Monday, January 25, 2010

"Topless Titania"

"Topless, pasties-wearing Titania" packing the houses for Shakespeare under new artistic director at Boston's American Repertory Theatre, according to The Boston Globe.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hey, Lady!

Apologies to Jerry Lewis, but I'm sure New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was not amused when a woman stumbled--not upon, but INTO a famous Picasso painting!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Watch out for the man in the orange tie...

...yes, it's none other than Spark-e! himself--standing with the OC arts delegation in Assembly Member Jim Silva's Sacramento office. Mr. Silva is standing on the far left (not politically, of course!) in this photo, followed by Sarah Murr, Community Investor, Global Corporate Citizenship, The Boeing Company; moi; Paula Tomei, Managing Director, South Coast Repertory; Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami, Executive Director, Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center.

We were there for 45 minutes, enjoying conversation with Mr. Silva, and we almost missed our plane back to OC!

Top of our list was to persuade him to support AB 700--The Creative Industries Revitalization Act, which will allocate a small portion of existing tax on purchases of art & musical instruments to be reinvested in the nonprofit arts community.
For more information on AB 700, please go here now and use the built-in mechanism to register your support with your state representatives!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In the UK: Can US-style arts philanthropy work?

I've had a running discussion with Jody Myers, a former executive of London's Royal Festival Hall and now a top consultant to British arts organizations and that nation's arts council. It's about the growing possibilities for arts philanthropy in the UK. Jody doesn't see it as likely to become a major force there--mostly because the British mentality is so ingrained that the arts are a necessity and that taxpayer monies should be funding them. That makes it exceedingly difficult to persuade potential donors to give anything there. (Of course, the arts in Britain are experiencing the same sea-wave changes wrought by the technological revolution and demographics, but the accessibility [read: free & inexpensive admissions] has dampened the impact there so far.)

Here's an article that just appeared in the UK's Guardian on the subject, outlining other perceived pitfalls of building a new dependence upon arts philanthropy in Britain.

Here in the US, we have done a pretty good job of developing top level philanthropic support for the arts. But we have done an abysmal job of making the case for public funding for the arts (possibly why there's also so little grass roots arts philanthropy). There is a widespread effort under way to change that on the national and state levels, as well as here in Orange County. And Arts Orange County is already leading the way with pilot efforts to reinforce support for arts education in the public schools.

These are not efforts that will likely bear fruit overnight, but the arts community has been too impatient in the past to stick with it: we need every arts lover to sign-up for the long haul!
PS: Jan. 21: Today's NY Times has an article that weighs the American way of arts funding vs. Europe's.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Grupo de Rua @ Irvine Barclay Theatre last night

This clip will give you some idea of this all-male, hip-hop influenced dance ensemble from Brazil. Their short program was long on virtuosity even if there could have been more variety to it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Phyllis Diller!

This is a hilarious interview in New Yorker Magazine with the legendary nonagenarian--as feisty as ever! Never met her, but she once donated a handbag to a charity auction of mine--it was a hideous chartreuse-green beaded purse she had made herself, and must have been used as a prop in her act at some point. We auctioned off one-year use of the bag--then it had to be returned so we could auction it off again the following year (though it disappeared after the third incarnation).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Snazzy new websites...

If "premiere-itis" was the arts producers' disease of the 90's, "new website-itis" is the latest epidemic to hit the field.

The most recent one to debut is that of the Irvine Barclay Theatre, which really looks sensational.

Earlier this year, both South Coast Repertory and the Pacific Symphony launched new websites, too.

And with the renaming of the Saint Joseph Ballet as The Wooden Floor, it appears that a new website will soon be unveiled for them, too.

I guess some of the rest of us just better get crackin'...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

OC Stage Veteran Starring in Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA

Anyone who has attended plays in Orange County over the past 20 years has had ample opportunity to enjoy the skillful actor Ron Campbell's work. During my tenure at the Grove Shakespeare Festival & Gem Theater in Garden Grove, and during my tenure at the Laguna Playhouse, Ron appeared in numerous roles--usually stealing the show.

Now, he's playing The King, a clown character, in the Cirque du Soleil national touring production of KOOZA, which opened in Irvine at the Orange County Great Park on Saturday night. It's another showy role for Ron--really he's only upstaged by the acrobatics.

It's great to have him back!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The real story behind the real story...

I tweeted my post about David Brooks' op-ed piece, and received the following response from one of my followers: "David Brooks basically rewrote Annalee Newitz's widely read essary from io9 without attribution "

Check it out and see if you agree.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The "real" story behind "Avatar"?

New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks strays from day-to-day politics to comment on the James Cameron movie "Avatar" today, and is spot-on (not to mention amusing) in pegging it for what it is--which is also why we love it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


No, I'm not William Daniels whispering to Dustin Hoffman the wave of the future in "The Graduate"--that was "plastics".

Instead, I'm sharing Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser's latest HuffPost commentary on the problem with rising ticket prices.

It's good advice to arts presenters, and it's educational for arts-goers.