Monday, January 31, 2011

Clog The Elevators


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Will Maitland Weiss.

My arts advocacy advice: clog the elevators—in Albany, in DC, wherever arts policy and arts funding are decided. Based on 30 years in the field? On having managed an off-B’way theater (in part by laying off all of its company and staff, myself included, ouch, but it survives today)? On running a place called the Arts & Business Council for the last five years, where we bring business skills, interns, volunteers, board members, executive education, and other resources to the arts community? Not so much.

It’s my advice based on what the legislators whose elevators we might clog told our audience last week at our free panel discussion at the Foundation Center on working with government and getting our nonprofit arts voices heard. City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the Culture Committee; State Assembly member Deborah Glick, who supports the arts in Chelsea, the Villages, and downtown; and State Senator Liz Krueger, who does the same in midtown and up and down the east side impressed on us again and again the need for us to get organized and get ourselves heard above the din of competing special interests. The issue of NY State Arts Advocacy Day came up—Tuesday, February 8; for more information click here  or here. Hundreds of people ride planes, trains, automobiles, and other forms of transportation (a chartered bus leaves from W. 125th St. in Manhattan at 6:45 a.m. and costs $10 or $15) and descend on Albany like righteous locusts. The goal is to impress upon each and every legislator (and/or his/her hard-working staff, who, we learned, absolutely have their bosses’ ears) the value proposition of the arts:
  • job creation: theater, music, dance, and even visual arts are labor-intensive, and these jobs will not be replaced by automation or outsourced to Asia (we represented about 200,000 NY State jobs in 2005, stats from the Alliance for the Arts Arts as an Industry study);
  • economic impact: put on a show, and your audience will buy tickets, eat in restaurants, park, go shopping, pay babysitters ($20 billion in NY State in 2005);
  • nothing draws more tourists to the State, or encourages them to part with more money (tourism accounted for another $6 billion in 2005);
  • creativity in the workforce is employers’ #1 concern in the 21st century; ABC/NY’s parent company, Americans for the Arts, has coined a great new tagline: “Inspired employees bring creativity to work.” I’m rolling that over on my tongue and liking it a lot. Dairy farming and apple picking are not the future growth industries for NY State. You want to attract smart, “creative industries” types? You want kids to stay in your community after college? You want families to move in, businesses to open up a branch in your upstate town? You’d better offer something creatively stimulating after work.
  • this doesn’t even touch on the power of the arts to stimulate and motivate kids’ expression, collaboration, discipline, innovation in pre-K—12;
  • and—hello!—truth, beauty, meaning, aesthetics, and fulfillment aren’t bad either.
But, per my friends Glick and Krueger (who are already pro-arts, and trying along with you and me to sell it to the less informed), on February 8, we’ll reach who we reach. Some yes, some no. Every Tuesday, some interest group is lobbying in Albany. Whether they meet or listen, the legislators get the message: our voters want ________ (something). Education. Security. Healthcare. Parks. Tax incentives. Clean water. Children; puppies and kittens… With all of which it is still, despite my list above, so hard for the arts to compete. These other guys all vote and they all clog the elevators. The arts must clog the elevators, too.

Looking ahead to February 8, and also to Americans for the Arts’ national Arts Advocacy Day, I have two other pieces of advice. But—just like you—I have to go out now and forage for money. Contributions, “earned” (please!) revenue, change from the sofa cushions; you name it. At least I don’t also have to get elected/re-elected. Small mercies. Clog the elevators; more to follow.

Photo L to R: Glick, Krueger, Glick, Van Bramer, Krueger
photo credit: ABC/NY

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Guest Blogger: Will Maitland Weiss

February is dedicated to Arts Advocacy here on the IT Foundation blog. We are so excited to introduce our first guest blogger this month, Will Maitland Weiss.

