Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On Criticism, Community Support and Being an Upstart.

But first, a story.

Oh, wait, no, before that, a disclaimer:

The opinions contained within are the opinions of the author alone. Not of Insurgent Theatre, not of Tracy Doyle and certainly not of gmail, blogspot or any other venue that allows me to publish my opinion. I've always thought such a thing went without saying, but apparently not.

Now the story.

I see as much theatre as I can, I figure there's always something to learn from other companies, and I always have an opinion after a show. My friends and I generally share these opinions and Tracy and I actually started recording and publishing these conversations on my blog. Then, Russ Bickerstaff invited Tracy to write reviews for The Vital Source (and good god is she good at it, her reviews are not only informative, they're also witty and damn fun to read). When Russ extended that invitation to me I jumped at the opportunity.

The first play I saw as an official reviewer was 'Book of Liz' at the Boulevard. When Tracy called for the comps they had an issue with the founders of Insurgent writing reviews, but hesitantly gave us one of the two comps we requested. We had to pay for the other seat. No other company has had a problem with giving Tracy two comps even when she was just "reviewer and guest."

We saw the play and the director there made some terrible choices that damn near ruined it. My review is below, if you want specifics. Tracy wasn't very enthusiastic, so I wrote the review. I had Tracy read it for unnecessary cruelty (knowing my tendencies). I edited it by her advice and submitted it to Russ.

Russ submitted it to Vital Source, Vital then edited big chunks of Tracy-approved criticism from it and put it up. Within a few hours, this twice-softened review it was taken down. I don't have that version, but if you take off the last two sentences from the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs and the word "muck" from the review I submitted (again, find it below) you'll get close to it.

I asked Russ what was up and it turns out Vital got multiple phone calls, emails and even had someone pull their ad on account of publishing my review. I wonder what would’ve happened if it'd said what I really think.

That's the end of the story. Now for my reaction to the story. Please remember the above disclaimer, and if you have a problem with anything I say, air it with me, not anyone else.

To be concise: the fact that someone like Mark Bucher is able to censor his critics is evidence that I am living in the wrong goddamn city, that this city is too immature to have a serious theatre scene, and that artists are making the right choice when they get the fuck out.

Now to be a good deal less than concise, but hopefully more clear: my problem is not with The Vital Source, at all. If they want to edit my review, that's fine. My tone, and I’ll freely admit it is often a harsh one, may not jive with the tone they want to project. That’s their choice and their right. I also don't have a problem with them pulling the review, advertising revenue pays their bills and my opinion isn't anywhere near important enough to lose revenue over (if they backed down under advertising pressure over something less trivial, it'd be a different story.)

My problem falls squarely on the shoulders of Mark Bucher and his cronies who put Vital Source in such a position. These people obviously do not understand the nature of criticism. I think a good, honest, unrestrained, negative-but-constructive critic is something any serious theatre scene needs badly. Indeed it's something any serious artist needs. In a town like Milwaukee, many people are afraid to take that role because they risk accusations of "being unsupportive."

Thing is, groundless praise does not support a good theatre scene. It props up crap and it creates distrust of reviewers, which disempowers the audience. When you defang the critics, the audience has nothing to read but lukewarm reviews and nothing to get excited about, or to compare their experience to. When a critic with a reputation of being a curmudgeon and a jerk gives praise, it'll actually mean something, to the actors and directors as well as to the audience. It's something we need more of here.

Now, I'm willing to take on that role, regardless of how many enemies it generates. Insurgent Theatre will weather all storms. But, I don't want other people to be punished for letting me express my opinion. I can't believe I've devoted my life to making art in a city where a newspaper loses money as a punishment for honestly covering the arts. It seems this is not an isolated incident. I understand that this type of bullshit is behind OnMilwaukee.com not publishing theatre reviews anymore, either.

The fact that these local independent news sources that support the arts (often reviewing shows that others won't even acknowledge) have lost revenue because Mark Bucher's feelings were hurt by something I said is sick. Clearly these people are not only confused about the nature of art criticism, but also about the concept of community support. Attacking a newspaper because they published an opinion you disagree with is not supporting the theatre community. It's supporting one pathetic little man's ego at the expense of the rest of the theatre community.

