Tuesday, July 31, 2007

B. Jones: Listen Up, Seattlites!

[Edited to add: Never has the blog entry and the comments field been more schizophrenic. Those fearing 20+ messages of nothing but sports talk should take a dive in. --tbo]

First, the link I am referring to; then I add my own half-baked rantings, at best tangentially based on said link:

Do you know what kind of cities have their teams taken away? Cities like Baltimore. Cities like Cleveland. Cities like Charlotte.

"Cities like Los Angeles." Shut up, JJ.

"Cities like New York." That was like 500 years ago, Joe.

"Charlotte got a new team in less than a decade." This is true, Deni, but then it becomes a matter of tradition. Tradition's important for fans of organized sports, wouldn't you agree Deni, even in this entirely fictionalized conversation I'm having with everyone? "Why, yes, TBO, yes, I most definitely agree." Thanks, man.

"But Cleveland and Baltimore both got screwed out of their teams by ownerships who were too greedy to do right by their teams' fans, right?" Yes, very true Stine, quite astute, actually, as it has a lot to do with why I ask the question. But, I'll get to that later. Yes, lyamhound?

"Look, I'm getting the sense that this is gonna be yet another loud blog entry about the Sonics-ownership's threat/plan to take the Seattle basketball teams to Oklahoma City...Well, I don't know how many times I have to say it, but I just don't care about organized sports, any of them. They're a waste of time, and money that could otherwise be spent on the arts, where I happen to dwell most of my actual and mental energy. Let 'em move, I say."

You raise a couple of points here that I'd like to argue against, like, what makes you think that money is gonna go to the arts? Even when this town was rich in imaginary money, the fraction spent on the local arts scene, particularly at the level you and I delve in, was pathetic. What makes you think that's gonna change because Seattle would lose a couple of basketball teams?

But, let's ignore that for the time being, and instead, let's think about cultural currency.

Now, let's think of some cities in the US that are considered cultural metropolises...LA, NYC, Chicago, Miami (particularly Latin culture, but once upon a time, it was a hotbed), Boston (due to the colleges there)...anywhere else? San Francisco, Atlanta...Okay, sure, Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City and New Orleans are given passes based on their past, by and large, but I'd argue against them being metropolises...All right all right, Cleveland too, Atul, the Rock and Roll Museum is there after all, but again, metropolises. JJ, I do see you over there wanting to pipe up, but let me get to something resembling a point first.

Part of my point resides in the fact that most of the cities we've just named have teams from at least 3 out of the 4 major organized sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey) housed within their city limits. In fact, out of the first seven cities named, all of them do.

And so does Seattle. Okay, JJ, go ahead.

"Are you seriously calling Seattle a major metropolis comparable to New York? Or Chicago? San Francisco?" No...but it does have the potential to be up in that echelon, and in the not too distant future, also. Besides, 14th national market's nothing to sneeze at...ain't great, but it's not bad. "You're dreaming." Maybe.

What I'm getting at, though, is that having at least three major league teams in your city has just about become part of the criteria in being a proper big city. Even though you wouldn't necessarily call Denver, Phoenix or Houston major cultural hubs, you can't say that they're small potatoes either.

And Seattle can be both. Why settle for also-ran status?

"Okay, but, LA doesn't have an NFL team. Isn't that the biggest of the organized sports? Why doesn't that decrease their cultural status?" Good point, Miss Uz J, but you already know the answer to that. If Hollywood was placed in North Dakota, instead of on the coast, then maybe you could say that LA was a cultural backwater ("You still could."). As it is, they have that, plus two of every other organized sport, so...Pity LA NFL fans, though, they have no history, they have no tradition...

"This has got to be the lamest excuse for kowtow-ing to a bunch of rich white motherfuckers I've ever heard."

Look, A of all, in terms of comparison, would you rather be akin to New York City, or Portland? "Seattle." Good answer, but you know what I mean.

B of all, nowhere did I say that we should cave in to Bennett. Fuck that. I'm saying we should fight for what's ours--what's been ours all along. Here's an organization that is helping us to do just that. Vote for keeping the Sonics, y'all.

