Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comment of the Week

Here are this week's contenders:

Comment #1: a new comment on your post "DOC Denies Shakespeare Behind Bars":

This is really sad to see. It has been proven time and time again that participating in theatre fosters a sense of belonging and responsibility that follows people throughout their lives, and yet, our government seems obsessed with taking away funding from the arts. The United States prison system is well known for totally sucking. Once someone enters the system, they rarely get out causing perpetual undesirable growth in the prison system. This failure has long been blamed on a decided lack of rehabilitative measures of the sort found much more commonly in European prisons. These more progressive prisons, such as those found in Denmark and Norway, focus on rehabilitative strategies that empower inmates to take control and have responsibility for their own lives. Participating in theatre is a good first step down this road of empowerment. Every person working on a theatrical production is critical to its success, making participants feel needed despite their crimes and societal ostracization.
Comment #2: a new comment on your post "Strip-Club Fees Aren’t Tax Exempt, N.Y. Top Court ...":
Because this has been a topic of debate in multiple states lately, it seems to me that a decision needs to be made in a larger setting. I am intrigued to see if any of the defendants in these cases continue to appeal and make their way higher up into the court system. There obviously needs to be a more clear-cut definition of what constitutes a "dramatic or musical arts performance", and I think that an even higher court could provide that answer. I am glad that the Hustler analogy was made because it clarifies that the decision is not being made on a bias against the content of the entertainment provided at the juice bar. One thing I can't help but wonder is if the club would have been successful if they had presented a more informed expert who could testify to the nature of the private dances (although I'm assuming the private dances are probably not strictly choreographed and would therefore not qualify the club for the exemption anyways). I'm anxious to read more about rulings of this nature, and I hope that, as in this case, establishments such as Nite Moves are not being treated poorly because of the nature of the entertainment they provide.
Comment #3: a new comment on your post "Did Cloud Atlas' "Yellowface" problem help to sink...":
I saw Cloud Atlas last night and it was easily one of the best films I've ever seen. Rather than use this comment as a vehicle to talk about how fantastic it was, I'm just going to respond to the arguments this article poses:

1. One of the complaints listed here is that the world of Neo-Seoul is reminiscent of the western world's (mis)understanding of Asian culture - simplifying all women to be clones (in the case of Cloud Atlas - literal clones) of one another. The film, Cloud Atlas, is based off of a novel written in 2004. Therefore, the filmakers are not completely to blame for these supposed racist undertones.

2. A. Another complaint is that Cloud Atlas should've cast Korean actors to play the Korean roles. True - that could've been a good strategy. However, that would've conflicted with one of the most crucial parts of the film: that multiple actors plays multiple parts.
2. B. Let's consider that Doona Bae (a bonafide Korean) played multiple roles - including a Mexican woman and a white woman.

3. The first article discounts that the film could be trying to make a statement that "race, gender, etc are simply a thin surface layer over our universal and eternal souls." Rather than discount that angle, I prefer to believe that the Wachovski siblings and Tywker really were trying to make that statement - even if it involved delving into some risky cross-racial territory.
Comment #4: a new comment on your post "Mozart rock musical heading to Broadway and West E...":
Telling the life story of Mozart through a collection of synthesized & auto-tuned pop songs and calling it a "rock opera" is like trying to perform the works of Shakespeare through clips of dialogue from "The Jersey Shore" or giving a retrospective of Jackson Pollack's portfolio through carefully 3D-rendered CAD files.
Comment #5: a new comment on your post "Michael Kaiser: Where Are the Senior Arts Managers...":
I found the fact that there's "regional-phobia" (fear of hiring managers from smaller regional theatres because of perceived lack of experience on your scale of production) most interesting in this article. According to this article, if you don't have experience with the largest companies, you will never work for those largest companies, and I really hope that's not the case. An artistic manager from a smaller theatre develops things companies with large budgets never do: shrewd, careful and calculated business sense, the driving of a successful informational and capital campaign, likely intimate work with artists and close personal relationships with donors and board members, and the ability to program the theatre with a real sense for what will sell to the public and will still fulfill their artistic vision (the first being the only way the company stays alive, the second being the way they stay engaged in the arts and begin seeking larger jobs). I am very proud to have received a lot of real-world education from a series of short-engagement regional positions and internships - I feel like there's more ability (or need) to dive right in and be really active and effective to keep the company afloat, where managers in larger companies may be worked around if they are as ineffective as these transient managers are.
Leave your vote in the comments by Thursday.

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