I also take issue with Bucher and company's superficial justification for their actions, that somehow me writing a review is a conflict of interest and inappropriate. First, I call this a superficial justification, because this is not an isolated incident, and Tracy and I have just started writing reviews.

Second, it isn’t a conflict of interest because Insurgent Theatre is not competing with The Boulevard. They would never produce the kind of plays we put up, indeed, I doubt they'd ever even come and see the plays we put up. We're a DIY theatre company, reaching out to a small niche audience of young working class punks and students, not the traditional theatre audience that Bucher plays to. We're competing with local garage bands more than local theatre companies. Somehow underage punk rockers can handle this competition with the maturity and enthusiasm that is lacking in Bucher’s response.

Third, even if we were competition, it wouldn’t matter. There’s nothing wrong with reviews written by other theatre people, indeed who better to review a show than someone who produces theatre? I don't believe Tracy and I are the only active theatre producers to write a review these days. I'm totally guessing here, but I bet if you stopped every playwright, director or actor from writing reviews you'd quickly run pretty low on critics. Criticism is not a business transaction, it’s an exchange of ideas.

Forth, in case my guess is off, if nowadays only lay people are allowed to write reviews, I know it hasn't always been that way, and what's more it shouldn’t be that way. Bertolt Brecht (to use my favorite example for almost anything these days) acquired quite a reputation for writing scathing reviews of the “competitors” of his time. Surely the discussions started in these reviews contributed to his theories on theatre and helped make him one of the, if not the most influential playwright of the 20th century.

Now, I recognize that, like Brecht, I can be something of a trouble maker, that my insistence on honesty, my enjoyment of a good burn, and my refusal to get by on tact and politeness can cause trouble. But that's my choice. I'll readily absorb all kinds of hate and blame from whiney artists, bring it on. How else am I supposed to change my mind? Maybe I got something wrong, and if you tell me off I might learn something. At any rate, I love that kind of conflict because it gets close to truth and it's resolution is beautiful and educational. Conflict brings about change, development, improvement. So I welcome it.

See, I prefer achievements and a shared learning experience over appeasements and superficial friendships based on false compliments. I realize that some people can't handle that, and those are people who have a hard time being my friend. So be it. That’s unfortunate, but unavoidable, because I’m not going to moderate and sugar-coat my opinions and personality because that doesn’t give people the opportunity to prove they are not whiney little bitches. I surround myself with people who will treat me the same way, cuz there's nothing I like less than receiving praise that I can’t fully believe in.

If we treat everyone like children, no one will ever need to rise to the challenge of acting like an adult and engaging in a direct genuine interaction. So, I come on strong, I insult strangers and sometimes intentionally act like a jerk. I know that's weird and can be seen as counter-productive, but, it works for me. It's my way of doing things and my reason for doing it, and mostly, it works very well. Examples include my interaction with Monica Bennet and Faythe Levine and now in the opposite direction, the direction of someone failing to rise to the challenge, of proving unequivocally that he is a whiney little
bitch, Mark Bucher.

So, if Bucher failed the litmus test my assholery presents, then why do I care? Why have a written a fucking diatribe about it? Why didn't I just write his name in the "useless shitheads" column and move on? Because maybe talking about this, or thinking about it, or working on it, can change things.

Now, I don't think I can change Mark Bucher. He’s got twenty-two years of experience running his company how he runs it (and, hey, it’s working for him, and over the course of those twenty-two years he has done quite a bit of good.) I also doubt I can change whoever the fuck was stupid enough to pull their ad from The Vital Source over my review, but I can change other things.

If you go back to the concise version, the part where I'm talking about artists getting the fuck out of this town, you'll notice that I said "evidence" not "proof." Things don't have to be this way, and not all things are this way. There is counter-evidence, there is potential. Milwaukee's immaturity frustrates me, but it's
Milwaukee's immaturity that gives us an opportunity to make things happen here. The theatre establishment isn't quite as established as it is in other bigger cities.

I don't expect to change Mark Bucher or his audience or the people who support or appease this kind of shenanigans. Instead, I expect to build a new audience and a new community. To mobilize radical artists who are seeking more than a shelter for mediocrity, who want art that does more than “feed the soul” or in this case, the ego.

So, come on people, if the Boulevard still can't handle a negative review like adults after twenty-two years of them, they can't be that hard to shove out of our way.

Oh, yeah, here's the review that started it all:


Jennifer Rupp said...

