Visualizing the Invisible
Stage Raw is pleased to announce “Visualizing the Invisible” — three “arts coverage” symposia between September 28 and November 30, 2015. These forums will take place at three different locations on three different Monday nights. Each panel will focus on a different dimension of arts coverage. Admission is free, RSVP strongly suggested, donations gratefully accepted to support Stage Raw’s ongoing programming.
THE ACTUAL RSVP IS HERE
MARGARET GRAY (Los Angeles Times) will moderate all three panels. Panelists confirmed so far include: SASHA ANAWALT (U.S.C. Annenberg School of Journalism), ANTHONY BYRNES (KCRW), SHELDON EPPS (Pasadena Playhouse), JOHN FLYNN (Rogue Machine), JAY McADAMS/DEBBIE DEVINE (24th Street Theatre) CHARLES McNULTY (Los Angeles Times), STEVEN LEIGH MORRIS (Stage Raw/L.A. Weekly), TRACEY PALEO (Footlights/Gia on the Move), BILL RADEN (L.A. Weekly/Stage Raw) BOB VERINI (Variety/ArtsInLA), JOSE LUIS VALENZUELA (Los Angeles Theatre Center), and LAURA ZUCKER (L.A. County Arts Commission) Each panel will have a different focus related to the broader theme of performing arts coverage.
The implosion of performing arts coverage in print media is an unarguable reality. As part of what’s been in a national trend since 2008, the L.A. Weekly, for example, dropped all long-form theater criticism, while relegating its theater articles, once a weekly staple, to one article per month. The shrinkage of arts coverage in general readership print media has led to a flurry of digital alternatives that are experimenting with form and content, yet have so far been mostly relegated to niche markets.
This raises the question of how to find the broader markets reached, with diminishing returns, by the print media? What are the most viable economic models for sustaining comprehensive and quality reporting while reaching for a broader market share? And how is it possible to engage ethnically diverse perspectives, to keep the performing arts, and its coverage, relevant to the population at large?
PANEL 1: “FORM AND CONTENT”:
Monday, Sept 28, 7:30 p.m. Rogue Machine
John Flynn, Charles McNulty, Steven Leigh Morris, Tracey Paleo, Bill Raden (Margaret Gray, moderator)
- What do you want arts criticism to look like?
- Short form or long form? Does that form depend on the point-of-view?
- What makes a great capsule review? What makes a great, longer essay?
- Social Media: Twitter preview opinions? Video clips? Do these technologies really add to the discussion, or are they just so much noise?
PANEL 2: “THE ECONOMICS OF ARTS COVERAGE”
Monday, October 26, 7:30 p.m. Theatre @ Boston Court
Sasha Anawalt , Anthony Byrnes, Sheldon Epps, Charles McNulty, Steven Leigh Morris, Laura Zucker, (Margaret Gray, moderator)
- Value versus popularity (does the competition for click-through have an impact on content?
- What kinds of stories get pitched? Approved? Written?
- Is there value, or even such a thing as an “important” but unpopular story? i.e. if a difficult or esoteric play can eventually change the shape of playwriting through its longer-term influences, can the same be said of a difficult but challenging example of arts criticism?
- The issue of readers paying, theaters paying, and the issue of loyalty to an outlet.
- Not for profit criticism – where is academia, as professional criticism shrinks?
PANEL 3: TRADITION, PREJUDICE AND DIVERSITY IN ARTS COVERAGE
Monday, November, 23, 7:30 p.m., 24th Street Theatre
Panel still being formulated. (Margaret Gray, moderator), 24th Street Theatre
- A. is now majority minority. What has been done, and what can be done, to have our theaters, and our drama criticism, represent the ethnic and cultural make-up of the city rather than the narrow ethnic niche of theater audiences?
- Can we untangle whether or not the lack of diversity in theater-makers and audiences, and the lack of diversity in drama critics, stem from the same root?
- What can be done to entice and develop a new, diverse generation of theater critics?