The Sonics/Storm are an integral part of what it means to live in Seattle, and the loss of those teams would definitely affect city-morale. Ask the lesbians who support the Storm (or ask the lesbians in the team about how they like the idea of Oklahoma City). Ask the burgeoning NW Basketball talent pool, who hail from the less-priviledged parts of town. Ask random boneheaded sports enthusiasts with blogs. Let's be brats.

What self-respecting big city would allow some out of town Okie to come and take one of its teams away, willingly?

I beg you, let's not make Seattle the first answer to that.


At 2:15 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

OK, I'm way too in the weeds today to read all of this and respond astutely until later, but I have to address one point made.

The "even when Seattle was rich in play money they spent a tiny fraction on arts" point up there somewhere. Actually, if you look at the stats, a higher percentage of overall city capacity (that means all people in the city, not just gov funds) was spent on the arts in the late 90's.

It isn't a simple percentage, like 1% of the GDP of the city at any given time makes it to the arts. Arts enjoy both a higher absolute amount and a higher percentage during boom times, as most people see the arts as a luxury.

And, dude, I'm sure you'll split that hair, but remember that the Rep used to stage shows in the Leo K that were guaranteed to lose money even if they sold every single seat. Because they could. Maybe the fringe wasn't feeling the love, but the big orgs were in hog heaven.

Kinda why ACT got itself in so much trouble, wasn't it?

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Dude, are we seriously all now voices in your head with whom you hold imaginary conversations?

Jesus, Beigey, I've begged you to get help.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

JJ, all I'm saying is that the fringes weren't feeling the love.

Actually, the love they felt (because there was love), wasn't proportionate to the amount of imaginary money there was.

There's more to Seattle Arts than the big houses, SAM and SIFF.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Joe, you have always been a bad action figure...into the microwave you go!

At 2:33 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

There's more to Seattle Arts than the big houses, SAM and SIFF.

Really? Dude, are you shitting me? Alright, I'm gonna go check the yellow pages and see about this.

Fer chrissakes, TBO.

What, do you have to make that statement once a month to keep your Fringe Membership Card from being pulled?

And, y'know, I'd do your homework about how much, compared to other times, the fringe was getting.

Still, the point you were trying to make at the time, that the money we don't spend on the Sonics isn't going to end up in the arts, is right on.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

What, do you have to make that statement once a month to keep your Fringe Membership Card from being pulled?

Maybe you get it, JJ, but your Seattle friends and neighbors (not including anyone on this list) just don't get it and need to be reminded often of this point. Or do you care to argue this as well?

re: Homework - You got it, hoss...Somehow in the copious amounts of free time I have at work and abroad, I'll get those numbers together.

You seem to be ignoring the main thing I say here, regarding the proportion of monies given to fringe level organizations v. the bigger, more established institutions.

I'm not saying that the fringes didn't get the money, or that they didn't get more compared to before and after the boom; but how much compared to what everyone else was getting?

Any handy or snarky answers to that one?

At 5:45 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

It's a big issue. Remember that I've spent a good amount of time inside both sizes, and talk to people like Charlie Rathbun at 4Culture regularly.

Corporate money? Hands down, the big houses get it and always will. Corporations want return on investment.

Public money? Dollars received per person affected, and we'll include audience, staff and artists in that, the fringe gets more. Significantly more. Which in absolute dollars will always be far less.

How about in terms of percentage of total budget? Again, fringe gets more, is more dependent on public funds than the big houses are, because the big houses reap the corporate money.

You haven't got much place to bitch about where corps spend their money. It just isn't going to change. There is no value to a private entity supporting the fringe. There is, however, a public value to the arts. So, lobby the funding orgs for more cash to the fringe, but the answer is going to be they already get a share that many continue fair given how comparably few people they impact.

I still haven't read the whole post in depth, though. I'll do so after I feed the girls.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Somehow in the copious amounts of free time I have at work and abroad, I'll get those numbers together.

And I totally get you here, but you're the one putting an argument forth based on your suppositions. If you want that argument to be taken seriously, isn't it wise to make sure reality backs up your vision?