I’ve been thinking a lot about (perhaps obsessing about) your blog entry recounting your reviewing Boulevard. Which is a good thing because that’s what blogging is all about, right? Your experience is an example of an issue that keeps cropping up and continues to plague me and other theater producers. The issue is not how a production is reviewed but rather who is reviewing. The later informs the former. Just a rearrangement of letters. So, I’m compelled to respond to a few things you talked about.

I agree that a theater professional, who is also a gifted writer, is often the individual most well equipped to review a theatrical production. However, the problem with this is “conflict of interest.” Not real conflict of interest because I don’t believe there was any real conflict of interest when you reviewed Boulevard, but “perceived conflict of interest” which is the only thing that matters in this circumstance. The original sin, if you will, lies with Vital Source, a legitimate member of the media, which should know better than to hire someone with a perceived conflict of interest to write about anything. Their second sin (and the one that really troubles me) is if, indeed, they removed your review based on a threat of someone pulling their advertising. This would imply that advertisers are controlling the opinions expressed in Vital Source and serves to erode their credibility with readers.

I also agree that when a company receives a poor review, they need to buck up and take it and not try to get the reviewer fired (as some producers often do, believe it or not). I have often taken the unpopular stance of defending the only person in this town who makes a living as a professional theater critic. Making a living at writing reviews doesn’t define him as a professional as I consider many of the other reviewers in town professional. However, it does qualify him in a way that you and I are not qualified to review theater. I guarantee that Damien Jacques sees more theater in one year than you or I have in the last 7. Do you attend two to three different productions every weekend? I know I don’t. He is also qualified in a way that you and I are not in that he has no perceived conflict of interest when he reviews a show. In the minds of his readers, he has nothing to gain or lose. People also enjoy holding the opinion that reviewers are unhappy, curmudgeons who enjoy the power of knocking or promoting something. I do not know a single professional theater reviewer in town who does not adore theater, who does not walk into each show with the hopes that it will be the best thing they have seen all year, who does not temper their reviews if it is not. Professional reviewers are aware of the detrimental effect one bad review can have on a fragile non-profit. But they are also obliged to record an honest review. It’s a difficult balancing act and I think many do it well.

Can I also interject here and say that I think it’s criminal that a city this large has only one daily newspaper?

I haven’t discussed this with Mark Bucher, but I do know that Mark has been vocal in the past (on behalf of all theater in Milwaukee) about two other writers who, previous to their published reviews, he found auditioning in front of him at generals. I suspect his over reaction stemmed from previous experience. I pose this scenario to you: Let’s say I call you up and request free tickets for me and my guest because I’m reviewing for an online site called, “Isn’t Milwaukee Wonderful.” You vaguely recognize my name as one connected with another theater company in town. You only have 30 seats to sell and you were counting on that revenue to meet your failing budget. But you give me two free tickets and then I post a sucky review on line. Slap me twice! Further, let’s say the theater company I work with is running a show concurrent with yours and it got a great review on the same site. Two companies competing for similar audiences. Wouldn’t that make you slightly uncomfortable?

Finally, you must also understand that reviewers are not owed free admission for themselves and a guest. It is a courtesy extended to reviewers by producers when they know they are stringers and have no expense budget to cover the cost of tickets which are often ridiculously expensive. Professional reviewers never receive free tickets to any show (even if they are not reviewing it) because of the perceived conflict of interest.

Now, I could be so dead wrong on all these points, in which case, I would really appreciate it if you would let me know. I think you are smart and write extremely well. I love that you are working to expand the vocabulary of theatrical experience. I’m looking forward to seeing you on stage.

R. Winsome said...

Thank you for responding, i think healthy debate is an important part of artistic community building.

I can see how there could be a perceived conflict of interest, but, i think reviews are opinion pieces and readers should know that, as such, they are inherently more biased than other articles. so conflict of interest concerns should be looser, and i think Vital wasn't out of line. Maybe they should disclose the background of reviewers (probably everyone should).

As far as bowing to advertiser pressure, i agree. If the issue (my opinion of a theatre peice) weren't so trivial, i'd have more of a problem with that. Either way, that advertiser and Mark Bucher put Vital Source into a shitty situation of having to make that choice without good (principled) reason.

