By virtue of my profession (and passion), I make it habit to stay hip to the local music scene. So when a friend reprimanded me a few weeks back, it was a shock.
"Where were you Wednesday night?" he said.
Maybe it was, "Where were you Wednesday night?"
I wasn't out seeing The Mallard, apparently.
Not because I chose to stay at home and watch Hulu on the couch, either. No, this was something else: This band (which I know personally and happen to like) performed at a club I frequent and I missed the show because I just didn't know it was happening. For all my efforts, this one came in under my radar.
This is noteworthy because Fresno is a city whose citizens are notorious for finding the entertainment options seriously lacking, even after years of proof to the contrary.
If this can happen to me, someone whose job it is to pay attention, what chance do the rest of you have?
You once could spot the guy putting on a concert. He was the one sneaking around with the stack of posters and a staple gun or chasing you down to pass off a handbill. These days, fliers are digital and built at 5-by-1.8 inches because that's what looks best on Facebook. If a flier doesn't show up on your friend feed or as an event invite, it might as well not exist.
Media is both mass and micro. Information is distributed everywhere but travels person to person and spreads like the flu. It's called "going viral" for a reason. The delivery systems are vast and changing daily -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine. Forget text messaging and email blasts.
And even placement in your feed doesn't guarantee it will be seen. This is the digital age, where everyone promotes everything, all the time, over a constant stream of social and mainstream media. One wonders how anything gets noticed in this deluge of food pics, vacation/relationship updates and links to cat videos and obscene social commentary.
That's how I missed Mallard.
It's the struggle of current media and a major problem for event promoters.
Complacency is the norm today. Movies come at a click of a mouse (or touch of a screen) and Amazon orders ship for free and magically appear at your doorstep, overnight. Unseen computer programs scan emails and craft advertising that speaks -- literally -- to your specific needs.
You can't be blamed for your sense of entitlement, but promoters hate when it's voiced: "You mean my favorite band was in town? Why didn't someone tell me?"
It's certain that someone tried.
Promoters -- and media guys like me -- do some of the heavy lifting. We're paid to keep track of what's going on and remind you. There is a weekly music roundup in these very pages, and a more in-depth one online at the The Bee's entertainment blog, fresnobeehive.com.
But as consumers of entertainment, you must take some personal responsibility and be vigilant. You may still miss things, but you won't be blamed for not trying.