Monday, December 22, 2008
A favorite of mine that's incredibly easy, from LA Chamber Orchestra:
"If your favorite arts organization has a blog, a facebook page, or some other form of social networking – leave a comment, post on their wall, or just send them an email telling them what you love about that organization."
What other ideas would you add to your Gift List?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
way too much fun...
AND a blog you REALLY should be reading: The Mission Paradox Blog. I would point out some favorite highlights from the last month, but they've all been so good! Just...read it. LISTEN to it.
"There is no longer any need to pay membership dues. We shall give priority to reviewing shows by our members until the expiration dates of their memberships. During the next year we will switch over to a system in which the reviewers will review shows that interest them, culled from the listings on TheaterOnline. Shows not listed on TheaterOnline will not
be reviewed, and the only way to get a listing on TheaterOnline is to
post it yourself with the online tools provided on the Web site. I
shall assign actual stories and maintain editorial standards. Reviews will continue to be limited
to Off-Off-Broadway shows only, meaning Equity showcases in New York
City or non-union productions of equivalent resources and scope."
Well done, OOBR!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Hey all I’m blogging. We never hear from Jason you say. Well soak it up, as I am self-confessed Bad Blogger. However I recently read the below posting and thought it was really great and worth passing along. At times I think it can be very worthwhile for us to look beyond our immediate work and reexamine why and how we are doing what we do and if perhaps we can do it better. Hope this inspires.
All the best for a Happy Holliday,
Jerry Yoshitomi shared this article from the November 3rd Grantmakers in the Arts Reader. The article was published prior to knowing the outcomes of the Nov 4th US elections.
The Obama Zeitgeist: Six Lessons for the Cultural Sector
1. People want to be inspired.
2. Link to a higher purpose, and herald the future.
3. The improbable is possible - with the right strategy.
4. Participation is our most important renewable resource.
5. Entitlement is dead.
6. Respect and empower the young.
No matter your political persuasion, your age, background or place of residence, your professional role or disciplinary affiliation, if you work in the nonprofit cultural sector, Barack Obama's presidential campaign holds lessons for you. The campaign marks a watershed in popular consciousness, and we will all do well to adapt - or evolve - accordingly.
Some things to ponder:
1. People want to be inspired.
Poetry counts. Language and lyricism count. Our most noble national achievements, our triumphs over prejudice and adversity, "the angels of our better natures" - they all really matter. People long for inspiration, particularly in times of significant change and uncertainty. Obama's eloquence about the power of hope and his pitch-perfect invocations of the great milestones in our collective American story have inspired millions of people to think bigger, act better, be bolder, and engage with others in new ways, and to believe in the possibility of meaningful change. We in the cultural sector will do well to remember our responsibility – and our opportunity - to inspire people's imaginations.
2. Link to a higher purpose, and herald the future.
Throughout his campaign, Obama has never missed the chance to link his campaign to a larger cause, a great public cause, the cause of a better
How many of us in the cultural sector authentically tie our work to the higher cause of progressive social change and a better future for people of all kinds? Might we fare better if we did so?
3. The improbable is possible - with the right strategy.
There are lots of reasons why Obama won the primary race, but high on the list is that he had the right strategy - a community organizing strategy.
Obama himself possesses the classic virtues of the community organizer: imagination; a sense of humor; a vision of a better world; an organized personality; a strong ego and sense of self; a free, open mind; and an ability to create the new out of the old (per Saul Alinsky, 1971).
And his team applied classic organizing principles in the primary campaign - starting with strategic mobilization at the neighborhood level to achieve early, assumption-altering wins. They then replicated that locally-based mobilization strategy in every contested state, fueling field workers with clear articulations of the challenge and the stakes, genuine rapport with audiences, effective communication of simple things that people could do to contribute to the cause, and continuous encouragement and appreciation of his supporters.
What would the audiences and funding base of cultural organizations look like if we approached our work with a community organizer's values?
4. Participation is our most important renewable resource.
Over 1.7 million contributors, most of them repeat donors and more than 2 million donations under $200. This sums it up. The structure of Obama's campaign has made it easy for people to contribute, made every contributor feel a valued stakeholder, and enabled his followers to get more and more deeply involved as the campaign evolved. Technology - developing that electronic social network - has been essential to his strategy. But as important have been the messages conveyed through the technology. Obama's regular email blasts give people a daily connection to the campaign and the greater cause of change, make them understand what their contributions of time and money will buy, and convey both Obama's long view and his real excitement about victories along the way.
Recent studies (such as Steven Tepper's, *Engaging Art*) suggest that cultural participation correlates with political and religious participation and that in the arts, "doing it myself" may be an important precursor to "appreciating the way the professionals do it," especially for younger people. Is there an opportunity for cultural organizations in this upsurge of new political participation? If creating catalytic participation was the primary goal of cultural organizations, how would that change our programming, fundraising, and live and electronic communications? Would it change the outcomes for both our audiences and our institutions?
5. Entitlement is dead.
In the marketplace of ideas, any whiff of entitlement is a turn-off, especially to young people. The sense of entitlement that Hillary Clinton exuded from the start of the race set her up for the fall. Technology is key to this attitudinal shift, it's the axe that levels all hierarchies.
People's increasing ability to receive and distribute information on the web diminishes the entitled class's power over ideas and cultural norms, and explodes the notion that any person or institution is sacrosanct. When people in their twenties can become millionaires (read YouTube, FaceBook, Google, and other fabulously successful Internet businesses) or challenge the nature of public school teaching and nonprofit practice (read Teach for
In the twenty-first century, every enterprise - including the cultural enterprise - must make its case on the merits of relevance, utility, and responsive service. How many cultural institutions, consciously or unconsciously, convey a sense of privilege and entitlement that turns people away?
