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Popular Entertainment, Performing Arts Essay

Popular entertainment is “ideas, perspectives, altitudes, memes, and other phenomena that are preferred by an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture. ” Now like me most people would think, “I still don’t get it. ” Popular entertainment is basically a genre of entertainment based on the popularity it has gained. Many people often confuse popular culture which is basically popular entertainment with pop culture.

The most important difference between the two is that popular culture is gained popularity regardless of the style whereas pop culture is based on a specific society and historic period which contains qualities of mass appeal. Popular Entertainment is often stereotyped as trivial and one could almost say dumbed down to be accepted by the masses of society, which allows those who aren’t part of the main stream such as religious groups and countercultural groups to heavily criticize it. These groups deem it superficial, consumerist, sensational and even corrupted.

The Distinction between Popular and Higher Culture Popular entertainment can be traced back to the 19th century where it was considered education and general culture of the lower class as opposed to the official or dominant class of society. By the end of World War 2 the following big cultural and social changes brought by most media innovations caused Popular Entertainments meaning to overlap with that of mass culture, media culture, image culture and culture for mass consumption. It is believed that there are as many as six different meanings of Popular Entertainment.

The quantitive meaning often sets in the confusion of certain “higher culture” that is also popular. * It is also described as the left over culture after “higher culture” has been defined and taken from the equation. * It is also said that it is equivalent to mass culture and ideas. Then it is described as commercial culture which is mass produced for mass consumption by mass media from Western Europe which can be compared to American Culture.

* It has been known as the authenticate culture of the people * That it has a political dimension to it Personally I think it can be most relevantly described as the struggle between the resistant of lower groups in society and forces of incorporation of the dominant groups of society with regards to the entertainment world. Popular Entertainment or culture can easily be recognized by the distinction between that which is considered popular and that which is considered as high class. It has emerged from urbanisation of industrial revolution. Confusion comes in when Bart Simpsons for example, which is a television animation which can be considered as higher class has elements of popular entertainment in it.

Studies of Shakespeare notice that many characteristic vitality of his drama in its participation in Renaissance Popular Culture while contemporary practitioners such as Dario Fo and John McGarth use popular culture in its Gramscian sense that includes ancient folk tradition like comedia dell‘arte. This makes it difficult for the average person to then differentiate between Popular Entertainment and Higher forms of entertainment. Popular entertainment constantly changes and occurs specifically in place and time.

It boils down to that which represents a complex of mutually interdependent perspectives and values that influences society and its influences in various ways. Popular Entertainment is therefore commonly more appealing to the broader spectrum of society. Popular Entertainment can therefore be related to that which people can easily relate to. Popular culture is also associated with self-referentiality. This basically means that Popular Entertainment is mainly based on exploring every realm of corrective experience instead of just relying on reality.

Many media outputs devote it to other images whereas self-referentiality is all-embracing. It is said that the side effect of mass consumerism reflects a fundamental paradox which is basically the increase in technological and cultural sophistication combined with the increase in superficial and dehumanization. What makes Popular Entertainment Popular? Anyone who enjoys the streets who enjoys feasting his eyes on shop windows piled high with all kinds of everyday wares and artful trifles; anyone who enjoys the cafes is unlikely to be moved by the polished art of the serious theatre.

Unless the theatre shouts as lustily as the streets it won’t attract an audience for love or money. The Parisian derives far more enjoyment from the fetes and traveling theatres than from anything the dramatic theatre has to offer- Vsevolod Meyerhold We must give credit to the basic principles of the circus and the music hall. In olden times there was the influence of French comedians and of Chaplin.

The first news of fox trot and jazz, this early love thrived. The music hall element was obviously eeded at the time for the emergence of a montage form of thought- Sergei Einstein, tr. Daniel Gerould Playfulness is a volatile sometimes dangerously explosive essence which cultural institutions seek to bottle or contain in the vials of games, of competition, chance, and strength in modes of simulation such as theatre and in control disorientation from roller coasters to dervish dancing- Victor Turner What is Popular Entertainment? Popular Entertainment is basically any form of entertainment that is considered relevant to those who form part of the lower and middle class.

It is the entertainment which as gained popularity not for the specific style that is used, but for its relevance. Popular entertainment therefore cannot simply be associated with its level of popularity since there can be other, much higher levels of entertainment that can also be popular. This does not mean that the element of popularity is completely cut from what popular entertainment is, it just means that it is not solely based on the level of popularity but more so on the level of popularity the style of entertainment has gained regardless of it style.

