Monday, August 25, 2008

Quote for the day

The Renegade Festival was excellent and inspired many potential posts--as is the book that I'm reading this weekend on arts marketing. However, it is past my bedtime, so I'm going to simply post a quote with a teaser about more entries to come.

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word--excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
--Pearl S. Buck

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oscar Wilde Awards

I'm off to the Oscar Wilde Awards tonight at the Gem Theatre, an event hosted by Between the Lines. This will be the third time I've gone and I have to say, they throw an awesome party. It's a great night for celebrating Michigan theatre.

I'll be back in time for the Renegade Theatre Festival. There are a lot of exciting events going on in Old Town that are well worth attending. It should be a great experience.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Leaving at intermission

It's something I try very hard not to do--leave a show at intermission. In the past three years I've seen upwards of 250 shows and I can count on half a hand the number of shows that I've left at intermission. I've never done it when reviewing a show.

However, I am on a judging committee and the theaters are kind enough to comp my entry into the show. I try to honor that gift. I do so by trying not to attend on sold-out nights, but arriving at the show open and ready to receive what the artists have to offer, and being attentive and focused during the show.

So the question becomes, is it ever acceptable for reviewer or a judge to leave a show without seeing the whole thing. I tend to say yes because there comes a point at which you know things are not going to get better and staying for another act wont' help things any. Also, I think reviewers and judges have to respect their own time as well as the theater productions they see. There comes a point where if you see too much of theater done poorly, it becomes increasingly difficult to appreciate theater as a whole. It is too much of a bad thing that can make critics cynical and grumpy--two traits that no one likes for their critics to have.

I don't have a good answer for this question. I do know that I won't leave a show unless I can do it unobtrusively and in a way that is not rude. But I don't think I'm prepared to say that I'll never do it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Keeping the conversations bubbling

I had an awesome conversation with my family this morning. It reinforced for me why I love being a one-car family, not having a television, and attending lots of live theater together.

We were driving down Willow so that I could be dropped off at work. My 10-year-old son (whom I’ll refer to as D) asked what the unusual odor was that we were experiencing. My sleepy husband pointed at the construction vehicle in front of us. D said he couldn’t decide whether the smell was good or bad. I suggested that it was an industrial smell. When he expressed delight at the term, I inquired as to whether he knew what I meant by industrial.

Showing off his video game knowledge (he’s been playing a lot of Sid Meier’s Civilization), he said that you could build railroads when the Industrial Age started. This got us talking about other things in the Civilization game, including why Lincoln was designated the leader of the Americans, Julius Caesar the leader of the Romans, and Cleopatra the leader of the Egyptians.

D twice saw Julius Caesar this summer at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. He was a little distressed to learn that Marc Antony went on to become a leader in Rome and a “friend” of Cleopatra. (D. thought that the Republic survived the assassination of Caesar and that the Empire only started after the war between Brutus, Cassius—and he then tried to name all the conspirators—and Marc Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius Caesar was over.) He asked whether Marc Antony was the first ruler of the Roman Empire. A discussion then ensued about when exactly the Roman Republic ended and the Roman Empire began (we failed to exactly pinpoint it, but we tried).

This then led into a discussion about how sometimes there are periods of anarchy that precede the rise of a new form of government. This he also understood from playing Civilization. He then asked whether our government would ever change. Richard and I were quiet for a moment and I then explained that Thomas Jefferson was of the belief that when the government wasn’t working, the people had a responsibility to overthrow it and form a new government.

D replied, “With all the wars going on, it must not be working.”

So we talked about the dangers of overthrowing a government if you don’t have another system to take its place. He then pointed out that in the game Civilization, you could hire entertainers to make citizens who are revolting happy again. He suggested that today, that entertainment would be video games. I laughed, saying that yes, television and video games were the great panaceas that keep people from fixing their governments.

We then had to end our conversation because I had arrived at work.

I love, though, that theater sparks such conversations between us and that they give us an opportunity and a context to talk about things that are important to society. It was a reminder to me once again of why knowledge is just as (if not more) important than skills.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stealing from Tony

I've been slowly catching up on my blog reading as well as my blog writing. One of the blogs that I enjoy is Tony Caselli's blog over at Live Journal. Last week he posted a meme and invited people to do the same on their journals.

Here are the rules:

RULES:* 1. Post these rules.* 2. Each tagged person must post 8 things about themselves on their journals.* 3. At the end, you have to choose and tag 8 people* 4. Go to their pages and send a message saying you tagged them.* 5. No tag-backs

Like Tony, I'll skip rules 3-5, though I welcome others to share their 8 either in comments or in their journals/blogs.

Here are my 8 things that perhaps some people don't know about me.

1. While clarinet was the instrument I played the most/longest, in marching band, I played tuba.
2. The summer I interned at The Grand Rapids Press, I tried to teach myself Russian, Italian, and Swahili. I failed at the latter two while having some modicum of success with Russian.
3. I used to be horribly afraid of trying to socialize in crowds (defined as groups of more than three people).
4. I think Michigan is a paradise on Earth.
5. I haven't owned a television since 1990.
6. My husband first gave me his class ring on the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded.
7. My husband is the first man I ever kissed and my high school sweetheart.
8. My father claims that the spelling of my first name is because they were under pressure from the author of the birth certificate while my mother insists that they spelled my middle name wrong. Is it any wonder I'm an editor?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Getting back into the swing of things

In about 10 minutes, I'm leaving to see Riverwalk's Raisin in the Sun. While I've seen a few shows locally this summer (Talley's Follies at Williamston was particularly enjoyable), I've been so focused on work that I've not really had much time to think or write about them. Nor did I even have time to write much about the Michigan Shakespeare Festival and there were lots of interesting things about both productions that I typically would have enjoyed blogging about.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove. I'm also looking forward to having the time to read the two performing arts-related books that have arrived on my doorstep: Arts Marketing Insights and Invitation to the Party. What little I've read of both of them so far (about a chapter a piece) has been inspiring and exciting.

There are three shows going on this weekend. I'm planning to make it to two of them:

  • Riverwalk's Raisin in the Sun
  • Sunsets with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
  • Holt-Dimondale Community Players' Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
(Hmm, blogger isn't letting me fix the italics so that only the play name is in italics.)