Sunday, November 16, 2008

From the Blogroll II

T.W. Loughlin's A Poor Player encapsulates the concern that the Scott Eckern brouhaha signifies a kind of growing intolerance coming from the left toward those who do not cotton to s0-called liberal beliefs, such as gay marriage. Of course, what no one is adequately addressing is the fact that it is the right that has been the proud, swaggering proponent for raging, fuming, seething intolerance since the Reagan years, and that Prop 8, by definition, is a celebration and deification of intolerance. So the question really is whether fire should be met by fire. I say yes. Others say otherwise.

Chad Bowman's Arts Marketing blog looks at the keynote speech given at the National Arts Marketing Conference by Ed Keller, who, among other things, is a board member of the Advertising Research Foundation, serves as president of the Market Research Council, and is president and director of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). (I wonder: Do they call it WOMMA?) Anyway, it's a long and excellent post -- here is what I think is a great way to sum it up, as per Chad's blog:

6 Key Insights:
1. Americans like to talk. The average American engages in 105 conversations a week about products and services. Those conversations contain an average of 69 brand mentions. Top three categories: Food and Dining, Media and Entertainment, and Sports, Recreation and Hobbies.

2. Word of Mouth has Impact on Audience. On a zero to ten scale, 55% rated 9 or 10 on a 1 to 10 scale. 49% of people say they are likely to purchase a product that is recommended by a close friend.

3. Word of Mouth is mostly positive. 63% of brand references in world of mouth conversations are “mostly positive,” which is seven times the rate of “mostly negative” references (9%). Research also shows that positive word of mouth has more impact than negative word of mouth.

4. Word of Mouth is mostly face-to-face. 73% of marketing-related conversations take place in person. The remainders are phone (17%), e-mail (3%), text message (3%), online chatroom or blog (1%) and other (2%). This remains true across all age groups. Offline WOM is more credible, more positive and more likely to inspire purchase.

5. Half of WOM driven by media/marketing. Nearly 1 in 2 brand conversations refer to brand marketing or media. Consumers tend to take things they hear from traditional marketing mediums and use it in their WOM mentions. 50% of consumer brand conversations refer to marketing or media, lead by television (15%).

6. When it comes to conversation, not all consumers are created equal. One American in ten tells the other nine how to vote, where to eat, and what to buy. They are called the influencers.
Jonathan West's always amusing Artsy Schmartsy makes mention of a Milwaukee production of Kathryn Blume's The Boycott, a solo play about "the First Lady of the United States, Lyssa Stratton, who launches a nation-wide sex strike to fight global warming." Jonathan wasn't sure if he could make the production, as he's rehearsing with his good friend Erez Toffanknees. He also notes that enlightened Milwaukee-area arts advocates lobbied their local elected representatives and saved the Milwaukee Arts Board budget. Schlemiel, Schlamazel!

DC Theatre Scene calls out the people at for slamming, quite hard, the theatre scene in the nation's capital.

Chris Caggiano's Everything I Know I Learned From Musicals (gosh, everything, Chris?) reports on the Broadway-bound The Story of My Life.

Rolando Teco's The Extra Criticum wonders if the economic stimulus package Obama is talking about might be big enough, as per Paul Krugman's urgent advice in his New York Times column, to contain something tantamount to a whole new WPA -- and thus, maybe maybe maybe, a new Federal Theatre Project. "I've slept in shanties, guest of the W.P.A., and I'm here"?

August Schulenberg's Flux Theatre Ensemble has posted a bunch of reviews of its Angel Trilogy, part of which I'll be seeing next week.

Thomas Garvey's The Hub Review has some excellent content this week. In addition to various reviews and features, he writes a long and thoughtful piece in response to a piece in the Boston Globe "Ideas "section by Marjorie Garber of Harvard, on the question of how universities ought to integrate arts into their curricula -- if at all. It's provocative reading and I strongly advise all to give it a look-through.

Patrick Lee's Just Shows To Go You reviews, sorta-kinda, the star-studded concert benefit reading of All About Eve that took place a few days ago. Aw, come on, Patrick, give us a little more, would ya?

Ken Davenport's The Producer's Perspective inaugurates a new feature: Overheard at Angus, as in Angus McIndoe, the theatre industry's perpetually hot restaurant. You want dish? You'll get it here, hot out of the oven, like a Mrs. Lovett meatpie.

