May the force not always be with us
The Bee’s Rory Appleton has an interesting piece about something new for audience members at the Saroyan Theatre: bag checks and metal detectors. The practice is part of a larger trend of increased security at the Save Mart Center, Selland Arena and other local venues.
A series of unrelated events both in Fresno and abroad have led many of the local venues to tighten up their bag policies. Some also have added metal detectors to their entrance routines. Both are a byproduct of 2017 life, but both have led to long entrance lines for everything from rock concerts and symphony performances to San Joaquin Valley Town Hall events.
My first encounter with the Saroyan’s new security policy was the long line to get into the Fresno Philharmonic’s opening pops concert of the season on Saturday night. When I arrived at about 7:20 p.m., 10 minutes before the concert was to begin, the line to get into the south entrance stretched almost to the parking garage.
Luckily, thanks to the theme of the concert, there were “Star Wars” characters in costume wandering up and down the line entertaining folks. There’s nothing like a dour-expression-flashing imperial stormtrooper to keep your mind off the fact that our country’s own security-industrial-complex infrastructure keeps growing in new and disturbing ways. Now, it seems, a metal detector is necessary to gather in a public space to listen to the music of John Williams. (The bag check requirement was waived this time around, The Bee tells us, but it will be in place for the orchestra’s first Masterworks concert on Oct. 15.)
It turns out there wasn’t enough time for the whole crowd to go through the metal detector, or else the concert would have started impossibly late. When I arrived at the door, I was told to walk right in. This would seem to defeat the idea of increased security, unless you’re assuming that terrorists are early birds.