"Do you attend two to three different productions every weekend? "

Sometimes. If i was getting paid to or receiving comps for them, I would regularly. I see at least one production a week. At any rate, i agree completely with your assessment of Damien Jaques and other professional reviewers. They serve a vital role, and as much as i may disagree with them sometimes, i appreciate what they do. (i wish Damien would find time for some more underground works, but, i guess the fact that he doesn't is what makes them underground).

"Can I also interject here and say that I think it's criminal that a city this large has only one daily newspaper?"

also agreed. and one of the weeklies is basically an advertisement for that daily to make it more appealing to younger people.

Here's a scenario that's actually happened to me: Insurgent Theatre received a local playwrights script that we didn't like and didn't choose to pursue or produce. The playwright wrote a review our next show and gave mixed praise, especially critical of my writing. I don't know him well, but i've gotten to know him better since, worked on a Pink Banana show with a (different) script from him in it and i never seriously questioned whether the review was anything other than his honest opinion of my play. Yes, your scenario is a little discomforting, but it's significantly different from the scenario of me reviewing other theatre productions. Even if it wasn't, even if someone was looking for something to pick apart in my work as revenge, i certainly wouldn't try and censor the reviewer. The fact that someone can find flaws in my work is evidence of room for improvement. Lessons learned. My goal should be to make my opponents stretch to the point of incredulity to find flaws. My criticism of Book of Liz wasn't any kind of stretch, and was common to other reviewers. Did you see the cut-and-paste job Bucher did with the Journal Sentinal's review in his press release? Talk about criminal.

I guess i'm too small (we haven't got many reviews) or too unfamiliar with the promotion part of the business, but i don't think it's a good idea to rely on a variable that isn't under your control (reviewers) to make or break a show.

Anonymous said...

The thing is...
When it comes down to it, Mark Bucher and his "crack staff" at Boulevard Theater do not "support art" AT ALL. They support THEMSELVES. And because they have their heads up their own artistic butts, they truly believe that THEY are the only "good art" in the city and that the tiny audience that they've attracted in twenty years (which consists mainly of friends and family of people in the performances as well as other actors from Boulevard) are THE ONLY people who go see theater/music/art/etc.

There are a FINITE number of "theater goers" in this city according to the crack team at Boulevard.

I agree. A finite number... around 700,000.
Anyone who goes to see a movie or a music act or even Joe-Fucking-Shmoe who spends $10 at the corner tap for entertainment once-a-week could be a "theater goer" IF the THEATER made itself more accessible for them!

I've talked to literally hundreds of people these past two years about small theater in Milwaukee and 50% of those people (who are not exactly living under rocks) never even heard of the all-important Boulevard. And many, many, many of the others who DID know where it was believed it to be CLOSED by the looks of the place.

Oddly, barred-up and blocked-off windows are NOT the most welcoming things to have for the front of your business.
Luckily, once you get inside the Boulevard with the almost $30 you have to spend on tickets and are ignored by the staff as they finish up whatever personal conversations they are having, it all seems worth venturing past the creepy exterior.

Once inside you start to realize where all the ticket sales go. The decor is brilliantly designed in the "Somebody donated a couch once and then we left shit all over the place" style.

As you pay an extra couple bucks for some warm sodas (because so-and-so hasn't shown up with ice yet) and are told "drink that up fast because you can't take that into the theater" you THEN realize that "the theater" must be where all of the time, effort and money has been focused over the past past twenty years of business.

Audio that sounds like it's played through a crackling boombox speaker, simple, old lighting and standard, stackable and uncomfortable "pizza hut style" chairs... hmmm.
I can see why The Boulevard is so, well, "uppity."
The place is pure class and obviously ran by PURE GENIUSES who realize that high prices for low value items is the way to attract more customers.

WHAT?? That's NOT how business works??? Ooops. Maybe someone should have told somebody's theater manager that YEARS AGO before she opened that ridiculous failure of an overpriced boutique full of low-value baubles.

Ok, ok... it's NOT all about "the venue."
I'm being too picky and sounding like some low-brow idget who wants at least a little flash and sparkle along with good acting and directing. (or at least maybe dusting and sweeping)
BUT I know that what I'm paying for at The Boulevard is THE SHOW. I'm paying to see damn good acting and damn good directing.
And I know that the reason the ticket price is a little higher than comfortable is because these professional actors are fairly compensated for their efforts.