6. Respect and empower the young.
Obama's campaign has given unprecedented power to young people, uniquely melding the skills and experience of more seasoned political strategists (e.g., campaign consultants Axelrod and Plouffe) with the imagination and wit of much younger people. Obama's major speechwriter, webmasters and key field organizers are in their twenties! Obama has valued and maximized these people's skill sets, which include great fluency with technology and deep understanding of what motivates their cultural cohort. This generation takes technology for granted, and Obama's campaign has used the Internet with unprecedented success to get out the vote and the donations. This generation also takes diversity for granted. Twenty percent of the people under twenty-five in this country are bi-racial. Obama's field staff may be the most diverse in history. These people see themselves - and the future of our country - in Obama.
About how many cultural organizations would these people say the same? Barack Obama may or may not become president. And running any kind of political campaign, which has a finite timeframe, is different from managing an ongoing organization. But the ideas and values embedded in Obama's campaign have influenced and will continue to influence the consciousness of our larger society. It's obvious that he has set new standards for political campaigns, but he's also set new standards for performance for commercial and nonprofit enterprises. The smartest among us will take heed.
Published in Grantmakers in the Arts Reader, Fall, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
As a break from the monotonous hum of my laptop’s internal fan, I attended NYU’s Wagner Alumni Association Annual Holiday Fundraiser. The WAA was screening “HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In”, a documentary about the making of the 40-year-old hippy musical, its cultural impact, and current revival. It was a treat to hear IT Awards presenter Ben Vereen and Honorary Award recipient Tom O’Horgan reminisce about the show.
I’ve heard it said that once you work on a show you either A) get sick of it and never want to hear another measure or B) fall in love with it and carry it with you always. Full disclosure: I stage managed a production of HAIR 8 years ago, and began singing along in my head all over again. The music and lyrics move me every time.
That said - the documentary is far from perfect. Milos Forman, Keith Carradine, Tim Curry, Melba Moore, and Michael Butler talk about their HAIR experiences. The interviews - both archival and new - are completely charming, but are presented without fact-checking. The “political analysis” and “current events parallels” are dubious and have all been said before. And Indie to my core I looked around the audience thinking, “Well, if you folks like radical theater so much, there is plenty of great new work that could use your patronage!”
“HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In” is worth a peek via Netflix one night. Keep making inspiring outsider art, kids, and maybe you, too, will be on French public television in 40 years. Stay warm and have a happy, healthy holiday season.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
NYIT Awards present study findings to NYC's joint Theatre Task force
"A joint Theatre Task Force meeting with Community Boards 3, 4 & 5 was held on October 29th to discuss the role the cultural sector plays in the city and way in which it can expand. According to Paul Nagel, Arts and Culture Liaison for the New York City Council, 'arts and culture have a central role in business, education, community, and government, yet cultural policy in the United States has not moved beyond a 1970s model of allocating and distributing grants to not-for-profit organizations.'
At this meeting, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation presented the findings from a 5-year study, "Report of Off-Off-Broadway Performance Venues," which analyzed data from September 2004 through the present."
- Over 25% of OOB venues in both the West Village and Midtown area have either been demolished or re-purposed into non-performance spaces in the last 5 years
- 43% of all OOB venues are located in the West Side Midtown area of Manhattan
- There has been a sharp decline in the number of OOB productions presenting work in the Theatre District
- The East Village, which only accounts for 14% of the overall OOB venues, is currently presenting 30% of the OOB productions
and Matt Freeman reported on the AEA Showcase updates:
"Short version: if we want to change the Showcase Code, we need members of the union to speak on their own behalf to the union, and ask for changes in the code that will allow smaller theaters to grow and provide better opportunities for actors. Playwrights, producers and directors may have opinions, but only the voices of actors will make this change happen."
Read his full story...
A big thank you to Doug, Matt, Emily and all of our contributors.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
United Stages celebrates their newest play titles November 23rd 2008, 3-5 pm at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Triangle NYC with original cast readings of plays from today’s hottest Indie/Off-Off playwrights. Book signing will follow the performances.
United Stages book titles will be available on their web bookstore at the beginning of 2009.
Sunday, November 23, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Barnes and Noble, Lincoln Triangle
1972 Broadway, New York, NY 10023, 212-595-6859
Hey You Monster, part one, Derek Ahonen, paperback, $11.50
Hey You Monster, part two, Derek Ahonen, paperback, $11.50
Sisters Dance, Sarah Hollister, paperback, $11.50
En Avant Playwrights, The best of, (var. authors*) paperback, $11.50
Eatfest, The Best of, Volume one, (var. authors+) paperback, $11.50
Eatfest, The Best of, Volume three, (var. authors+) paperback, $11.50
Eatfest, The Best of, Volume four, (var. authors+) paperback, $11.50
*Best of En Avant Playwrights: Ed Valentine’s Women Behind the Bush, Maz Troppe’s How Mona Lisa Got Her Smile, Chance Muehleck’s Tagging April, David Marrero’s Incident Near Chaco, Tom Dillehay’s Blue Grass, Dan Shore’s Travel, and Kathleen Warnock’s Not at Home.
+ Best of EATfest 1,3 &4 (3 volumes): Mark Lambeck’s Lucky Day, Bekah Brunstetter’s Mom, Stoned, Joe Godfrey’s Clapp Trapp, F.J.Hartland’s Postcards from a Dead Dog, Frank Higgin’s The Questioning, Greg Kalleres’ Forgetting to Remember and Help Thyself, Karen Schiff’s Recoil, Aoise Stratford’s Our Lady of the Sea, Kathleen Warnock’s Some are People and Chris Widney’s One of the Great Ones.
United Stages publishes original scripts from today’s Off-Off-Broadway/Indie theater scene. US scripts are a smart resource for theater companies looking to present the vanguard of plays and playwrights. For actors they offer fresh material that casting agents and teachers haven’t seen time and again. Our play catalog celebrates the unfolding of NY theater history from Caffe Cino legends to emerging indie stars.