Will Maitland Weiss is the executive director of the Arts & Business Council of New York [ABC/NY], which serves the field with volunteer development, professional development, and leadership development.  Since 1965, ABC/NY has worked to foster “more creative partnerships” between the arts and business communities; since 2005, ABC/NY has itself partnered with the country’s leading national arts advocacy organization, Americans for the Arts. Weiss served for five years as VP for development and communications for NY City Center; he spent ten years in development at with NY City Opera; and for five years he was marketing director, then development director, then managing director of the Off-Broadway CSC Repertory.  He has lectured or consulted on development, marketing, nonprofit management, and/or career development at the City University of NY graduate program in arts administration, and at Brown, NYU, Seton Hall, the University of the Virgin Islands, and his alma mater, Williams College.


Saturday, January 29, 2011



We want to thank Martin Denton for his informative and inspiring blogs last week.

We are very happy to announce that February is dedicated to ARTS ADVOCACY here on the IT Foundation's blog.

We have lined up some people who are really knowledgeable about advocacy, what is going on in the world of politics that affects the arts and how we can maximize our own advocacy efforts.

It should be an interesting month and I encourage all of you to ask questions and engage with these folks.

If you didn't know, February 8th is Arts Day in Albany and the State and City budgets are also due this month, so there will be a lot to talk about.

Guest Bloggers include:

Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director, Arts & Business Council of New York
Adam Huttler, Executive Director, Fractured Atlas
Norma P. Munn, Chair, NYC Arts Coalition
Paul Nagle, Executive Director, Institute for Culture in the Service of Community Sustainability

Please join us for these important conversations.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I Love Indie Theater


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Martin Denton.

When I began, nearly 15 years ago, I was a Broadway guy. For me, back then, "New York theatre" was the stuff that got done between 42nd Street and Lincoln Center, with the occasional anomalous foray to Greenwich Village, or, rarely, somewhere else in Manhattan. All the other stuff—what used to get lumped into a category called "off-off-Broadway"—was completely off my radar. My preconceived notion about it was that it was located in undesirable parts of the city, was experimental and/or somehow dangerous, and probably lacking in the professionalism (not to mention lush production values) that I was used to.

Luckily, some wonderful people quickly steered me in a better direction. They made me challenge these silly assumptions by inviting me to see their work, to discover that the world of theatre beyond Broadway and off-Broadway in New York is where the action actually is. In a heady 18 months or so, I found myself going to places I never imagined I'd go to in NYC: to deserted office buildings in the Flatiron District and Midtown; theatres in church basements on the Upper East Side and the far West Village; a whole festival, for goodness sake, in the Lower East Side, in venues with names like House of Candles and the Piano Store.

It was not simply the novelty that made this work feel interesting. And it wasn't simply its quality, though of course that bowled me over right from the start. No, what sold me on indie theater in the late '90s was the unbridled energy: the creativity, invention, and adventurousness of the thing. Thinking back on some of what I saw in 1998—the year I really found my niche and shifted my energies and's focus to the world of indie theater—makes me feel a little giddy: Matt Maher in W. David Hancock's The Race of the Ark Tattoo at P.S. 122; Kirk Wood Bromley's The Death of Griffin Hunter at Walkerspace (the first show of his I ever saw); Let It Ride!, the first production of Mel Miller's Musicals Tonight! series, at the Lamb's Theatre; Tim Cusack in Rachel Kranz's Stunt Man, Eric Winick's Ian Fleming Presents Steve Gallin in Nobody Dies Forever, and David Summers & Gary Ruderman's "So, I Killed a Few People...", all at the 2nd FringeNYC Festival; Marc Geller's revival of Dark of the Moon at T. Schreiber Studio; Philip Ridley's The Fastest Clock in the Universe at the old INTAR space on Theatre Row; David Fuller as King Lear in Rod McLucas's production for Theater Ten Ten; Joe Calarco's R&J at the John Houseman Studio Theatre (before it went off-Broadway); Letty Cruz's revival of The Mulligan Guards Ball at Creative Place Theatre; Mark Lonergan's The Return of Avant-Vaudeville at Nada, where we saw the first glimmer of what would become his first hit, Velo/City; Storm Theatre's revival of The Shaughraun at Looking Glass Theatre; and Jason McCullough's Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig at ATA (which was directed by Adam Rapp before he was famous; Shay Gines was the publicist... and that's where she and I first met).

