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Showing posts from March 8, 2009

The Wal-Marting of the American Theatre

[Note: Welcome to those of you referred here by ArtsJournal.com and Leonard Jacobs' "The Clyde Fitch Report." I hope that you will explore the archives, where you will find many other posts conerning the need to decentralize the American theatre. In response of Leonard Jacobs' post, I have elaborated on the ideas contained in this one in "The Wal-Marting of American Theatre (Part 2)" above. Again, welcome.]

In Chapter 2 of The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman's celebration of the global economy, he lists as "Flattener #7" what he calls "supply-chaining." He writes:
"I had never seen what a supply chain looked like in action until I visited Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. My Wal-Mart hosts took me over to the 1.2-million-square-foot distribution center, where we climbed up to a viewing perch and watched the show. On one side of the building, scores of white Wal-Mart trailer trucks were dropping off boxes of merchan…

Thoughts on SETC and Birmingham

I arrived home from SETC in Birmingham Saturday night at 11:30, then promptly lost another hour in the time change, so it is not until today that I've had an opportunity to write about Tom Loughlin's and my big adventure in Birmingham. While I was there, the laptop I had borrowed from the library crashed due to what Tom called some "damaged sectors," leaving me unable to blog my thoughts when they were fresh. In the meantime, Tom has provided some excellent posts entitled "Drinking the Theatrical KoolAid" and "Conference Workshops? Not!"

Let me begin with a personal note: I had a blast hanging out with Tom, and within about 5 minutes it was as if we had known each other all our lives. However, he was not at all what I expected at all. When I looked at the picture he included on his blog, especially the one in the banner where he is in Shakespeare garb, I expected a slow baritone. Instead, what I encountered was a snappy tenor with an easy laugh, in…

Intriguing: Theatre as CSA

Thanks so much to Laura for passing this link to the "Economic Revitalization for Performing Artists" website which "grows from the premise that the traditional non-profit model of fundraising does not support the majority of performing artists in New York City. ERPA aims to thus revitalize performing artists’ and arts organizations’ economic lives for long-term impact." The website doesn't seem to be regularly active, but enough to keep you following along. The post "Stolen Chair Visits the CSA Capitol of the World" is written by John Stancato of the aforementioned Stolen Chair Theatre Company. Superficially, a CSA resembles a traditional subscription series: you pay up front to receive certain produc[tions] throughout the year. However, what makes the CSA an interesting source of inspiration is the interaction between farmer/CSA-operator and his or her customers, which as Stancato implies is a great deal of the draw, and a far cry from the prickly r…

Wow! Theresa Larkin on the NEA

Tom Loughlin does us all a service by reprinting Theresa Larkin's profound and moving response to the LA Times' "IF You Ran the NEA" article. I suspect that the author is Theresa Larkin of the California State University, Los Angeles Theatre and Dance Department. I urge you with all my heart to read the entire post. When I read something so literate and powerful, I consider shutting down Theatre Ideas as a sorry job. Here is the last couple paragraphs of Larkin's comment:
In the history of the world, the best artist, in every society, emerges as a sage, a truth teller, a heartfelt communicator, and a caring teaching practitioner who lives to give back to the community. Someone seeking a unique way to celebrate and interpret the times he/she/we are living. However, throughout time and to this present moment, too many truly talented people are never able to reach their true creative and artistic potential, are never developed primarily because of the lack of funding…