AND the TENTH ANNIVERSARY of NYTE’s Plays and Playwrights continues with a free staged reading of Daniel Reitz's Fall Forward.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 East 4th Street, New York, NY
You can check out all of the Plays & Playwrights details at NYTE Small Press & Check out the Facebook invite for this event.
According to the Chicago Tribune, New York isn't the only theatre scene with space issues.
What interested me was the mention of the Children's Theatre that is piggybacking on a museum for their space. It didn't seem to be an ideal situation for them and I'm obviously not a fly on the wall at their board meetings, but I wonder why these organizations are working against each other?
Which makes me wonder: in hard economic times, is there a place in New York for larger non-theatre institutions to develop collaborative fellowships to emerging artists from different mediums that deal with the same issues? How much would you benefit from being able to develop and present a multimedia ensemble piece with the Museum of Photography, for example? Does this already exist somewhere?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Congratulations, Rising Phoenix!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The showcase code is being re-evaluated by Equity, and Michael Bell - a member of the AEA Off-Off Broadway subcommittee - has announced that he'd like to hear thoughts from code participants on how the AEA Showcase Code works (or doesn’t) for them.
If you've had experiences with the AEA Showcase Code, your voices are instrumental in moving this forward. Share your experiences and suggestions by emailing him or by commenting on his announcement.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
And the theatre community? Fogetaboutit! The more you work, the more the Theatre starts to feel like a large, extended family. Only it's the family you actually LIKE and WANT to see often.
You can pretty much play the "Do You Know" game with an actor you just met and eventually there will have a director or a designer or a stage manager in common! That commonality, feeling like a family, like a community feels good! At least to me. Makes me feel like I know who I am, like I was meant to be here, doing what I do, even when it is tough.
Like: I was introduced to the venerable New York Neo-Futurists by my dear friend from college and IT Award maven, Shay Gines. That's why I saw their show, and why I ended up auditioning 2 years ago. When I entered that ensemble it didn't take long to learn that my new friends like Erica Livingston and Kevin R. Free knew and had worked with people from all OVER my life!
I know it sounds corny but as I near Thanksgiving, I truly am thankful for friends like Shay and Erica and Kevin and the NYNF ensemble, and the Emerging Artists Theatre and the larger and larger family making art around me in New York. I am happy to be here. And that family is a big reason why I am glad to be a New York actor.
So, on Monday, the Neo-Futurists are having this cool, little benefit for our autobiographical, full-length, multi-media show in November called "(Not) Just A Day Like Any Other." The show is about a real-life day in the life of me and 4 others that took our lives in a new direction. So, for the benefit, Neos will be auctioning off an experience that they will share with the winner, going somewhere, doing something.
I'm imagine my friends coming to the benefit to bid on a day spent with my Neo family...seems a little incestuous, but it is actually awesome! They get to know more about each other without my awkward introductions and my web of friends becomes tighter! So...what?...big city...small world...big family...small theatres....its a good life.
Hey here is the informaton on both the Benefit on Monday and the Show in November, come be a part of my family!
1. Here is the BENEFIT info:(Not) Just A Benefit Like Any OtherMonday, October 276:30 - 9:30 PMThe Ailey Studios, Joan Weill Center for Dance405 West 55th Street @ 9th AvenueNew York, New York 10019Suggested $5 donation at the door there will be refreshments! and unusual ART!
2. Here is the SHOW info:(Not) Just A Day Like Any OtherNovember 6 - 22Thur, Fri, Sat 8:00 PMThe Red Room - 85 East 4th Street (near Second Avenue)Tickets are $15 and are available at Theatermania.com
(here is a link to a weird little promo video I did for the show (Iʼm vlogs #9 and #2) ): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMx7oko_X-8. and you can check out tne Neo website on www.nynf.org.
Christopher Borg, Communications Manager
Friday, October 10, 2008
So a few weeks before our Awards ceremony, Taryn Drongowski from APAC got ahold of us to talk about reaching out to Queens theatres and artists about the IT Awards. Great idea - i'm always looking for ways to get the word out about the IT Awards, and what we came up with (together with the amazing Queens Council on the Arts) was to host a happy hour - very chill, no speakers or putting people on the spot - just a couple of hours where we can meet artists, companies & venues, and they can meet each other. I hope to have events like this all over the city at some point - you hear that, Brooklyn?
So there you have it! Pass the word on to your fellow Queens artists, companies & venues, and be there or be square!
ps - SPECIAL thanks go out to QCA & LIC Bar. you rock.
WHO: Queens theatre artists, companies & venues; the more, the merrier!
WHEN: Monday, October 20, 2008, 7pm - 9pm
WHERE: LIC Bar 45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101
YOUR HOSTS: Morgan Lindsey Tachco (IT Awards), Taryn Drongowski (Astoria Performing Arts Center) & Meredith Blouin (Queens Council on the Arts)
Join The New York Innovative Theatre Awards together with the Queens Council on the Arts and Astoria Performing Arts Center for a happy hour at LIC Bar!
We want to know what it takes to make theatre in Queens, and introduce you to not only the IT Awards and Queens Council on the Arts, but give you a chance to meet your fellow artists, companies & venues.
We hope to see you there!
Morgan Lindsey Tachco
Community Relations Manager,
New York Innovative Theatre Awards
Astoria Performing Arts Center
Queens Council on the Arts
About the NEW YORK INNOVATIVE THEATRE AWARDS
The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation was created to bring recognition to the great work being done in New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, to honor its artistic heritage, and to provide a meeting ground for this extensive community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. We believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and appreciation of the full New York theatre experience. www.nyitawards.com
About the ASTORIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
APAC was founded in 2001 as an Off-Off Broadway theater company that complements main-stage productions with community programming, including writing and performance programs for Queens youth and senior citizens. APAC's 2004 production of Is There Life After High School? was recognized with an Off-Off Broadway Review Award. APAC's 2006 production of Forever Plaid was honored with three New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations, in the categories of Production, Direction, and Choreography. Our productions of A New Brain, Proof and Triumph of Love received nominations for Outstanding Set Design and most recently Triumph of Love also received two more nominations, Outstanding Production of a Musical and Outstanding Lead Actress, Abby Baum. For more information about APAC, including a downloadable media kit, visit www.apacny.org.