At 5:53 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

And, dude, I'm sure you'll split that hair, but remember that the Rep used to stage shows in the Leo K that were guaranteed to lose money even if they sold every single seat. Because they could.

Great for the Rep. I'm sure someone somewhere will hold a parade.

Your argument seems to boil down to trickle down economics; that what's great for the bigger non-profits is great for the smaller ones.

Undoubtedly, losing something as central to Seattle Theater as The Rep, or Intiman would be a huge impact, and bully for them to get the lion's share of what was available back then. But they didn't spread the wealth.

Former Rep AD Sharon Ott went on record as saying that as much as she would love to work with some smaller theater companies in town, that there weren't any that she though would be worthy of that kind of attention. She never, I mean never, did any kind of community outreach, never saw a smaller production, never made an effort of any kind in the seven years she was there.

Those years? 1997 - 2004. Surely enough time in the midst of the boom to get something done, don't you think?

But that's not really the point. You're saying that thanks to the monies given to non-profits like the Rep and Intiman, SAM, etc. during those years, these places were allowed to live.

I suppose I can't argue that.

Would they have been able to survive had the occasional $100k donation been given to Alice B (Seattle's Gay and Lesbian theater company), or The Group* (the only major Seattle Theater company dedicated to catering to the area's ethnic minorities; housed in Book It's current space in the Seattle Center)? I'd say their odds at survival wouldn't have worsened, necessarily. Certainly the excesses you describe might've been curtailed earlier.

Now slide down that same scale until you get to companies the size of COCA, or The Annex...

What's $100k to a place like The Rep? Would it be fair to say that this would represent the pre-production budget on a given show? How often did they get donations of that size or bigger?

That same number for the fringes was $1500. Which wasn't an unheard of donation in those days, but to the extent that The Rep received $100k donations? I'm willing to bet not.

And that's what I'm yammering about here, proportionately, not the same. I'm sure you'll tell me how I'm missing the point, so I await your next salvo.

Speaking of homework: I've searched artsfund.com, The Times, The PI, the Corporate Council for the Arts for the numbers/surveys you've specified and have come up with bupkis. I'm looking for survey results, or graphs, whatever, just looking to break it all down as minutely as possible. Nothing out there.

*The Group also suffered from severe mis-management...actually, they did exactly as the Rep did. Produced shows that would likely have not turned a profit had they sold every seat in the space...

At 6:01 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

last entry written before JJ's previous two had been published, or as he posted those two. didn't see before publishing mine.

Also, just because I bitched about the time it'd take, didn't mean I wasn't going to do it...non-existent though it seems to be.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Public money? Dollars received per person affected, and we'll include audience, staff and artists in that, the fringe gets more. Significantly more. Which in absolute dollars will always be far less.

Seeing as you talk to the mucketies and what not, maybe you can answer these questions then:

Do the public monies given to the non-profit big houses take into account the private monies given to same?

And if not, why not?

See, this is the problem with the "based on people affected" model, because more money will undoubtedly be given to the bigger houses still, and the smaller continue to struggle.

again, I await the corrective salvo.

Strange, a blog entry ostensibly about a sports franchise has spawned a discussion on public v. private funding of the arts.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

I still haven't read the whole post in depth, though.

Oh, please, don't let context get in the way of a proper discussion...take your time, or don't, whichever.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Wow, where to start. OK, that big comment of yours a while back ran all over the place. Some good points, but not at all what I was getting in with the Rep/Leo K thing.

I only meant to illustrate that there was so much money that the Rep did that, knowingly, because they wanted to do those shows and felt for some mistaken notion beholden to their "expected" (by the older patrons, the season ticket and donor folks) production values.

Sharon Ott was a cancer on theatre in Seattle. She sucked as a director, sucked at picking seasons, and could give a rat's ass about anything in Seattle beyond the Rep's door. You won't find an employee still there that disagrees. I danced when I heard she was out, and bout Shelley Reynolds a drink.

But, as my point was never trickle-down (though the staffs of the big houses are filled with artists making a living while they make their art), that's all beside the point.

