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On Spectacle Addiction: A friend of mine’s family has had courtside season tickets for the NY KNICKS since the 70’s. When the KNICKS were better my friend would invite me often enough. The seats were directly behind the opposing team’s bench.
Ten seats down in the same row, on the far side of the tunnel entrance sat Woody Allen, oft accompanied by his wife, Soon-yi. Across the court for most games was Spike Lee. Having been ‘awakened’ as a youth by the films of both of these men (She’s Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing, Manhattan, Broadway Danny Rose, etc) I found myself staring at these filmmakers a fair amount. It wasn’t so much a case of star-struckedness, but rather of curiosity. I had gotten over my sublimation of true emotions/pro-sports dynamic years before, but here were these two accomplished directors, carving time out of their busy schedules to attend every Knick’s home game– like crack addicts. I wondered what compulsion forced them to the Garden on so many nights? Wouldn’t it have been easier to avoid the crowds and the attention and just watch these games on cable? Especially for Woody who was going thru a messy divorce around that time.
After much staring and contemplation I came up with a theory: Spike and Woody require the constant buzz of a spectacle. Filmmakers prefer the camaraderie of the intense, intimate and combustible, family dinner-esque setting of a basketball arena- its not unlike the barely controlled madness of a film shoot. Whereas, writers and scientists prefer the individual and orderly pursuits of achievement and autonomy offered by pro baseball. You never see writers at hoops games. Ever.