About the QUEENS COUNCIL ON THE ARTS
Queens Council on the Arts, founded in 1966, fosters and develops the arts in Queens, through a number of programs supporting arts organizations and artists of all disciplines. Offering a multi-tiered approach, including granting programs (the Queens Community Arts Fund) for artistic projects open to the public, professional development workshops, networking and mentorship opportunities, portfolio development and other arts services, and arts education grants and programming, QCA helps artists and cultural groups present the rich cultural and artistic diversity of Queens county to local residents as well as the larger community. QCA continually grows partnerships with other organizations serving the artistic community, and has been widely recognized as leader in bringing attention to the innovative work of Queens artists. www.queenscouncilarts.org
Friday, September 26, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
8:00am Time to get up. The sun is way too bright. We really need to buy some new blinds for our bedroom windows. Nick and I were at the office until 3am the night before finishing up last minute details. I didn't get into bed until 4am. 4 hours is not a lot of sleep, but it is enough to get me through the day.
8:00am - 8:30am Check emails to see if anything went down in the last 4 hours. Akia emailed a final schedule for today. There is a Google Calendar Alert reminding me that the awards ceremony is today….. Katie Rosin will be dropping lighters for gift bags at the FIT and apparently I missed a previous email from a sponsor asking how many gift bags there would be. I've got to take care of that right away.
8:30am Patrick leaves for work. My brother (who flew from SLC to come to the ceremony) requests waffles with strawberry syrup for breakfast.
8:30am - 8:45am I make waffles. He'll have to make do with maple syrup. I mean really who am I, Martha Stewart?
8:45am - 9:00am We eat breakfast, watch the Today Show and debate politics.
9:00am - 9:15am I take a shower and feel slightly guilty that Nick, Jason and Akia are already hard at work.
9:15am - 9:30am I put rollers in my hair. I look like the next door neighbor from Bewitched.
9:30am - 10:30am I hem my dress. It has been hanging on the back of my bedroom door for 2 weeks. I can't believe it has taken me until today to hem the damn thing. I don't have a sewing machine so I have to do it by hand. It has a slip so I have to hem both the slip and the dress. It takes way way too long.
10:30am - 10:45am Debate whether or not to wear a girdle tonight.
PROS: It holds me in in all the right places. It gives me a nice shape in a rather tight and unforgiving dress.
CONS: After 30 minutes it begins to pinch and ride up and cuts off the circulation to my legs. It's tight. It's uncomfortable. It's a one-piece so if I have to go to the bathroom I will have to completely disrobe.
There are going to be photos tonight. I decide to wear the girdle.
10:45am - 11:00am I put on the girdle. (Yes, it takes a full 15 minutes for me to wiggle into it) It is a lot tighter than I remember. My brother makes fun of me.
11:00am - 11:15am I'm running really late. I take the rollers out of my hair, get dressed, brush my teeth and pack my bag for tonight.
11:15am - 11:45am Travel to FIT. Luckily we caught an express train.
11:45am - 2:00pm Settle in, unpack my supply boxes, organize everything into categories, answer questions, look for things, tape signs up on the walls, give directions, make a sign for the front of the podium, "Clockwise? Counter-clockwise?" the Blue Man crew offers suggestions from the audience, return telephone calls, return emails, print out 2 new sections of the script, give them to the director, advise Nick on last minute ceremony visuals, lose stuff, find it again, "why don't I have a pen," pull tickets for last minute guests, decide which banners should be hung where, give petty cash to this person, give petty cash to that person….
2:00pm - 2:15pm Lunch - pizza and salad. I grab a slice of hot gooey, cheesy pizza. I want to make a plate of salad, but Jason comes back from his errands and I have stuff for him.
2:15pm - 2:30pm Caucus with Jason about gift bags and priority of remaining things to get done.
2:30pm - 2:35pm Realize that the gift bag stuffing is already well underway and there are 12 boxes of stuff that were not included in the already stuffed bags (300 or so).
2:35pm - 2:45pm Stop everything. Organize crew of people to move additional boxes into the bag stuffing area.
2:45pm - 2:48pm Trip over a box of inflatable balls. Cut my shin and nearly break my neck on the marble floor. Maybe if I hadn't been wearing that damn tight girdle I would have been able to more nimbly catch myself and in front of all the volunteers too. Classy.
2:48pm - 2:50pm I walk it off.
2:50pm - 4:00pm Stuff all the already stuffed bags with the previously neglected bag stuffers.
3:00pm - 5:30pm Blue Man Group has exclusive access to the stage for their tech.
4:00pm - 4:15pm Status meeting with Nick, Jason, Akia and Jose. We need an additional lighting cue. We need to buy some bottles of champagne. We need more ice. We need a push broom. FIT may not have one. We may have to go buy one. We need a small table. It was not requested originally in the FIT contract. They may not be able to provide one. Do we have anything else that could work? The awards table needs to be moved to clear a walk way back stage. We decide is should live behind the second curtain leg stage right. Everyone agrees. We move the table. The meeting is adjourned.
4:15pm - 4:30pm Watch the Blue Man Group rehearsal. I start to cry. I am so proud of how far we've come in the last 4 years. I can not believe that there are 50 volunteers here right now working their hearts out for us. I am humbled and feel very very proud.
4:30pm - 4:40pm Hand over box office materials to Morgan.