Do the public monies given to the non-profit big houses take into account the private monies given to same?

Yes. In two ways

A large corporate grant, once awarded, lowers the calculated need of the organization, which is a factor. Individual dollars, however, are rewarded, as are the overall number of donors at any level.

Man, yeah, save the Sonics if you want. I just don't care about the NBA at all anymore, but can se the value of having them. And I think the overall economic benefit is pretty broad. Media types got stuff to talk about, bars have something to keep the drinkers occupied, the team itself is involved in civic action.

And, yeah, it'd be grand to give artists all the money they need, but its also pretty damn grand to let artists suffer, because it makes us better. What, like we're gonna go on strike? I mean, really, fuck artists.

I get tired in particular of the theatre complaint. Fringe artists always feel screwed, need an enemy. Sharon Ott may have been one, but big theatre isn't. They're different species entirely.

And how can you not consider the number of people affected? How many kids saw free shows because of fringe companies last year? How many had a teaching artist in class for three weeks for free because of a fringe company? And shit now, in the post-Ott days, does Jerry Manning not see everything? And David as much as your average father of a four-year-old (calling me below-average in that respect) in the community can? How many companies have gotten free rehearsal space there in the last year?

And, and, and, they happen to manage their money damn well.

Anyway, what's our point again?

*(Yes, our, not your)

At 10:47 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

When's the next spout-off, anyway?

At 11:39 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

OK, that big comment of yours a while back ran all over the place.

My demographics show that people do not come here for coherence.

It turns out that people love a ranting lunatic, and I provide that for people.

Fringe artists always feel screwed, need an enemy. Sharon Ott may have been one, but big theatre isn't.

I agree that big theater isn't, and that fringe artists tend to feel persecuted, but there's a distinct lack of compassion here ("I mean, really, fuck artists"), that denotes someone who hasn't really spent time in the trenches. Like an inexperienced lieutenant would sound to a veteran staff sergeant.

That probably comes off as more condescending than it is meant to. I know that what you hate is the wallowing that fringe artists can indulge in regarding the bigs and the money they draw.

But would it kill the system to find a better way to distribute moneys so that it reaches the areas that truly needs them? Could a better way be found to draw attention to places that aren't represented by the folks at artsfund.org?

And god knows not all fringe models suck (I'm thinking of Annex and the Schmee here, and Balagan seems a likely up and comer...)

Moving on...

Suffering makes us better? Allow me to cut and paste here:

"Really? Dude, are you shitting me? Alright, I'm gonna go check a bunch of artist biographies and see about this.

Fer chrissakes, JJ.

What, do you have to make that statement every quarter to keep your Artist's Membership Card from being pulled?"

Man, I have some unkind theories about people, especially artists, who make that statement, but I'm pretty sure they don't apply to you...however, I find that statement to be as pat as Pat Boone's repertoire.

Anyway, what's our point again?

RTB. No, wait: Let's be selfish brats and not give even our unwanted toys away.

something like that.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Funny, I must've been baked when I said that. Only that would explain my forgetting my general skepticism regarding government funding for the arts, which suffers from the same problem that the market does: the future of art and potential for innovative art left in the hands of people who, almost by necessity, have middling ideas about aesthetics and the social role of art. The position of wanting government funding for the arts is usually based on the premise that art can provide a "social good," but social good is, at best, a side-effect of what creates good art, which is simply the desire to create GOOD ART, art that expresses, or better, communicates a novel idea, a profound emotional state, a groundbreaking metaphysical or philosophical precept, or even appeals to baser impulse by fucking shit up magnificently. Art that sets out to feed the hungry or create racial harmony tends to be about as interesting as a trip to the dentist's office (which, to be fair, might be interesting for masochists--though not this particular masochist--and, well, dentists).

A lot of artistic subsidy also seems to go to forms like opera and ballet, which strike me as largely bourgeois distractions (though I'm all for someone illustrating otherwise, if they can do so for less than the usual prohibitive price of such tickets). This seems to defeat the very spirit of subsidy, in a way: Shouldn't subsidy allow arts organizations to make their wares more widely available?

