Friday Mack Attack, 11/28

Very, very full. Feeling sluggish. Here's an extra light post-Thanksgiving Mack Attack.

This week I'm macking on: The sheer variety of holiday shows that aren't A Christmas Carol. There's so much to choose from I don't think the Inquirer is even reviewing any of the local Dickens efforts, though they have an whole separate calendar listing section for them. (Don't quote me on that--they might sneak in one or two reviews that I don't know about. The important thing, really, is that I'm not reviewing any of them.) You might feel differently, but then, you're probably not a theater critic if you do. 

This week I'm hating on: The economy. And not just because my portfolio is really starting to sag from all the deflated Ford, GM and Tribune stock that used to keep it filled to a perky, respectable, blue-chip-studded C-cup. Although it is. No, I'm hating on the economy today because people are killing each other at Wal-Mart for discounts on crappy Chinese and Bangladeshi crap, instead of treating their families to all those awesome holiday shows. Just when theaters are feeling comfortable enough to start taking chances, they're rewarded by stagnation the likes of which we haven't seen since Annie was adopted. I wonder how many companies will survive into the next season, and I'm desperately afraid that most of the young ones will be knocked out, let alone those with big, new houses that need to be filled in order to keep the lights on. All this, just as we--and by we, I mean Philadelphia, though you may certainly insert your own city's name here--were starting to make some headway on this "arts economy" thing. If you're of a certain political bent, you could probably see it as a natural culling of the herd, but then, you could also see it as the innocent suffering the sins of the wicked. In any case, given the choice between the "arts economy" and the "economy economy," I'll take what the arts economy has to offer to what's left of our civilization any day. 

November 28, 2008 4:46 PM | | Comments (2)


It's true the arts always adapt and survive, and while challenging times often bring about the greatest work, they also cause some of our best artists to have to do things like take day jobs to survive, or close theaters that once revitalized an entire neighborhood.

My editor seems to believe that the one thing people won't let go of during an economic downturn is their entertainment. After all, without escapism there's no escape. But I'm not so sure. If your choice is a pair of tickets to the theater, plus babysitting and dinner vs. continuing your hi-speed internet or digital cable service, I fear the choice is already made.

The great thing about the arts is that whatever the economy, it never dies. Sure it changes, sure it maybe shrinks some. But the arts never dies. It survives in back rooms, on street corners, on blogs, in tiny store front theatres.

Hmmm, I think I was about to break into a Celine Dion Titanic moment so I'll quit while ahead...

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