Television with its combination of sound, visuals and ubiquitous broadcasts makes a powerful connection with the human psyche. Directors of both TV shows and commercials covet its emotional response.
Unfortunately, most of TV's power is used to sell products to a mass audience, a situation only made worse by the FCC's relaxed enforcement of its public-service requirements. It's disappointing, especially in a town such as Cleveland, where cultural and entertainment riches are waiting to be mined for programming. (While laudable, the 30 minutes a week of cultural coverage by WVIZ's "Applause" only scratches the surface.)
Besides helping to enhance our struggling cultural landscape, imagine how Cleveland could distinguish itself just by focusing TV's one-eyed glare on our dance, theater, music and other art forms. Few other communities have such accessible world-class art (community venues, low ticket prices, year-round shows), yet many people are tragically unaware of what's happening downtown or down the street in hip nightclubs, swanky theaters and converted loft spaces.
Wouldn't it be incredible if audiences perked up to see programming generated in Northeast Ohio that was at least as interesting and provocative as a soundstage in Hollywood? Couldn't a local station gain a competitive advantage by reflecting the true hometown heroes of the stage, screen and recording studios here in Cleveland, tapping into a hunger to improve the community's perennially problematic self-esteem? Think of it as cultural reality programming. My guess is that Cleveland, given the opportunity to see itself reflected in local TV's voracious gaze, would not want to turn away so quickly. Come to think of it, here's a selection of TV-ready stuff primed for Cleveland's attention.
Second-annual Summer Crush
Celebrate 10 years of independent spirit and media expression at Summer Crush Friday, Aug. 2,Ôat 7:30 p.m. Enjoy live bands such as Cleveland's Kiddo, plus appetizers, music videos, prizes and giveaways, and the chance to socialize with independent artists from the film, video, music and art communities. The fund-raiser benefits Independent Pictures, a nonprofit organization known for its Ohio Independent Film Festival. Contact Annetta Marion or Bernadetta Gillota at (216) 651-7315 for information or tickets, or visit www.ohiofilms.com.
Flix and Sparx
As part of Sparx in the City, downtown's every-third-Friday summer party, Independent Pictures will invite eight teams of Cleveland-area filmmakers to hit the streets Friday, Aug. 15, from Playhouse Square to the Warehouse District to create short, edgy, narrative films depicting urban life in Cleveland. These films all shot in one day will then be screened on the giant video boards at the Sparx event on Sept. 19.
"Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping"
A film about performance artist and activist Bill Talen, a.k.a. "Reverend Billy," who creates interventions and street theater at Starbucks and Disney stores to preach against globalization and "corporate pomposity," «akes its Cleveland premiere as part of the Cleveland Museum of Art's new Panorama series, and is presented in collaboration with 20,000 Leagues Under the Industry. Wednesday, Aug. 27, and Friday, Aug. 29I at 7 p.m. Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., (216) 421-7340 or www.ClevelandArt.org.