Why would a festival organizer or producer work so hard and take so much time to mount a large seasonal event or show, then say it’s deliberately ‘under the radar? ‘
What a month! It’s been madness since Thanksgiving and if you can believe it, I haven’t even gone shopping yet. So many stories to tell and never enough time to write. I mean, I cannot complain, I’m pretty sure I got my wish from last year. But this year I am going to ask Santa and my Fairy Godmother for a paid assistant. lol On my way to see a new play this evening. It looks really great too. Takes place on the Brooklyn Bridge. That should make me homesick enough to check Cheap Tickets when I get home. Happy Friday everyone. Look up into the sky tonight. Tomorrow is a full moon. But this evening is pretty radiant in LA!
So I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about my writing as a theatre critic. Lately I have not been happy with my commentary. I’ve been very nice to a lot of shows that well frankly don’t deserve it.
Truth is, this summer at The Hollywood Fringe Festival 2011, when I wittily and not viciously panned a show, which was wholeheartedly deserved, and the producer sent me a nasty personal email, my editor asked me to be nice.
I am used to saying things as they are, but I realize that my judgement has been somewhat clouded because of this request and I have been missing the mark. Being asked to be nice is an awkward thing when you are there to give an audience a fair assessment of what you experience of any art form. It also messes with your gut instinct and that my friends, is a no no with me these days. And it seems to be costing me my reputation as a writer with readers and other venues especially when a recent assessment of my own was not just challenged but violently attacked, in such a way, that I had to question what this person’s motives really were. Because it read like it was more than just an alternate critique of a show.
That’s not to say, that I intend to bash any show in the ways I have been seeing a few of my counterparts at large do on various sites. Because it is my feeling that people love to point out what is horrible about a thing without shining some light on its merit. (Which coincidentally also reads like jealously, envy and “I’m pissed I didn’t get considered for the role.” ) And I wholeheartedly refuse to get personal. Entertaining, yes. Honest, yes. Ripping apart a writer, actor, director or producer in a atrociously personal way that destroys their enthusiasm, their career and their livelihood – absolutely no. I happen to be a thoughtful person, I dare say an optimist, who loves and appreciates how much work and time and effort and lest we forget – money – it takes to get any show off the ground.
I would like theater to survive the famine of talent and lack of truly engaging dramatic writing there is out there. I would like to encourage audiences to actually go out, get involved in their local artist communities and GET SOME CULTURE! Because there is an astounding lack of audience participation on that level here in Los Angeles. I would like to entirely disengage from the “slice of life” television writing that keeps infiltrating small theaters as an excuse for entertainment. Let’s just keep that on the small screen where it belongs.
And by the way, if theater “bores you” then why would you choose to slouch on the couch stuffing your face, fulfilling merely the numbers on your bathroom scale every night, watching somebody else live their life while yours is passing you by. At least you can interact with a live show. You are a part of it.
And by the way…ah – NO – I never want back the 2 1/2 hours of my life spent watching any show! Thank you very much. Sure, I could have parked my ass in front of a television to watch a reality show, but really they bore the fuck out of me. Yes, I could alternately sit in some dumpy bar having a beer and nuts, getting drunk, pretending like it is the thrill of my life to be “in the mix.” And, ok, it’s possible that I might be just as entertained at a 3D movie for — ticket, popcorn, hot dog, soda, parking – $50. And yes, I DO LOVE DANCING, something I do often. But really, I would still rather experience bad theater any day of the week. Because I can take it with me forever. I can embrace the moment as much as anything else and find myself in it.
It’s been a long month of wonderful successes and mostly overscheduling. But I am happy to say that I somehow have worked it out. And even more exciting am getting to talk about a new GiaMedia3 rising star talent – actress/comedienne Erica Watson who is premiering her one woman, hybrid stand-up/theater show in Los Angeles from April 29th through May 1st at the Greenway Court Theater, Los Angeles (get tickets here) Not for the faint of heart. In fact, come armed because the title alone is bound to make you react — FAT BITCH!
And neither is being an audience member. In fact it can be pretty dreadful. Ok, I am an artist myself, and completely sympathetic as to how hard it is to mount any show. But what I resent is going to the theater as an audience member, a consumer if you will and being handed, just, well, plain bad work.
