Archive for June, 2008

Know Your Culture

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Yuri Kuklachev

Photo by Kevin Steele — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

A helpful guide to know your culture news:

June is the start of the European and North American summer festival season. As posted in the KadmusArts daily culture news feed, music festivals thrive (“Cash Cow”), theatre festivals create new boundaries (“Robert Wilson’s Island”), and dance knows how to celebrate (“American Dance at 75”).

If politicians need to have culture cred, you, too, can come quickly up to speed on the latest culture trends.

Everyday there are posts on the latest news from and about festivals. However, in addition, here are some highlights (for better or worse) of what you need to know to be cultured, selected from a few of June’s posts; or, put another way, if you find yourself being shy at a cocktail party, here’s a great way to start a conversation: Would you believe that…

What’s your story?

- Bill Reichblum

Arts Presenters: Susan Stockton

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Susan StocktonSusan Stockton is the president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. She was also the director of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, and director of the Center for the Arts at Middlebury College. Susan Stockton also serves on the board of the International Society of Performing Arts Presenters.

In this podcast she talks about her career path, what makes for a solid foundation for a performing arts center, and how Fox Cities PAC has created partnerships with its audience.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Susan Stockton [13:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Summer’s Stock

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Get Happy

American progress: what took Stanislavski two and a half years, can now be done in two and a half weeks!

This is the summer stock theatre season in America, with all of its “hey guys, let’s put on a show” optimism and guarantees that audiences will be delighted, not disturbed.

Traditionally, throughout New England towns and a few spots farther afield from New York, actors, directors, and designers leave the city for a summer spent in the countryside. The “stock” refers to the reuse of sets and costumes: amazing how the same wall can be part of Neil Simon’s Odd Couple and Ibsen’s Ghosts.

Barns become theatres, audiences become relaxed, and Chekhov gets produced after a couple of weeks’ rehearsal.

The bad news is that this is the kind of theatre where directors make the quickest choices, actors use the easiest ideas, and everyone skims along the surface of every play: the fast food of American theatre.

The good news is that summer stock helps exercise the directors’ and actors’ tools and craft: you have to make decisions; you have to listen on stage (after such a short rehearsal time, you never know who is going to forget their lines or what they are supposed to do); and, you have a training ground for young apprentices. Almost all the summer stock theatres provide opportunities for high school and/or college students to work alongside professionals, onstage and off.

If Hollywood’s summer blockbusters give us the junk food of movie making, then summer stock also has a place for giving us fast food.

Even the noblest amongst us deserve the occasional break of eating without nutrients, watching without thinking, and creating without depth.

Summer stock is a source of American ingenuity and pride.

- Bill Reichblum

Arts Presenters: Brian Goldstein

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Brian GoldsteinBrian Goldstein is a principal with the law firm FTM Arts Law, specializing in entertainment and the arts, copyright, and immigration among other practice areas. He serves on the Arts Presenters Ethics Codes Task Force, and acts as general counsel for several performing arts managers and agents.

In this podcast he talks about the nature of the emergency phone calls he receives, how artists are becoming entrepreneurs, and why this is the only area of practice he wants to be in.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Brian Goldstein [13:19m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Everything You Need to Know About Shakespeare

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Comedy Mascaron

Photo by Grant Lindsay — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

If “To Be, or Not to Be” is the question, knowing how to perform can be the answer.

So far, we have provided a lesson in how to disco dance, and an example of how to choreograph a love duet (especially if you have an overstock of white shirts and red pants).

Now our new series, When You Are Smiling, continues with a link to everything you need to know about Shakespeare, or “Shakespeare: The Actor’s Art.”

If you want to put the video to a test, be sure to catch a Shakespeare Festival in the coming months. After all, Shakespeare is still one of the best comedians working today.

In the meantime, do send in your video link selections to add to our growing collection of the best in dance, music and theatre videos that — intentionally or not — bring at least a genuine smile, if not outright laughter.


- Bill Reichblum

Arts Presenters: Paola Prestini

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Paola PrestiniPaola Prestini is the director and founder of the interdisciplinary performing collective, VisionIntoArt (VIA). Her work has been performed all over the world, and she has received numerous awards, including a PD Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She has led workshops for the American Symphony Orchestra League and the American Music Center.

