Showing posts from March 2, 2008

Mac Rogers

Ian at "Theatre Is Terrotory" does a great job interviewing Mac Rogers, who refers to me, Don Hall, Leonard Jacobs, and Nick Fracaro as "the roaches who will survive the nuclear war – tough." I am still trying to figure out how to use that as a quote on my sidebar....

The Young and the Restless

Thanks to all those who explained their viewpoints concerning art as a job -- I think I understand better now. The more I read, the more a pattern started to emerge -- one with which I totally identify.

RZ/GreyZelda wrote: "I know that Don, Tony and myself feel like we do have lives that accompany all of these things. We're living in it, I guess ... my friends, husband, etc are all a part of my theatrical circle and I've met most of them through theatre. The only difference from the utopia you describe is that we're creating art (all with our own theatre companies that we all helped found, mind you) and making money during the day through an alternative source, aka "the day job". Maybe that'll change someday, but it's what's working for a lot of us right now. We're thankful for the jobs we have because it helps fund our work a lot of the time."

devilvet wrote: "The fact that I have a day job that provides me a salary in the high forti…

Open Thread: Art as a Job

Dear Readers: I haven't done this before, but I'd like to create an open thread for discussion of the following posts, which have arisen following Don Hall's "Art is NOT a Job."

Don Hall: Art is NOT a Job
devilvet: Art is not a job, but Lord it sure is work...
Me: Leading a Rich Life
Slay: Art as a Job

I have a sense -- and correct me if I have it totally wrong -- that my attempts to create a new business model based on Daniel Quinn's ideas concerning "occupational tribes" are being interpreted as focused wholly on making money, making it totally from theatre ticket sales and wholly without concern for artistic values. An example of this would be the last paragraph of Slay's post: "I bet I could build a model that pays well, makes art that doesn't cost very much, has low production values, and packs the house. But, I think I'd have to sacrifice my artistic standards to do it."

In addition, there is a theme that has arisen that I fin…

Leading a Rich Life

First of all, I would like to acknowledge Don Hall's passion for life. Have any of you noticed the times on his posts? Here are the last five: 6:32 AM, 5:51 AM, 5:05 AM, 5:39 AM, 7:35 AM (that was a Saturday, so he slept in). This truly is a man of steel and commitment. That he cares enough to get up and write something substantive, day after day, before heading off to a demanding job at NPR, and then comes home afterwards and commits his evenings to creating theatre -- well, it is truly super-human. Me? Couldn't do it. No way. After about a month, I'd be going postal all over my blog, after which I'd lapse into total silence. To hell with it, you could all figure it out without me!

In his most recent post, "Art is NOT a Job," Hall comes down squarely on the side of the theatre artist with a day job: "I've lived the life of the artist who holds a decent full-time job during the weekdays and spending my time away from my job working in the theater. Fo…

Imagine the Possibilities

First, look at the last map on this post. Now look at this website. Now consider the possibilities for a theatre tribe. (h/t Andrew Taylor)

Movie Quotes Meme

Joshua James tagged Isaac, and Isaac tagged me. So here goes!

Here's the deal:
Look up 15 of your favorite films on IMDb and take a quote from each. List them below. When someone guesses the quote correctly, I cross it off the list.

1. "Fuck you."
"You're the shepherd." -- (Good Will Hunting) -- Ethan

2. "Wise leader, forgive me. I am only a fledgling new to flight."

3. "What kind of place is this? It's beautiful: Pigeons fly, women fall from the sky! I'm moving here!"

4. "Do you think God'll forgive us for what we've done?"
"No." (Man on Fire) -- Mac

5. "What do you think I'm gonna do? I'm gonna save the fuckin' day!" -- (Con Air) Paul

6. "The time to make up your mind about people is never."

7. "Tell me about my dear, dear Daddy! Is it true that he's dead?
"We hope so, they buried him."

8. "You're 40 years-old and you're in love wi…


Douglas Coler, commenting on my post below concerning "1000 True Fans," writes:

Scott, you beat me to it! I also read the 1000 True Fans post and immediately thought of Theatre Tribe. 1000 true fans (+ exponential growth)=subscription base, or nearly so.

I'm also intrigued by the concept of Fundable, which is almost a Kiva type organization in that projects are put forward and funds requested but not distributed until the total requested amount has been pledged. It's not a perfect solution, but one that seems a relatively painless way to raise money. Certainly worth exploring. Brilliant! And if such an approach could be promoted both locally and nationally (internationally?), a theatre with an innovative approach might really get rolling. What would be interesting, in addition, is to figure out a way your theatre could provide your Fundable fans with evidence of the results of their contributions and interest. For instance, could you produce videos of your productions…

1000 True Fans

Kevin Kelly writes about the power of "1000 True Fans." While he isn't discussing a theatre tribe specifically, the idea dovetails nicely with the idea of theatre tribes creating an on-going relationship with the audience instead of simply selling to the large unknown mass. His mathematics are interesting...

Dennis Baker

Thanks to Dennis Baker for his interest in the theatre tribe idea. He is responsible for setting up the Facebook group (an idea that, oddly, never occurred to me despite the fact that I have been a reasonably active Facebook participant for about a year), and he offers a poignant post about his interest in the theatre tribe exploration. Check him out!

Theatre Tribe is on Facebook

Too Close for Comfort

This is funny, but it gives me the creaps!

