Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review Illogic

So I know things are tough in the whole print business these days and I sympathize. But here’s something I don’t get: the Times-Dispatch runs a review in today’s paper of a concert in Charlottesville by the Dead (formerly the Grateful Dead, apparently not so grateful now since the death of Jerry Garcia). So maybe a handful of Richmonders besides Ms. Ruggieri from the T-D went to this show. But is this news? Does anyone care about the review since most people will never see the show? At the same time, a review I know exists of Stage 1’s “Normal” – a show that hundreds could still see (and hopefully WILL still see) – sits unpublished on someone’s hard disk somewhere.

Maybe it’s just a reflection of my particularly foul mood these days but this seems like totally asinine priorities to me and like an editing decision that does an active disservice to the arts community and theatergoers of Richmond. If column inches are so precious, why waste them on something that is so absolutely irrelevant? Like it or not, media shapes (as well as reflects) the community it serves and the T-D seems to be encouraging people to leave Richmond -- maybe to chase the Dead to their next gig in Albany, NY? – or at least reinforcing the impression that nothing relevant artistically is happening here. I know Style has not always been exactly perfect on this score but this specific case is kind of ridiculous and, if it reflects the general attitude at the T-D, I can only hope the paper dies a quicker death than its current slow fade so that something more relevant and vital can take its place.


debra said...

I'm kinda irked too. Why couldn't they have at least put the review on their website? It's more than a bit ridiculous.

Sorry you're in such a foul mood.

Dave T said...

Amen, mister T.

Oops - I can see this is going to look like Dave commenting on his own blog post, but it's ME! Mrs. T!

: ) Holly

Jeffrey Cole said...

I agree. The Dead, while they certainly have a following, are yesterday's news. Chase & Co. are 100% fresh, and deserve reviews and advertising galore. The T-D makes me shake my head at it sometimes.

Stephen S. said...

I completely agree with you David! But I also agree with you that Style Weekly often misses the boat with its support for the local theatre and art community. I think this is almost worse than the lapse at the TD because Style is supposed to be the cultural paper of the area! I don't know how much pull you have with editors at Style Weekly, but I think the paper would have more legitimacy if it actually supported and PROMOTED the arts more than it has lately. I actually do not live in the area, but I used to live in Richmond and I try to keep current with the Richmond Arts Scene (Go Fish Project, Theatre Reviews, Gallery Openings, etc.) I always look to see what the reviews say (as I know many of the players!) I remember recently when Style Weekly didn't publish anything regarding "A Tuna Christmas" and had very limited information about Stephen Sondheim coming to Richmond. I thought these were 2 major oversights.

Look...I am a friend of you and the entire Arts community and I know that the arts are really struggling in Richmond and it makes me want to run back and help promote the arts in the area. I want Style Weekly to be the paper it used to be, when I couldn't wait to get a copy because it was going to be in depth information and opinion regarding the culture of the area! If the Times Dispatch reads these comments, they should also take note, because they are not adequate at all for the being the "State of VA" newspaper either...(I totally agree with you about this!)

Thanks for letting me vent on your blog!

I just want the Arts to be more prevalent and more important to all of the people in the Richmond area! The Arts are what truly shows how strong a society is and I feel Richmond is falling behind and it is frightening!

Stephen S. (Not Sondheim!!!)