A Little Wrapping Up

From time to time I like to make entries about my involvement in the Performing Arts Presenters of Hawaii booking consortium because I have never come across another situation where arts organizations cooperated so closely with each other for the benefit of all.

I spent most of the day at my consortium’s annual meeting. Essentially, it was a day to look back and assess the success of our cooperative efforts and project forward to next year.

Since we often share the costs of bringing performers in, there was discussion of who bore what percentage of the total share. Also, since we had applied for a hub grant to support the tour of a New Zealand group, we discussed what expenses that money would cover.

There was also discussion about the membership fee structure, if it was valid and if there should be any changes made to the way fees were assessed and how the monies were used. We actually ended up deciding to apply more money toward supporting the attendance of members at the regional booking conference in September.

A new slate of officers was elected, the structure of the committees was debated and the terms of the board of directors were renewed.

The thing that took the most dang blasted time though was trying to set a time in August to have a pre-conference meeting and then a post conference meeting in October to discuss what type of acts we wanted to see and then what really great groups we saw. There are so many people with their own busy schedules, it was a very time consuming process.

So all in all, sure not an exciting time. But it is instructive as to how to form a cooperative environment. I did, however, get more information on the symphony story I have been following from some musicians who attended the meeting. More on that later..

Took Myself To The Orchestra

Drew McManus over at Adaptistration anointed May as “Take a Friend to the Orchestra Month” He has devoted many of his blog entries this month to following people’s experiences.

Since he listed a concert by the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra as one to see, I thought I would try to take it in. I was coming down with a cold so I wasn’t sure if I was going to go so I didn’t try to get a friend to come along.

Since he provided the impetus, I will probably send my impressions along to him first before deciding to post any of them here. Also, I have gotten sicker since I attended and don’t have the stamina to write much today.

However, Drew took Jerry, brother of WNYC host John Schaefer, to Carniege Hall to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Jerry had never been to the symphony before and today they met with John to discuss the experience on air. Check it out here. There are a lot of great observations made by Drew and Jerry about the experience and about the larger topic of classical music attendance. (And John congratulated Drew on getting Jerry into the symphony where his 40 years of effort have failed.)

Check the radio show out and the entries that fall under the Take a Friend.. topic on Drew’s blog.

You Will Be Assimilated

I know that there is a rumor that Tavis Smiley was not wanted at NPR because he didn’t have the “NPR Voice” – that low, sedate, even toned voice that follows one of a limited few cadences. The Voice was satirized for a long time on a recurring Saturday Night Live skit about the fictional show “Delicious Dish.” (My favorites were the ones with Alec Baldwin where double entendres were made especially funny by the deadpan, oblivious delivery of the cast members.)

I was a little alarmed though when I heard an entry to Earth & Sky’s Young Producers Contest where a fifth grader was using The Voice to narrate his piece.

I imagine kids that age are smart enough to recognize the common elements of all the NPR shows and will put together what they think adults want. While I am glad the kid is listening to the informative NPR program rather than music talking about sex and alcohol, conformity to that ideal is gonna make high school hard on him. Ironically, I have to say I hope it is a phase he grows out of and begins to embrace a little rebellion. (Certainly his parents won’t thank me for that sentiment.)

While contests rewarding creativity do have many unwritten expectations, they are about showing yourself off rather than mimicking what you have heard. Thus, I was rather pleased to see that the grand prize winners didn’t use The Voice. In fact, it was sort of hard to hear what they were saying because their enunciation was so poor.

Keep up the good work showing off yourselves kids!

Searching, Always Searching

Despite not having fulfilled my pledge to add links to the few theatre blogs I have found to my blogroll, I have gone in search of more theatre blogs tonight.

For the most part I was disappointed. Of the blogs I found, most had started with good intentions, but hadn’t been maintained on a regular basis.

This is too bad because Sharpe’s Theatre Blog has elements of what I envisioned when I suggested blogs be used for reflective exercises in learning. The initial entries make some observations about texts and what acting is. Later there is some feedback to other people in the project group which frankly, having been in theatre for a long time, seems to be heavily self-edited so as not to offend. Not that people need to tear into others or air their dirty laundry publicly. It is just conspicous by its santitation.

Similarly, the Applied & Interactive Theatre Blog starts out with a couple promising entries and then fizzles. (On the other hand, the Applied & Interactive Theatre Website proper has many resources of interest to Theatre folk)

Handcart Ensemble in NYC uses their blog to essentially post press releases online. However, there were a few interesting articles interspersed like this one on how to find a rehearsal/audition/performance space in NYC, (none of the stages may be in the same place) what questions to ask, horror stories and how much it may cost.

On the whole, blogs I have found seem to be predominantly focused on providing space for people to post their events- Ohio Theatre, Culturebot
(it does have news and opinion links, but majority are promotional), and the Washington Post’s chic Going out Gurus (actually pretty much newspaper calendar editors posting on line rather than a blog.)

One unrelated, but interesting link I came across was Eric James Stone’s blog on the progress he is making writing his first novel. A therometer bar currently indicates that he has 139,641 out of 150,000 words written. There is actually more reflection on short stories he has written while writing the novel than the novel itself. Some interesting stuff though, including some simple reflections on theatre attendance.