Wednesday, January 30, 2008

boot camp for theater critics

Bobo apologizes for his relative absence in recent weeks. Turns out arts editors have more editing to do than you might think.
He'll be gone the first half of February too — seeing lots of theater in L.A.
Bobo applied to and got himself embroiled in 11 days of an event with the catchy name of the National Endowment for the Arts' Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater:
acting classes, presentations by directors and critics, writing workshops, lots of seeing plays and writing reviews and having those reviews critiqued. It's hosted by USC's Annenberg School.
25 arts writers from all over the country -- some editors, mostly freelancers, a few involved with TV/radio/Websites, all devoted to writing better about theater. Swanky hotel, nice restaurants, and maybe some wild drunken revelry in bars, though I'm the shy, retiring type myself.
This is the NEA AJI TMT's fourth year; turns out your tax dollars also go to support similarly lengthy workshops for journos who work in small markets and who cover dance (in N.C.) and classical and opera (in N.Y.).
More later, during perhaps, and after.


At January 31, 2008 3:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds fascinating.

I hope you have a great time and I can't wait to read all about it.

At February 07, 2008 1:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drinking out of a firehose
Getting exposed to a lot of new ideas here, and, hate to say it, but I'm doing it while it's 65 degrees and sunny. My hotel room has a view of the Disney concert hall by Frank Gehry, the Mark Taper (being refurbished) and the Ahmanson and Dorothy Chandler. From the 24th floor, I can all the way to the Griffith Park Observatory thru the L.A. smog.
Day 3 of the Institute. Saw The Color Purple musical, as produced by Oprah herself. Maybe I'll append the (short) review we did as a first writing-group exercise. Visually interesting, esp. in the Celie goes back to Africa dream sequences, but mostly unmemoralbe score, some good perofrmances, but matters of life and death (incest, rape, abuse, separation, cruelty oddly downplayed). Audiences in the big city just want to be happy too.
Orson's Shadow at the Pasadena Playhouse for a Wed. matinee. They're getting a new Gehry building too. I'd seen the Artists Rep produciton in Portland in May. This was in a larger house, less intimate. The Orson Welles, a recognizable TV face (as were two others in the cast), not as good as the impersonation or threat and intimidation in the Portlnad actor's renditon. Wonderful Olivier. Felt, on second viewing, like a good play with a limited shelf life: too insidery (though I LOVE the script,a nd 5e0 years from now, they'll forgotten. Sharon Lawrence from NYPD Blue as Vivien Leigh -- incredible job of shwoing how VL bcame subtly like Blanche Dubois lateer in life; good insanity bipolar scene.
This is a place where you get into film vs. theater criticism chats with the likes of Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chi Tribune, one of the inssdtructors here; I worked with him at hte O'Neill back in July '04.
Great talk with one of hte instructors here, arts reporter at the Missoulian, about music criticism, being an advocate for the arts, etc.
They keep us going here. I snuck in a swim yest. morning, but every wwakin moment takne up.
Took mamy notes during Carey Perloff's keynote address -- she's AD at ACT in SF, wanted to ask about her working with Stoppard but no chance. Boring formal dinner at Cal Tech's fancy faculty club last night, but talked to some theater marketing types and LA Arts Commission's exec director; hilariious story about the Christma Eve perf. of the "Dulcimer Ladies."
ACting classes-- lots of movement work, felt a bit silly; about to enact other people's first memories, or first memories; they wrote it, we have to memorize it and enact it.
Today on digitial media, lots of good ideas, newspapers working on an outdated biz model, n time to type up all my notes just now.
Tonight: 3 hrs of Wooster Group's Hamlet; write about it all Fri. morning. Seeing Athol Fugard's latest, Victory the next night. I dont even have time to look ahead on the sked. Some great folks int he group-- invigorating to see so many worried about the same things,


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