4:40pm - 4:50pm Break down and just have to use the rest room. While I am making use of the facilities, I realize that mine, Nick's and Jason's portions of the script still need to be written. The whole disrobing thing is so much more incontinent (I mean inconvenient) than it is worth.
4:50pm - 4:53pm Find paper and "why don't I have a pen?" Work on Executive Director's (ED) script.
4:53pm - 5:10pm Hillary (the awards coordinator) arrives. Time to handover the confidential materials.
5:10pm - 5:20pm Leslie (the beautiful lady who is helping me with my hair and make-up) arrives and begins to set up while the awards, and recipient gift bags are officially moved to the awards table. I notice Nick notice Leslie.
5:20pm - 6:00pm Leslie tries to do my hair and make-up while I try to write our script. The 2 activities are not conducive to one another.
5:55pm 5 minute call to photographs. I'm not dressed yet and my hair is not yet done. Thank god I already have on my girdle. I take off my shoes and realize that I only put on one sock this morning.
6:00pm Everyone is waiting for me.
6:03pm I run out of the dressing room. My hair and make up looks great. But I am still not completely dressed. Too bad they take the first photo anyway.
6:00pm - 6:15pm Photo shoot with volunteers, host and the Blue Men.
6:15pm - 6:30pm Interview with the EDs and the Blue Men.
6:30pm House Opens
6:30pm - 6:40pm Interview with Broadway Bullet. In the middle of the interview I realize that the photo backdrops are slowly but surely sliding down the wall.
6:40pm - 6:45pm Nick's brother helps me re-duct tape the backdrops to the wall.
6:45pm - 6:50pm Check in with Judith Malina. She's great. She would like some water.
6:50pm - 7:00pm Do final check of shop, house, etc. Greet guests. 3 people tell me how great I look. The girdle was totally worth it.
7:00pm - 7:05pm Hand over final speech notes to Nick and Jason. They are less than enthusiastic about my less than legible handwriting and bullet pointed notes.
7:05pm - 7:10pm The house is filling up and we are late getting started.
7:10pm The show starts.
7:10pm - 7:20pm Blue Man Group performs. I watch from the monitor back stage. It looks amazing and the cheers from the audience makes me so happy.
7:20pm - 7:25pm Lisa Kron welcomes the audience. They love her. She is great.
7:25pm Lisa introduces us. I remind Nick and Jason to introduce themselves and say their names.
7:25pm - 7:28pm We're on. Nick is charming. Jason is a crowd pleaser. I get a few laughs. Jason is the only one who actually introduces himself.
7:28pm - 9:40pm The awards ceremony is a whirl wind. I remember… holding Olympia Dukakis' stuff while she participated in interviews and had her photo taken with Judith Malina, greeting Qui Nguyen when he walked back stage after receiving his award, having Desiree Burch tell me I smell like home, listening to Kirk Wood Bromley as he presented Martin Denton and Rochelle Denton with the Stewardship Award, finding a bottle of water for Louis Zorich, having my photo taken with Edward Albee, panicking when Akia and Leonard missed their entrance, holding my breath as the entire audience threw Frisbees at Michael Dahlen and Bill Irwin, getting a little teary-eyed when Michael Mitchell thanked Nick, Jason and myself, hearing Edward Albee say "There are two kinds of theatre, commercial theatre and theatre that matters. You do theatre that matters."
9:38pm - 9:43pm I change into my party clothes. Finally I get to take off the girdle and go to the bathroom. I am in charge of getting to the party space first and making sure everything is right. I stuff everything into my bag and as Jason is pushing me out the door I tell him to make sure to tell Patrick where I am. He assures me he will.
9:46pm I arrive at Mustang Harry's. The staff is waiting for us. Some people are there already.
10:00pm The crowd begins to arrive. No Patrick. I greet guests.
10:10pm Jason arrives. He didn't tell Patrick. I go back to FIT to find Patrick.
10:10pm - 10:15pm I find Patrick.
10:15pm - 12:15am Return to Mustang Harry's. I'm not even sure what I did then. I ate. I had a couple of drinks. I talked to some people.
12:15am - 12:30am I take photos with Patrick in front of Mustang Harry's.
12:30am - 1:00am We catch a cab home.
1:00am - 1:30am My brother showers and gets ready to go to the airport.
1:30am - 1:40am My brother leaves and we say good bye.
1:40am - 2:00am I watch Home Movies on Cartoon Network and fall asleep.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
That’s the good news. The bad news is we only have 51 more weeks to get ready for next year’s ceremony.
Seriously, each new season the organization has grown, improved, and expanded its services to the performing artists of New York City. It is a pleasure to face the unique challenge of topping one’s own best work. As a staff, we are all very proud of how far we’ve come and of the even more exciting opportunities to come.
For example, please enjoy our newly accessible blog in full-color Cross Posting! We have extended our blog entries and staff updates to include a Blogspot page. Those of you who are already familiar and comfortable with RSS feeds are welcome to subscribe or “follow” us on our either format. If you’ve been reading along with our adventures via MySpace, you’ll be happy to know these entries will be simultaneous and identical.
You can keep up with the IT Awards thrilling new Season Five activities at:
We are thrilled with our own increased web presence and the important exposure it provides registered shows.
Break a leg,
Monday, September 22, 2008
For a complete list of 2008 Nominees and Recipients, please click to www.NYITawards.com.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
We're all hard at work getting ready for the Ceremony. Among the things I'm charged with – and charged about – is the design and production of the evening. This includes getting together all the projection, cameras, videocameras, light and sound for the night, as well as coordinating all the tech staff that run the ceremony, and the video and graphics that go up on the screens.
In addition to the mini-documentaries about the Honorary Award Recipients (this year that's Judith Malina and the New York Theatre Experience / Martin Denton & Rochelle Denton), we also create content for projection / visual display. Mainly that means we put up photos of the nominees and their shows on fancy tricked out displays and broadcast-quality animations. Did you see the DNC this year? The visuals were crazy right? Well, while that kind of design and display may be a bit beyond reach for an annual ceremony, we work hard to make sure our production values rival other awards in town – including some that are broadcast on the networks. They're made possible by the gracious generosity of some of the most talented artists in the animation / video production / projection industry. If you've been to a Ceremony before, you know what I mean – if you haven't, you should come this year.
