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Showing posts from January 3, 2010

At Arena Stage Convening

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Nice picture of yours truly with a couple of smart bloggers serving as my bodyguards: Isaac Butler and Adam Thurman. (Thanks for the photo, Amrita)

Marga and Desi

In the comments to my post on "David Byrne on Arts Funding," a fairly common trope is arising that often arises in discussions concerning classics and contemporary work: that the classics are universal and as present as the contemporary. An anonymous commenter wrote:

Picasso once said that “there is no past or future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present it must not be considered at all. The art of the Greeks, of the Egyptians, of the great painters who lived in other times, is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today than it ever was.” Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Wagner often if not generally remain more new than everything produced in our own era, and Schoenberg said essentially the same thing in his essay on "new music." Whatever is produced in our time isn't inherently superior, more important, interesting, timely, or let alone new, which is not to argue that it shouldn't receive support, but that the idea that what is …

Meet Uke Jackson, The Unknown Playwright

If you haven't been reading Uke Jackson's blog "The Unknown Playwright Speaks," it is definitely worth a read. I'd start here with "Some Might Say It's a Miracle," in which he describes his background. We don't always agree (which pretty much could be said of anyone with a brain, actually), but I feel a connection somehow. If you're looking for the way that class plays out in theatre, and also how personal determination also plays out, visit Uke. Good stuff.

David Byrne and Mr. Tanner

The Ancients and the Moderns
Judging from the comments on my post below concerning David Byrne's December 12 blogpost "Art Funding or Arts Funding," there is a lot of people who find the idea of funding arts education and new work over classics objectionable. As seems to be our tendency in today's society, where critical thinking skills seem to have gone the way of the appendix, some people feel as if they are actually saying something important if they "uncover" the motivation someone has for writing an idea, rather than dealing with the idea itself. Hey, conjecture is always easier than actual thought. And so we get this unlikely syllogism:

1. David Byrne is a pop singer.
2. David Byrne is suggesting that public money be used to support arts education and living artists.
3. Therefore, David Byrne wants public money to be used to support only pop music.

First of all, let's just say that $32M for a Wagnerian opera cycle is absurd by itself. Bu…

Tell Me Again

Read this post by Jaime at "surplus," especially this paragraph:

I realized something about a month ago. I was sitting in a lovely off-Broadway theatre, watching lovely actors on a gorgeous set, hearing pretty words and watching the characters go through their personal strife. And it hit me: I am sick to death of plays. Granted, I thought this was a pretty bad one - though lots of smart folks and also a major critic at the paper of record thought it was totally awesome - but just plays in general. Blah blah blah blah blah. Middle-class white people talking about their problems, having babies and getting divorced and dying and falling in love and talking about it for two hours. (emphasis added)
Now tell me again why we shouldn't be working really hard to produce new plays by people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Tell me again how sifting our playwrights through the same "elite" playwriting programs that are filled doesn't lead to the homogeneity tha…