So Much Life Lived

I have spent the day preparing for my interview at Wayne State next week. The process reminded me of a For Better or For Worse comic strip where the daughter, Elizabeth, is filling out an application form and realized how much she has accomplished in her life. I spent most of yesterday and all of today reviewing old papers and things I had done during my last university teaching experience. In the process, I discovered the reactions to the Chris Lavin article on covering the arts like sports that I was seeking a couple days ago.

I found I had forgotten many of the things I had accomplished and was honestly surprised I had actually thought up the things I did. I also realized that if I had forgotten so much, how much more had my former employers, now references forgotten of the dazzling things I had done? It goes without saying that they never appreciated my full genius as I had, but how much of the things they had appreciated have they forgotten as well?

Of course, I have had instances when people have said my references said I was given glowing recommendations so perhaps my references did remember…or they were fond enough of me to make up extravagant lies.

Most of the work I did today was in preparation for a class on theatre management I will be teaching. My only worry is that it is 2 hours first thing in the morning on the first day I am there. I will probably leave me brain dead for the rest of the interview.

It was very interesting preparing for the class. I had quite a bit of material ready to present from my prior teaching experience. But I have done a lot of reading and rethinking of my ideas since then so it was rather exciting to be able to integrate ideas I just formulated earlier this week into a presentation I will deliver next week. It will be interesting to see how my theories stand the scrutiny of the faculty and students.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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