Speaking of this year, can you even believe the amazing lineup we have? Blue Man Group, Edward Albee, Olympia Dukakis and more, all hosted by Lisa Kron! And we'll have a whole lot of amazing nominees in the room, too. The 2008 New York Innovative Theatre Awards Ceremony is the MUST event!
New York Innovative Theatre Awards
Friday, September 12, 2008
So, the 4th annual ceremony for the NY IT Awards is fast approaching and, for the 4th year, I prepare for my role as on-camera interviewer along with my partner, the lovely Ellen Reilly. Now, one might think: "Oh, that's a cushy job. All you have to do is look pretty and ask questions." Well, I'm here to tell you: Yes, it's fun...but it sure ain't as easy as it looks, folks. In fact, I can't always explain why, but it turns out to be one of the hardest roles I've ever played, and each year I think: "Well, that's it. They're going to can me and go with someone else next year, I just know it!" Fortunately, Ellen and I keep getting invited back and every time I find myself crying à la Sally Field, "You like me?! You really like me?!"
Now, this isn't simply a story of my fragile ego. It's a difficult job for two major reasons:
(1) First of all, there is the question of sincerity. I find this to be one of the most important aspects of interviewing people because, personally, I have a dreaded fear of appearing superficial or fake. Maybe it's because it has always been a pet peeve of mine when someone asks me a question but only pretends to care about the answer. Maybe it's because we've all seen red-carpet interviews where the person holding the mic asks a question, but then starts mugging for the camera as if to say, "Who cares what that person is saying ...Look at me!! Aren't I pretty?!?!" Whatever the reason, I make sure that when I ask someone a question about their life or theatre it is of utmost importance to really care about the answer. This means not thinking about the next question you're going to ask, not thinking about the ceremony that you can hear going on in front of the curtain, and not zoning out by wondering, "What am I going to have for dinner" or "Did I shut off the curling iron?" Plus, I'll let you in on a little secret that works for interviews but works even better for everyday life: if you sincerely LISTEN to what people are saying you become automatically engaged and your questions will start flowing naturally.
(2) The other reason that interviewing is a challenge can be summed up in one word: homework. There is nothing worse than seeing an interviewer with a look of a deer-in-headlights as they as they ask an ignorant question. When your kind elementary school teacher told you, "There's no such thing as a stupid question", she wasn't referring to backstage interviews. To start with, there are always hi-profile presenters at our awards ceremonies and it really does behoove us to do a modicum of research on each one so that we don't find ourselves saying things like, "Hmmmm, Edward Albee...now what plays have you written?" This task is made harder when it comes to researching the nominees since they are not always as well-known, but the modern world has given us a tool to counter that: Google. Amazing what a little web search can teach you about both the nominees and the shows they are nominated for. We put our research on note cards, familiarize ourselves with the info, and then try to relax so that it all comes out naturally [see 1].
All stress aside, I have to admit: Ellen and I have the coolest job of the whole awards ceremony! Seriously -- not only do we get to meet celebrities and other talented people working Off-Off-Broadway, but we actually get to talk to them, ask them questions, and befriend them for a short while. I wouldn't trade this role for any other on ceremony night!
JOIN US SEPTEMBER 22nd at FIT's Haft Auditorium for the
Ceremony begins at 7pm and will feature performances by the Blue Man Group
And if you can't make the ceremony stop by the after party being held at MUSTANG HARRY'S at
Judge WranglerNew York Innovative Theatre Awards
Friday, July 25, 2008
On Monday, July 21, we announced the nominees for the 2008 New York Innovative Theatre Awards. We have this event early in the summer so that we can use the 2 months leading up to the awards ceremony to really promote the nominees and their outstanding work.
Every year around this time, we receive a number of emails asking us how the nominees are selected. The IT Awards are based on a peer evaluation system. The nominees are selected by a combination of 3 judges from other OOB productions. Each of the judge's ballots are worth 25% of the production's score. The final 25% comes from the average of the audience ballots for that production. There is a fun little video that details this process and a PowerPoint presentation about it. Basically we've set up the infrastructure and maintain it, but the community itself selects the nominees.
Judges are assigned randomly from our pool of judges, which numbers at about 350 at any given time. The only exception to it being entirely random is:
1. We try to have at least 1 At-Large judge* for every production.
2. Judges are asked in advance in which boroughs they are willing to see shows. We only assign them productions in the boroughs that they indicate.
Each year the ballots are all tallied and verified by an independent public accountant and go through careful fraud detection and analysis.
Okay, I do get to see who the nominees are about 6 weeks before they are announced to the rest of the world, but I am always surprised who they are. I've heard through the grapevine that some people think we favor our friends….which amuses me and frustrates me all at the same time. We have gone to such lengths to make sure that this is all legitimate. Nick, Jason and I are not permitted to vote as judges for the awards. So if I really loved a show, the best I could do is cast an audience ballot, which I do for every registered production I see. But that and that alone is the extent of the power I have to get a show nominated. Honestly I was very disappointed when we first made the decision that we could not be judges, but in the long run, it was the right decision. (And I do have to say that one of the things I appreciate about the OOB community is that we are skeptical, we don't just accept things at face value and we are always questioning the status quo to make sure they are on the up-and-up, so even though it may be trying at times, I would rather be questioned about it and address it than have people just think we are trying to pull a fast one.)
It is also important to note that The IT Awards were founded to help bring recognition to Off-Off-Broadway and to help nurture the Off-Off-Broadway community. The judging system is a direct result of trying to provide opportunities for artists to see each others' work, free of charge. It is a venue for artists to see and become familiar with the work of other Off-Off-Broadway companies and artists, some of which they might otherwise never know.
