Etcetera: David Letterman & Warren Zevon

May 20th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I can’t compete with the literally hundreds of online tributes that are proliferating in advance of David Letterman’s final show this evening, except to say that I’ve been watching him since he debuted on NBC and now expect I will be getting to sleep even earlier, albeit less happily, after tonight’s show. For the last several weeks, there has been a parade of frequent and favorite Letterman guests returning to the program for one last visit, but there’s one Letterman regular who won’t Continue reading...

Looking Closely At The Cancellation Of An Anti-Censorship Event

May 19th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

The story practically writes itself: fundraiser for anti-censorship group gets censored. Ironic headline, attention-grabbing tweet, you name it. That’s exactly what appears to have happened in the past few days as the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture’s decision to cancel a rental contract with the theatre group Planet Connections Theatre Festivity has been made public. Planet Connections was producing a one-night event, “Playwrights for a Cause,” on the subject of censorship, which would Continue reading...

We Don’t Need No Stinking Quotes!

May 7th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

“You know, if we all agreed to stop putting critics’ quotes in our ads, they’d lose their power over us, and we could just sell our shows on what we think is best about them.” I will confess to having made that statement, or something along those lines, more than once when I was the public relations director at Hartford Stage. Thinking back on it now, I can attribute it to a) youth, b) feistiness and c) naïveté. Remember, of course, that this was the pre-internet era, when reviews didn’t Continue reading...

Student-Written Plays Overcome Obstacles At Colorado High School

May 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

When it was all said and done, three student-written short plays, part of an evening of playlets, monologues and songs, went on as scheduled at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado. But in the 10 days leading up to that performance, the students claim they were told the plays and one student-written monologue were canceled. The students successfully garnered the attention of a local TV station, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the Arts Integrity Initiative at the New School Continue reading...

Dropping and Dodging F-Bombs at the Florida Thespian Festival

April 15th, 2015 § 10 comments § permalink

A theatre scene performed al fresco on a spring Florida evening sounds idyllic. But when Tomas Roldan and Matthew Ferro, juniors at New World School of the Arts High School, took their award-winning scene from Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot to a plaza outside the Florida State Thespian Festival in Tampa on March 28, they weren’t doing so seeking charm or fresh air. They made the performance choice as a third option after being given two official choices by festival Continue reading...

David Adjmi’s ‘3C’ Freed From Legal Purgatory

March 31st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

After nearly three years during which playwright David Adjmi was prevented from authorizing any productions of, or the publication of, his play 3C, a dark parody of Three’s Company, he has emerged as the victor in his legal battle with DLT Entertainment, which sought to silence the play, charging copyright infringement. Adjmi's assertion of fair use was confirmed in the judgment. Quoting from the ruling by Judge Loretta A. Preska, Chief United States District Court Judge in the Southern Continue reading...

Despite Declaration, Doubting Deadline’s Diversity Apology

March 30th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

If you have any interest in the subject of diversity in entertainment, no doubt you’re aware of the firestorm kicked off last week by TV editor and co-editor-in-chief of the entertainment website Deadline, Nellie Andreeva. An article/op-ed under the headline “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings – About Time Or Too Much Of A Good Thing” was taken by many (myself included) as an insensitive response to a greater commitment by TV networks to casting new shows with actors representing a Continue reading...

Up Periscope! Your Theatre May Be Infested By Meerkats!

March 27th, 2015 § 8 comments § permalink

Are you still grumbling about “tweet seats”? Oh, that is so 2013. Time to get with the program and start worrying about the newest development in mobile tech, which could have a vastly more significant impact on the live performing arts. At this year’s SXSW Festival, a new app, Meerkat, saw a frenzy of adoption by attendees, so much so that Twitter moved to quickly curtail the app’s access to Twitter data. The reason for that draconian move came clearer yesterday when the app Periscope, Continue reading...

Entertainment Reporter Employs False Balance To Undermine TV’s Diversity Efforts

March 25th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

In case you haven’t heard, Caucasian actors are being victimized by casting practices at the television networks. They, after holding primacy on screen since the earliest days of television, may – horrors! – have a few less opportunities to secure roles in new television series this year because of an effort by the networks to produce stories about characters who may not be Caucasian and to seek more actors of color for television series for roles that may not have been written with actors Continue reading...

In Two New Books, The Arts Apocalypse Now

March 23rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

If you happen to know of any young people who you’re trying to dissuade from careers in the creative arts, you might want to casually leave around two new books for them to find. Scott Timberg’s Culture Crash: The Killing Of The Creative Class (Yale University Press, $26) and Michael M. Kaiser’s Curtains?: The Future Of The Arts In America (Brandeis University Press, $26.95) both paint dark pictures of the state of the creative arts and where they’re headed, enough to send one right into Continue reading...