10/9/20: In Memoriam for Places #poetry #secondcitysale

10/9/20: In Memoriam for Places #poetry #secondcitysale

Second City is for sale

The late producer, Joyce Sloane

had a dream

that when Second City was sold

it would be purchased by successful alumni of that stage

movie stars, writers, directors

Unfortunately, Second City died a long time ago

I’ve mourned it for years

Second City was never betrayed

The producer who succeeded Joyce was a good steward

It was unavoidable

The Brooklyn Dodgers left Ebbets Field

The money

and the people went to Los Angeles

and that was that

It is what it is

The epitaph of every business

Second City was warmth

warmth

and intelligence

intelligence

and camaraderie

between pals and companies

and Second City was art

But everything dies

and that reality doesn’t make me sad

I discovered that in myself at Second City

I like true change

I like stepping into the unknown

I like being brave

surrounded by people rooting for me

I like when people have the joy of being themselves

I like acceptance

I like the search and expression of truth …

Second City choked on its own success

It became a commodity

The fossil of the dinosaur

A majestic creature suited to another age

roaring

dying

and

evolving

into something else

I was at Second City when it was alive

No one knew what they were doing

Second City was a constant experiment

Most people were kind and nice and funny

and funny

and nice and kind

Those people moved on

and painted pictures in a brilliant, gentle world

and the people who gave birth to Second City.

and kept the place alive

the parents

got old and died

When the parents are both dead

the immediate family ends

and is replaced by a distant thing

the brothers and sisters reminisce

and the parents are replaced

by employers and clients

bosses who want something back for their trouble

no more unconditional love …

The place where Second City died

was run by

people who knew all the moves

but didn’t grasp the soul

and then finally

they didn’t know the moves either …

When Second City was alive

it could be very tough

but pressed toward excellence

It was never mean

at least not to me

That changed after the funerals

Living Second City was a place to start

but it was also a destination

The destination aspect disappeared

There was a time when people really loved Second City

for itself

and weren’t only interested in using it

Eventually it became all about the using

Dearly Departed Second City was a place where everyone was accepted as an individual

The place where Second City died had a lot to do with conformity

Conformity is a necessary aspect

of consumption

and productivity

Second City formed communities

The place where Second City died formed cliques …

I can hear the protests now

So and so is a great guy

Such and such was really funny

I’m not saying admirable work wasn’t done from time to time by the talented and nice people who gravitated to the place where Second City died

of course

but Second City was a work of art when it was alive

Created by a specific group of people

that reflected the character and personalities of the people involved

Second City died when those people died

All that was left was a business

and all business is,

is a brand

The brand was a wish

to have what the people who made Second City had

to be what they were.

All art is, among other things, inspiration for other artists

and non-artists who want to transform their lives

None of Second City’s prominent alumni would have ever fulfilled Joyce Sloane’s dream

Because Second City taught you to have your own dreams …

Places come and go

Nostalgia cries for buildings that disappear

and mentors that die

memories of great laughter

and touching moments

But it is the essence of Second City that matters

that now lives

and in the future will live

in other places

and new people

engaged in forms that have nothing to do with bentwood chairs

The pandemic is a Biblical Flood

everything is washed away

except that which is essential

It is a blessing

new wine in old bottles

and

eternal wine in new ones.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

2 thoughts on “10/9/20: In Memoriam for Places #poetry #secondcitysale

  1. Did you ever do business with someone who was working for a dying company? Maybe you didn’t know it, but they did. And if they didn’t, they felt it.
    When the pandemic hit, I started taking on line classes. Second City was one of them.
    The young instructors were very good, very talented. But you could see the light in their eyes was gone. This was not what they had signed up for, good as they were.
    Adding insult to injury, they weren’t even using Zoom- instead another video-conferencing system that the oldsters who had learned Zoom because Zoom was Everywhere- had a terrible time navigating the different system.
    It’s sad. Your words captured how we should feel- that it was time.
    Time to go. To die. To become something else somewhere else.

    Long live Second City.

    Like

  2. Did you ever do business with someone who was working for a dying company? Maybe you didn’t know it, but they did. And if they didn’t, they felt it.
    When the pandemic hit, I started taking on line classes. Second City was one of them.
    The young instructors were very good, very talented. But you could see the light in their eyes was gone. This was not what they had signed up for, good as they were.
    Adding insult to injury, they weren’t even using Zoom- instead another video-conferencing system that the oldsters who had learned Zoom because Zoom was Everywhere- had a terrible time navigating the different system.
    It’s sad. Your words captured how we should feel- that it was time.
    Time to go. To die. To become something else somewhere else.

    Long live Second City.

    Like

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