#TBT: All Cake, No File, All Good

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: All Cake, No File, All Good.

This post started in my mind as simply an appreciation for an event being produced by the Actors’ Gang in Los Angeles called All Cake, No File [circa 2009].

Jewell Rae Jeffers in “All Cake, No File.” Photo Credit: Jonathan Kalan

It’s a combination of a cooking show and a tribute to Johnny Cash, which is pretty cool for reasons that if you really understand the live entertainment business today, you’ll understand.

But the more I thought about this, the more I began to see that this post isn’t just about an event with a killer hook.

It’s about the very nature of today’s live audience.

They’re promiscuous mixers and samplers. They’re savvy in thinking about many different kinds of media at once. They have what you might consider complex tastes.

In this case, it’s obviously not a straight-faced tribute to Johnny Cash, but neither is it a parody of Johnny Cash. The media consumer of a generation ago would have been very comfortable with parody, including of course biting, stinging satire. And, of course, they’d have been comfortable with straight tribute.

Today’s consumer can, in essence, hold both parody and tribute in their head at the same time without cognitive dissonance.

Because Johnny Cash is (was) good. And because the idea of Johnny Cash is also funny.

And if it’s a cooking show, it could be at once a parody of a cooking show AND an actual cooking show.

A generation ago, a cooking show was either a cooking show or a parody of a cooking show.

Jewell Rae Jeffers (the hostess of the show) is doing both parody (and political commentary) AND cooking.

And it’s not that this is so difficult to understand in concept, but what’s important is that audiences of the future will not only understand and enjoy this kind of complex mixing, but EXPECT it.

So you’ve got to build it into your content design. Straightforward “great performance” may become a rather limited taste, giving way to a permanent post-post-modern swirl of flavors of which “great performance” is an element.

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