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The Evolution of Leisure

Life is a stage and we are its players. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Entertainment is meant to transport us into a land of fantasy where role-playing replaces our own reality. Movies and plays convey us from the everyday drudgery of our own lives and for several short hours make us believe that we are no longer who we really are. As an economy we are paying billions dollars for this drugless hallucination and I don't see any slowdown in the amazing variety being offered.

Think of the new hardware that we can use to entertain ourselves with just in the last decade or so. Smart-boxes for kids to play their games on, I-pods for everyone to listen to music, ultra-portable movies and even 3-D seems to be making a comeback. New events are being constantly invented to amuse us such as extreme sports, ultimate fighting gaming through portable vehicles that are easily obtainable and relatively cheap. Suddenly soccer has been an American Sport and our basketball has been internationalized. Old favorites such as horse and Greyhound racing along with Jai-Alai around on the decent while NASCAR and other racing venues have become camp. While Las Vegas was the only gambling venue in the United States on a tad more than two-decades ago, there are very few places now in the United States that aren't an hours ride from a betting parlor of some sort.

Ultra large luxury liners now take tourists on fabulous tours of the world the passengers are not straining too many of their muscles over exertion. Television has gone with HDTV and armchair viewer now have their choice of hundreds of digital channels showing every conceivable form of entertainment imaginable. We can also visit the stars on our computers or the house we grew up in as a kid and switch between them literally in seconds. If we can't go to the stars we can at least imagine what they are about as simulation and animation have come into their own. We have become fat from too many choices that can be made from our living room chairs. We see the news as it happens and reality television has suddenly shifted our thinking to other possibilities.  As choices had increased, we have become more sophisticated relative to what we watch or participate in.


Talk about sophistication, the most famous duel of all time was probably the one between Sir Hierome Sankey and Sir William Petty. Naturally the cause of the disagreement was over a woman but Petty being a disastrously bad duelist shied away from calling for revenge. Hierome however, did the challenging which allowed William the decision relative to weapons and venue. His ultimate choice was classic. He choose a pitch-dark cellar and two massive wrought iron carpenters' axes which could not be lifted by other man. Viva la Choice.

This teleportation from our mostly drab existences has become an enormous industry, and those that have the talent to make us believe that we have been truly elevated into another and finer dimension for even the shortest of time are akin to great artists or practiced surgeons, performing their art with infinite precision. However, behind every actor there are also gifted writers, talented choreographers, trained cosmeticians and world class cinematographers along with the actual practiced performers to help us leave this arena and transport us into the world of illusion for even the shortest excursion. The people that can teleport us to where we would like to go are highly paid.

The magician that can make an enormous elephant disappear from a stage in front of thousands or being able to escape from handcuffs while in a straightjacket are particularly awesome moments. However, the greatest masters of illusion are the movie producers who can literally create anything that the mind can imagine. One of the more discouraging illusions to me was finding out the company producing the Humphrey Bogart classic, Casablanca could not even afford to have a real airplane on the set for the final scene. Michael Curtiz, director  was not in the mood to lose his storyline and built a small cardboard cutout of a plane and to make the audience believe that this was the real thing, hired midgets to surround the aircraft copy.   

The Demographics

In this country we are spending almost 10 hours per adult day in the and 68 hours per week, being entertained by others, be it by becoming immersed in television, listening to the radio, fiddling with Internet, reading the newspaper or watching movies. Obviously the amount being spent on these pursuits has risen dramatically as the middle class has become more economically comfortable. Dionysius II who live in the 4th century BC and went by the rather oppressive reputation as being the "tyrant of Syracuse", was having a bite to eat with the famous warrior, Philip II of Macedon who didn't think very highly of Dionysius's father. Philip queried his friend about dad's favorite leisure pastime which was spent writing poetry and plays. "How could the king find leisure time to write such trifles," Philip inquired of Dionysius. The ever glib Dionysius responded, "In those hours that you and I spent in drunkenness and debauchery." Each to their own I always say and one would have to admit that dad was a tad off base. 

Obviously the entertainment industry plays a very important role in the lives of almost all of us no matter which walk of life and what education level we have attained. Principals of Chapman Spira and Carson LLC being cognizant of the vital importance of this industry during one period of time had invested in or arranged financing for, six of the top ten grossing movies in American history. Moreover, we are continuously reviewing the investments in Broadway plays, new television concepts or stations, along with radio and other media including emerging sports such as Lacrosse, rowing, gymnastics and others. While entertainment media’s demographics continue to shift radically at a more prodigious rate than anytime in history due to the enormous impact of high-speed internet, we are constantly monitoring the shifting economic effect on all phases of the ever evolving media industry.

With very recent innovations such as pay to play radio, the Googalization of our culture and the re-allocation of marketing dollars away from historically predictable facets of the entertainment industry, the economic migration has become a geometrically escalating phenomena. Chapman stands ready to assist our clientele in evaluating investment opportunities in emerging media and will assist in financing projects that we believe are top-of-the-line. This industry probably encompasses most of the high-tech innovation of the last several decades and appears to be where advances will be made in the future.


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