If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear them. You can email me at shay at nyitawards.com.
*At-Large Judges are judges in the IT Awards judging pool that come from the greater
Thursday, July 10, 2008
It's been a very puppet-y couple of weeks for me. It started at Ontological-Hysteric Incubator production of La Santa: Pistola y Corazon by Sintroca, an "Image Based Performance Company". I'm not 100% sure what makes a production company image based, but I do know Innovative Theatre when I see it. The show was an engrossing mixed-media event blending live music, dance, Raymond Chandler film noir, world languages and…puppetry. I liked it a lot and look forward to their next stage creation.
Summer, in general, brings me back to the best parts of my otherwise depressing suburban childhood. The summer of 2002, I arrived at the O'Neill Playwright's Conference approximately a week after Avenue Q had taken the Music Theater Conference by storm. Two summers later, I listened to "Fine, Fine Line" about 1,000 times to get over a painful break-up. When, earlier this summer, I caught their touring company's visit to Charm City Cakes on Ace of Cakes, I was amazed by the show all over again.
I loved IT Award recipient Basil Twist's work on Carrie, starring Sherry Vine, at PS122 and have come to believe that puppets are a brilliant way for OOB to save money. They are the ultimate in elaborate, interactive props AND dual role casting without an extra costume. Every efficiency-minded troupe should seriously consider "hiring" them.
Hillary Cohen, New York Innovative Theatre Awards Development Manager
PS - Be sure to take our survey, and encourage your friends to do the same.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Hello lovely IT readers!
I researched this week's blog by dipping into my Google reader to catch up on the Arts blogoshere, and was smacked into realization that I was WAY out of it. Job submissions and auditions don't necessarily allow you to catch up on your arts blogs…
I remembered an event I had intended to go to, and was sorry to have missed:
Saving our Cultural Capital: the challenges facing Independent venues and artists in
One of my favorites is Technology in the Arts, which always gets my creative juices flowing in a really interesting way. Check out this post for ArtistData – a site for musicians (beta) in which you can enter performance info ONCE then sync it to all of your social networking sites (facebook, myspace, etc.) could you imagine what that could do for independent theatre?
Things should get interesting (we hope) this week with the National Performing Arts Convention happening in
DON'T FORGET to take the
The first completed groundbreaking study was on OOB production budgets and how productions spend their money, published here: STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF OFF-OFF BROADWAY BUDGETS.
The published analysis opened the
We are inviting the entire Off-Off Broadway community to help us reach our goal of 6,000 participants by October. In order to get involved in our groundbreaking research, you can take the survey here. When you have taken the survey, take a moment to tell your friends.
All of our surveys are anonymous and take about 5 minutes to complete. We will use the information provided for statistical purposes only. Plans for broader and more in-depth surveys such as an audience demographic survey and an economic impact survey are currently in development. These future studies may be conducted in partnership with other respected
Morgan Lindsey Tachco
Community Relations Manager
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Here is some insight on working with a Publicist/Press Agent.
* Once you decide to work with a press agent the most important thing you can do is have coordinated communication with them and make it a collaborative process. Make sure that you provide them in a timely manner with the following:
Name of Show
Cast List and contact info plus bios
Company Name and bio/mission
Theater (and address)
Running time of show
Photos, from previous productions, from rehearsals, headshots and high-quality production photos
Video, from previous productions
* Working with a publicist should require more interaction from the company, not less. Constantly present your publicist with story ideas, contacts to press, and follow-up with them to make sure that you feel that they are working in your favor. However, do not contact the press on your own, once you hire a press agent, it is their job to be the sole contact on behalf of the production with the media.
* If you don't know how to write your bio, contact the press agent for support. S/he should be able to walk you through the process so that you will have a bio to build upon.
* Make sure you have a great headshot (if you are an actor). That is your tool to promoting yourself. Before picking your final photo, have at least 3 people look at the options, including a publicist.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Publicist IT AwardsKampfire PR
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Among the myriad subjects to be honored with a coffee-table book (e.g./ "Movie Stars on Vacation" or "Extreme Bonsai") I would like to add my own original idea for a new topic: "Dressing Rooms of Off-Off-Broadway". Imagine how exciting it would be to leaf through the colorful pages of the bazaar crevasses and nooks that make up the wacky spaces where so many actors prepare their craft.
If the actual theatres of O-O-B'way are out-of-the-way and often carved out of most remote parts of the concrete jungle, then you can only guess what the inner sanctums of these spaces must look like. I have done plays where the dressing room was also the lighting storage closet; we had to change from our street clothes into our costume changes all the while avoiding the long cords and sharp edges of fresnels. There have been dressing rooms located behind (or even under) the audience, meaning that once the house was open – you had to be backstage and the dressing room was 2+ hours away. If you forgot something, if you needed a mirror to check your costume, or if you could simply overhear the audience above you commenting on the play you're in…too bad!
Recently, I finished doing a one-act festival where there were 7 of us (men and women) in one dressing room, along with a clothes rack, three chairs, and two toilette stalls. Moving in and out of each others' way came easily; pretending not to hear when someone was peeing was natural…but what was unexpected was the amount of fun we all had being stuffed into such a space. As I looked around me I realized that, while it may not be like the movie-version I had imagined in my childhood, I am indeed living the life of a
Share your crazy OOB Space story with us - fill out this quick online form.
NY IT Awards
Monday, April 28, 2008
Applications for the Honorary Awards are now online. Do you have a great Off-Off-Broadway theatre company? Do you know an organization or someone specific who has made a significant contribution through service or leadership to the Off-Off-Broadway community? Then please help us recognize them.
Applications for the Caffe Cino Fellowship and the Stewardship Award are now available online at the IT Awards website.
