Monday, March 29, 2010

Follow-up coverage on Daniel Pink's presentation... OC Register's dance & theatre critic Paul Hodgins here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The fabulous Adler boys

Today it was reported that Jerry Adler, virtuoso harmonica player, died 10 days ago. He was the "lesser known" of the fabulous Adler boys. Larry Adler garnered more fame (having the distinction of dying 9 years before his brother), but apparently Jerry was equally talented--and they were known to play duets, too. If you thought that the harmonica was only an instrument for blues, then you haven't heard these guys play. Plenty available on You Tube (playing "Rhapsody in Blue") &c. RIP and long live the harmonica concerto!

How does a museum "acquire" an "@" sign?

You have to hand it to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for its p.r. hubris: it announced today that it has "acquired" the "@" sign! One might legitimately ask: is this the original @ sign? Their answer: no, of course not. All right, maybe I'm being a little picky here. What they've actually done (since it's not possible to acquire @) is to designate it a work of art, a seminal design creation worthy of celebration. I can't disagree with that.

The '@' Symbol
Image source: MOMA. Ray Tomlinson. @. 1971. Here displayed in ITC American Typewriter Medium, the closest approximation to the character used by a Model 33 Teletype in the early 1970s, according to MOMA.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New OC appointee to California Arts Council speaks out

Wylie Aitken shares his thoughts in an interview with Orange County Register arts writer Richard Chang.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dan Pink Wows OC Audiences (Again)

For someone who claims that he was not especially into the arts as a kid, best-selling author Daniel Pink has managed to become one of the most persuasive evangelists for creativity the world has ever seen! All right, perhaps I'm indulging a just a wee bit of hyperbole (perhaps it's due to St. Patty's Day!), but the verve this guy displays when presenting example after example of how it's the right side of the brain that's going to save the future of America is as entertaining as it is infectious. He certainly had nearly 1,000 people in the palm of his hand at Monday's lecture at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, presented by ArtsOC, OC Department of Education, OC Performing Arts Center and 4th District PTA. Three breakouts after the presentation were packed (more than 1/3 of the lecture attendees remained for them) and included panels, a video/PowerPoint presentation from ArtsOC, and Q&A sessions. This event is a re-invented reprise of his appearance in OC two years ago, which reverberated with the community so strongly that it merited a command performance again this year. It has again created a buzz that we hope will translate into action: advocacy, improved management practices in business, arts organizations and education, as well as more generous philanthropic support to make it all happen. Check out more photos of the event here. If you attended the event, please feel free to comment here--or on our Creative Edge arts education blog.

Friday, March 12, 2010

After hiccup with City of Fullerton, Monkey Wrench is back!

Monkey Wrench Collective has announced its theatre production plans and has launched its website.

How the arts contribute to the local economy...

Thanks to Anne Olin, who is a local consultant and executive administrator for the Orange County Funders Roundtable, for passing this along:

We've all heard arguments about how the arts enrich the cultural life of communities. But what about their power to contribute to local coffers? The Boston Globe reports on findings of a study that found six cultural institutions in a town near Boston "generate nearly double their budgets in local spending annually, creating scores of jobs along the way." Combined, these six institutions—arts and history centers, a public garden and library—spend about of $6.3 million annually for operations and support some 87 full-time equivalent jobs. These are numbers that the Globe says, "would make any small to mid-size business proud." More impressively, however, the report found that these organizations generate nearly double their own budgets annually—or $11.4 million—in local spending. Nearly one-third of that, or $4.1 million, is generated by the two branches of the Framingham Public Library. “We’ve become more of a cultural institution,’’ said the library’s director, Mark Contois. “We host over 700 programs per year such as Friday films and Sunday concerts.’’ And it gets better. The study predicts that if these institutions maintain their spending levels, the six organizations will spur $127 million in local spending and contribute to the creation of more than 2,000 jobs over the coming decade. If they also spend $20 million on planned renovations, the study projects it will result in another $36 million in spending and 537 more jobs. The heck with art for art's sake . . . it's the economy, stupid. —Bruce Trachtenberg

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rube Goldberg LIVES!

Gotta check this out, posted by the California Arts Council.

Art in our daily lives: NYC picks condom wrapper design winner

I nearly skidded off the 73 Toll Road this evening when I heard this on NPR...(this report is from the Village Voice).

Monday, March 8, 2010

"The 15th Line": The Ups & Downs of Twitter as a Dramatic Medium

Jeremy Gable's on-Twitter-only play The 15th Line that I wrote about last month is now into Act III, and while it's held my interest since the beginning, it's also gotten abundantly clear that Twitter is a challenging medium for any playwright.
A few of the lines in The 15th Line seem utterly appropriate--just the kinds of things that people tweet about, telling us "I'm doing this right now," or that people representing companies tweet about, broadcasting their requests for information or pitching their wares.

But most of The 15th Line is actually comprised of highly personal messages--more like what people text to each other privately than what they would be comfortable tweeting publicly.

So, while this play uses Twitter as its medium, the less you remain consciously aware of it consisting of tweets, the more you're likely to enjoy The 15th Line.

