Can you tell what these people are looking at?

A car accident?  A celebrity?  The naked cowboy?

None of the above.

They are all looking at . . . themselves.

Forever 21 recently installed a brilliant video billboard in the heart of Times Square that takes a live video image of the street below, and then broadcasts it for everyone to see.

So what happens?

People walk by, and stop . . . and look for themselves on the big screen.  They wave, jump and down, and generally make fools of themselves, just to see themselves broadcast over Broadway.

I shot this pic on a Sunday evening, and what struck me as this gaggle of folks stared at the billboard (and as I stared at them) was the diversity of the people drawn to this phenomenon.  All different types were trying to find themselves on the screen, from kids to seniors, from Europeans to Oklahomians, from lower economic classes, to a bunch of brand-wearing snobs that looked like they just got off a yacht.

You’ve felt like these people, too . . . don’t tell me you haven’t.  Maybe you were at a Yankee game when the camera swung your way, or you walked by the NBC studios during a taping of The Today Show.

Audiences, no matter where they come from, or what they do for a living, have certain things in common.  They want to be noticed.  They want to be recognized.

And they want to be a part of the experience.

I’m not saying every show has to pull a person on the stage for the rest of the crowd to see . . . but the audience wants to see themselves up there somehow, whether in a character, in a story, or yes, getting pulled on the stage for the rest of the crowd to see.

They want a little attention . . . it’s just not apropos to wave your hands and jump up and down in a theater.

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Side note:

One year ago I blogged about the very first video billboard in Times Square.

And now there are seven.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.