In general, the arts have a larger place in Kassidorian society than they do in any other part of human space. They are more advanced in most of the arts than the remainder of the Empire. A greater portion of the money economy is devoted to the arts and there is a greater diversity of art styles in Kassidor City alone than in all the other cities of the stargate system combined. For instance, there are 471 recognized dance competitions in the city (you can look this up since 3818) and dance is down on the list of lesser arts. Costumes are used in just over half of those competitions, the others must be performed nude.
The most important art form, in Kassidor Yakhan as it is in over half the basins of the planet, is music. Live performance, often with bonfire, is the most attended type of public event in the basins the current tube system can reach, and in the Yakhan alone genres of music from orchestral and chorale to electronica are big. In the city itself there are 'discos' with round-the-clock laser light shows that have been open since well before contact with Earth. The phase 'country music' has a very different use in the Highlands. It has nothing to do with the style of music, it simply means it will be performed outdoors and there will be a bonfire if the performance is during dark. The same styles of music are available to people in the country, but there may be people pedaling to compress the air to run it, instead of fittings for shop air in the walls.
The Kassikan owns many of the largest musical equipment manufactures in the city and therefore all the Highlands. However, their professional sound conditioning and amplification equipment is considered not quite as good as those made by Klikenstra of Zhlindu, though it is more automated. The Klikenstra equipment used in the Yakhan is made by a Klikenstra factory on Seventh Canal that uses code sent by air from Zhlindu so it is never more than a year or two out of date. The Kassikan, in competition, owns several equipment makers in Zhlindu that outsell Klikenstra, but sell to students and beginners.
About one in ten residents of the Yakhan participate in some form of music making activity, about one in ten of those, one percent of the population, participates professionally at some point during the average year. That is not abnormal for the planet. Among the major basins both Yondure and Zhlindu have a higher percentage of performers. Kassidorians listen to their music at a much lower volume than other human worlds,the loudest shows are the orchestral concerts. They listen to music loud in the Kln and YdlonTrostl basins, and some clubs are loud in the northern Highlands like Zharvai and Dolostel, as well as the great beach concert halls of the shore towns of Knidola.
Contrary to what some say, they do have clothing on Kassidor, and often it is a beautiful art. Their thin Afternoonday jerseys are dyed in dazzling patterns and often cut and gathered to accentuate a body's curves. They use artful placings of laces and slits to make perfect fit adjustments and tease hands to where they want them. In the Highlands the other important garment is the nightcoat, and it is often a hand-made knit and sewn-hide thing with plenty of lacework around soft leather collars and often ornate tessellation along the bottom. The ornamentation is often black. Other styles use lots of beadwork around the shoulders and/or artistic quilting of contrasting furs. The fur comes from animals eaten for meat, it would otherwise be wasted, and is much cheaper than the lacework. About a tenth of the people do their own lacework on their nightcoat, high collars that stop the night wind are popular, especially if they can be buttoned up to the nose when riding a needleboat late in Nightday.
In other basins, there are very different clothing styles. In many of the steamy deeps such as Borlunth, Trenst and Zhlindu, women wear wrapskirts of thin rayon and in those three basins, nothing more, even in business offices, during the light of the week. They are printed and tie-dyed as brilliantly as the Yakhan's long tees, but they are usually triangles that are tied around the waist. Males usually tie the third corner up as a clout in the those basins, but males who let it hang are not uncommon, especially in Borlunth where many like to stand free in public and attract admiring women. Leggings are popular and ornate in many basins and you will never confuse one made in the Korst with one from Vclel-vi, even though you wouldn't recognize either. Most wear shirts of varying thickness during the dark unless they are very deep. Among the well-to-do of the Trenst basin these nightshirts are often quite artistic like the dark coats of the Highlands, but the climate in that basin is too warm for more than a layer of flannel even during Dawnsleep.
Clothing shows are a minor art, but ten thousand will attend them every day in the Yakhan. Models of both sexes usually demonstrate how the clothing is put on and removed, so they enter and leave the runway nude. These models are very stunning people. The textile industry of the highlands creates intricate woven goods and knitted goods in intricate patterns on automated machines run by water power and pedal power. Twenty or more of the body's measurements will be put in, and the garment will fit to the stitch. Many who cannot afford the most luxurious styles spend a pittance to come to the shows and see them. Many Centorins buy the clothes because they are not that pricey when compared to something that well made on Centorin. In the Empire, with proper under or outer garments, some Kassidorian clothing may be legally worn in public. For those who can afford the trip, the prices for hand-made high fashion are not a problem and many return with quite a collection of seduction-wear.
