Charting new entertainment territory

With my nose continually in a manuscript, a book, or my RSS feed, I overlook a lot of the latest innovations in artistic disciplines other than creative writing. If there’s time to relax and be entertained, the diversions I rely on are the old, familiar standbys: television, DVDs, live music. I ought to be embarrassed to admit that I’ve only recently begun to fill an iPod with music files.

News, reviews, and recommendations drift across my computer screen all day. I can pay attention to anything I choose, and I’m pretty good at ignoring insignificant distractions. I can focus. Always could.

This weekend, a couple of items I read online (in VSL email reproduced here and in a New York Times article here) snapped something into place. Suddenly, I realized the quality of some—I’m not even sure what to call it—video entertainment on the Web has reached the level at which it could become an acceptable substitute for all of the other recorded entertainment I enjoy through other channels. No, it can’t supplant the live performances, but certainly Web video exposes me to new performers.

If you’re rolling your eyes as you read this, believe me, I’m laughing with you. On the other hand, if, like me, you hadn’t yet discovered that you can watch on the Web free, hour-long episodes of Austin City Limits, which I can never manage to catch on TV, or three five- to fifteen-minute webisodes of Lisa Kudrow’s comedy “Web Therapy,” then maybe this blogpost (which merely restates information I obtained from the Observer Media Group and the Times) was worth reading.

I’d embed the videos in this post, but I always need to create a neural pathway, as well as a bookmark, to the URL, or it won’t be quite as easy to find again later.

Do you watch any online programs like these? Let me know what I’m missing.

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