In this podcast Paola talks about the art of collaboration, creating spaces for art in our education system and our lives, and how technology facilitates the artistic process.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Paola Prestini [13:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

When You are Smiling

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Tragedy is easy, comedy is hard.

The old adage about acting holds true across the arts: It is easy to be intense and serious; it is hard to make an audience smile and laugh.

So, when there is a chance to find a little laughter, and especially to laugh at ourselves, we need to embrace the moment. Art can be a divine inspiration; laughter a divine gift.

Recently, we brought you the greatest Disco teaching video ever made.

Now, another look back at how far we have come in our dance steps. There’s nothing like old-fashioned choreography to make us laugh — and to provide a humbling context for our own current hipness.

“I Wanna Love You Tender” inaugurates a new KadmusArts series:

We are looking for the best dance, music, and theatre videos that — intentionally or not — bring a genuine smile to our too-often disingenuous world of politicians and poseurs.

Let us know what you find — or create. Send us links to the videos.

After all, When You are Smiling…

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: Jorge Higa and Ricardo Ka (English Translation)

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Jorge Higa and Ricardo KaThe Okinawan Center in Argentina (COA) was founded in 1952, and its mission is to promote and spread the culture and customs of Okinawa, both to Okinawans and their descendants living in Argentina, as well as to the community in general. In 2008 the COA celebrates the 100th anniversary of Okinawan immigration to Argentina with multiple activities and events.

Jorge Higa is the coordinator of Uchina Bunkasai — a festival of Okinawan culture that will take place from June 27 to July 13 — and Ricardo Ka is the treasurer of the center, and is in charge of lectures and seminars on Okinawan history. They talked with KadmusArts about how Okinawa became what it is today, the first immigrants who came to Argentina, festival activities for June and July, and the crucial role of the Center in recovering and keeping alive Okinawa’s art, language, and customs.

 Interview: Jorge Higa and Ricardo Ka (English Translation) [15:24m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Interview: Jorge Higa and Ricardo Ka (In Spanish)

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Jorge Higa and Ricardo KaEl Centro Okinawense en la Argentina (COA) fue fundado en 1952, y su misión es promover y difundir la cultura y las costumbres de Okinawa, tanto entre los okinawenses o descendientes que viven en la Argentina como en la comunidad en general. En el año 2008 el COA festeja el centenario de la inmigración okinawense en la Argentina con varias actividades y eventos.

Jorge Higa es coordinador de Uchina Bunkasai, un festival de cultura Okinawense que se llevará a cabo del 27 de junio al 13 de julio, y Ricardo Ka es tesorero del centro y da clases y seminarios de historia de Okinawa. Ambos hablaron con KadmusArts sobre cómo Okinawa llegó a ser lo que es hoy, los primeros inmigrantes que llegaron a la Argentina, las actividades del festival para junio y julio, y el importante rol que cumple el Centro para recuperar y mantener vivos el arte, el idioma y las costumbres de Okinawa.

 Interview: Jorge Higa and Ricardo Ka (In Spanish) [15:34m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Hero of the Week

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Photo by Alexandre Baron — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

“Eyes, ears, and mind w i d e open.”

This was the perfect response from Mensah to the post of the podcast with Baraka Sele.

Sele, who is a presenter with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and curator of the center’s World Festival, is a “hero of the week” for reminding us why we create, participate in and support artistic life.

If you ever wondered about the motivation for a presenter, take a moment to listen to Sele. The daily workflow, the negotiations, the travels, and the decisions are all powered by a fundamental worldview: curiosity.

As the North American and European summer festival season kicks into high gear, it is a good time to step back and take note of why festival audience numbers keep rising: curiosity. To be alive, and engaged, is to wonder what the world holds — literally, the sights and sounds of creation.

It is not just the audience numbers that are growing. While other industries have suffered contractions and decline, the selections available for new performances, new music, and new art works keep increasing, as well.

Unlike other businesses, technology has not diminished the production of artist works. Technology has increased the access and connection to art, from one’s own neighborhood to the global community.

Curiosity is a growth business.

Sele’s current favorite festival? The Fes World Sacred Music Festival. Coming up on their fifteenth anniversary, with the theme of Les Voies de la Création (the ways of creation), Fes is an incredible meeting of arts, audiences, and cultures. Or, as Sele puts it: “What the world looked like when God walked on it.”

That’s a pretty good description of what is possible in the festival world, and a world of curiosity.

- Bill Reichblum