What a year that was! Turns out I was very wrong about Broadway versus its Other.

I have, since, been very fortunate to get to know most of the artists just mentioned, and so many more. Being pulled (willingly) into this community has had a lot to do with how I feel about it. Indie theater is the only kind of theater where audience and artists truly engage and reach the possibility of collaboration and community—there's no sense of rarefied "stars" that creates an "us" and a "them"; rather there's an ecstatic and genuine feeling of equality: everybody in the room is just as important as everybody else, but some of us are astonishingly talented and creative. The generosity of indie theater artists no longer surprises me, but the open arms with which I was welcomed into this community was entirely unexpected when it happened in the late '90s.

I have also stopped being surprised by how often I am inspired by the extraordinary output of the people who make indie theater. Way before I started, I used to tell people that theatre was where I went to find out how I feel about things. The shows I see season after season by NYC's hundreds of indie theater companies constantly reinforce that thesis. But I've learned that theatre can do even more than that. A John Jahnke show (like his recent Men Go Down) teaches me how to see and listen, anew. A performance piece like Judith Malina's Korach reminds me to question all the stuff I think I know. Work by people of different backgrounds from my own (Ralph Pena's Flipzoids, for example) makes me become hungry to stretch and learn what I don't know. Immersive experiences like bluemouth inc.'s Dance Marathon offer authentic renewal and catharsis.

As long as there's stuff like this to take in, I'm not going anywhere.

One of the things I love about being a theatre reviewer is that I don't have to supply the topic for the evening's entertainment—that's the job of the playwright and other artists. All I have to do is show up, watch, and listen.

So, to all the indie playwrights, directors, actors, producers, designers, etc. who are reading this: I'm never going to tell you what kind of art you should make. The only thing I want you to do is to make the art that you know you have to make, and to do it with honesty and without cynicism, embracing the independence that working outside the mainstream provides. You inspire me, and for that I am eternally grateful.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Can Help You


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Martin Denton.

As I've read many of the past guest bloggers' posts here on FULL OF IT, I've been impressed by the great ideas they've shared with readers about how to make use of scarce resources to do a great job creating and producing theater at the indie level. One of the things that excited me about this Guest Blogging gig is to be able to re-affirm's mission, which is entirely about providing a platform, at no charge to theater companies and artists, where they can promote their work for a large, broad, diverse audience.

I hope you know already that is a program of the nonprofit corporation that I founded called The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. Because we're nonprofit, we're not beholden to advertisers or any businesses; we're here to serve our funders (the two largest of which are the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts) and our audience, which encompasses people who make theater in greater NYC and people who see/love/care about theater.

In other words, we exist to serve indie theater companies and indie theater artists, to help them spread the word about what they do. Our goal has always been to level the playing field in the world of NYC theater. Large commercial producers and well-funded nonprofit companies have access to lots of media coverage. Smaller companies do not. That's what is for.