Not all Kassidorian clothing can be considered high art, and many of the garments worn in all basins, including the Highlands are utilitarian. One common garment is called a worker. It is more or less a body suit, but all the joints, if it's long enough, are pleated to allow freedom of movement. Just making clothing loose is not good enough for Kassidorians when movement is required. That is because there is no air conditioning and clothing often sticks to them, and in most basins loose and baggy clothing is not desired. In cultures with shirts and pants, the knees and elbows are pleated. In most cultures no garment extends over more than one joint of the body, leggings and forearm covers are worn against the cold in many basins. Even the low tundra climate of Tthmoorng, one uses only armlets, coats, leggings and sandals in their battle with the elements.
Body sculpting and appearance is a more important art than clothing in the Highlands. Some basins do go in for tattoing, and hormonal body building, but it is not popular in the Highlands. What tattooing is seen is light and very artistic. People in the Highlands almost never cut a hair. People grow theirs where, how long, how curly and what color they want it. The pills you take for it are permanent and have a 50% chance of being passed on to your offspring. Their advertising supports a lot of pop publishing. The Highlanders have a natural tan and more than half of them spend Afternoonday nude in the sun, either at home, on the beach or at a friend's house, in any given week. The rest spend a few more hour's pay for the pills for it and support a bit more pop publishing.
More than half the population of the Yakhan does something about their body or appearance in the average decade. They gladly talk about what works and what doesn't, compare notes on where they got their hair, muscles, nipples or genitals. They touch and examine the acquired characteristic and the one being examined basks in the attention. They pose for each other and undress for each other in many situations that Centorin's find appalling. Like a co-worker saying, 'hey check out these nipples I got for five irons at Jeddie's.'
This particular part of their culture is characteristic of the Yakhan, and many other cultures of Kassidor think they are narcissistic because of it. In many other basins, and to some extent once you are outside the Yakhan, there is a lot less of that going on. People in most basins fix anything that is holding them back socially and leave the rest as heredity gave them. Only in the Trenst, Edniktar and Kshoned basins do people spend as much time admiring each other's bodies as in the Highlands.
In the representational arts, such as painting, photography and video, there are millions of hobbyists and thousands of large companies producing commercial entertainment. The Highlands is one of the four basins producing video entertainment that is exported to other human worlds with a dubbed sound track. In the other basins the dress standards are such that all videos would be banned as indecent, so most of human space never sees video from the Trenst or Zhlindu basins, which are considered some of the best on Kassidor.
Among the Mountain Trolls, representational art is important in their hunting ceremonies. Those with the most skill in drawing their prey on the lodge walls are thought to have the best luck in the upcoming hunt. Most anthropologists now believe that these ceremonies remain nearly unchanged from that practiced on the cave walls of Europe and Africa in neolithic times. The media and techniques are much more modern, since even the most remote tribes use factory made paints, brushes and air brushes, even digital simulations today, but the social ceremony and comradery of the occasion seem to be unchanged in 25,000 years.
One use for representational art that is less common in most Kassidorian societies, including the Highlands, is advertizing. 'Push' advertizing is considered immoral in most Kassidorian societies, much more immoral than public fornication. People feel a duty to rip down any billboards or posters put up for commercial gain. On a world with as few resources and as many people as Kassidor, any artificial creation of demand for goods and services is dangerous to the well-being of all. But representational art is used on signs both inside and outside of businesses, where it is not considered 'push'. In magazines, some 'infomercials' are possible, especially in magazines devoted to some related facet of life. Because the art is directed at people who are known to be already interested in what is being shown, it is much less aggressive and much more informative. This has been seen in Earth's culture since the 21st century in the difference between mass media advertising and home page design.
Electronic imaging and image manipulation have been available to the professional since the Brazilian contact in the mid 2300's. Kassidorian electronics are more sophisticated than anything legal on any other human world and it shows in the images they are able to create, both still and animated. This leads to a common belief in many basins of Kassidor that most of the images shown from other basins or planets are simply artistic creations because they have only been seen on screen or in pictures. Many people believe only what they have seen with their own eyes. This leads to a situation where people in distant basins may not believe in the actual existence of the stargate, Centorin or even the Highlands, Trenst or the Kassikan for that matter. The business community of the Bordzvek basin deliberately manipulates the images and data exported from that basin to downplay the prosperity and technology that is common in that basin.