You may be asking yourself "well, what about the Artistic Achievement Award?" Good News -- The Artistic Achievement Award no longer requires an application. If you know someone who you think should be considered, please write to the Honorary Awards Committee by filling out this quick online form.
Applications are due at 5pm on 5/1/08.
Complete list of the 2008 Honorary Awards Committee.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Today, we released the results of our production budget survey.
We worked on this for almost a year. We worked with a statistician from beginning to end. She helped us develop the wording of the survey and consulted us on the methods of informing the community about it, collecting the surveys and analyzing the results.
We talk about this in the study document itself, but this is what we did: we made the survey available on our website. We then sent emails to every OOB theatre company listed in our database, which includes about 350 theatre companies. We invited them to take the survey. We included information about the survey on our homepage and in our monthly Update. Twice during the process we made a list of all the OOB productions that had closed a show within the last 2 weeks and sent them emails asking them to take the survey.
We ended up with a 20% response rate which is the industry standard for having a valid study.
It was a long process. And honestly, like many of you, some of the results surprised me in a good way and some left me feeling a little disappointed.
The more I thought about it however, the more I was convinced that making this information public was very important and releasing all of it, warts and all. (Besides, it would be unethical to only release parts of it) We have been living in a vacuum of information for so long that no one has a clear idea of what or who our community is. We have been growing and changing for decades, but it hasn’t been documented. I hope that this study will, at the very least, create a baseline from which we will be able to mark our growth.
And, there are some things in the study that I find very encouraging and inspiring. The fact that 62% of OOB is paying the actors. There is no requirement or law, but the producers are voluntarily paying the actors because they believe that the actors should be paid. Most of these productions are running on a shoestring budget and don’t have any additional funds, but they manage to make this happen. I think that is proof that the producers are not out to take advantage of the actors.
These numbers are also a great motivation to do an economic impact study. $31 million dollars is a lot of money, but the economic impact of OOB would be 3 or 4 times that much.
There are lots of interesting statistics. See what you think.
You can see the results by going to www.nyitawards.com/survey.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
New York Innovative Theatre Awards
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The photographer and I got it picked up in Star Magazine, Life & Style, and The Daily News as seen here: www.nydailynews.com
Now this won’t always happen for your OOB play, so what can you expect from your OOB publicist:
A press agent should be the number 1 advocate for your show, in addition to your cast, crew and company. Your press agent should be the sole voice on behalf of the production to the media.
A press agent, even with the most solid relationships, can not control the press, ie: get you a positive review.
A press agent should work to get your features, listings and reviews. Leveraging their personal relationships with the press will do this for your production.
Kampfire PR publicity campaigns include:
1. PRESS RELEASE:
a. Production Announcement: pertinent information on the production – who, what, where, when, ticket prices, where to purchase tickets, etc.
b. Listing Request: specific listings request submitted to listings editors with information clearly outlined in the manner in which they are accustomed to receiving it.
c. Review Requests: Leverage personal relationships with reviewers and editors in pursuit of critical coverage for your production.
2. FEATURE OPPORTUNITIES: Customized Story Pitches: Pitch feature story ideas to press, generated and developed along with the production team.
3. PRESS KIT: Includes press releases, cast bios, crew bios, past press, script, photos.
4. ONLINE PHOTO ROOM
In this theatrical climate it requires more than great public relations to increase audiences and awareness for your shows. I think an integrated campaign, which includes publicity, marketing, and audience building are required.
Marketing includes your posters, postcards, e-blasts, website, advertising, and more...
Audience Building is reaching out to specific members of the community who would be interested in your production.
I’d be happy to discuss this more with you.
Your friendly IT Awards Press Agent,
Monday, February 25, 2008
The last few weeks have been very busy for the IT Awards and I wanted to take a moment to let you know what we are up to.
HONORARY AWARD APPLICATIONS
The Honorary Award applications are now available on our website (www.nyitawards.com).We are accepting applications for the Caffe Cino (presented to an Off-Off-Broadway theatre company in recognition of outstanding work OOB, and for demonstrating a commitment to continue to produce OOB) and the Stewardship Award (presented to an individual or institution demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership.)
I am always excited by the Honorary Awards because it is our opportunity to recognize some really important contributions to our community.
The 18 members of the Honorary Awards Committee are divided into 3 subcommittees, representing the 3 different honorary awards. Each of the Caffe Cino applications (for example) are then read by the 6 person Cino subcommittee. The subcommittee meets and discusses all the Cino applications and decides on 3 applications to present to the committee as a whole. Then the entire committee reads all 9 applications (3 from each of the 3 subcommittees). We have a big meeting where discuss each of the finalists and vote. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we miraculously have a unanimous decision. Sometimes we have to vote several times to get a clear recipient. All of the members of the committee are dedicated to our community and are very knowledgeable about OOB. We are also very opinionated and strong-willed and that can make for some spirited conversation. At the end of our meeting, we come to a decision.
Each year, I find myself so proud of our community and wanting to recognize all of the applicants. I've even been moved to donate some of my personal funds to those companies that apply for the Caffe Cino because I get excited about what they are doing.
There is a little change this year. The Artistic Achievement Award (presented to an individual that has an impressive body of work Off-Off-Broadway or has accomplished something truly groundbreaking in independent theatre in New York) no longer requires an application. While applications for the Caffe Cino Fellowship and the Stewardship Awards are made available to the public, candidates for the Artistic Achievement Award are chosen by the Honorary Award Committee. However we still accept suggestions from the community and follow up on those suggestions.
JUDGING SYSTEM VIDEO
Over the last 2 weeks, we have been shooting a short 5 minute instructional video on how the IT Awards judging system works. We wanted to create something fun and watchable that clearly explains the process.
We had a great crew and a fantastic cast. We are hoping to be able to reveal the finished product by the end of March.
I'm excited to see what you think about it.
Keep checking our website for more updates. www.nyitawards.com