It was a plaintive little e-mail, familiar in both theme and tone.
No, it wasn’t the weekly missive from the executor of some unfortunate Nigerian’s estate, seeking an accomplice to help liberate the dearly-departed’s billions from who-knows-what dire consequence.
It was the kind of e-mail that inevitably begins, “Does anyone know where I can get tickets to … (fill in the recent event of your choice)?”
“Aha,” myself said to me, “Another lost soul wandering the sad byways of Last-Minute Whitehorse.”
Perhaps it’s something in the water, or too many allusions to the quaint notion of Yukon Time.
Whatever the cause, there may be no other place on earth whose denizens have so perfected the art of procrastination when it comes to ensuring they don’t miss an entertainment opportunity.
Oh, to have a dollar for every time someone has said, “I really wanted to go to that concert, play, music festival – whatever – but I couldn’t get tickets.”
What goes unsaid is that dozens of empty seats went empty the first week or so of a play’s run, or that ticket sales started so sluggishly the concert promoter papered the house with complimentary tickets to keep the performers from feeling lonely and unloved.
Anyone who has been here awhile knows that offering to barter one’s firstborn for a pair of Dawson City Music Festival passes has become a cherished rite of Yukon spring.
It usually kicks in about 48 hours after the DCMF tickets go on sale.
I fondly recall a Guild Theatre production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in the early ’90s that starred Simon Fothergill and Guy Buller, with the inimitable Grant Hartwick as the Player King.
The truly lovely and truly talented Amy Sloan played my daughter, Ophelia.
(I mention this last bit solely for bragging rights; how often can one claim to have shared a stage with a real-life Hollywood up-and-comer?)
For the first two weeks, audiences were hit and miss: sometimes packed to the gunwales, sometimes disappointingly sparse.
For reasons beyond recall, we added a Saturday matinee near the end of the run. And there we were, the cast outnumbering the sands of the Kalahari, playing to an enraptured audience of … two! Yes, two.
I can even name them. But I won’t.
Sure enough, it followed (as the night the day) that, once the run ended, all we heard was, “Gee, I really wanted to go, but I couldn’t get tickets.”
In a simpler age -– circa 1756, let’s say, when the annual Frostbite festival took place in a suitably frosty aerodrome even before the invention of the plane – Yukon’s entertainment choices were more limited.
Back then, one probably didn’t turn to one’s spouse and say, “Let’s wait until Jerome’s review is out, or the buzz has built upon the High Street.”
One was more likely to say, “By jingo, that sounds like jolly fun. Do let’s get out and boogie.”
Since then, the number of performing venues and the number of events have multiplied exponentially. Performances of the highest calibre come and go in a trice.
Yet, too often, Yukon Time prevails. Too often, alas, the lost souls snooze and lose.
So if you ache to spend New Year’s with the Hurtin’ Albertans in Haines Junction, this may sting a bit: it’s been sold out for weeks.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a weekend pass to the DCMF in 2014, I may be able to fix you up.
But act quickly. They’re going like hotcakes.