Showing posts from March 30, 2008

Managing Director Salaries: The Point?

The point of my post below on managing director salaries is not whether or not the MD of the Goodman "earns" his money (whatever that might mean in this context) (although a 2-star overall rating, a 1-star efficiency rating by Charity Navigator and a decreasing primary revenue amount might suggest questions might be in order), but rather to indicate that the non-profit theatre seems to have succumbed to the corporate model of scaling salaries according to the closeness to the Board. When you have a Board that is likely drawn from the higher economic classes in Chicago, the amount that they feel is proper compensation for management, given their own experience, will reflect that orientation. Imagine, instead, that the Board was made up of people who worked a regular job for a living -- let's say, grocery store managers -- would they feel that $340,000 was justifiable?

The model of the theatre tribe makes sure that the money is being distributed fairly and equitably, and th…

Context: Managing Director Salaries

A while back, there was a flurry of discussion about Artistic Director salaries. Playgoer did an excellent job examining NYC artistic director salaries, and I plucked a few anonymously. While I think this discussion was pretty dynamic and the direction it went was interesting, I thought we might throw these salaries into a more accessible context.

Here in Asheville, there is a grocery chain called Ingles, which operates 197 supermarkets in six southeastern states. This last quarter, they had net sales of $771M. If you multiply that number by four, you get an approximation of their net sales for the year. Divide it by 197 stores, and you get the average net sales per store: $15.65M.

The income for the Goodman Theatre was $15.89M, according to Charity The managing director of that organization -- not the artistic director, the managing director -- was paid $340,021.

So here's my question: do you think, if I drove over to the Ingles a few blocks away, that the manager of …

Out of Town Thursday through Monday

Tomorrow morning, I am heading to Illinois to see my stepson, Jake, play the role of Danilo in The Merry Widow at Illinois State University, where he is working on his degree in acting. I am looking forward to it with great anticipation not only because it's Jake (although that's a big part of it), but because it is Jake performing in an operetta I know nothing at all about. It is a real pleasure to see a play I know nothing about and so will be surprised about. My wife and I leave Thursday morning and will arrive Friday. The opening night is Friday, and we'll see him again on Sunday (the leads are double cast, so he doesn't perform on Saturday). Then back to Asheville by Monday evening. So no blogging Thursday through Monday.

However, there will be a link to my post on Richard Florida on the "Regional Communities: Think Local Planet, Act Regionally" blog. This is a very interesting site for people interested in the idea of a theatre tribe.

I think on of the …

John Taylor Gatto on Education

Have any of you read John Taylor Gatto's books on education? They are passionate, intelligent, and very, very disturbing. His descriptions of the problems with most public education is on the money, as far as I'm concerned. And while I at times take issue with his solutions, as the years pass I find myself more and more in his corner. If you'd like a sample, read his essay "The 7-Lesson Schoolteacher," which is summarized by Dave Pollard on his How to Save the World blog as follows:
(1) confusion, incoherence and disconnection (by teaching without context), (2) know and stay in your place, (3) don't care too much, (4) how to be emotionally dependent, (5) how to be intellectually dependent (wait to be told what to do and think), (6) your self-esteem is provisional on what others think of you, (7) you can't hide, even long enough to think for yourself. The system was designed to produce compliant industrial workers, but now operates on its own momentum. Unsc…

On Boards

Joe's post at Butts in the Seats, "Skeptical Eye on Board Recruitment," raises an issue that has always bothered me on a personal level, but that I am willing to be schooled on: why is it that a theatre needs an outside board at all? Is this connected to this idea of a non-profit organization being an entity in service to the community, and so it should receive community oversight?

It has always annoyed me because it seems sort of like a requirement to have "grown-ups" oversee the Irresponsible Artists who simply can't be trusted to know what to do in the practical world of money management. Does it seem that way to you?

Because what seems to happen all too regularly is that boards get filled with people who are focused money issues, and their solutions to those issues almost inevitably involve encouraging the artists to do more traditionally popular plays, by which they mean plays that have a proven track record. This is an odd idea to me. If you were an ent…

Goal of Theatre Tribe: More Work!

From one of my new favorite books, Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:"The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential. X-rays of famous painting reveal that even master artists sometimes made basic mid-course corrections (or deleted really dumb mistakes) by overpainting the still-wet canvas. The point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art. The best you can do is make art you care about – and lots of it!” In many ways, this stands at the center of what I am trying to accomplish through the theatre tribe concept. When I read many of my fellow bloggers, I get a deep sense of how difficult it is to keep making work. Playwrights have the best deal, because at least t…

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Every once in a while, an issue arises on my blog that leads to discussion about my personal blogging "style," and words like "abrasive" and "combative" inevitably are trotted out. People tell me that I would be more "effective" if I were "nicer," if I didn't "lecture," even if I used fewer declarative sentences! Sometimes I get irritated with these discussions - in fact, I'm afraid I got a little testy with Freeman and Isaac late last week in a series if IM's and emails that were sent out of friendship, and I apologize to them publicly (end of a busy week).

Anyway, I was talking about this with my wife this weekend, and in the course of the discussion I was struck by a realization due to an observation she made: when I blog, I play a role. I'm not really like the guy who writes this blog. I'm not like this in classroom, or home with my wife, or out with friends. Like the Wizard of Oz, I have constructed a …