Do you know all the ways you can market your show on Here's a list:
  1. Send a listing for your show to be included on our website. Send it as far in advance as you can. Future shows are on our Coming Attractions Page. Current shows are on our Now Playing pages. Include lots of interesting information so we can figure out what special categories it can be listed in (such as Gay/Lesbian, Plays by Women, Kids/Families, etc.). If you're doing a reading series, we'll include it in our new Reading/Concert Series listings. If your show is part of a festival, we'll include it in our Festival Calendar. If it's a one-time only benefit or other event, we'll post it on our One Night Only page.
  2. Email me if you want to do a podcast or a cyberinterview about your show. We have limited resources and so can't guarantee this kind of coverage. But if you can suggest a special "twist" about your work, you will have a good chance of persuading us to do a feature about it. Be personal--reach out to me directly ( to let me know what you're doing. Give us as much notice as you can: podcasts, especially, are often scheduled a month to six weeks ahead of time.
  3. The best way to get reviewed is to give me a lot of interesting and valuable information about your show so that I can figure out who on our staff ought to cover it. And, once again, give me plenty of lead time. If your show is a revival, let me know what's distinctive about your approach to the material. If it's a new play, give me a good sense of the plot/themes/ideas in the piece. The more I know, the easier it will be for me to find the right person to review it and to get them interested in doing it.
  4. Include info about all of the personnel involved with your show! This is a particularly good way to help me decide about reviewing it: I always feel terrible when I discover I missed a production featuring a particular artist that I admire because I didn't realize that he or she was working on it.
  5. When you send your listing info, don't forget to include as many links as you can! We will link to any and all of the following from your individual show page on your company website, your show's website, your show's Facebook page, any video links (such as on YouTube), any audio links (e.g., a podcast).
  6. Are you offering discounts on your show's tickets to students or seniors? Be sure to include that info with your listing, because then we can include it on our special DISCOUNTS section on, which is (understandably) a pretty popular feature. And you should also consider offering readers a special discount offer as well, which will also be included on the DISCOUNTS page. (There's info about our virtual coupons here.)
  7. After we post your listing, or review, or cyberinterview, or Indie Theater Companion profile, or podcast, or whatever on, help us spread the word about it by using your Social Network to the max! Link to the article on Twitter and on Facebook. Include it in an email blast. Make it viral! This can make the difference between something being seen by a few thousand people and it being seen by tens of thousands of people.
Staying in touch is the most important thing. Rochelle and I are genuinely interested in the work being cooked up by the indie theater community, and it means a great deal to us when people let us know what they're up to. And it helps us find new, inventive, and interesting ways to apply our online resources in service of your art.

Oh, and before I sign off today...there's one easy way you can help us improve how we do what we do. We're currently conducting a reader survey, to obtain some information about ways we can enhance in a few key areas. Please click this link to complete the survey. It's on Survey Monkey and it should take no more than 5 minutes to do. We appreciate your feedback!


Monday, January 24, 2011

I Want YOU for the Indie Theater Companion


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Martin Denton.

I'm very excited to be talking with you as this week's Guest Blogger on Full of IT. Thanks to Shay, Morgan, and all the rest of the amazing NYIT folks for inviting me to be here.

I'm going to begin with an invitation. Please visit the Indie Theater Companion on And please join us by writing an article for the Indie Theater Companion.

What is the Indie Theater Companion, you ask? Well, it's the newest member of NYTE's family of free online resources serving the theater community. It's the culmination of about 30 months of nurturing and hatching on the part of Rochelle and myself. It's a dynamic collection of articles by and about the indie theater world; a place where indie artists talk about themselves and what's on their minds while the rest of the Internet gets to eavesdrop. It was inspired by Leslie Halliwell's mammoth Filmgoers' Companion and Danny Peary's delightful coffee table book Close-Ups. It's a comprehensive and credible site for information about indie theater artists and indie theater companies--a place where artists who generally work under the radar will find a permament home ON the radar, where people can learn about who they are and what they do and why they're so special.

ITC (as I like to call it, for short) combines the breadth and collaborative nature of Wikipedia with the social interaction of the blogosphere, all within a curated controlled framework that ensures that all content is created by bona fide practitioners in the field and is accurate. The good folks here at NYIT called ITC "a true resource for our community" in their round-up of the Top Ten Events Affecting OOB in 2010.

ITC really got started about a year ago, when two of the prime movers over at 50/50 in 2020, Andrea Lepcio and Cindy Cooper, recruited about three dozen people to write a series of profiles of women playwrights. Their contributions became the cornerstone of ITC. It was wonderfully exciting to read these pieces as they came in. We'd given out guidelines to everyone as to what we were expecting, but--because these writers are such talented and inventive individuals--what we got exceeded by a mile what we were hoping for. The writers of these initial pieces included a lot of names you'll recognize, like Austin Pendleton, Jeffrey M. Jones, and Saviana Stanescu, and we're so grateful to them for getting ITC rolling.