Notwithstanding that the concept of art in any form is societally important for lots reasons I am not going to expand on in this blog (maybe ever) it really is the responsibility of the actors, the directors, the producers, to deliver content that “gives” something out to the people who choose to view.
Was disappointed by a theater experience last night. Not too many strong, directorial choices or acting choices. Material somewhat dated. Quite honestly, I was pretty bored and walked away feeling pretty unfulfilled. I really wanted to be a part of something special. Come away with a new feeling or thought or playfulness at the very least. Just eating at the concessions and finding a seat could have been more fun. I love when the tone is well set either by the music or something other than just the play. Not to be.
However, I was fully revived by the very amazing performance of Ballet X a visiting ballet company from the east coast. Mesmerizing. Moving. Exciting. Bold. Powerful. Everything my theater experience last night was not. I couldn’t help but notice and be moved. …and isn’t that the point? To be moved by the experience somehow.
Ha! Waking up on a sunny Saturday morning currently armed with bacon, coffee, my computer and a good mood. Feeling pretty calm after a night of almost mayhem with Sad Robot at the Roxy and Campus Circle Magazine attending. [None of us] almost didn’t get in between cameras, photo passes, policies and permission slips — aka — the list. Signing releases at the box office…(couldn’t I have done that a couple of weeks in advance while in contact with the venue?)
Here’s how it went… (6:30pm) ring (yes my cell phone) “can I speak with Tracey’ – ‘yes, who’s calling, this is she’ – hey it’s Mike from Campus Circle we’re over at the Roxy and they don’t have us on the list’ – (heart attack moment) – ‘what?!’ – ‘that’s crazy I have been talking with everyone for the last week and a half, is this your number? Let me call you right back. I’ll take care of this’ — (ok don’t panic yet) …dialing…(Katherine, all cheery and spunk… answering on the other end) ‘heeeeyyyyy i’m so glad you called I have everything ready’…(me all dire and in a panic) “Katherine, Campus Circle is already there and they can’t get in’ — (K) ‘I knew it! I knew I should have gotten there earlier’ (me) ‘You have to get on the phone with your booker asap. I’m freaking!’ ‘OK Will do. I’ll call the box office and call you back’ — Tweet (Roxy rejects reporter) — Tweet (The bands not even there and already mayhem)— Tweet (my reporter is standing at your door, come on guys that’s crazy)— (followers) respond — respond — respond — joined my Twitter (about 10 right away – psyched). Next phone call –” Hey Mike I just called over’ — (Mike) yeah we’re in. Thanks. No worries. We get this all the time’ –(me) ‘really?’ (Mike) ‘yeah’ — See you later on.” phew! (internal comment – “I really need a better system or a better sense of humor”)
Whatever. Katherine Pawlak was amazing! My director Michael Cornell (Semplice Pictures) was spot on with the camera work and the CCM reporter (also coincidentally named Mike) too sweet and completely fun. One of the best live shows I’ve seen in a long time if I do say so myself. I guess I can say it was “worth the tweet.” lol
Looking forward to treating myself to a ballet class at Westside Ballet School with Joan Bayley and then Shel’s Short over at The Little Theater LA this evening.
In between moments of the crash and burn feelings, I’ve been talking to my peers about accomplishments and goals. I couldn’t help but wonder, however, when does talking become boasting and boasting become bragging? I don’t feel necessarily like I have so much to brag about, but in the scheme of life, I’ve done quite a lot.
Should one’s resume be a topic of conversation? Personally I find it less interesting to talk about the things we “do” rather than what we “experience.” So maybe what I am finding most shocking are the very “limited” topics that tend to arise amongst colleagues. And overall, it’s pretty darn tedious and boring touting one’s own horn at any time, and for more than 5 minutes. Exhausting to say the least. Ho hum dee dum dee (dumb). Forgive me, but I would much rather prefer engaging in a discussion about history or art. And gossip — sacrilege at my dinner table at all times.
I guess I need a little bit more culture myself, to air out the ordinary and the mediocre I find is overcrowding my day-to-day existence. Time to take my own advice. Thankfully I have a pretty fun-filled cultural schedule this weekend. Live music on Friday. Theater on Saturday. Movies on Sunday? hmmmm…maybe I could try ice skating instead or go dancing. It’s a toss-up.