Saturday, February 07, 2009

From the Blogroll IX

At Arts Marketing, Chad M. Bauman advises theatres in the current economic climate to renegotiate their advertising contracts. Wow, theatres with advertising contracts...

At Americans for the Arts' Arts Blog, Shane Hudson conducts an interview with Karen Wells, executive director of ARTS North Carolina. Y'all.

At Artsy Schmartsy, Jonathan West takes his Wisconsin senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, to task for voting yea on the amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to ban all kinds of things from the stimulus package, including anything remotely related to funding for the arts. If there a backlash to increased NEA funding -- and there will be, as I argue in this post -- it will flow from people like Coburn and enablers like Kohl and Feingold. (I adore Feingold -- this vote perplexes me.)

At the Critical Condition, Mark Blankenship has a nervous breakdown over coverage of Brendan Fraser in the pages of Entertainment Weekly. Who's Brendan Fraser? :-) Oh, wait! He's the brother of royal biographer Lady Antonia Fraser -- otherwise known as the widow Pinter -- right?

At Culturebot, Andy does a little plugging for the Dublin Fringe.

At Dilettante, Mike Daisey does the right thing and, in his commentary on the University of the South taking on Mark Sam Rosenthal, who wrote and performed Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire, calls the litigious individuals at the aforementioned school "pathetic assclowns." Why he went so easy on them I have no idea.

At Gasp!, Laura Axelrod regales us with a bunch of nifty book reviews.

At Interchanging Idioms, Chip Michael praises Thomas Newman's score for Revolutionary Road.

At the Producer's Perspective, Ken Davenport reports that the owner of the Players Theatre, Michael Sgouros, is offering a rental deal -- well, it's not even really a rental deal -- that's almost too good to believe. It's a recession, baby!

At Moxie the Maven, Moxie puts the upcoming Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls under the heading "Suckwatch." The syndicators of Baywatch look up briefly and exhale a sigh of relief.

At NYTheatre Mike 2.0, Michael Criscuolo interviews the new artistic director of the Astoria Performing Arts Center, Tom Wojtunik, on the occasion of the company's revival of Ragtime. (My review is here.)

At On Theatre and Politics, Matt Freeman offers his take on the possibility of a tax on Broadway tickets. In addition to whatever might be taxing about the show itself.

At Parabasis, Isaac Butler (former and future archenemy, I guess) includes video of President Obama's buck-up speech to fellow Dems. It is, in fact, the video of the week:

At the Silicon Alley Insider, Nicholas Carlson reports on the speech given by Steve Ballmer of Microsoft to the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus retreat. It's worth copying some of what Carlson reports from the speech:

The bubble has burst. We can no longer rely on consumption by refinancing our homes or inexpensive money to fuel economic growth, and that's certainly had a huge impact.

At our own place, what we think about PC sales, they are discretionary in most home budgets, the second, the third PC. Consumer electronics has that characteristic. Fifty percent of capital spending in this country is on information technology. Less capital, less spend on information technology. No sector will be immune.

There's a natural tendency to want to blame somebody for the economic crisis. In reality, I think you have to say we've all contributed to a culture of spending and private debt. And I distinguish private debt and government debt, because I think you have to be much more -- the private sector has less ability to be thoughtful, and the government sector needs to be quite thoughtful. But there certainly has been too much use of debt.

At Microsoft, we've studied these developments. We believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime economic event, but it's not unique frankly in U.S. history. The current situation looks a lot like several -- not one but several previous cycles of long-term private sector debt.

In 1929, for example, just before the stock market crash, the private debt-to-GDP ratio was 160 percent. Last year, private sector debt as a percentage of the GDP: 300 percent; far more leverage. And you can see it's been a steady increase basically since almost the end of World War II.

In my view, what we now have will be a fundamental economic reset. The economy is going to have to re-establish itself at a level of spending that reflects the real value of underlying assets before we can all start growing again at a healthy rate.

This may not be the thing that people really want to hear, but it's certainly what we're planning on, and it's the truth on which we're basing sort of our model, if you will, at Microsoft.

In our opinion, in order to reach the reset point, three things need to happen. First, the economy must be deleveraged. Private debt as a percentage of GDP has to be reduced. Restoring health to the nation's financial system is a fundamental part of this.

Just for historical note, not only during the Depression, but actually in 1837 and in 1873 we had similar style resets in the economy. We actually have at least three historic periods that we can study in which similar phenomenon occurred. I think it was 1873 where even the state of Florida filed for Bankruptcy. So, we need to be thoughtful about being students I think of the history.

Second, confidence must be restored. The stimulus package, in my opinion, is vital. It will provide a cushion as we reach the reset point and it will help restart our economic engine. (Applause.) I certainly want to applaud the steps that the House has taken under the speaker's leadership to quickly pass a strong stimulus package and to help shore up our financial institutions.

Third, America really has to return to growth that's built on innovation and productivity, rather than leverage and private debt. That must happen.

The good news is that the U.S. economy is still the world leader in innovation. Our universities are the envy of the rest of the world. The American workforce is the best on the planet, and U.S. companies continue to drive technological progress in almost every industry.

But the time has come when we need to renew our innovation capacity.

At the Guardian's blog on theatre, Natalie Abrahami suggests that sex on stage is best done through dance. (What position would the Lindy Hop signify?)

At Steve on Broadway, Steve weighs in on the tax on Broadway tickets. (He's being misled by the hysteria of the Broadway folk, I suspect, as I lay out an alternative view in this post.)

At Theatre Is Territory, Praxis Theatre asks the questions of Canadian artists that American artists -- and certainly not its leading arts advocates -- haven't the balls to ask: Do we need artists to create the new creative economy?

At What's Good/What Blows in New York Theatre, Rocco declares the New Group's revival of Mourning Becomes Electra, "pretty much the worst thing I've ever seen." I'll be reviewing for Back Stage.

At the Wicked Stage, Rob Weinert-Kendt points us to an Americans for the Arts' promo commercial and gives the post a simple headline: "Not SNL?" Watch it for yourself and decide:

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Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Leonard, it's not so much that I've been misled as I believe Mr. Landesman's arguments are specious as it appears you do as well, albeit for other related reasons.

Leonard Jacobs said...

Let me re-read and possibly amend my post then. Thanks, Steve. I wasn't aiming to get it wrong, but sometimes I fly through the RSS feeds too fast. Apologies...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention about my interview for Americans for the Arts! Check out my blog when you get a chance.

Zev Valancy said...

That American for the Arts ad makes me very scared. There has got to be a better way to sell the arts than that!