Archive for January, 2009

Making It

Lately I’ve been having some trouble focusing on art-making. Several artists I know are having the same struggle. Over the past few months, I’ve been struck by how many artists have said to me (unprompted) in conversation, “I’m just not sure what to make anymore. I feel like I’m re-thinking what’s important in my life,” or something along those lines.

I’ve been similarly confused. Is it just because we’re getting older and more tired or is there something more to it? What work is actually necessary to make – for ourselves and our audiences? What is the best way for each of us to spend our increasingly limited time? These big questions are (perhaps too heavily) weighing on me as I continue to work with my performance company Red Metal Mailbox on a piece for The Chocolate Factory this March.

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Flocking with the Crowd

APAP is upon us!  The yearly festival of performance gluttony has arrived in all its schedule-busting glory.  For its out-of-town target audience, it might be a great time, and a useful way to grab a Cliff’s Notes version of the New York performance season, but for those of us who work in the NY performance community, APAP becomes a bizarre competition of who can see the most and get the least amount of sleep during the ever-expanding “weekend” festival. 

It’s an amped-up version of the status quo in the NY performance world, come to think of it.  Consume, consume!  Don’t be the only person who hasn’t seen THAT show!  If you miss THIS one, you might as well hide in your room for the next month!  The quantity of performance work presented in this town is the reason we’re all here, but it can also be self-defeating.  How much can a person actually engage with a work, if s/he is headed to the theater again the next night?  The experience of watching performance has become practically disposable. 

What is to be done?  Every year around this time, I think about making a New Year’s resolution to see less, and engage more.  Every year, by the first weekend of January, my resolution has gone belly-up, because I just don’t want to miss anything.  Yet, I couldn’t tell you what I saw at APAP last year.  Perhaps the only thing to do is to keep going and hope for that rare performance event that stops you in your tracks.



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