Have You Heard the Good News?

I just received the comment below, and since those of us fighting to keep arts coverage in print have been full of doom and gloom lately, thought it was too good to keep hidden away among Drama Queen's past entries.

Hi Wendy, What a great blog! I was inspired by "Well Whaddya Know" to take action so I drummed up a website. Please let me know if you have any advice or content. By the way, I'm a guitar player for a living."

Paul Horsley.jpg
If you haven't read the entry, it's about a New York Times brief on the layoff of Kansas City Star music critic Paul Horsley and the local arts community's planned protest to support him. Here also is a touching blog entry by Horsley colleague Aaron Barnhart about McClatchy's axe falling on the Star newsroom.

So first of all, congrats to the commenter on being able to play guitar for a living. Second, thanks for giving those of us toiling away behind our computers and shivering in fear a reason to peer out at the sunshine. It's been a long time.

Third, do I have advice? I'm not only a critic, I'm also a Jewish mother from a long line of Jewish mothers and have made my reputation on giving advice, whether you want it or not.

So how's this: While the website is phenomenal, and will carry your message over the longer term, the thing to remember is that you are defending the live arts and their relevance in your city. Keep your protest just as live and relevant.

Kauffman Center.jpgkansas city star.jpg
Gather up all those musicians and dancers, plant yourselves in front of what I'm assuming is the centrally located, fancy new KC Star building [pictured at left] at lunch or rush hour (or both)  and start performing (get all your permits in order first, though). Contact the media, including the New York Times. Hand out leaflets with the Star publisher's contact information, a sample letter to the editor, and your web address. Videotape the whole thing, post it on your website and on YouTube, and then follow up with an encore in front of your almost-finished $358 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts [pictured at right].

Perhaps leaders from the Lyric Opera and other major area arts organizations might also consider requesting a meeting with the Star's editor and publisher. Oh, and you might want to check with Mr. Horsley to see if it's all okay with him. 

It's your move, New York and L.A.

Les Humphries Singers - Kansas City
Vezi mai multe video din Muzica ยป

July 3, 2008 11:06 AM | | Comments (2)


I think you guys should re-enact the Les Humphries video during your protest, if only because it's so freakin' awesome.

So glad you guys are going forward with this. I hope you can get the leaders of the companies going in your new symphony space involved as well. My only advice would be to strike while the iron's hot. I think you can get national attention for your cause, but only if it's done while the issue is still considered current news.

And your question is, of course, the one everyone's asking. I'll do another post on this topic and see what answers we can get. In the meantime, please keep me posted on your progress!

Hello Wendy,

Thanks for hipping me to Les Humphries Singers. I haven't been able to stop my consumption of this fine German export. I finally had a long discussion with Mr. Horsley about his feelings toward protest. He told me that the 1st amendment was very important to him and we should do what ever we want regardless of what he thinks. - Awesome.

We (performers) are planning a public protest involving artists from the music and dance community. We may be a bit pokey as we're rehearsing and trying to make a living.

There is much discussion on moving beyond The Star to other privately funded publications to keep serious criticism alive here in Kansas City. Although obvious conflicts of interest always seem to arise. How have other cities dealt with this issue? Million dollar question - How does a community retain professional criticism this new era.

Thank you for your advice and ideas. I hope this will be a long and fruitful dialogue.



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