I don't really know if you can call it "press" anymore since all the good shit is online. It blows my mind how mainstream newspaper art departments respond to their impending obsolescence by reducing their actual ink and paper coverage to only the big stuff, stuff which already advertises itself ubiquitously. I understand it from the perspective of the Big Stuff, or of the newspaper, but in the long term, it makes reading the paper redundant and superfluous. Whatever. Newspapers' stupidity in the face of adversity isn't my concern, i'm concerned about press coverage for the performing arts in milwaukee.
And today i'm writing from my bottomless sea of optimism. If you don't know me well, you'll be surprised to know i have one of those. Anyway, everyone has railed against Damien Jaques, sent in letters to the editor, and he's about to be canned, right? No? Okay, wrong. The journal is an obsolete monolith that will not respond to any number of reader complaints (and most people i asked to write letters are probably too defeated, complacent or busy to actually do it). What now? Keep shouting? Despair? Nope, replace the whole fucking Journal, which aint' hard cuz it's mostly done already.
There are awesome independent alternative media sources here in Milwaukee that actually do cover small scale performing arts and respond to the community. I should've pointed out how these mavericks will have the monolith torn down shortly. Artists! Use these sites to promote your stuff! Audience! Find out what's really going on in this town!
FIRST! Third Coast Digest. http://thirdcoastdigest.com Formerly Vital Source. They were the only media to respond to our first show, published some of our best (as in critical, well written and responsive) reviews, and have always been dilligent listers of all kinds of amazing events. They even let Tracy and I write reviews for a while (until some thin-skinned whiney elements of the Milwaukee theatre community complained).
SECOND! MARN'S new site. http://artinmilwaukee.com The Milwaukee Artist Resource Network has fought for independent artists of all types longer and harder than anyone else i know of. Their focus is on visual art, but their new site seems ready to give performing arts more attention. Looks like a great tool for not only promotion, but also networking. GET SIGNED UP!
THIRD! Local Arts Bloggers.
1. Russ Bickerstaff at the Shepherd covers everything happening in performance art like nobody else. Unfortunately, the most interesting stuff rarely gets into the print edition, and the Shep's website is poorly designed, unwieldy, and barely navigable, so i haven't been following Russ as closely as i used to.
2. Mary Dally-Muenzmaier at http://www.crickettoes.com/ is currently the most active multi-disciplinary blogger i know of, lots of good stuff.
3. Johnathan West at http://www.artsyschmartsy.com/ used to rival Russ for performing arts coverage, and Cricky for analysis and commentary, until he got a square job as ED of a square theatre company (oh, how the mighty have fallen!)
4. Mary Louise at Art City doesn't cover the performing arts, cuz then she'd be doing Damien's job (hey, at least someone would be) but she's excellent for anything else going on in the community. Follow her!
5. Just discovered recently that Kurt Hartwig has a blog. It looks like it was created for chronicling his time in Prague, but he appears to be back, and writing. If this is the case, get excited, Kurt is one of the smartest theatre people i've ever met.
FOURTH! Snap Milwaukee. http://www.snapmilwaukee.com/ This site has potential. Some really good people are involved. But be warned: it's also partially run by the Green Gallery folks. Green Gallery are clearly intelligent and active, but are also ambiguously ironic elitist shithead hipsters. (Or maybe they're just socially awkward and disorganized, you can't really tell, that's the power of ambiguous irony. Either way, i personally cannot fucking stand their whole shebang). They also don't have a performing arts editor, any film articles, and their shit loads funny, in short, the jury is still out on this one.
5 days ago