Everyone loves the classics. At least, everyone pretends to love the classics for fear of appearing uncultured. If you devote a lot of time to seeming to be a cultural maven, you'll even know the little bits of info that trip others up. Did you know, for example, that Peter Pan wasn't written as a good guy? Do you refer to Romeo and Juliet as a great romance, despite the fact they both die completely unnecessarily?
The classics are fine and have their place. They are classics for a reason, of course. The entire works of Shakespeare and the music of Beethoven were edgy and new once. They have stood the test of time and thus became classics. But now, they're the past. Unless we come up with some new classics, cultural historians will just look back on this decade as being when all the greats died. How depressing would that be?
So there's a lot to be said for getting out there and seeing what's new before it becomes huge. Seeing something different, that pushes boundaries, is essential so that art forms can move forward. Whether it's visual art, music or drama, there's something to be said for the classics. But step outside the comfort zone, and you'll find there are great works being made today, too.
Music: Go See An Unsigned Band
Do you recall the first time you heard your favorite group or singer? For many of us, we came to them late, hearing their third or fourth album, or a single from it on the radio. We then went back through their back catalog and realized: "Yeah, I love this new stuff. But the debut album is life-changing!".
How exciting would it be to get in on the ground floor with a band like that? Unsigned bands play all the time, all over the place. And by going to see them you may hear some uninspired dirge - but you also might see the new Beatles before they become huge.
Drama: Not Everything Worth Seeing Is On Broadway
Broadway is the home of the big stage show with plays, musicals and more selling out nightly. Many people now appearing in Hollywood blockbusters have come from those stages. Many more make a great living appearing on those stages. But before a show hits the big theaters, it often has to prove its mettle in smaller houses. Sometimes, even with established stars. Buying Off-Broadway tickets is a chance to see something innovative before the creators lose control of it.
Movies: The Independent Scene Holds Real Wonders
Think of your favorite actor, and all the great films you've seen them in. These days, they make one or two films a year. Back when they were new, they often had to make at least twice that to earn a living. And so they have long, long filmographies.
Many of those movies never got to the big multiplexes, and were instead arthouse classics. If there is a small independent cinema near you, go and see something today. Ideally, you won't have heard of any of the actors in it. If you like that film, keep an eye out for the stars in other movies - you'll have a chance to see some excellent films.