Many more articles have followed. Chris Harcum is spearheading a section on performance artists, and so far he's brought us profiles by Mark Lonergan, Jeff Lewonczyk, and Alex Roe. Alice Reagan is about to launch a section on women directors. I've started working on a section devoted to indie theater company profiles. And as word has spread, other indie luminaries have started to contribute. This week alone we got new pieces in from Leslie Bramm, Case Aiken, and Daniel Talbott.

So this is where you come in. I am inviting you to write a profile of an indie theater artist or company for ITC. Choose someone--an actor, director, playwright, producer, stage manager, designer--whose work you know well: someone about whose work you can write fluently and knowledgably, someone whose merits and gifts you're ready to share with the world. ITC profiles answer the questions:
  •  who is this artist (or company)?
  • what is their work like?
  • why is their work notable?
Email me to let me know who you will write about BEFORE you begin! That's mainly so I can make sure that your subject hasn't already been claimed by someone else; we don't want duplicate profiles right now.

Please note these guidelines before you choose:
  1. Pick someone you can write about easily. ITC profiles are not interviews and they shouldn't require a lot of research. (Do check your facts, though.)
  2. Do not pick someone you are too close to. We need to be somewhat objective. So you can't write about your wife or your boyfriend, and if you're an artistic director, you can't write about your own company. But you can and should write about someone you've worked with and/or admired over the years.
  3. Like all of NYTE's projects, ITC is a grassroots endeavor that depends on volunteers to make it happen. But we want to acknowledge and thank all of our contributors, and so for every ITC article that you write, you will be entitled to one week of free banner advertising that will run on every ITC page on
  4. Most important: email me before you start to write! I'll send you more detailed guidelines and info about how to proceed when I hear from you.
The best way to get a feel for the ITC's style and feel is to read some articles. So please do!

And if you have a good idea of who should write the profile of YOU -- I want to know that, too. Send me an email with that info, and we'll get the ball rolling.

The goal is to have every indie theater artist and indie theater company in the ITC. The sooner the better. I can't wait to hear from you.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guest Blogger of the Week: Martin Denton


A big thank you to Stephanie Barton-Farcas for her blogs last week.

We are happy to announce that next week's guest blogger is Martin Denton.

Martin Denton is the founder, editor, and chief reviewer of He is the Executive Director of's nonprofit parent organization, The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. (NYTE); the editor of NYTE's annual Plays and Playwrights anthologies, along with the collections Playing with Canons and Unpredictable Plays; and the founding producer of nytheatrecast, NYC's first original, regularly scheduled theatre podcast. He also designs and codes all of NYTE's websites. Martin received an OTTY (Our Town Thanks You) Award for contributions to the community in 2008; and with NYTE's Managing Director Rochelle Denton, he was honored with the 2008 Stewardship Award from the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Has my 'get up and go' taken a vacation?


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Stephanie Barton-Farcas.

Man, how do we do it? How do we keep going in this economic wasteland? How do new companies form every year and folks keep slogging it out season after season? And they make it work!? How do I stay inspired? In our 11th season? I have been asking myself this lately and trying to figure out how and why I keep coming back to running a company after 10 years. Cause, boy it can get tiring. And sometimes it makes me nuts, frankly.
After the 4th rental cancellation, the 9th refusal of play production rights, the hissy fit an actor throws, the 'validate me' from an auditioner who hasn't learned to validate themselves.......... and still you have a whole new season, new sets, new actors, new challenges. Plus your own life. How to keep pace and not tear your hair out? What seems to work for me is either a play which gets me going (the world premiere this summer of a great funny, scary zombie play) or looking at new actors in new roles (just thinking about seeing a bunch of 9 year olds for the spring show Bad Seed is pretty cool).  A new grant, cleaning our space with the company and eating pizza. Sometime I think artists have a great gift in that we can be happy with our community, just taking off makeup and putting props away. Just cleaning and eating pizza.
Ultimately though I think maybe it is something which nobody can give you. Its inside you. Its the art in you - not you and what you do in the art (playing a great role, or directing a great show is great but that is what you do in the art - not the art which burns inside you). Self-inspiration is the key, I think.  It makes you say 'yea I can' when you start out with a new company and it is that little voice which you find 10 years later still there saying 'yea, you can - all of you can'. Sometimes I worry that the voice will die out, what with being a mother, a wife, life moves on, you know? But thank god for our muses, thank god when that voice seems to perk up in me. I took a hiatus from the theater a great many years ago- took off for 8 years and traveled the world, lived in other countries and did a lot of great things - none of which I regret.  But returning to the states - oop, there was that voice- welcome home! Hey, lets make art!
You have to feed that little person in your heart who speaks to you. Feed that voice with art, books, plays, movies, dance, music, food, sleep and love. Have a life of your own outside the art so you can feed your soul in the art. Treat yourself kindly and as much as you can treat others the same (there are always those who make you nuts, hey sainthood is not something I am up for, I know that...) but FEED YOURSELF. Take care of yourself and the little artist inside you, love them, so when the time comes to make art, you are bursting at the seams with things you MUST let everyone see.
So, in a way that is pretty 'touchy feely' stuff, BUT when I see someone burn out, that's why. Nothing 'gets' them anymore, nothing inspires them. As for artists, its our job to stay inspired. We have no choice in it. We need to do it in order to do our work well. Some folks work out at a gym. We get inspired. Our 'get up and go' gets off its butt and then we pass it on. Isn't that what art is? Passing on of inspiration and passion? Hmm, I guess so- maybe that little voice is onto something..........