The point is, while I'm not against any and all govt. support for the arts, I'm certainly not convinced that MORE money from that sector is the answer; nor do I believe that the loss of a sports team is likely to GET us any more money from that sector.

In fact, my "distaste" (if you can call it that) for athletics is borne not of any sense that they've taken anything from me (though some athletes may have in the past; that will be easily resolved by kicking all their asses at the 20th reunion), but rather a general lack of enjoyment of the spectacle. I dislike sports the way I dislike musicals, or contemporary r&b: not as something that can't be interesting, but as something that rarely is. That doesn't make it any more or less a waste of time than the arts--I think athletics can fulfill a similar role in our society, though I find its narratives more blunt (if even more morally ambivalent, which I suppose is a plus). FWIW, it seems to me that athletics NEED subsidy less; if we can offer athletes million-dollar contracts, something's obviously working on the private side (I mean, I don't think we should subsidize Adam Sandler movies, which is the nearest comparison I can imagine, economically speaking).

This feeling isn't due to lack of exposure, and is, indeed, rather mutable. I've watched the Mariners play the Yankees out of contempt for NY, for instance, and I was excited when, our first full year in Seattle, the Sonics were playing in the finals against the Chicago Bulls (they are the Bulls, right?). There's a sports culture that I don't quite grok, but I could say the same about certain kinds of music culture. That's actually an interesting parallel, because, as with any music culture, there are parallels from other locales that work better for me (European soccer and rugby fans, for instance, wear better clothes and listen to better music . . . now if we could just do something about that rioting thing . . . ).

As to the fringe art/mainstream art thing going on . . . While your numbers sound fishy to me, JJ, I'll certainly take it arguendo that fringe receive[d/s] a sizable per capita portion of that subsidy (which makes me wonder where it's going, given that the artists aren't paid). Given all of this, though, I have to say that subsidies clearly aren't doing what we want them to do (or what I want them to do). They aren't pushing the fringe to innovate, they aren't pushing the mainstream to adopt innovation brought to them via the fringe, fringe artists aren't getting paid, and neither the fringe nor the mainstream seems effective in bringing in big houses and educating the ever resistant public on aesthetics.

We've already been over the economic realities of fringe vs. mainstream music compared to fringe vs. mainstream music, and how fringe music can be lucrative in ways that fringe theatre cannot. What I find interesting, though, is that fringe musicians can influence the mainstream in ways that fringe actors, directors, and playwrights only rarely seem to influence the mainstream; indeed, fringe musicians can become mainstream without sacrificing identity (see R.E.M., U2, Radiohead, TV on the Radio, and, if my predictions bear out, Idiot Pilot), while fringe theatre artists, more often than not, either wile away their time in non-paying projects, or answer the call to "grow up" (read: sell out) for the dubious privilege of doing Neil Simon for people who are too scared of even such erstwhile innovations like Theatre of the Absurd or Sam Shepard.

Until subsidies can address these matters--and I submit that they probably can't, or that only private subsidies from radical corners of the upper-class could point us in such a direction--the point almost seems moot.

Okay, end rant.

Would that I could come up with anything for my own sadly neglected blog, but I always do my best thinking in response to something else. Maybe I could host the next spout-off? Do we have any ideas for a topic?

At 2:09 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

What I find interesting, though, is that fringe musicians can influence the mainstream in ways that fringe actors, directors, and playwrights only rarely seem to influence the mainstream...

Well, true, by and large, but even here there seems to be some sort of movement in the local scene. JJ's sainted Rep brought in folks from still green WET to essentially direct and mount My Name Is Rachel Corrie a few months back...Something that would've been completely unimaginable even four years ago.

As far as the subsidies you speak of are concerned...US's approach to subsidy is akin to its approach to health care: We could learn to do a better job with it, if we pay attention to what our neighbors are doing. Look at just the filmic output of our neighbors to the north and south; take a look at their credits, invariably, they all recieved some kind of gov't. subsidy. People like Carolyn Mark are supported in some form, thanks to gov't. subsidy. Maybe not enough to live, or pay rent, or whatever...but enough to allow them to do their art.

