Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I wrote yesterday’s post before picking up the latest Style. Another notable thing about “Scrooge in Rouge” is that it’s cast graces the cover of the latest issue, as well as being featured in a few pictures inside the issue.

There is a short piece on the number of “Christmas Carol” variations due to be staged around town this holiday season. In the short space provided, I would have appreciated a little more on the actual productions than on “Die Hard” and the Jim Carrey movie. But that’s just me.

It was also interesting to see the Randolph Macon theater program get a shout-out. I’ve never seen a show of theirs, though I was tempted by an Ionesco thing they did a while back. Gotta make that happen sometime.

Also of great interest to me in this issue was the “Improving though Improv” article written by Don Harrison. I like that the ComedySportz crew gets a good mention; would have been even nicer if they had included a pic but there were probably rules about that. Still, Dave Gau and Christine Walters are a pretty photogenic duo.

I think its fantastic that Mr. Harrison brought an analytical bent to the story. I think his critical perspective on the proceedings is one of the benefits gained from having him as Arts editor. Sure, journalists are supposed to report but they’re supposed to ask the hard questions, too. Like what about the guest list to this gathering? It seems like a situation rife for creating impressions of who is on the “ins” and who is on the “outs,” at least as far as CenterStage is concerned. And some of the most exciting work being done in Richmond is happening on college campuses, which also happen to be populated with thousands of eager arts-interested patrons – was anyone from U of R or VCU there?

I think a bigger question that Mr. Harrison is getting at with his piece is: what was the point? And might the time be better spent hammering out concrete ideas or plans for energizing the arts scene versus playing nice (or semi-nice it sounds like) for a few hours? I may part ways a bit with my editor on this because I think there is a great deal of value in simply getting people together and trying to foster a positive attitude. However, I do wonder what the next step is supposed to be. And, will the rest of the arts community – like maybe even a couple of freelance writers – be invited to play along going forward? Or will CultureWorks only cater to a handpicked few?

Having a touch of analysis also grabs people’s interest and spurs comments, and those that the article has already generated are worth checking out.

(Update: I wrote the paragraph above about the article's comments before the prolonged and annoying back-n-forth about corporate welfare and such came to dominate the comments. I think there are other forums for debating city finances and priorities. It was an arts article and the people at the gathering were concerned about promoting/supporting/reporting on the arts. There's plenty of material to chew on just in that realm without bringing tangential issues into it, IMHO.)


Anonymous said...

Another good reason to see Ranolph Macon's "Christmas Carol": The amazing and talented Matt Hackman! He has been starring as Scrooge for nine years running.

Anonymous said...

Great job my Mr. Harrison and good thoughts from you, Dave. This is a discussion that needs to happen. I had never heard of CultureWorks, there is no link at the Center Stage site (are they associated?), and their site, indicates that they are relatively new becoming active, but will be around. So what will they (CultureWorks) do? I encourage everyone to read the article and join the discussion. They look like an organization with some fire power, and I'm not clear what this summit/workshop was supposed to accomplish either. Maybe it just needed more framing from CultureWorks.

Just because your name isn't in the article (excepting Christine and Dave), don't think this isn't about you.

Bruce Miller said...

CultureWorks is the re-imagined Arts Council. Their mission, at least as I percieve it, is to represent all the arts organizations and artists in Central Virginia, to provide services to the same, and to advocate on behalf of the arts. There is no formal link to CenterStage that I know of.

Dave T said...

I wasn't at the gathering but based on the articles it sounds like it was dominated by CenterStage-related personnel, particularly the special guest appearance by Mr. Ukrops. If there isn't a formal link between CenterStage and CultureWorks, based on this one seminar (one of many? first of a series? does anyone know?) there seems to be an informal one.

Dave T said...

"article," not "articles." sorry.