Tuesday, June 14, 2005

TBO and The Review

As those who've lived in Seattle any amount of time will tell you: it's a pretty concentrated town. Particularly if you focus your time on one particular aspect of the town, whether it's the Arts scene, or the music scene, movies, whatever.

I've lived here for almost 13 years, and one of the blessings/curses related to this fact is that I can't walk down the street without running into someone else with whom I've either worked with, or met, or know from the scene.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty cool in some ways and exasperating in others. Let me tell you why:

If you haven't seen it already, my production of The Ritz has been slammed by The Stranger. That's it in a nutshell.

What has been pretty cool is hearing from folks who've seen the show and having them say either a) that they loved the show, had a blast, and that they'd spread the word; or b) that they had problems with the script being so dated, but that the cast was impressive, or they liked the use of the space, or just plain didn't like the show. This is fine.

What's been exasperating are the people who're apologetic or overly sympathetic about the one review (and, usually, they haven't seen the show yet). I mean, yes, thanks, I appreciate the sentiment, and you all are being very sweet, but come on!

It's the Stranger for one thing, it's what they do. This is a paper that had Frank Oz (yes, that Frank Oz, who really should know better) so pissed off, he threatened one of the writers. This is not to mention the various artists in Seattle who've been provoked to the point of apoplexy, and would then write in and vent their spleen. I can dig it, but in the long run, what's it do? Not a goddamn thing. It's just a lot of wasted energy spent at a bunch of people who just don't give a shit.

Why give them that power? They're putzes, pure and simple...I mean, great, every once in a while, one of them will deign to give a positive review of something, and that's always cool. However, when they pull shit like this particular review (and that's using the term loosely), it really is par for the course. C'est la guerre.

Also, by focusing on this one review, the other more positive ones are being ignored. Do they have no weight in this town? Why not? Or is it that we're so lazy that we don't bother with those? Seriously, people, get with it.

There's a whole rant I could get on, about there being only two reviewers who're worth a damn in this town, and of those two, only one gets sent on regular assignments, but who cares?

The big thing is this: I'm an artist; I do things that will be open to the public; with luck, the work I do will entertain, enrich, or both. The critics are paid to go out to these public venues, and report back on what they see. What they write may be predicated on their mood, their tastes, or any biases they've been told to write with. More often than not, these two parties will not see eye to eye. It is the artist's job not to give a shit and hope for the best, just as it is the critic's job to attempt to report in as concise, fair and objective a fashion as possible.

Even in the best of worlds, it can be a pretty advesarial relationship. Quite often, it's a lot like war, with the occasional detente.

Fuck The Stranger. Fuck The Weekly, the P-I, and the Times too, for that matter. This is war, people, you learn to live with it.

Life does, indeed, go on.


At 5:17 PM, Blogger Natalie said...

I like the part where he calls himself an artist, when it's a show about someone hiding out in a gay bathhouse.


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