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Creating Art on the Cheap


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Stephanie Barton-Farcas.
We all are continually looking for ways to make great sets, costumes, etc. without going broke. Or at least save some money in a city where a shirt can cost thousands of dollars! We all know, or should know, the old reliables - (Materials for the Arts, Salvation Army, Goodwill) but there are tons of other resources in the city and I want to let you in on some.  

  • Sign up online for freecycle, a daily or weekly email list of stuff for free in any borough in the city. You pick it up yourself; clothes, props, furniture, paint.
  • NY Waste Match materials exchange provides paint for free to non-profits - its online, check it out.
  • Craigslist free classified - you'd be surprised what you can get.
  • The Free Store at 99 Nassau street has - you guessed it- free stuff.
We have produced shows where the entire set and paint was free - granted sometimes you have to haul it, lug it, transport it- and that well, is not free- but still you save a bundle. And the aforementioned Materials for The Arts- if you are a non-profit and you are not a member- SIGN UP- you won't regret it. Warehoused in Queens they have everything under the sun and all free to non-profit arts groups. We save an average of a few thousand a year just because of them!

Also, we are in mid-town around the garment district so we keep our eye on what they toss- sheets of mylar? Hey! its a backdrop! Fabric?- Costumes! We are not proud - just thrifty and we will absolutely nab something someone has tossed. Local restaurants also can provide food and/or beverages for a simple thank you in the program - just ask them! Ready-made concessions!

And the mentioned two reliables - Salvation Army and Goodwill. They are not out of business, they are still running and have locations in every borough. Everything from furniture to clothes to props to scripts- all on the cheap - and sometimes you can have the guys who work there deliver your stuff for a few bucks after they get off duty.
I'd love to hear any other good standbys in the city which you all use- there are millions of people throughout the boroughs and the amount of stuff people toss or give away is unbelievable.  

Where do you save your bucks?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NY Space- how do I find it? Is there any left at all? HELP?


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Stephanie Barton-Farcas.

With the recent closing of Cherry Land theatre and Ohio theater, and the near (whew!) closing of Centerstage theater - I find myself mulling over the whole NYC space issue. With so many new companies working why is it that spaces can't stay afloat? And what is it these younger or nomadic companies should know about the spaces? My company has been on both sides of the equation, booking spaces for each show all over the city, and since 2007, being in our own home on west 38th street.

I have seen a couple of trends which may contribute to the struggle to maintain a space. More and more companies are having to cut everything to the bare minimum, which they think should mean space too (except for the darn fact that you gotta perform somewhere!). Newer companies in particular wait until very late in the game to reserve a space, then panic, then scramble to find a space, then if they are lucky, book it at the last minute. What ever happened to reserving a space early and sticking to it? That's what we did way back when. Booking early also helps the space out as they know when they are booked for renters (providing the bookings don't flake).