Genres in popular entertainment Folklore Folklore is a form Popular Entertainment but is not mass produced. Folklore persists today by word of mouth instead of through mass media, e. g. jokes and urban legends. Folklores element of popular entertainment engages big time with the commercial element. The public has its own tastes and it may not embrace all sorts of entertainment. Popular entertainment has an interconnected nature. Things such as when you sulk and the clock strikes 12:00 that your face would stay like that can be considered as folklore.

Many people embrace this form, but instead of being spread in masses it gets carried over from generation to generation by word of mouth. Burlesque Burlesque is often stereotyped with strippers walking on a run way. This is not a complete myth although, burlesque in its essence was a form of popular entertainment that over stepped the boundaries of what was considered “right” in the time frame. Burlesque generally consists of music and comedy. The main attraction towards burlesque was its sense of making fun of sex.

This is one of the main reasons why the female cast members bodies were exposed in sexy tight fitting and short costumes. Burlesque in the period of its peak was very popular mainly because the form of exposure was considered immoral in that time. The woman of that time covered their bodies’ true form with frills and puffs of material while those on the burlesque stage had their garters sticking out with tights and body suits, leaving very little for the imagination.

Its sense of humour was solely based on exposed humans’ sexual nature and they relied on comedy with double meanings. It was a very clever way of getting people to laugh as they would make comments like I’m sorry I was late, but my gadget broke. Allowing the audience to wonder what was she late for and what gadget broke. She could mean she was late or she didn’t “come” in time because her g-string broke. This form of comedy an exposure of the female body made burlesque a leading genre through the 1840s up until the 1960s.

Burlesque then introduced other genres such as vaudeville to fill the show, but at the time many vaudeville performers considered burlesque as demoralising but when they times were tough they would perform in burlesque under aliases. The female cast members were soon playing men roles. Burlesque was never really about a strong script but more about the power of the star playing the role to keep audiences stimulated and coming back for more, “Underdressed woman playing sexual aggressors, combining good looks with impertinent comedy- in a production written and managed by woman?

Unthinkable! ” Burlesque was basically dominated by daring woman who with enough will power believed that they could accomplish anything. Burlesque evolved into making fun of relevant topics and popular shows along with a sexual connotation which kept audiences intrigued. Burlesque became a variety act that included song, dance, juggling, comics, etc. Burlesque soon took on the format of a minstrel show. It was when males took over the management of Burlesque that female wit was replaced with trying to reveal as much of the female body as possible.

Millie Deleon, Burlesques biggest star in the 20th century, threw her garters in the audiences and at times did not wear tights. This got her arrested but also assisted in giving burlesque a bad reputation. A typical burlesque stage setting was based on common places that the middle and lower class audience could relate to as they were the target audience. Common settings were courtrooms, street corners, class rooms, as well as examining rooms. Burlesque comedy focussed a lot of misunderstandings which kept it interesting. Cabaret Cabaret is unique for its venue.

Originally the word means a place where alcohol is served. Cabaret in the world of entertainment refers to a performance in an intimate restaurant or nightclub setting where adults can enjoy entertainment that stretches the boundaries of what was permitted in the time of origin. A cabaret can more so be described as intellectuals that gathered in an intimate environment to share ideas by means of comedy, song, dance and theatre. These ideas were mainly based on politics and themes that had social relevance. The first Cabaret “Cabaret Artistique” opened in 1881 in Paris, France. It was later renamed to “Le Chat Noir.

Its main attraction was not the half dressed woman as in Burlesque but rather the sharing of ideas in the associated venue. Cabarets can be considered as the outcasts or those who went against the norms of society and performed their opinions through skits that they would often come up with in a span of an evening or during the day. Cabarets content is almost always relevant to society of its time frame. The comedy used in cabaret was not just any old jokes or random making fun of whatever was relevant but rather very clever. The comedy they used was satire which is often described as being tickled with a blade.

Cabarets relied on using content that was sensitive in society and they would make fun of that only to later make the audience later realise that they were laughing about something that is actually very serious. For example the news may show how babies get raped on a regular basis then cabaret performers would satirically perform these rapes but with the idea that they want people to be aware of the seriousness of the problem. This may seem complicated as they make are making fun of very sensitive things but most cabarets was a very clever way of influencing an audience member’s frame of thought.

