I know some people think of me as “the voice of Style” when it comes to its theater coverage. But any of you who have worked for publications of any kind, large or small, know that the “voice” of a publication can be a tricky thing. In the worst cases, companies that buy ads dictate content, sometimes even writing it themselves, which makes a publication basically just a big marketing vehicle. In the best cases (for a writer, at least), an editor consults extensively with a writer about upcoming story possibilities, usually lets him/her determine what stories he/she is going to cover, and then runs the resulting stories with very little editing for content. In those cases, the publication's voice is pretty much the voice of the writer (at least on whatever particular beat that writer is covering).
For several years, I was living the best-case scenario due to the kind of working relationship I had with the editors at Style. It was a sweet deal but also a fair amount of work and I just didn’t have the time to cover everything that I really thought needed covering. So over time and as editors have changed, I now have something in between the best and the worst cases. I can generally determine what I’m going to cover and my stories are usually run without much editing for content. However, my communication with Style is very sporadic and I don’t really know what the magazine is planning. Many times I have been surprised when a theater-related story shows up in print.
This is all a lead-up to my comments on the current “Arts 25” issue of Style, which has many interesting pieces, several on theater folks, and one that I wrote (this one on d.l. Hopkins). I think Style picked out many good people to highlight and think they did a great job in covering Scott Wichmann, Carol Piersol, Grant Mudge, and Derome Smith. I’d also point out the piece on Patrick Farley, a friend of mine, a really nice guy, and a very talented architect (whose wife was in the production of “Company” at Dogwell Dell – so there IS a theater connection).
However, I must be honest and say that I had little input on this selection of influential people on the local cultural scene. I received notice about the issue the afternoon before the decisions were made on who to highlight. I was at work and couldn’t really respond. When I was able to compose an email about it later that night, I suggested several people, none of whom ultimately made it into the magazine. I mean no disrespect to those who were chosen but below is the short list of theater-related people I suggested. And I’m curious: who do YOU think belonged on the list, which was presented to me as “25 people influencing the arts right now.”
Artisia Green / Rebekah Pierce: Founders of Arteka Theatrical Productions (are these guys still around?)
Brett Ambler / Audra Honaker
Oh, and one last thing: my Fall theater preview also shows up in this latest issue. Check it out!