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'Cultural' may mean 'formal' for some

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BLOOMINGTON - The opening night gala of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts may give people a chance to dig out their tuxedos and evening gowns from the back of their closets.

No tuxedo? No problem. Don't let that keep you from coming to the performing arts center and having a good time, said Cultural District Marketing Director Joel Aalberts.

"The opening is one of our more dressy events so undoubtedly there will be people in tuxedoes, but this is not necessarily a black-tie event," Aalberts said. "People should feel comfortable wearing whatever they want."

But whatever you wear, be ready to dance after the concert by Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. A reception and dance will follow in the center's ballroom featuring the Heartland Jazz Orchestra.

Dress is just one of a few small differences between attending a performance at the 1,200-seat center and a rock concert at the 7,000-seat U.S. Cellular Coliseum, which opened in April at the other end of downtown.

Time: Don't be late for a performance at the center. Allow plenty of time to find a parking space, walk to the center and settle into your seat. Late-comers will have to watch the performance from a viewing room until a break allows people to be seated. "The new viewing room has improved the situation for those who are late, but we want people to enjoy the show from start to finish," Aalberts said. "Give yourself plenty of time. There's no need to rush."

Cell phones: The actors on stage fall silent in a dramatic moment and then it happens: the ring of someone's cell phone. In a smaller venue such as the center, ringing phones affect more people who are trying to enjoy the show. It is best, Aalberts said, to leave the phone at home. If you can't, be sure your phone is either turned off or the ringer silenced before the performance starts.

Photography: As a general rule, photography is not allowed in the auditorium during a performance.

Perfume: Though the seats are a little larger now, your seatmates still can be overwhelmed by your aftershave or perfume. Aalberts suggests you don't over-do it when you're getting ready for the evening.

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