How would you describe video games? Fun, entertaining, competitive, addictive, escape mechanism, time-suck? Or "all of the above"?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Video games are played by all ages, ranging from kids to senior citizens, but that doesn't matter to Red, who has never been remotely interested in them, while Black is fascinated with them – from a business perspective.
Red knows very little about video games nor had any desire to learn about them, let alone play them. Although she remembers Pac-Man being a very popular video arcade game when she was in college and the introduction of Nintendo's portable gaming machine, that's the extent of it. She admits that she was a geek in school, but she's never been a techie, and considers her computer a necessary evil and can't imagine using it or her phone to play games.
I don't get it. Or, maybe I'm old-fashioned. But if I have any spare time (ha-ha-ha), I'm going to grab a book and find a quiet place to escape and read. Not spend more time on a computer (or other gizmos) doing something that requires me to pay attention and results in me being "rewarded" with noises and flashing lights, or whatever video games do! Luckily, neither of my daughters is into them, which may explain why I'm so clueless about video games. In fact, I only know they're big business because Black has told me so.
Actually, Black has told her more than that, but because Red wasn't interested, it didn't stick with her (funny how our brain does that). Black didn't expect her to remember the various statistics she found fascinating or the details of how Pac-Man expanded the video game audience from being predominately adult males to include women and children, and has stood the test of time. Or, even that many of the skills needed to be a successful gamer (ranging from critical thinking to problem-solving) have real-life applications.
But Black did think Red might remember the article she forwarded (if she read it) about how the U.S. State Department announced its' video game diplomacy program as a fun and effective way to bring together students from the United States with students in Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – to jointly develop and create social impact video games, while also learning more about each other's respective culture and beliefs.
Of course, Red, while intellectually appreciating all the things that Black finds so interesting about video games, still wasn't "sold", so Black decided to take a slightly different approach,
I recently read an interesting article that said that video games "need more badass middle-aged women." Although I am more sarcastic than badass … as we explore what direction for Red & Black to take next, what about a video game with its central characters being a super nice, warm and fuzzy mom "doing battle" with her sarcastic, racecar driving, sister?
Now that got Red's attention!
Happy Meals. Lasik surgery. A Supreme Court justice. Any idea what these three things have in common?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as a week-long event, Red, the straight-A student and lover of history, is a bit embarrassed that she didn't know about it, but the theater major in her realizes they're under-represented (and misrepresented) in the movies. When we talked about the comparison of "In The Heights" to "West Side Story," Black wasn't only focused on the business aspects but also how it reflects the times, and now is interested in the many contributions (including patents) made by Latinx, and the need for inclusion and diversity.
P.S. – We were both curious why the month-long celebration begins mid-month (September 15) and discovered it's in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries.
Can something be "new" if it's made with "old" ingredients?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black's fascinated by the business and marketing aspects of food mash-ups (especially the multi-generational angle), while Red's excited that her beloved Dunkin' has collaborated with Post Cereals and there's now Dunkin' cereal (and both of us love the tag line, "Now you can have your coffee and eat it, too!). Funny thing is that we've all probably been doing our own "mash-ups" for years (ok, maybe not Black).
As the song says, "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air on Broadway" … and now it's all coming back!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although we live in Texas, we're originally from New York, and as different as we are, one thing we have in common is a love of Broadway, so we're excited about the re-opening of Broadway, even if for very different reasons.
For Red, the re-opening of Broadway's a return to better times, and even if she doesn't get to New York soon, it reminds her of falling in love with the theater – from Shakespeare to musicals, dramas to comedies – and why she majored in it at college. Yet her introduction to Broadway, which was less than 30 miles from where we grew up on Long Island, started thousands of miles away in London. At the time, Black was attending (not sure "studying" would be an accurate description) London Business School for the final semester of her M.B.A., and as Red's 16th birthday gift had her visit for a few weeks.
On one of Red's first nights in London, Black took her to the West End to see "The Crucifer of Blood" at the Haymarket (its "proper" name is the Theatre Royal Haymarket and to this day remains Red's favorite theater) starring Keith Michell. Red had avidly watched him years prior as he portrayed Henry VIII in the Masterpiece Theater series, and that night, she watched him play Sherlock Holmes on stage and,
I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Watching a live performance was magical and inspiring, and I felt like it brought all of us in the audience together. There's something very powerful about the theater "experience", and although there'll be various safety precautions, I'm excited Broadway's coming back. And I'd love to see Six, the acclaimed British musical about the six wives of Henry VIII, which was hours from its first-night opening when theaters closed.
Black remembers the first Broadway show she ever saw, Finian's Rainbow, when she was about 10-years-old. She hated it because she thought the storyline was far-fetched, and people didn't just break out in song for no apparent reason. (Obviously, she's always been pragmatic.)
Years later, Black was pursuing her M.B.A. at New York University, took an accounting class from one of the Shubert Organization founders, and was introduced to the business side of theater and immediately took an active interest. First in the history of what made Broadway, Broadway, and then she started going to the Broadway "hits" to understand what the market wanted. Looking at how Broadway continually seemed to reinvent itself to survive (there's a soon-to-be-released documentary, "On Broadway"), although it will face daunting financial odds.
And now that reinvention will include the recently signed "New Deal" where the theater industry itself (theater owners, producers, creatives, casting directors, even union leaders) has committed to reforms that will ensure equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging. Of course, Black can't help but point out the elephant in the room (or is it the elephant on stage?),
Broadway has long been known as "The Great White Way," and although it was because of all the electric white lights on the theatre marquees and billboards, there is a "politically incorrect" connotation to that phrase. However, the Broadway that closed in March 2020 will be very different when it reopens … and hopefully will be the beginning of a strong season and a bright future.