Well... ok. Uh. Well wherever my money is going does matter. I'm sure the staff is putting it to good use someplace even if it is a mythical land never seen by the customers.
The point is that THE SHOW is still damn good.

That is, unless you believe these Insurgent Theatre assholes who clearly have no business writing reviews or even trying to run their own theater company because they don't know the first thing about directing HILARIOUS comedies with WILD "Three's Company" style humor.
Nor do any of them wear filthy neck-hankies.

-Joe Shmoe who has spent $1000's on small theater.

R. Winsome said...

Y'know, the outpouring of Boulevard and Mark Bucher stories i keep hearing makes me marvel at the tolerance and patience of the Milwaukee theatre community.

Stories of them verbally abusing new companies and venues. Constant stories about them being rude as hell to their customers. Stories from actors who have worked there and will never work there again. And yet this place is able to stay open.

One person i know almost purchased a life-time membership to the boulevard at twice the price ($2000) with the single stipulation that Mark fire the bitch who works the door, but then decided to just never go there again instead. Luckily this person goes out to theatre elsewhere all the time where he has good experiences. I wonder how often a non-theatre goer attends a boulevard show and says "well, i'm never doing THAT again" and by "that" they mean going to see theatre at all.

At what point does the community need to stand up and say "hey, you're making us ALL look bad, fuckers!"

Anonymous said...

No, no, no...
Remember, MARK and his little theater that most average joes don't know about or think is closed are THE reason for Bayview's "renaissance."

Dirty neck-hankies for everyone!

k said...

Okay - I gotta say, and Rex already knows this, that we don't agree on everything. That's all well and good. Wether or not I like what he's got to say, I'm glad he's there saying it (even if it's under a pseudonym that everyone seems to be aware of). Which brings me to my gripe about these posts - who's the chickenshit who's running the flames under "anonymous"?

I should add my own perspective here - Mark and I haven't spoken since a mutually bad experience that was him being my boss during ROUNDING THIRD. Mark and I also disagree on a lot of stuff, and while he may overstate his case regarding the growth of Bay View at KK and Lincoln, he's not ultimately wrong. The Boulevard HAS made a difference - and all of Mark's personality traits that rub some people the wrong way, and are surely part of the reason we don't talk anymore, are equally part of his perseverance in the community.

I haven't seen a Boulevard show since our tiff, though that's not because I dislike Mark. I didn't the see handful in advance of my show with him either. I've wanted to see at least two shows quite a bit, primarily THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, which I think he was really gutsy to program.

The Boulevard, like every other theater in town, is hit and miss. It may be more so because of their ambitious schedule. It may be more so because of their schedule and because Mark is so deeply involved in every show and there's only so much of him to go around.

One of the guys in ROUNDING THIRD was another "problematic" critic, Jason Powell. Jason reviews and auditions, and I know a number of people who have a problem with this. Is there a reviewer alive that people don't have a problem with?

As Jennifer and Rex have both noted differently, theater artists of all stripes tend to look at reveiwers as the enemy, because we know that their reviews act like advertising, and that can make a huge difference in our box office, which is to say, in our economic survival. But mostly they're out of our control. You could do what a lighting designer I used to work for did - go out for golf and drinks with a reviewer. We didn't get 100% good reviews, but better than most. 'Course the company did dynamite theater anyway, and whether or not they needed that relationship is an open question.

I am mostly of a similar mind to Rex regarding Deadly Theater. But that's him and me, and what we consider Deadly is other people's lifeblood. There's room for the Boulevard, Milwaukee Shakespeare, for Insurgent, or Bad Soviet Habits (that'd be my group). We can go and see whatever we want. If we don't like the shows that Boulevard is doing, we need to figure out ways to bring more people OUR shows. The people that like the Boulevard probably won't like our shows anyway.

Audiences are a self-selecting bunch. For every one of us who is an omnivorous theater viewer, there's a hundred who want to see SHEAR MADNESS, and maybe twenty who'll see Shakespeare. I used to see a lot of theater. I don't anymore. Not because I don't like to see stuff, but because time is my most precious commodity. So I get much more selective about what I'll see - and half the time, it's got nothing to do with what I like, but with what a friend has been working on, someone that I want to support.

