Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Press in Milwaukee Continued

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.


Mike Brenner said...

i love you.

Ben Turk (formerly known as Rex Winsome) said...

love you to. and forgot to mention your blog.

Hey everyone who's been living under a rock for the last ten years and doesn't know Milwaukee's most outspoken, vitrolic and determined arts proponent, i present: Mike Brenner. (http://www.mikebrenner.com/)

His focus is on visual art as well, but he's as thorough as Mary Louise at Art City, (and sometimes more entertaining).

Mary Dally-Muenzmaier said...

Hey, Ben, thanks for shout-out, buddy!

Had I known that all it took was saying, "i love you," it would've saved me a whole lotta carpal tunnel flareups. I kid! I kid because, well, ya know.

Jonathan West said...

Ben. I like my job. And I haven't fallen anywhere. So thank you, and fuck you.

Ben Turk (formerly known as Rex Winsome) said...

Well, i don't think i'd like your job, but more importantly i blame it for the recent and utter lack of content and coverage on your blog.

A blog that used to be the first thing I'd read when looking for good information and smart perspectives on art in Milwaukee. I liked it so much i donated to help you keep running it. And then you didn't.

And that annoys me more than my snarky comment is annoying you, i assure you.

Anonymous said...

Artsy has proven himself to still be one of the most vital commentators out there, in the wake of the Skylight controversy -- not that "outsider" artists would care. But the rest of the community sure seems to!

Ben Turk said...

Hey Anon,

I'm very happy to see Jonathan's extensive coverage, of the Skylight stuff, and if you look, you'll see my comments there. You can read em, i'd like to know what you think, maybe it'll give you pause next time you equate "outsider" with "elitist" in reference to me.

I might call things like i see em (Skylight? mainstream musical theatre, sunset? square) but that doesn't mean i completely reject or don't care at all about things that are mainstream or square, just means i'm honest and open with my opinion. Honesty and openness are the opposite of elitism. But then, i don't expect someone who can't put a name on their comment to understand that.

Anonymous said...

The anonymity is necessary when commenting on your blog to avoid the personal attacks you make that are unrelated to the arguement at hand - i.e. Jonathan's job at Sunset having anything to do with the validity of his blog.

I'm sure that because I do art that is enjoyed by both myself and paying audiences, my opinion will mean little to you. So my identity remains unnecessary.

Ben Turk said...

Jonathan and i have a funny sort of rapport, he can say "fuck you" one minute and "i love you" another. We hold each other to high standards, question each other, challenge each other. It's kinda been that way since he bet me a roasted chicken we couldn't perform Lukcy's monologue. And i hope, this rapport improves both of us. It got us to win that chicken.

That's exactly the kind of beneficial rapport that chickenshit anonymous posters, and companies or institutions (cough, jaques, cough) that bulk at and disregard anyone who questions or challenges their assumptions, won't get, and will suffer from the lack.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I understand the relationship between Jonathan and yourself just fine. Again, I only post anonymously to keep you on topic. You have an unfortunate habit of directing your anger at the individual, not the problem. Just keeping you honest. I say 'unfortunate' becasue a lot of the validity of your legitimate arguements is lost amidst what is more-often-than-not a bitter rant. Really, I believe your ideas are worthy of respect and consideration, but your delivery needs a lot of work. I'm sure you'll dismiss the importance of this as an "establishment" formality, but you do so at your own peril. Unfortunate indeed.

Ben Turk said...

well, thank you anon. I do take your advice to heart, and definitely acknowledge that i often lack tact and rub many people the wrong way.

But the flipside is, for some people my tactlessness comes accross as passionate honesty, and has resulted in some of the best artistic collobrations i've had the pleasure to experience. I'd hate to sacrifice these opportunities in favor of mild politeness.

I will work harder at being all things to all people, but it's gonna take me a while. Okay?

Anonymous said...

Please don't ever give up the passion! (Why do you think I still check in on this blog?) Just give it a mild polish so it can reach a larger audience. Your unique perspectives deserve to be more widely heard and considered.

And I would be very disappointed in you if you truly became "all things to all people." But I get your point.