In one of his most recent comedy shows "Where U Been," Sinbad was joined onstage by his band to perform "Word Up," originally recorded by Cameo. He told the younger audience members: "I'm doing this so you can go home and tell your friends 'I saw music! I saw it!'"
Live performance is a dying art. While there's a steady measure to preserve it --communication at its core is on life support.
This was proven to me Friday evening, Jan. 20, as Dr. Alan Keyes and Dave Daubenmire spoke at Marshall Cinema. They didn't comment on the GOP primaries. They didn't mention President Obama, health care or various points we often hear from political figures.
Instead, they spoke of the things important to them, their faith and the Constitution -- a document imperative to any American.
But as interesting as the evening was, I walked out the double doors with more questions than answers.
Out of approximately 1,400 undergraduates at Missouri Valley College, few to none of them attended. And by few, I mean maybe four. I didn't recognize representatives of rooted organizations such as NAACP. Why didn't a tourism committee call the cinema and ask how they could help? The original article was published Jan. 5, and the event was held more than two weeks later -- allowing our tourism groups the opportunity to draw interested guests from areas such as Higginsville, Sedalia, Boonville and even the colleges in Fayette and Warrensburg.
Is it apathy?
Is it the price of admission?
Are the electronic age or our schedules easy excuses?
Attending an event such as this doesn't mean one holds the same beliefs -- although I understand those not wanting to pay an admission price to hear something they disagree with. I want to be clear on that. I do understand.
What I'm having trouble with is the slew of negative comments meant to not only dissuade others from attending events, but to belittle the companies hosting them.
That can do nothing but hurt Marshall, and we shouldn't give negativity a platform.
Perspective has a lot of power. If the words "there's nothing to do in Marshall" changed to "there are some things happening here," or "Marshall doesn't need to change" transformed to "I like it the way it is," then we might see a shift in opportunities here. We might fight for downtown parking any night of the week, which, I'm told, was once the case in Marshall.
Although negative attitudes, both online and face-to-face, are abundant and often not based on fact, they're just as harmful to the health of the county as inaction.
I attend a minimum of 12 regular meetings a month covering governmental departments and various nonprofit organizations. I've seen a network of people working to improve numerous aspects of Marshall, but to little avail. To be honest, there's a lot of talk and seemingly little action, because hurdles can be high and steep.
Personally, I don't think I would have cared who Friday's speaker would have been. Although I covered the event for the Marshall Democrat-News, I would have gladly attended to support the efforts of an organization providing something new to town. Taking that risk is lacking in this area.
Risk and failure are essential to success. Several groups and businesses are taking those chances, such as Marshall Cultural Council, DIGS, Powerhouse Community Development Corporation, Murrell Library at MVC and The Sunset Grill in Slater, just to name a few.
The fact that it's easy to say Marshall needs more to do doesn't substitute actually supporting the events already in town. I challenge all of us to ask ourselves how many times we say: "I think it's great that 'ABC Organization' is hosting 'XYZ,'" and we don't make an effort to attend. That's been the case for events such as Relay for Life, Chamber of Commerce members not showing up for new business ribbon cuttings, and families taking advantage of Kazoos! -- the children's art center previously located in the old hospital.
But I digress.
On my drive home from Marshall Cinema there was the usual crowd of vehicles at Hustlers -- which is great for that business. But in the weeks leading up to the speaking appearance, where was the support? My fear is our priorities have shifted and we've become too complacent.
I am not one to make New Year's resolutions. But one month into the New Year, I've made a concentrated decision to support advancements in local business and to back "do-ers" rather than "talk-ers." I'm making it a point to either not complain or help find a solution.
Marshall Cinema renting its theaters for events such as the Keyes/Daubenmire speaking engagement is synonymous with what I've seen on a larger scale at theater houses in both Austin and Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, CA. It's not as usual in small towns, which makes the event all the more enterprising. I am one person who admires that kind of boldness. There's a lot of talent in Saline County. There's a lot of ingenuity. But if we keep stomping it down, then we've already failed as a community.
Contact Sarah Reed at