So a couple of posts ago, an anonymous commenter who alleges years of work in town said “[D]on't you think it's a little audacious for you…[to be] informing the community about socializing with its "stars" and "movers/shakers?" …[S]uch statements will easily provoke such responses from others as, "Well, I've worked MY butt off in this town. What do *I* have to do to hang out with Mr. Timberline and Co.??"
For one thing, I was not being audacious – I was being honest.
For another thing, I have gone over similar territory before in this post and don’t really feel the need to repeat myself. If you question my socializing with theater people, read what I wrote back in October and come back to me with a more specific question or concern. I acknowledge there are all sorts of possibilities for conflict of interest when you are a critic but I’m pretty comfortable navigating mine. Style’s fantastic dance critic, Lea Marshall, runs a dance company. Former theater critics for the publication have been playwrights. I believe they have had harder rows to hoe than I.
And yet another thing: Anon is probably vastly over-estimating the extent of my socializing with anyone, let alone the movers and shakers of local theater. I have four children, I go to grad school and I have a 9-5 job. I can count the nights I’ve spent “socializing” in the last 6 months on one hand. When I do manage to sneak out to see a show to review, I usually go alone. (I'm a critic, for god's sake; how many real friends do you think I could possibly have anyway?)
Finally, I’m going to risk extreme pedantry (it’s a word, honest) and use this question to tell an instructive little anecdote about me (because, you know, it IS all about me…) When I started in the theater scene here, I ran props backstage for Theatre IV. After that, I was lucky enough to convince a beautiful and talented actress to marry me, after which I was often relegated to the role of ‘semi-silent not-a-theater-person spouse sitting in the corner’ during those post-opening nights on the town. There were people who were friendly and personable and absolutely lovely to me back in those days when I was just an anonymous hanger-on. Those are the people I tend to still be friendly with now. There were people back then who I introduced myself to 3 or 4 times and they still couldn’t be bothered to remember me. I don’t really reach out to those people anymore. I think there’s a Buddhist principle wrapped up in this story somewhere. If you want to hang with people of ‘status,’ stop worrying who has status and be nice to everybody. And someone you are nice to might end up being a mover and shaker some day. Just a thought.