So what can companies do in service of the spaces still active, most of whom rent at a subsidized cost (as we do) to them. Book early, and book only what you need -not 6 weeks for a showcase (then you panic when you can't raise money). Honor your booking if you reserve it, theater owners have long memories and we do remember who skips out.  Once its time to pay - pay! Don't rent if you don't have a tech person, the theater is not responsible for running or designing your show. Once you are set in a space with subsidized rates - refrain from nickel and diming the space; "well, can i rent only 1 hour for less?" "Can I pay by Christmas even though we rent in March?" - just pay up, be clean, run your own show, make art.

There are spaces to rent out there and they are great, but it takes a concerted effort by all of us to ensure that the OOB community has these spaces to return to time and time again. And a great part of that is responsible artists renting them and being true to the spaces keeping going in this tough climate. We are generally very lucky, we do a lot of repeat business and have great folks in our space - BUT - we still get asked to run lights for folks, to let them have 'free' days in their rental (hey, we pay for stuff too!) which is already at rock bottom costs, and still find ourselves cleaning for 6 hours after a group that only rented for one day.

Its all part of "community," taking care of each other and the places we work. Granted some places are toughies, high rent and mean folks! But, when you get a space where they don't dictate what you can do and they are nice to boot? Book it, pay up, keep clean and make nice. Simple stuff, but it needs to be said again - the more we all maintain our general spaces in this city, the better they are for the next group, show, dance project and party. So I nag a bit......hey, its all for a good cause - US!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Guest Blogger of the Week: Stephanie Barton-Farcas


We would like to thank Jeffrey Keenan for helping start out 2011.

We are happy to announce that next week's guest blogger is Stephanie Barton-Farcas.

Stephanie Barton-Farcas is an actor, director, writer, producer in NYC. She is founder of Nicu's Spoon Theater Co. currently beginning its 11th season in the city. They also run their own space, Spoon Theatre, on west 38th street.  She has been off-Broadway 3 times, lastly in 'Elizabeth Rex' (winning the 2008 NYITA award for best actress for the OOB run of the same show). She has won the OOBR award for directing and producing for 'SubUrbia' in 2004. Her company not only has won NYITA's, OOBR's, NY Snapple/Mayor's office Award, STAR award from WNYC, the Thom Fluellen Award from NYU but also continues to rent low-cost space to 20+ companies per year, while producing 3-5 shows themself. She also teaches grantwriting, audition techniques, acting class, is a speech and dialect coach and is the mom of an 8 year old! She is a member of SAG, AEA, SAFD and is set to direct the summer show of the 2011 season themed 'Monsters'- the world premiere of 'How the Day Runs Down' by John Langan.


Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm Stuck

Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Jeffrey Keenan.

I’m stuck.


I’ve known about this gig for Shay for months—honestly, since last year’s successful first week.  But in typical Jeffrey fashion, I decided the best approach to this—and frankly, every aspect of my life—is to essentially wing it.  To trust the winds of inspiration will come blowing up my skirt at just the right moment to take me and my keyboard soaring over the Off-Off-Broadway landscapes below, offering questionable entertainment and insight into how one produces ancient, live theater in this new digitized media age.

But right now, I’m stuck.  The only wind blowing around my skirt is exit only. The only inspiration I’ve felt in the last week is the fellatio scene in the BBC series Skins that I plowed through on Netflix last week when I was home sick with the flu.

So I’ve decided, right here and right now, that THAT is going to be my topic: the flu, and how my recent brush with mortality is somehow in any way relatable to producing on Off-Off-Broadway.

Not so much the persistent body aches, the delusion-inducing fevers, the chills and quakes or the persistent hacking as your lungs try to leave your body, but the rather adult idea that all of that fun—all of that lost income from not going to work, all of the pain and sleeplessness, all of the discomfort and monies spent on marginally effective over-the-counter remedies could have been avoided with just a little tiny bit of planning known commonly as the flu shot.   (This should be good—go pop some popcorn or grab a bottle of wine.  If nothing else, my flailing should be comical to watch.)