Like him and his work or not, Mark is putting himself - his ideas, his company, his career - on the line with every show. Rex is hustling through Insurgent along with all kinds of other ambitious ideas. Jennifer's at Renaissance and I think Comedy Sportz. The common link here is that they're all willing to sign their name to their opinions (in Rex's case - mostly - I don't know the story behind the moniker).

If you're going to be as unabashedly scornful of someone else's work, dare to name yourself. I've heard others echo your criticisms of the Boulevard. I've seen the things you're talking about. I've heard others. Big deal. If you don't like the Boulevard, don't go there. Hell, even tell others not to go, be bad PR for them. But don't hide.

That's not "healthy debate" - Rex's words - it's whining.

Kurt Hartwig

R. Winsome said...

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for posting! I agree that anonymity is lame, and i could take down these posts, but i think allowing anonymity will encourage more people to speak (and there seem to be many many stories on this subject).

Mark Bucher has established himself as someone who will do underhanded and destructive things when he feels attacked, and also as someone who is very insecure and feels attacked quite often. Mark acts like a bully, and I don't expect everyone to expose their assests or vulnerabilities (a fledgling company, their acting ambitions, etc) to bullies. I mean, this thread starts with a story of me losing the opportunity to have my reviews published because Mark was able to bully the Vital Source.

On the Boulevard- i continue to see shows there, enjoyed the internationalist, told Mark so and shook his hand, then wrote a review of it. I don't have a problem with the fact that he's running a theatre company, or even with the fact that his preshow speeches are annoying and the woman who works the door for him is incredibly rude to everyone. I mean, if that works for his customers (must be some pretty weird customers) more power to him. I do have a problem with the way that treats theatre like a zero-sum game that he can only win by cutting down the competition with dirty tricks, verbal abuse and influence peddling. I'm working to advance a different approach. Kurt and I are both aggressivly reaching out to new audiences and talent. i'm very happy to do cross-promotion and to introduce those audiences to other theatre companies around town, including The Boulevard. At least 4 people went to see The Internationalist partially because i said, "it's a good show, and not just because Ces is in it" they didn't all like it and two of them had a terrible experience with the bitch in the box office and have sworn off going there again, which makes me hesitant to recommend the boulevard to others, especially people who are new to local theatre.

On the name: "Rex Winsome" is my public psuedonym / personality, not a shield i hide behind. Everyone who cares to know associates my face and my company with that name. I'd like it to replace the name my mom gave me when it comes to public activities for a number of reasons:

1. practically- i don't live off doing theatre, and i do controversial theatre, so the name creates at least a little buffer between my "real" job and my theatre job. There are things that i do as Rex Winsome that i'd rather not have everyone at my day job asking about.

2. artistically- art creates identity, like Heidegger said: art makes an artist as much as an artist makes art. once you get into the public eye, wether you change your name or not, you are adopting a persona. I choose for that persona to be an intentional construct, because if everyone knows i'm lying, that's more honest than the truth even.

3. Philosophically- if i re-create myself every morning, then why stick with a name that was given to me so many mornings ago?

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is because when it comes down to the nitty-gritty i AM a supporter of the ART that is performed and the ARTISTS who work out of the Boulevard. When people ask what i think of the Boulevard I tell them what upcoming shows they might enjoy, point out the positives and allow them to make their own decisions.
If, however, someone opens up the conversation about boulevard with the same negative thoughts that i share, then i am going to respond with "RIGHT ON!! NOT TO MENTION..."

I wasn't trying to keep people from going to the boulevard with this blog reply. If i wanted to give my blog response weight, i would have included my name. But right now i'm just an asshole anonymous blogger. Actually, not even. I'm an asshole anonymous blog responder. I just meant to tel R. Winsome that he's not alone in his opinions.

As it was pointed out, some people LOVE everything that the boulevard is about. ("must be some pretty weird customers")

Some people like Pepsi too.
For some people drinking a Pepsi is a wonderful experience.
Just because i think that it tastes like artificial, chemically-modified horse puke doesn't mean that i'm going to discourage someone from tasting it for themselves.
Wonderful experiences are too few and far between in life.
Everyone should try as many things as possible and determine what - FOR THEM - is a wonderful experience.
Even Pepsi and The Boulevard.
Decide for yourself.

Hopefully i haven't discouraged the millions of R. Winsome blog readers from giving Boulevard a taste test.

-A. Nonymous