Archive for July, 2008

Arts Presenters: Mario Garcia Durham

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Mario Garcia DurhamMario Garcia Durham is the Director of Presenting and Multidisciplinary Programs at the National Endowment for the Arts. Prior to coming to the NEA, he was the founder and executive director of Yerba Buena Arts & Events in San Francisco, California, and Performing Arts Curator for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

In this podcast he talks with us about his transition from a presenter based in San Francisco to a representative for a federal agency, the differences between the NEA and European ministries of culture, and the democratic process at work.

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

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Sex Pistols, Killer Guns

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Photos by Sheldon Wood and Richard Lemarchand — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

A family values test: For the development and enlightenment of youth, is it better to be a fan of the Sex Pistols or the U.S. Army?

The connection between these two choices was engaged in stories posted this week on Culture News: an interview with John Lydon and a decision made by a festival.

Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) was one of the founders of the Sex Pistols, the group that helped to create punk music — an honest, raucous, and immediate style of music and performance in the 70s. In only three years, four singles, and one studio album, the Sex Pistols (a.k.a. the “devil’s spawn“) turned the sixties’ rebellion inside out, and still inspires new generations music, fashion, and in the best sense of the words - youthful culture.

In the interview, Lydon stresses that the punk music movement was in fact all about family values: “Family values, unity, spirit, community. All these things they try and steal away from us. That’s punk.”

For Lydon, coming out of a time when hippies took over the music industry and became part of a Los Angeles culture of big money, houses, and stadium tours, punk music was the opposite. Meant to be played in clubs and pubs, the music was direct, wild, and heart-felt, “The songs are as saucy and bawdy as everyone in Britain should always be. They’re full of irony, fun and amusement.”

Lydon has never been shy — about his music, his life, or our world. Watch the transformation from an old interview with Tom Snyder about Public Image Limited, to an interview last year in New York. There’s as much wisdom, as there is fun.

Then there is the culture of the U.S. Army. A “family friendly” summer festival in Wisconsin finally removed the U.S. Army’s “virtual urban warfare game” from its offerings after over 500 had played, and others complained. In the game exhibit, which is part of the army’s fun recruitment tent, kids could step in a Humvee, fire machine guns at (virtual) life-sized people, and get the thrill of the kill. Kids are also given a DVD of the game to take home — get the thrill of the kill sitting on your own windowsill. (You can still catch the U.S. Army’s game on tour throughout America.)

Family values test: punk music v. the U.S. Army.

Compare forum posts in response to the festival decision…

“Bring it to Texas. Shoot, we will pay good money to try that out”
“Sensitive ninnies over there are, well, sissies.”
“What’s next, banning the game where you shoot the metal ducks with a pea shooter? Next the Wisconsin State Fair will ban Cream Puffs because of the double meaning of the word.”
“Since the kids are disallowed from playing soldier by this pack of worthless, gut less, feminized eunuch pussies, I suggest we give them with eggs, spray-paint, and a free ride to Peace Action Wisconsin’s headquarters.”
“The wuzification of America continues… Now we know why the thugs in the Middle-East are coming after us.”
“What a bunch of sniveling little wussies, unfit to bear the label “American.”

…and the lyrics from a couple of Sex Pistols songs:

“God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb”

“Don’t ask us to attend ‘cos we’re not all there
Oh don’t pretend ‘cos I don’t care
I don’t believe illusions ‘cos too much is real
So stop your cheap comment ‘cos we know what we feel”

Hey kids, isn’t it better to listen to John Lydon and the Sex Pistols, than to play the U.S. Army game, virtual or real?

- Bill Reichblum

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Arts Presenters: Cynthia Hopkins

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Cynthia HopkinsCynthia Hopkins formed the band Gloria Deluxe in 1999. In March of 2008, the band released their most recent album, a recording of songs from the operetta Must Don’t Whip ‘Um. She has composed and performed for theater and film projects, including Big Dance Theater and Transmission Projects.

In this podcast she talks about the impetus for creating work, the task of funding, and how the stars and planets align in different ways for each performance.

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

Photo by Kirsty Mogensen

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Arts Presenters: Arlynn Fishbaugh

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Arlynn FishbaughArlynn Fishbaugh is the executive director of the Montana Arts Council, the agency tasked with developing the creative potential of all Montanans. She has also held positions at the Guthrie Theatre, the Texas Opera Theatre and at the Metropolitan Opera.

In this podcast she talks with us about how MAC has put public value at the forefront of its strategy, how the arts are revitalizing communities and why touring and presenting is so vital to arts councils.

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

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