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

EcoTheater Blog

I LOVE the blog world! Please check out this blog: EcoTheater, written by Mike Lawler! If you'd like to learn ways for your theatre to be more ecologically friendly, this is a must read!

Model: Make It Sustainable (Scenery)

[devilvet bullet point: Create a visual aesthetic for your company that involves a flexible permanent setting.]

So you have created a decentralized permanent ensemble theatre in a smaller city following a tribal model that includes ancillary activities as part of the theatre's income. (For more resources, go here.) On the Tribal Theatre website, there is a link called "sustainability" -- what is that about in this model? Barbara Carlisle and Randy Ward, two professors at Virginia Tech, have discussed this in an article entitled "Writing for Ralph: An Exploration in the Dramaturgy of a Sustainable Theatre," which was published in Theatre Topics in 1999. They began their article as follows: Since at least 1990, the authors of this article--director and playwright Barbara Carlisle, with scenographer and lighting designer Randy Ward--have been participating in a common theatre problem at Virginia Tech. As a department we pride ourselves in maintaining high standa…

Do I Contradict Myself? Then I Contradict Myself!

Actually, I don't think this contradicts what I just posted below, but simply acknowledges the complexity of the theatre audience. In an article on the Guardian blgo entitled "Theatres Should Be Proud to be Bourgeois," Lyn Gardner writes:

Just before Christmas in an interview in the Times, Chichester's Church questioned "the amount of money that's been spent pursuing audiences who don't want to come in cities that don't really want theatre". He added: "Too much time has been spent creating work to find new audiences without supporting the audiences who came in the first place." Church contrasted his experience at Birmingham Rep, a city of two million where he said he had to fight to get 15,000 people to come to a play, with Chichester, a city of 25,000 where 25,000 people will come. "Yes the audience here is older than average. But they're theatre literate. They're passionate. They built and supported the theatre and they…

Mark Ravenhill on Rich People

Mark Ravenhill, posting on why "Rich Donors and Diversity Don't Mix" on the Guardian blog, reinforces for me why this quixotic quest for a new theatre model free, as much as possible, from government and corporate grants is desirable. He writes about being interviewed for a position as artistic director for a prominent London theatre:

One question came as a total surprise, given that we were talking about the future of an organisation that has always prided itself on its radical past. "How well," I was asked, "do you get on with very rich people? Getting on with rich individuals will be an important part of the job." Up until then, I had answered every question, however lamely. But now I was speechless. My interviewer pressed me: "I ask because we're reliant on donations from wealthy individuals to continue our work." More silence from me until I finally cracked a lame joke. "I always enjoy a flirtation with a rich old widow," I…

Impeach Bush Now

Presidents have made mistakes before -- he shouldn't be impeached for those errors in judgment, no matter how disastrous (and they have been disastrous). But his open flouting of the Constitution through signing statements, pardons, and refusing to respond to subpoenas all represents a fascist view of leadership that is beyond reprehensible -- it is undemocratic. Impeach Bush now!


For Isaac, who is talking about "Kinds of Change":

"I don't indulge in these speculations in order to lay claim to powers of prophecy. I toss them into the water to show you what part of the pond I'm aiming at...and to let you follow the ripples back to the shore of the present."

"A tribe is a group of people making a living together, and there's no one right way for this to be done. Be inventive."

--Daniel Quinn, Beyond CivilizationAll of this is new to me, too, and like you I'm not certain how or if I fit into it. Anyone seeking certainty on this blog is not likely to find it. But I will try to keep putting one step in front of the other to explore where this vision leads. Don't follow me, but fan out to explore alternate roots.

Karl Miller's Ruminations of Zack Mannheimer

The sporadically-posting Karl Miller offers these and other comments on Zachary Mannheimer's project in Des Moines. If this is how Miller writes, I wish he'd write more!

Insofar as we are concerned about the health and integrity of "American Theatre," we must explore our own nation. I don't see this as a mere corrective to the self-defeating NY-centric model that currently dominates. And I'm not just gushing because it happens to involve my boyhood home -- Zach chronicles a tour through the country that leaves open the possibility for similar developments in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Omaha, and Missoula.

I haven't read his entire blog yet (it's as much a drinking tour of the heartland as a cultural survey), but here's what I admire most about the whole enterprise. We compare theatre to religion. We compare it to music. We compare it to a gallery. A gymnasium. A hospital. I believe that the raw ingredients of theatre are time, space, and people. Any …

Kudos to Don Hall (and Why I'm Doing Something Else)

I'd like to applaud Don Hall for his planned efforts to create an "Off Loop Freedom Charter" modeled on the South African Freedom Charter, and also his plans to lobby the city of Chicago to use empty city-owned buildings for arts centers, and to give tax breaks to anyone who rents to a small-budget arts organizations. With all my heart, I wish him the best of luck -- anything that makes it easier for artists to create is worth the effort. Don is following a well-worn path, one that Isaac might be able to confirm takes a page out of Saul Alinky's Rules for Radicals -- community organizing, fixing a streetlight (or, in this case, perhaps a water main). I will be watching with great interest to see how Don's effort goes.

But it isn't what I'm doing here.

And that's OK, because we shouldn't all be doing the same thing. We need as many experiments as we can afford in order to find out what works. There are armies of scientists trying to find a cure for …