Cabaret is also unique for its audience interaction. A typical cabaret often involved the audience completely in the performance. In cabaret it is specifically important to keep the audience intrigued by the performance, but also being able to allow them a chance to embrace the intimate space they are in with whoever they are with. Cabarets gave room for the audience to interact with one another. It is vital to know that a cabaret is specifically targeted at the adult audience and is not appropriate for all ages or families.

Cabaret is about being able to explore the boundaries that have been set by society in this intimate environment. Cabaret also has variety acts like jugglers, singers, dances, clowns, etc. but it was mainly based on the message that they are trying to bring across. In a cabaret the audience did not have to abide by the laws of society, so the audience was automatically comfortable. The audience did not have to sit in a specific way or take off their hats when they came to the cabaret instead they were free to be, socialise as they pleased and also enjoy the entertainment of a cabaret.

Later cabaret gained a jazz element to it but its main focus has barely changed besides the misconceptions modern society has. Vaudeville This is basically any form of inoffensive entertainment which solely relied on the audience response. Vaudeville could include anything from juggling, freak acts to dumb acts. It focuses on entertaining, fascinating and reaching the unthinkable. Anyone could enjoy a vaudeville act and while it often included song and dance the core of a vaudeville act was doing something extraordinarily.

The audience is very interactive in this style of entertainment and an audience response could either make or break an act. For a vaudevillian it is vital to always be at their best as a slip up in one act could ruin their reputation for good. Vaudevilles format was never about the importance of the act but rather based on the order of appearance. Vaudeville affected the normal comedy world as vaudeville was fun, entertaining and often humorous. It was only later that comics were emerged into vaudeville by means of a master of ceremonies which also assisted in making certain bills hit shows instead of just normal.

It is vital to realise that vaudeville bills weren’t always entertaining. Some were really boring and others just average, vaudeville relies on the fact that it consists of 8acts and if an audience does not like a particular act they had the next act to rely on, to fulfil the audience taste. Comparisons and contrasts The one thing almost all the genres within popular entertainment have in common is that their target audience are all the lower class or working class of its time. The difference is evident where it’s a given that

Burlesque is more specifically targeted at male audience, while cabaret is targeted at adults who don’t always agree with government and vaudeville is targeted at everyone. Burlesque and cabaret can compare in the sense that they both are more appropriate at night but while burlesque relies on its sexual connotation and exposed females, cabaret relies on the relevance of the topics that they use and the ideas they share. Vaudeville is basically any type of entertainment within the parameters of society while burlesque and cabaret is more anti-society than anything else.

It is evident that dominant classes of the time of each of these genres basically looked down on all the styles mentioned, but this is what kept the middle and lower classes entertained. In each style, song, dance and comedy is relevant but while vaudeville relied on slapstick and amusing comedy cabaret relies of clever, satirical and black humour and burlesque makes use of confusing or misinterpreting or even witty comedy. Wit and satire can be very closely associated but satires method to tickle with a blade makes it unique to cabaret.

While vaudeville could be showed in a theatre or even a park and burlesque can be showed in any theatre or circuit it is vital that the cabaret has the intimate bar or restaurant vibe attached to it. While vaudeville can be identified for its entertainment and fascinations, burlesque can be identified for its guts while cabaret can be identified by the roughness and the “balls” in its skits. Cabaret and Burlesque is very closely associated while they both may contain vaudeville acts it is strictly prohibited to have any sort of burlesque or cabaret acts or skits in vaudeville as it is not sociably accepted.

Many vaudevillians considered Burlesque as demoralising and if any vaudevillian act offends an audience member they could be dismissed. Cabaret almost everything is allowed the cast could cleverly insult an audience member often cabarets are successful for the odd uncomfortable feeling that the audience may feel during skits or a scene. The historical developments of Popular Entertainment Ancient Greek history Popular entertainment in its essence can be traced as far back as the 5th century BC. This is linked by the ancient Greeks who added song and dance in their comedies and tragedies.

Athenian playwrights also had songs in their plays which were sometimes self-composed. These plays were staged in open air amphitheatres which included sexual humour, political and social satire, jugglers and everything else that might entertain the majority. The songs were often a way to allow the chorus to comment on the action on stage. It is evident that ancient musicals had no direct on modern musicals or popular culture. It does prove that the concept has been present for approximately 25 hundred years.


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