I had to call Steve and then hand the phone through the hole in the window for verification -- and I hate disturbing performers before they go on stage. The first piece (orchestra only) was awful. Someone in our group said, "it was like going to a five star restaurant and having the first course be half of a Big Mac... served cold."

Luckily, Steve was on next. As usual, he was fantastic; whenever he was playing, the orchestra sort of faded out (at least, in my mind). There was no way the Santa Cruz Symphony was going to be able to match Steve's musicianship nor energy, but they put good effort into it. Steve got a standing ovation, and followed the Tchaik with a jazz encore.

I enjoy the audience in Santa Cruz, especially after spending so much time attending musical events at Stanford and in San Francisco. I've experienced a lot of age and image snobbery at performances in San Francisco. It's too bad you can't -- or shouldn't -- be rude to your elders. There was one woman in particular that I felt like pushing down the stairs.

To balance out past age / image snobbery I've been victim to, I'm going to fling some of my own. Here's an example of a typical Stanford audience:

After the final note of the last piece, the audience erupts into applause. The few young folk in the audience (who usually know the performers on stage) start woo-ing loudly (i.e. "WOOOO! WHOOOOO! WOOO!" -- the young, modern version of "BRAVO!"). An elderly woman (we call them the "white hairs") in front of one of the young people turns around and says, nastily, "don't do that."

This has happened to me and my friends a few times, and I'm not even a big woo-er. In Santa Cruz, the loudest woo-ers *were* the white-haired members of the audience! Go, Santa Cruz. Oh, and there was the requisite marijuana cloud outside of the civic center.

After Steve played, we managed to get past the curtain / staff blockade to see him backstage before heading back to our cars for the drive back to the Peninsula (and beyond).

I love going to see Steve perform.