‘Tis the season for a crowded email inbox

Looks like I picked the wrong week to go a long stretch without checking email at home. In fact, it has been a week. When I opened it tonight, 112 new messages dropped in.

With Christmas coming up, there seems to be plenty of places and people that would like to separate me from some of my money. Most were of the retail variety, some looking for charitable contributions and one college bowl game pool contest (that’s the one I didn’t delete). One person wanted me to be their Facebook friend. One problem — still not on Facebook. One required a personal response. The rest were either outdated or simply not that interesting. The delete button got a good workout. Without needing to open hardly any of them, I got rid of 103. The others are still there for my wife to review.

I’m guessing the retail offers will really pick up over the next two weeks. I’m sure I’ll be given plenty of “last-minute reminders” to get my Christmas shopping done. Hmm, that reminds me, I should start my Christmas shopping one of these days.

A theater tip for you

Looking for a little musical entertainment during the holiday break? Wish you could take in a Broadway show, but a trip to New York is out of the picture? Well, I have a suggestion for you and I’m a little surprised it’s coming from me.

I’ve never been one to despise musicals, but was never overly drawn to them either. That changed a bit almost two years ago when the family was vacationing in New York. At our son’s suggestion, we went to “Phantom of the Opera.” I think I might have written at the time that the production blew me away.

Well, if classic shows and large-scale musical theatrical productions are your thing, look no further than the two weekends after this one at the Hastings Museum. After a two-weekend run in November, they’re bringing back a film of the “Phantom” taped from a live performance at the Royal St. Albert Theater in London. It was a special 25th anniversary production, complete with a visit from composer Andrew Lloyd Weber after the show. Watching it on the museum super screen really brings it alive. Since we had a little history with the show, we went over Thanksgiving weekend and it was well worth it.

It will be back the two weekends that bookend Christmas. It might not be for everyone, but if you want a taste of Broadway-type theater with a much shorter drive, give it a shot.

Nothing beats the classics

I hope this column makes sense. I got a little late start on my usual Wednesday night writing session. I got caught up in the “12-12-12” concert broadcast live from New York for the benefit of Hurricane Sandy victims.

What a lineup! Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and more. It was one big act after another, all live at Madison Square Garden.

You didn’t have to have an AARP card to enjoy it, but it might have helped. The biggest of the acts were those that got their starts in the ’60s and ’70s. Songs 40-plus years old had them dancing in the aisles and singing along. I know the volume button on my remote was given a pretty good workout.

Not to sound like too much of a “my generation’s music is better than yours” kind of guy, but you do have to wonder. When there’s a benefit concert held 40 years from now after another natural disaster, who’s going to play? Is there any group that’s out there now — and less than, let’s say, five years old — whose music will still be out there in 2052? I’m just going to throw out a wild guess that One Direction won’t be one of them.

For many of the acts on stage Wednesday night, the songs that got the biggest response were those from early in their careers and have stood the test of time.

To quote a friend of mine recently: That’s why they call it classic rock.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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