Archive for March, 2009

Festival Piss & Vinegar Vomit

Monday, March 30th, 2009

mak1 graffito

Photo by Duncan Cumming — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Outrage! Shock! Dismay! Politicians take a stand! Is it the banking crisis? G20 Summit? Guantanamo’s future?

Would you believe the brochure design for the Edinburgh International Festival?

EIF is one of the world’s great festivals. Throughout the festival’s history, EIF has celebrated art that is important, immediate, and imaginative. This week, they announced their 2009 line-up. So, what’s getting a lot of attention and heat? Would you believe their brochure design?

The brochure’s art depicts the charmed scenes of Edinburgh’s festival days, including a man pissing in a public fountain and another one vomiting.

The design goal was to reflect the Festival’s theme this year — the Enlightenment — but in a humorous way. The 450,000 printed copies of the brochure were paid for from the £5 million in public funds for the festival. Not every one is laughing.

The brochure design team, Timorous Beasties, used the “toile” of eighteenth century French style interior design to give the festival brochure an Enlightenment feel and an enlightened way of looking at the festival’s audience.

Beasties’ co-owner, Paul Simmons, wrote in response to the exasperated Evening Standard editorial:

There’s nothing in there that I haven’t seen, experienced or witnessed – or even done myself. If people think that it is promoting Edinburgh in a negative light, I guess these are people that want the whole world to be painted as a frilly place where nothing bad or untoward ever happens… All I have done is portray what I think most people would understand and actually relate to in terms of it having quite a lot of realism.

Take that, you humorless and unenlightened. (Does he really pee outside? On a regular basis? What about getting drunk and vomiting in the town fountain? Brochure design work might be a lot more fun than any of us realized.)

Still, surely one can sympathize with the tourist bureaus wanting to promote a more welcoming image, and not such a drunken reality.

Of course, there is an old festival tradition of audiences coming as much for the celebration and socializing as for the art. Shakespeare knew as well as anyone that a performance had to top the drunken shouts and public pissing at his shows. However, I am sure that he would prefer his legacy to be more about Lear on the cliff, than Angus in the fountain.

Here’s hoping that the conversation soon turns away from the brochure toward the art. After all, the best kind of art provokes the best kind of shock — onstage.

- Bill Reichblum

Share This:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us

Arts Presenters: Ivan Sygoda

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Ivan SygodaIvan Sygoda is co-director of Pentacle, which has provided administrative and managerial services to dance companies and performing artists for over 25 years. Pentacle serves as an incubator for emerging non-mainstream and pre-mainstream dance companies, enabling them to develop and present their work.

In this podcast Ivan talks about the artist poet, why it is important to allow for mistakes and miscalculations, and how we can support emerging artists as they develop and perform their work.

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

Share This:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us

Top Ten Ingredients for a Great Festival

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Devo

Photo by Carlos Lowry — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

The top ten lessons learned from the great SXSW festival of interactive technology, film and music:

1) Embrace Chaos: Make precise plans so you can be open to serendipitous discoveries, meetings, and art.

2) Gurus are for spirituality, not panels: There’s nothing worse than a panel that speaks to the audience as though they have been to the top of the mountain and have now come down - literally and metaphorically - to impart their wisdom. There’s nothing better than a panel that speaks to the audience as colleagues who are also working hard in the valley.

3) Make Events Blog-worthy: You know things are going well when events inspire a blog.

4) Be Interactive: It is energizing and informative to watch the Twitter feeds during a presentation. Anyone who disagrees is afraid of what the audience thinks.

5) Trade Show Bar: Having a bar situated in the middle of the trade show turns a booth trawling event into a social event.

6) Titles are for Cards, Not Badges: Have you ever had the feeling of being evaluated by your stomach? That is the badge hanging around your neck. Are they looking at your title? Lose the title, keep the name and the place you are from, and more conversations take place.

7) Good Food: It’s best to match great art with the greatest food.

8) It’s the Artists: If in one week you can move from Devo to the Decemberists and Kubrick to “I Love You Man,” you know you have an enlightened mix.

9) Meet the World: If most of the people/art you meet are from your own country, you are looking in a mirror; if most of the people/art you meet are from a different country, you are looking out a window.

10) Neil Young: If Neil Young comes not to perform but just to be there, walking around the festival hotel lobby like everyone else, you know your festival is genuinely cool.

- Bill Reichblum

Share This:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us

Arts Presenters: Frank London

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Frank LondonTrumpeter/composer Frank London is a founding member of the Klezmatics, who have been expanding musical horizons for twenty years. He has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, David Byrne and many others.

In this podcast he talks about the parallel evolution of the Klezmatics and world music, what accounts for the longevity of the Klezmatics, and why people create art.

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

Photo Credit: Alan Roche

Share This:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us

NoPassport Interview: Caridad Svich

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Caridad SvichCaridad Svich is an award-winning playwright, translator and lyricist. Her adaptation of Allende’s The House of the Spirits premiered February 2009 at Repertorio Español in NY, and her play Instructions for Breathing will premiere at Passage Theatre in NJ. She is an alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of NoPassport, associate editor of Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge/UK), and contributing editor of TheatreForum.

Share This:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • del.icio.us