Firstly, there is nothing flimsy about me at all.  I’m 6’3”, shoulders like a bison, legs that could best be described as Bunyonesque, and I weigh slightly more than one of those two-seater Smart cars. I am a robust man.  Nothing as small as flu virus, shaped in my mind like the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would have the power to bring me to my knees!  That takes something much larger and far more powerful—like a European tourist in chaps and armbands on the roof of the Eagle.  His name was Andreanus and he made my New Year’s Eve quite the memorable experience—just ask Ron Bopst. 

I digress.

Had I taken the threat seriously, I would have chosen to be inoculated and marched into a Rite Aid, or a Walgreens, or a Duane Reade, or a CVS, or any one of the thousands of pharmacies that litter the streets of New York and gotten poked by a well-meaning pharmacist—a much more productive poking than any other I may have referenced preciously in this post. Or to that end, gone to my physician and had him or one of his staff members do it.  I realize that I’m quite fortunate to have a physician (and insurance) in this economy, but even for those who don’t, the $20 or so that it would cost to get a flu shot off the street is definitely worth it.

How does any of this relate to producing?  How is my “mewling and puking” supposed to translate into inspirational, beginning-of-the-year, ‘throw your chin to heaven in affirmation of your gifts and purpose to mankind’ advice?

(Twenty points to the first person to correctly identify the Shakespearean reference in that last paragraph.)



Recognize that regardless of what you THINK you know, you can NEVER be prepared for everything.  UNLESS you have PLANNED to prepare for everything!

Talent is easy.  Type “dancing parrot” into YouTube and you’ll get more examples of talent than you’ll ever, ever need.  But planning is much more difficult.  Planning requires a maturity and patience that separates the merely inspired from the truly driven.  Planning teaches you humility by demonstrating exactly how much you don’t know.  Planning saves you money, saves you time, saves you effort and saves you embarrassment.

And planning, should you bow your head and allow yourself to learn from it, will teach you that given the option between new gloves or a flu shot, go with the damn flu shot.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guest Blogger of the Week: Jeffrey Keenan


Please help me welcome our first blogger of 2011, Jeffrey Keenan.

Jeffrey was our very first guest blogger and we are happy to have him kick start 2011. You can check out Jeffrey's 2010 blogs:

In the seven years between 1997 and 2004, Jeffrey Keenan wrote, directed, produced and/or acted in over 30 professional theatrical productions in and around Washington D.C., including The Shakespeare Theater, The Kennedy Center, The Olney Theater Center, and the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in addition to refounding and leading in 1997 The Actors’ Theater of Washington (currently Ganymede Arts), to explore and investigate the American GLBT experience. In those seven years, Mr. Keenan’s productions, actors and designers were nominated for numerous Helen Hayes Awards and national Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Awards. His productions grossed more than $1,000,000 dollars in theaters never larger than 125 seats. The Washington Post once called him “perfection.” In the summer of 2004, he tired of consistent poverty so he sold out. He now works for a Manhattan law firm making more money than he’s ever made before in his entire life. He had the great good fortune to move to Manhattan four years ago and was honored to be asked to write the 2006-2008 New York Innovative Theater Awards shows. Mr. Keenan is thankful every day that he lives in a city with so many incredibly diverse and creative theater artists and he wants some of them to hire him to direct again for those moments when he's not rolling around in his piles and piles of cash.


Monday, January 3, 2011



We wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

At the beginning of 2010, we started a new program where every week, we invited people from our community to guest blog for us. What an amazing year it has been. We hosted 44 great bloggers and they provided us with a rich and varied perspective of our very kinetic and expansive community. Once again we'd like to say thank you to all of them.

What did you think?  Which were your favorites?

We will be continuing this program in 2011. We will also be including a few theme months; i.e. March will be about international theatre and maybe August will be about festivals in OOB. So look forward to those and if you have ideas of issues or themes you'd like us to host, let us know.

Thank you for stopping by this year we appreciate your interest, your contributions and you.

Check back in next week for our first official blog of 2011.