Thursday, January 08, 2009

From the Blogroll IV

This feature was popular last year, but time and travels were such that keeping it up was a bit hard for me. The Clyde Fitch Report is about to undergo a fairly substantial redesign, and that will include a move to and Included as part of that redesign will be a (hopefully) automated From the Blogroll feature, so stay tuned. In the meantime:

A Poor Player put together a list of shuttered theatres. It's long and it's sad.

Edward David's Miller Adventures In and Out of the Mainstream Media imagines what it would be like for Richard Dawkins to deliver the Invocation at the Obama inauguration. As we all know, that isn't going to happen. Still, I adore Miller's list:

--Rev. Canon Martin Brokenleg, Director of Native Ministries Programmes and Professor of First Nations Ministry and Theology, a gay episcopalian
--Reverend Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, a ministry serving the glbt community
--Vivianne Crowley, High Priestess of the Gardnerian coven of the Wiccan faith
--Robert Thurman, Je Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, and father of Uma
--Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the leader of New York’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah and a lesbian.

Personally, Kleinbaum would be my choice, having attended High Holy Day services at CBST every year with Ken since we met in 2002.

Americans for the Arts' Artsblog, which makes for pretty interesting reading, has a post from its leader, Robert Lynch, listing his most memorable artistic experiences during 2008. One of them is the Jeff Koons exhibit in Versailles. I don't want to get all technical and academic about this, but the word that comes to mind about that exhibit, having just been there, is blech.

Between Productions offers a lovely farewell to the fine actor Pat Hingle.

Butts In the Seats discusses the "recent revelation that Guthrie Theatre director Joe Dowling makes over $680,000 in salary and benefits in 2007" and that a lot of people are "grumbling." It's a pretty good post -- these four graphs are particularly good food for thought:

Dowling is purported to be the highest paid theatre director in the country. I don't have my passwords to the latest salary surveys with me to check but I will assume it is correct or nearly so. A couple years ago, I asked if a musical director of a symphony was really worth X times as much as the musician. (I can't seem to find the entry, so it might have been another highly placed position in a symphony.)Looking at the same comparison on an annual basis between Dowling and an actor or perhaps ticket office clerk, I would say Dowling wasn't worth it.

However, looking at Dowling's history at the Guthrie, that is another matter. He has spent the last 13 years there. Twelve of those years the theatre has been in the black. He retired $1.8 million in debt, expanded audiences and guided the organization to construct a new facility on the Mississippi River. ($100,000 of his 2007 salary was a bonus for doing so.) In this context, he is someone the board of directors will want to keep around. Whether they could do so for less might be the question but they would certainly be fools to immediately pay whomever eventually replaces him close to his departing salary. I daresay there are few in the country capable of directing the Guthrie at the level it currently operates.

As something of a comparison, this past November it was revealed that the highest paid university president in the country was David Sargent at Suffolk University. It raised quite a ruckus when it was learned he makes $2.5 million when the median salary for presidents is about $500,000. There were some extenuating circumstances like the fact he has worked for the university since 1956 and has been president for the last 19 years and never taken a sabbatical in that time.

Is longevity and dedication worth that much? Is it worth that much in light of the rising cost of college educations and the declining value of personal assets?

The Critical Condition asks a particularly critical question: Who are the citizens against Don Henley?

Extra Criticum features my friend, Gary Garrison, Executive Director for Creative Affairs at the Dramatists Guild, coming out. Not about being gay -- Good God, we knew that 5,000 years ago (sorry, Gary, dear). No, it's about his writing. A reprint, and a good one at that, from Garrison's famous The Loop.

Full Force Theater Musings engaged in a little end-of-2008 smackdown of the theatre industry. I love her list of nonsensicalities that get called out:
1) PRODUCER STATEMENTS ("My favorite thing of the last few weeks was the Vanities delay statement. It was great to hear that the production was "being rescheduled for later this season out of responsibility to the investors at this complicated economic time, which makes it very hard to support a new musical on Broadway." I would have preferred: "due to the fact that, currently, while it is fun, this doesn't seem like a Broadway show, we've decided to hope and pray and then maybe we will come to realize that this is an off-Broadway show if a musical other than Altar Boyz or Forbidden Broadway could exist off-Broadway, but, since it is virtually impossible to survive off-Broadway, we'll probably scrap the whole idea.")

2) RIDICULOUS TRANSFERS ("Not since A Class Act.... Rock of Ages. 'nuff said.")


4) THROW EVERYTHING AGAINST THE WALL AND SEE WHAT STICKS ("I understand that theater shows need to attract all kinds of audiences, but I wish some of them would pick a tone, a style and, I don't know, maybe really focus in on main characters.")

5) CLAY AIKEN GETS A SARDI'S CARICATURE ("Can they just stop giving these? Please?")

The Hub Review considers "The Curious Case of Brad Pitt," including a totally stoking photo.

The Fortress of Jason Grote makes it clear what he thinks of Israel attacking Hamas and has bought into the left-wing miasma that ensures that Israel will lose the PR war, as usual. (I don't favor either side, just for the record. I think Israel did itself no favors by waiting so long to reply to the daily Hamas rocket attacks. And I think Hamas is a nihilistic death force, clearly, one that needs resolution and I don't think either guns or butter can resolve it. That said, I'm afraid that fluttering around with doves isn't the answer, either. Sue me.)

Jen Ryan's Brain's Blog came back with a bunch of posts, then disappeared again. Where are you??

The Producer's Perspective asks "Should there be two Broadway Leagues or one?" (Some might say there should be none, but that's another story.)

Moxie the Maven blogs about Josh Brolin calling Ben Brantley some pretty harsh names. Well, one name, anyway -- a compound word that implies intercourse with someone's female parent. Owners of thesauri scour their volumes for the proper response.

On Chicago Theatre ponders the possibility of a new Federal Theatre Project and finds Zev N. Valancy volunteering to be the new Hallie Flanagan. He certainly has the legs for it.

On Theatre and Politics finally, at long last, explains Matt Freeman's lineage to Lizzie Borden. I kind of thought, Gee, he seems like a 40-whacks kind of guy, but who would say it out loud?

One NYC Stagehand considers Gov. Paterson's proposed amusement tax, which has Broadway distinctly unamused.

Parachute of a Playwright, quoting Le Monde, reports that Peter Brook will leave Bouffes du Nord in 2011, when the legendary master will be 695 years old.

Splattworks considers Sam Shepard's recent arrest for DUI and successfully avoids the dreary overemployment of symbolism in doing so.

TheatreIdeas considers the genuinely alarming and frightening TVA sludge spill, but fails to connect it to Rock of Ages.

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Zev Valancy said...

I'm not sure if having my gams compared to Hallie Flanagan's is quite a compliment. Though if I can be as dead sex as Cherry Jones some day...

Zev Valancy said...

Dead sexy, that is. Dead sex makes it sound creepy.

Freeman said...

I was falsely accused, just like my distant relative.