In a sense, that means its value has more to do with plot, character and craft (like most plays) than anything inherent in Twitter.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

OC's newest Art Walk debuts in Fullerton

This Art Walk thing is really taking hold in the OC, and the latest entrant is downtown Fullerton. Though Fullerton isn't exactly overflowing with art galleries, Art Walk organizers (including Graves Gallery owner Gary Graves) assembled 15 venues to participate in its debut last night. (My apologies to all since my Spark-e! newsletter on Wednesday said the Art Walk was on Saturday, rather than Friday.)

By the time I got there around 7:30 p.m., I'd have to say there were at least 100 people wandering the tree-lined four-block stretch of Fullerton's lovingly restored downtown, and while I didn't make it to every venue, there were three galleries that impressed me with the quality of the work exhibited and the seriousness of their commitment to being showcases for talent.

Hibbleton Gallery is a tiny space and was packed with young people browsing CD jewel-case sized art by a smattering of artists in an exhibit ending March 7 called "Shuffle." Their next exhibition, "About Face," begins March 12. DJs were spinning music to underscore the theme.
While Graves Gallery's featured exhibit was "Belles of the Ball," oil paintings and other renderings of sportswomen in action by Claudi Kilby (the work was quite good), a number of other artists' works also were on display, including striking jewelry by Gary Graves. By the way, the gallery also doubles as the office for his communications business. When I arrived, there was a rock band playing in the gallery, the wine was flowing and there was a robust crowd (photo above right).

An unusual space, PAS (projectartschool), had an imaginative exhibition theme, titled "The Box: Perspectives on Living Outside," and all the name plates were hand written on pieces of corrugated cardboard describing the works that shared sometimes unique perspectives on homelessness. Their opening libations took it a step further, with a ministry called Breakfast With Jesus, serving pancakes & eggs (photo of a work at PAS, above left).
Not all of the venues are galleries, and including them in an Art Walk may be a bit of a stretch--they included retail shops, hair salons and a tea lounge--all of which displayed art, however. And not all of the wanderers on the streets were participating in the Art Walk, either--this area of downtown Fullerton is teeming with restaurants and bars, from casual to upscale. Still, that makes it an all-the-more-attractive place for an Art Walk. After all, food and art go well together.
Kudos to the organizers and may they enjoy much success.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

OC arts patron Wylie Aitken appointed by Governor to California Arts Council

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced this afternoon that he has appointed prominent Orange County arts patron Wylie Aitken to serve a four-year term on the California Arts Council, the state arts agency's governing board.

Wylie is a nationally-known attorney and founding partner of the Aitken * Aitken * Cohn law firm in Santa Ana. A resident of Anaheim, Wylie is active in a number of major Orange County cultural organizations, including serving as a Trustee and current Board President of South Coast Repertory, as a Board member of the Orange County Performing Arts Center and on the Board of the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Foundation. He and his wife Bette have been married for 47 years and have three children and seven grandchildren. Bette has chaired the South Coast Repertory and MUZEO galas. They are also donors to Arts Orange County.

I first approached Wylie a few months ago to solicit his interest in serving on the California Arts Council, and when he agreed, I proposed his name to the Governor through Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Chair of the California Arts Council.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Wylie for many years, and the Orange County arts community has benefitted greatly from his wisdom and generosity. I'm grateful to Wylie for his willingness to serve and to Governor Schwarzenegger for appointing him.

The appointed California Arts Council consists of a maximum of eleven (11) members who serve four-year staggered terms. The Governor appoints nine members; the Legislature appoints two members, one from the Assembly and one from the Senate. Council Members serve without salary, elect their own chair, and meet throughout the state to encourage public attendance. This body has final approval of California Arts Council grants and contracts. All appointments made to the council by the Governor are subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The California Arts Council has only had two previous Orange County appointees: Mission Viejo Company President Harvey Stearn served two terms in the late 1980s-early 1990s, and attorney Hugh Hewitt served one term in the late 1990s.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Artistic control--from beyond the grave...

I always loved the drawing for the album cover of the original London production of My Fair Lady, which had George Bernard Shaw IN HEAVEN holding puppet strings on Henry Higgins holding puppet strings on Eliza Doolittle. (It looks like an Al Hirshfeld drawing, but I'm not sure he did it.)

Shaw apparently detested an earlier musical made out of his play Arms and the Man, and forbade any further musicalizations, so it's hard to imagine he would have contributed his efforts to My Fair Lady--he died about 10 years before that musical debuted--even from beyond the grave.

This article in Obit, an e-mag I never heard of that has a tagline of "Death is only half the story. Obit is about life..." (LOL), talks about challenges faced by artists' executors in fielding requests to interpret and re-imagine their works.

All I can say is just wait until it's Edward Albee's turn to move on!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Nude in Art in the 21st Century

I'm sure you've come across at least one of artist Spencer Tunick's photographs of mass gatherings of nude people in major public places around the world. His latest effort brought together over 5,000 in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia. I'd have to say that plenty of ancient and grand master nudes in art possessed far more eroticism than this! But, then again, that seems to be Tunick's point. And if you read the comments of participants in this article (which has more pictures), not only will that be reinforced, but you'll learn about what the experience of doing so is like--just in case you're thinking about volunteering for his next sitting!
Help me out, here, now...where in Orange County would be the ideal spot for him to pose thousands in the buff?