Culture Clash: Mary Kay Meets Big Ears

Downtown was a Mulligan stew of events last weekend—a Red Bull chariot race on Market Square, the marathon on Sunday—but our favorite contrast came from the sidewalk mingling of crowds from two distinct demimondes: the Big Ears music festival and a “multiple career conference” of some 2,000 Mary Kay Inc. representatives at the Convention Center. Watching packs of middle-aged women in matching sweaters trailed down the street by small bands of scraggle-bearded music geeks in hoodies and shoulderbags, we couldn’t help fantasizing about a cultural exchange: the Mary Kay crowd stumbling into ambient transcendence at a William Basinski show, say, and in return showing all those pale, sickly indie kids what you can do with a good exfoliator and just a little foundation.

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