Lou Harry's A&E considers Terry Teachout's piece in the Wall Street Journal on the problem, if you can call it that, of there being so few conservative playwrights, if any at all. I wrote a post on that, too, of course, but read Lou's thoughts on this and also, equally important, the comments.

Moxie the Maven successfully identifies the future of the musical theatre (and a replacement for Lin-Manuel Miranda in In the Heights?):

Michael Criscuolo's NYTheatre Mike 2.0 tags Martin Denton (but never me, goddamn it!) and updates everyone on what this whirling dervish of an actor is working on.

Zev N. Valancy's On Chicago Theatre takes his best shot, and it's a pretty good and even-handed one, at Terry Teachout's plea for conservative theatre, plus some reviews and observations and a shout-out to Windy City theatre makers he likes the bestest in the whole wide world!

Matt Freeman's On Theatre and Politics looks at the question of non-religious reasons to be against gay marriage. (A subject originally proposed, Matt notes, by another blogger who, for reasons known to that blogger, shall remain quite anonymous.)

Lauren Yarger's Reflections in the Light reviews Saturn Returns and Speed-the-Plow.

John Clancy's Scrappy Jack's World-Wide Theatricals and Dime Museum has a bunch of interesting posts, but the one about rehearsals and what it means to rehearse is terrific. Read it!

The Guardian's theatre blog includes a Michael Billington piece defending political theatre, specifically David Hare's newest play, Gethsemane.

Steve Loucks' Steve on Broadway takes on the Scott Eckern mess and sides with the forces of right and good.

George Hunka's blather-prone Superfluities Redux, in response to a post in the Guardian, posts his review of Postdramatic Theatre by Hans-Thies Lehmann. The discussion of the decentering of text is actually very interesting.

Aaron Riccio's That Sounds Cool takes on the piece I wrote for the New York Press on how the publicist for the play starring Meryl Streep spawn Grace Gummer shrewdly used the young actress's heritage to draw interest in the piece, and then played one publication off of another. Perhaps Aaron is too busy kissing PR ass, I don't know. But his assertion that Gummer's parental heritage was mentioned only in passing in the press materials for the play is not true at all.

Scott Walters' Theatre Ideas has a brilliant post called On Complexity and Civil Discourse that analyzes, among other things, the national obsession with political melodrama. This bit alone ought to be enough to incentivize you to read the rest of the piece:

Our society has become addicted to simple-minded melodrama. From our entertainment to our political discourse, we regularly choose the extreme over the measured, the fight over the discussion, the war over diplomacy.

Praxis Theatre's Theatre is Territory has a great piece on what it's like being an actor in Tokyo.

Rocco's What's Good/What Blows in New York Theatre takes on the Scott Eckern controversy and is at least as acid-tongued about it as I was, although he doesn't mention me (another one!) at all.

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Anonymous said...

Yeah, everything. You got a problem with that?



Aaron Riccio said...

Well, there's a very real possibility that I'm not getting the same sorts of PR releases that get sent to the MSM, but none of the ones that I got heavily promoted the family connection. In any case, my point is more that if it gets people to go to a small off-off-Broadway theater on 3rd and B, then a publicist SHOULD go all out. Isn't that their job?

Leonard Jacobs said...

No, actually, their job is to get people to write about the show or to review the show, and that, not the press release, is what gets people to go to the show. All the more reason -- when the publicist slathers "Meryl Streep's daughter" in 24 point type at the top of the press release, followed by a huge photo of Grace Gummer -- for the PR to either make her available to the press or not, but not to play games and indulge in fakeouts and pitting this reporter against that one. Indeed, if the PR's job is to get people to go, shouldn't they be making Grace all the more available in the first place? I'd also add that you seem to have overlooked the fact that the piece was also a compare/contrast with Mamie Gummer and the way she has handled her career so far. It's a think piece.

Martin Denton said...


nytheatre mike DID tag you, here:


Aaron Riccio said...

Leonard, wasn't critiquing your piece. (I even mentioned that talking about Grace is fine stuff for a feature.) I just used it as a jumping off point to wonder why Grace's heritage would ever come up in a review, though thankfully, only the Times (as I suspected) used it. Best, Aaron.