Thursday, August 09, 2012

Eating the Economic Orange

Leo Hwang-Carlos, who will be at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield MA this weekend to participate in a rural arts work group discussion, does a great job explaining why the economy is more than the numbers reported by economists. I was particularly impressed by his description of all the ways he participates in the economy, and wonder how young people in high school or college might be educated to think of different ways of making ends meet than simply using a paycheck to pay for goods and services. A more varied approach might free up time for creativity.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The WAITlist

Traditional writers in the mainstream media (and, as I found out a while ago, many leaders of prominent arts organizations) see bloggers as, to quote Spiro Agnew (I can't believe I am quoting Spiro Agnew), "nattering nabobs of negativity" -- people with uniformed opinions, loud voices, and a free platform. As a long-time blogger myself, I not surprisingly don't see it that way. Nevertheless, I do find myself drawn to bloggers who make connections to other thinkers.

At one time, there was a badge that labeled blogs as (as I remember) "thinkers blog." I think you were nominated, and then could claim the badge. Theatre Ideas had such a badge, which is evidence that the moniker "thinker" was pretty loose. Nevertheless, the goal was worthy.

I'd like to replace my own blogroll with a more selective list of bloggers whose writings about theatre and the arts are thoughtful, well-read, articulate and broad (not that  my current blogroll lacks such bloggers). For a variety of reasons, over the last year or so I have lost track of what is happening in the arts blogging world and am no longer au courant, a dismal thing indeed for a blogger. So I need your help.

In the comments, I'd appreciate it if you would nominate blogs that you feel have the following characteristics for inclusion in this new blogroll, which I will call my WAITlist. The characteristics I am looking for are:

  • Well-read: the blogger references the ideas of other thinkers, not only within the arts world but, even better, in other disciplines; 
  • Articulate: the blogger writes well and communicates ideas clearly and with energy;
  • Innovative: the blogger addresses issues in the arts with originality and a questioning mind that is willing to question conventional wisdom;
  • Thoughtful: the blogger tends to consider issues fully and doesn't simply shoot from the hip.

Below are a few examples of bloggers of who I am aware that meet the criteria above -- I hope you'll add to my list:

  • Diane Ragsdale at Jumper ( I became aware of Diane when she served as the facilitator for Rocco Landesman's now-infamous "supply and demand" comments at the Arena Stage convening I attended. I love her unflinching willingness to ask the scary question while drawing my attention to the ideas of other thinkers from a variety of fields. For instance, in a recent post she used, to great effect, the 1989 book Permanently Failing Organizations by Marshall W. Meyer and Lynne G. Zucker to discuss the way that non-profit organizations might be encouraged to "persist even though they are no longer achieving their goals."
  • George Hunka at Superfluities Redux ( George, a long-time blogger who was responsible for my having become a blogger myself (so blame him), has a taste in theatre that doesn't often match up with mine, but I always find his writing passionate and deeply knowledgeable. A recent post drove me to the dictionary to find out what this "pensum" is that has been laid upon me from birth. I must confess, however, that I remain unpersuaded by George's love of Howard Barker...
  • Ian David Moss at Createquity ( Ian is a numbers guy, which I love even though it sometimes gives me a headache. (Actually, it makes me regret having taken formal logic instead of statistics for my undergraduate math requirement.) Sometimes, I wish for a few broad hacks by Ian at some sacred cows, but I forgive this because Ian has sifted through so many reports, summarizes them clearly, and provides links so I can investigate them more thoroughly myself. His writing is clear and passionate.

So there are three WAITlist bloggers. Who else should I be reading? Tell me in the comments.


  • Arlene Goldbard ( ). Arlene is a major figure in the community arts development movement. Her blog is alternately personal and global in scope. The questions she asks, and the way that she asks them, encourages me to be more generous in my thoughts.

Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

Every once in a while, I think I'll post a link or two to posts written earlier in the life of Theatre Ideas that seem worth revisiting ...