A hell of a lot better than what we've got.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Well, Sergeant Beigey, if I agree with you that the cat should be belled, how do you propose doing it? Look to the north, there must be a better way... whatever. Is there a solution hiding in there somewhere?

And I restate - Fuck artists. If that makes me a green lt., then I'm ok with it. You love something, do it. Don't bitch about not getting enough money to do it.

This is pretty particular to theatre. Writers don't whine the same way - they go and do there thing and bitch about editors who won't buy their stuff. Painters either. It's the fact that theatre takes upfront overhead to produce, and faced with this theatre artists feel beholden to the dole.

Well, the world need ditch diggers, too.

Really, I sit with Charlie Rathbun and find out that 4culture is actually paying people to track down small companies to try and get them their money, and you're telling me small companies aren't being taken care of.

I've just been kinda skating along here, having fun, but what exactly are you bitching about? Wanna do a show? Go talk to the Shunpike. Wanna start a company? Dedicate yourself the way an entrepeneur (sp - fuckit) does, and put your financial ass as much on the line.

I've gotten to the point I can't imagine what you are trying to say, what your point is, besides whining for artists.

I consider myself an artist. I create work, I try and get it published, I sometimes just share it. I've never seen a dime of dole, and likely never will.

Agh, ok, I'm done with this. Hey, artists, if you agree with Beigey, here's my advice - get a fucking job. Too many artists have come before you and managed, and too many are waiting to take your place. Go make some art and shut the fuck up.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Jesus, JJ. You make it sound as if what I'm advocating is for a bunch of people who're doing nothing but sitting around and jerking off to get money to support their sitting around and jerking off.

You know damn well that that's not what I'm about.

The green Lt. comment is simply based on the fact that you have not had to do the day-to-day grind of maintaining a theater company, even one as lowly as a fringe company. You've worked the Shunpikes, you've mingled with the 4Cultures, but have you been awake past one in the morning? Working on the set you were shorthanded to build because you can't pay anyone, or even buy dinner? Surrounded by other hard-cores, either freezing or sweating your balls off, depending on the time of year, overcoming the limitations of whatever space you were in, just so you could open on time? Have you?

Have you had to scrap a costume design at the last minute because the person who volunteered was so green and nervous they completely botched the execution on the entire thing, and then had to fund the new costumes entirely out of your pocket, because the budget was stretched to its limit, and you need to have some form of advertising go up?

Have you ever collapsed from exhaustion and panic attacks at 3am, because that one project you thought was done had been left half-ass complete as the person you'd left in charge of that project went home, and you still needed to get to sleep because YOU STILL MAINTAIN A 40 HOUR WORK WEEK ON TOP OF ALL OF THIS SHIT?

Have you, JJ?

And then you want to tell these people that when they hear that the Intiman blew through $25k just on costumes alone to not want some of that money? And please note, the job gets done, the shows go up, and things happen. But they're not allowed to complain that the bigs get the bulk of the goods, and that even a crumb would be more than enough for their purposes.

What are they supposed to say to themselves? "Suffering makes us better?"

"get a fucking job," are you kidding me?

Quick note on the nature of the theater world's whingeing: Writing, solitary work. Painting, solitary work. That upfront overhead you're talking about goes toward supporting a system of artists that need money to even begin to operate, which is the very thing that is usually missing at the level we're talking about.

Getting grants definitely help, but even if you get a good and dependable grant-writer, grants get turned down. Shunpike and 4Culture can't help everyone. These are people who are already working hard to create their art, and they get turned down and there's nowhere left to turn and you don't see a wrong in that?

4Culture's hiring people to find small companies? How about just getting the fucking word out to people? First time I even heard of this organization was at 14/48 this last time through. How long have they been around? Who are they talking to?

You've had enough? I can't imagine what the fuck got you so riled up to begin with. From what I can see it was based on the comment that even when Seattle was flush, the proportion of monies that found itself going to the bottom of the ladder was still piddling compared to what was happening higher up. oh shudder.