Besides music, dance and theater, there are many forms of performing arts in the Highlands, and even more forms in some of the other basins. Live theater is important in the Highlands, and ranges from highly professional to hobbyist amateur to therapeutic. Dance as an art ranges from social dancing, folk dances, ceremonial dances thru beautiful artistic dancing, both with costumes and without, to athletic movements that could just as easily be considered sport.
Sex is considered a performing art in most basins, and in the Highlands one can watch everything from beautifully choreographed seductions culminating in tender romance to vigorous coupling that could just as easily be considered sport. In the Highlands there are sex clubs everywhere where all can participate and theaters where the especially gifted perform for large crowds. In many other basins impromptu sex performances on the beach or in public squares are accepted and attract rowdy spectators. The basin with the most, and the most extreme, sex as performance is Borlunth, even today. The tubes will probably not reach that for another hundred and fifty years, and even when they do, it will take more than a week on the local tubes to get there.
The painting or electronic production of representational art is often watched as a performing art in itself. This may range from sidewalk sketch makers to well attended sessions watching great masters at work where the audience wears earpieces in which other masters offer hushed commentary.
Lecturing and debating are elevated to the status of a performing art among the intellectuals of the Yakhan and many other major cities, such as Bordzvek and Yondure. This may be considered entertainment or education, and the best performers make it both. Those scholars lecturing about and demonstrating body enhancing or sexual techniques are often well attended in the Highlands.
There are performing animals. The smaller members of the Lentos class are easy to train and can perform interesting gymnastics. There are art forms bordering on rodeo and circus where the trainer performs with the animal.
Most of the other performing arts that are part of what could be translated as a 'circus' are present in the Highlands and in many other basins, with the exception of the pain-inducing side-shows. Balancing acts, juggling, slight-of-hand are all common. Many are performed in a dinner-theater environment in the Highlands however and not in a big tent or arena.
Stand-up and theatrical comedy is popular, but there are so few points of reference between the two societies that most tourists do not find much of it humorous. Guide-book Kassidorian, even with the fastest and most complete translation programs you can get, is not adequate to appreciate humor. The Highlands has a whole high art of punning that will make some scream and pull at their hair, but of course, none of it translates. Comedy is also often performed in a dinner-theater environment, sometimes by comedians roaming among the tables and interacting with the more inebriated diners. Even if that banter could be translated, it couldn't be published.
Cooking as performance is also common in many of the cultures of the planet and the Highlands is no exception. Competitions are held and the customers vote by the fork full under the eye of watchful judges. In the Megnor cultures a common dining theme is beautiful girls pushing cooking and serving carts among the tables who rub the curviest parts of their bodies in artful ways on the patrons as they prepare and serve the meal. This theme has been picked up in other parts of the planet and an establishment that practices it in the Yakhan or Highlands would advertize having a 'Megnish atmosphere.'
Most art on the planet is actually some form of multimedia. Musical performances will be accompanied by video, dancers or sex entertainers. Dance or circus performances will be accompanied with recorded or live music. Art museums use music and performance by their artists to increase interest and thereby sales.
One of the main enhancements to many types of art are drugs. Many works are done to be appreciated while under the influence of one or another type of psychoactive drug. As such they cannot be fully appreciated (legally) in the Empire and only with yaag in the Novo Grosso nation of Naiho in all of the remainder of human space.
This is especially true of the music and abstract graphic arts. Much of the music of the Trenst basin is indistinguishable from some of the animal calls to the untrained Centorin ear, much of their graphic art looks like melted candle wax or errors in the display driver software. This is also true of some music and art seen in the Highlands. Trenst is on the far side of the planet and years of travel away, but if you do get there, be careful of the drugs.
There is a media no culture outside Kassidor has and that is the psychedelic experience itself as art. The plethora of psychedelics and hallucinogens that are sold on the planet is staggering, but is only a hint of where this art form really goes. Using a substance we translate as RNAcid, memories can be lifted and transferred from one person to another in capsule form. Artificial memories can be created on automated equipment and then sold in capsule form. They can be very vivid memories, so vivid that one's entire former life can be overwritten with an overdose. This art of artificial memories can be as abstract or concrete as the creator desires. Any other art, as well as knowledge and all sensations, can be created in memory without any existence in real life. Many famous video novels that people remember and talk about, were never actually projected on a screen, but exist only in memories provided by drugs.