Recently, I had dinner with some lovely people and the conversation turned, as it so often does these days, to politics and economics. I mentioned the importance of arts funding, and one of my companions -- an artist herself -- said something like, "I care about arts funding, too, but jobs are more important."
It's time we stopped thinking of ourselves as charity cases. Arts jobs are no less…
On May 29 in 1912, fifteen women were dismissed from their jobs at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, PA for dancing the "Turkey Trot" while on the job. There has been debate as to whether they were fired for dancing that particular dance or for the quality of their performance. Having been a wee mite at the time, I wasn't there, but I'd bet it was the quality of performance.
After all, the Curtis Publishing Company was the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post, which… Continue
Last July, I got hired at the very last minute -- 13 days before opening -- to light a show. My laptop computer was dying (rather dramatically so); there was no way it would make it through another show. At the time, I was in rural Vermont; there was obviously no time for mail-order and the closest thing to a computer store was Staples...and the only laptop they had that I could afford was a Dell.
I was hesitant to buy Dell. I'd had one 5 years before and the experience was not good… Continue
At the Tribeca Film Festival this week*, I saw City Island and at the post-screening talkback (talkbacks with film directors, by the way, are much more interesting than talkbacks after plays and ballets. Who knew?), one of the audience members asked why Andy Garcia was cast as the lead instead of an "Italo-American". His argument was that an actor of Italian descent would have brought more insight into the role of an Italian-American.
The economic argument for giving stimulus money to the arts is shallow, and easy for non-arts organizations to trump. It's hard to argue for money for the arts when money for crucial social programs -- public health, for instance -- is lacking. It's hard, politically, to give stimulus money for arts organizations like the Metropolitan…Continue
Starting Monday, January 12, 2009, join the Merce Cunningham Studio for Mondays With Merce, a series of webcasts available for free viewing. Go behind the scenes at the Merce Cunningham Studio to see Merce teach advanced technique class and conduct rehearsals. The episodes will also include interviews with Merce Cunningham and his associates, including current and former dancers, artists and musicians, and choreographers… Continue
I have no problem with musicals being derivative. They always have been; Oklahoma, regarded as the first modern musical, was based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs, My Fair Lady was based on Pygmalion, West Side Story was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet (which itself used the same plot as earlier works), etc.
But here's the problem: the train of thought used to be, "Let's base a musical on Don…Continue
I've been watching (as I suspect many of us have) It's a Wonderful Life, that great Christmas classic starring (sigh) Donna Reed and...er...some other people....and I was struck by something I'd never considered before despite having seen the film scores of times.
At the end, Donna Reed's husband's friends all chip in to help replace the $8,000 that Donna Reed's uncle-in-law had mistakenly given… Continue
From Scott Simon's essay on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday:
Our 5-year-old daughter is a ballet jock. Elise keeps her pink leotard and ballet slippers on after class, when she has an ice cream cone — two scoops and extra sprinkles when she's with me, some diet for a ballerina — and often wears her dance clothes to bed.
The University of North Carolina, a state university, has recently banned official displays of Christmas trees. I recently read a blog post decrying that decision and asking, "What could be more American than a Christmas tree in December?"
The answer to that question would seem to be obvious: "The First Amendment".
Too many people seem to think that the Bill of Rights -- especially the First Amendment -- contains the phrase, "Unless you really want to."
In the final season of The West Wing, a young minority Democrat named Matt Santos ran for president against a much-older Republican senator. The senator was so moderate that he was criticized by the right-wing of his own party for not being crazy...er..."conservative"...enough. In an attempt to placate these critics, he chose as his running mate a fundamentalist Christian governor.
About a month before the election, a dramatic event occurred that tipped the election toward the… Continue
I had an epiphany some time ago. I listened to Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.
I’d heard it before, of course – it’s long been one of my favorite pieces of American music, actually – but this time I really listened to it. And, for the first time, I understood it.
It helps to know the background. In 1942, the Cincinnati Orchestra invited 18 composers to submit new pieces expressing their feelings about America. At the time, Nazi Germany had conquered most… Continue