Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Alt Media

This week’s Style names Rodney Monroe Richmonder of the Year. I’m sure many of you were pulling for Grant Mudge or Mary Burruss. Grant may still get his turn and I think there would be some kind of nepotism problem with Style naming Mary given she’s a staff writer and all. Personally, my Richmonder of the Year would be a toss-up between Chase Kniffen – who did a phenomenal job directing a predominantly under-15 cast in “A Christmas Story” – and the kindly plumber who fixed our two sinks in about 20 minutes the day after Christmas.

This issue also has a review of “Moonlight and Magnolias,” the first real pan I can remember reading from MaryB. I’m sure there will be those who disagree with Mary (I haven’t seen the show so will not weigh in) but what I greatly respect about her review is her clear placement of everything as her opinion and her acknowledgement that others were enjoying themselves. There are too many critics who state simply that something is intrinsically bad without giving much context, or even worse, freely use the pronoun “we” in their reviews, trying to insinuate us into their negative opinions (yes, I’m talking about Mr. Neman). Nice work, Mary.

Note also the piece on the ArtsFund that includes some insightful words from Mr. Mudge. Arts funding is something that needs to be addressed and I hope to write more about it here. I was talking to Bruce Miller the other day and he was giving me comparative figures on the amount of support arts organizations get in Virginia versus other states. It’s pretty staggering. People who blithely talk about how Richmond theater is lame compared to other cities are usually blaming the victims. It’s amazing how well the theaters here are doing given their comparative disadvantage. When I get more specific numbers from Bruce, I’ll be sure and post them.

Finally, I picked up last week’s Brick and noticed a picture on the back page of the kids from “A Christmas Story” signing autographs. Since I only pick up a Brick occasionally, I don’t know if they’re stepping up their theater coverage – I tend to doubt it – but that picture was at least an acknowledgement that theater exists here. You gotta accept the small victories.


Anonymous said...

That Arts Fund piece is amazing and depressing all at the same time. If you are looking for comparable cities to Richmond, every time I am in Louisville it reminds me of Richmond and their United Arts Fund raised over $5 million last year. Hell, even here in Lex Vegas, with a county population of 270,000, our arts fund brought in over $1 million, plus an additional $300,000 was raised in a matching challenge grant made by our city government...and we are even more strapped for a corporate base than Richmond is.

That goes back to my previous post about whether or not Richmond has the will to support a LORT theatre. I know the Arts Fund in Richmond is relatively new but I would think it could break $500,000 at least by now..

If people are true about wanting high quality arts and culture, they have to put their money where their mouth is, it isn't going to come free or cheap.


Andrew Hamm said...

I remember reading a few years ago that Virginia is a top-ten state for income and bottom-ten for charitable giving. As Mythbusters' Jamie Hyneman would say, "Well THERE'S your problem!"

hoosier steve said...

I am not sure what it is now, as many states have drastically cut their arts funding, but at one time Virginia ranked not only in the bottom ten, but in fact were below several US territories in funding. Guam did better at supporting the arts than VA did.
I do not believe that Virginia is the bottom any more, but sadly it has more to do with the other states cutting spending, some even going so far as to closing state arts agencies.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary,

How come you rarely ever mention the director in a review?