And you want the goddamn solution? More money, spread more evenly. Shocking, isn't it. Complicated too, right? The only difference between Canada/Mexico's subsidy/grant process and the one in the US is: more money, spread more evenly.

The lack of both of these things is what I'm bitching about, goddamnit, and if you still need further clarification, let's do it face to face, because I'm tired of reading your tone of voice.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Already I've received a couple of emails from people (not from anyone who'd know better) going "dude, I didn't think things were that bad at X, wow!"

Please note, just about every theater company I've worked with has had to deal with some issue similar to what I've talked about. Some deal with it better than others, some were way more prepared. Some had the money to take care of it.

So, no, I wasn't talking about any one company in that rant. That is all.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Funny thing is, I was about to follow up my rant with a witty diffuser, but then got an upsetting phone call, and then had to scoop up the kid and run off.

But, anyway... I was just having some fun.

4culture has been around for, I believe, seven years, and they distribute the arts and historic preservation portion of the hotel/motel tax. You should get to know them - they got money.

My answer is always to build audience. Audience drives everything. And, yes, blood, sweat and tears are the only thing that prime that pump.

Mainly rhetorical, but does the Intiman, a Tony award winning company, not deserve to spend $25k on costumes? Shouldn't somebody be? Coughing up some cash for your costume design brethren. And do you think they don't work for that money, pressing the flesh with private money, calling people in their homes and asking for handouts?

Anyway, I'll have to look into that sweet arts subsidy program in Mexico. Maybe we'll move.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Helps to be a born native. As I said, the only difference between...

Who wants to deprive the bigs money? If that $25k out of however much they get is enough to sink 'em...assuming, of course, that there isn't another $25k somewhere else out there. Things ain't great for the bigs right now, but they ain't that bad.

And if the times are that bad, they'd still have a hell of a time getting the smalls to do more than really freak out about the state of things.

Yes, I am aware that it takes a ton of work to keep something that big afloat. Including building an audience, a fact that, I'm pretty sure, hasn't slipped the imagination of Artistic Directors everywhere.

You know what helps? Money. And exposure. And support from within the cultural infrastructure.

But that's a rant I'll save for when I'm posting about geopolitics.

Night all.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Jeez, guys . . .

Wasn't this about sports? When even I manage to say more about sports in the meta than the two people I know who actually care about them . . . wow.

That said, I think TBO and JJ are both making fine points, if all too vehemently. Of course, I wouldn't be me if I didn't pick up on something like this:

. . . a Tony award winning company . . .

Is that supposed to be a statement of credibility? I mean, the Tony has more to do with the health and progression of theatre as an art form than, say, the Grammy does with the health and progression of music as an art form, but that's damning it with faint praise (the Tony may not be awarded to the Britney Spears of contemporary theatre, but it's often awarded to the Don Henley of contemporary theatre, which is almost worse). Even the Oscar is more relevant (and that's sayin' something). All, in the end, are functions of stale academia and a confused, manipulated market, and said market, academies, awards, and related hoo-ha are functions of the broad, invisible phenomenon that has been known since at least the '60s as "The Man."


At 1:26 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Is that supposed to be a statement of credibility?

I think he meant it as a statement of national recognition...

At 2:48 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Well, all right, then.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

That is correct, TBO. And while I generally agree about the Tonys, the fact is Intiman deserved some national recognition for the quality of theatre they've been, of late, producing.

Avant-garde theatre? Maybe not so much.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Okay, JJ, explain your last comment there...

At 7:15 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

No. Fuck you.

Oh, ok. I meant that Intiman doesn't do avant-garde theatre. Controversial comment, no?

Do you actually try and think what innocuous thing I might mean, or just go right for the combative?

At 2:01 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Fair enough, JJ, but I challenge any linguist to illustrate how the combative meaning wasn't more apparent from context than the innocuous one. That Intiman wasn't so much doing avant-garde theatre doesn't seem to roll from those words as easily as the assertion that avant-garde theatre doesn't so much deserve national attention (hence my addressing the matter to you via email in those terms).



At 4:00 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

actually, I was just asking so as to not jump to a conclusion. Dear god.


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