Friday, July 04, 2008

Freeway Philharmonic

Here's Jay Shulman's review of this eye-opening film about the on-the-road lives of freelance musicians in California's Bay Area. The film was made when the price of gas was a good deal lower than it is now. The price of being a commuting musician just went up a great deal.

I dream of having fast commuter rail systems all over the country with stations near concert locations (or concert locations near the stations) that would make it possible to play orchestral jobs without the physical stress and the actual cost of driving after performances. The trains could be used by audiences as well as by musicians, allowing the cost (both in dollars and in carbon emissions) of transportation to and from performances to be reduced for everyone. You could throw in time for dinner before the concert, and serve after-concert wine, coffee, and dessert on the train. Musicians and audience members could schmooze in the dining car.

The rails could be used for other trains as well, for people who carry on other business (yeah, I know, "everything else). Maybe there could even be increased commercial activity around the concert hall hubs because of the larger number of people who would be using the trains. How about a music store or two, some vegan-friendly restaurants, some book stores, and maybe even a stationery store. I know it's far-fetched, but it is a nice dream.

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