NYT's postcard from Wisconsin
While I had planned on writing this Tuesday about the role of readers in the quality and quantity of arts coverage, I am a) too pooped to take that on right now and b) inspired by Joe's post to take another look at coverage of the "Outback" by big-city media.
While Joe had some frustrations with the New Yorker's musical coverage, I enjoyed an article in the New York Times last week about the very small town (pop. 65 or so) of West Lima, Wis., which is home to an "intentional community" of artists and eccentrics. The Times piece ("Into Middle America but Staying on the Fringe," June 20), by Matt Gross, actually appears in the travel section, not arts, since it's part of the Frugal Traveler's "American Road Trip." While the community Gross writes about, Dreamtime Village, has already been covered by Wisconsin papers, I'm guessing this is its first national exposure in a major paper. Gross offers up a nice place-portrait that captures a sense of quirkiness without overdoing it.
As Gross notes, West Lima is not far from Spring Green, Wis., home of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. I've been to Spring Green twice in the past two weekends since it is also home to American Players Theatre (APT), a professional repertory company. I caught Saturday's opening night of George Bernard Shaw's "Misalliance," an excellent production that I find myself already mentally red-flagging for December's year-in-review piece of local arts highlights. (My review of the show will appear in this week's Isthmus.)
APT performs in an outdoor amphitheater that seats about 1,150 and, when Mother Nature cooperates, the result can be stunning. It's also a laid-back spot filled with pre-show picnicking and crowds that feel a little more alive than at most indoor shows. Sitting in the crowd last Saturday night, life seemed pretty good.
My aunt, who lives on a dairy farm between Madison and Milwaukee, forwarded me the NYT article and wrote in her e-mail, only half-jokingly, "Why would anyone live anywhere else but the Midwest?" While I can think of several cities I'd gladly give up Madison for, my aunt's got a point: there's some interesting stuff here, and I think living in any community is enhanced exponentially by being plugged into your local culture (in whatever form "culture" resonates with you).
Bloggers We Love
Bridgette Redman and Lansing Theater
Drew McManus' "Neo Classical" at the Partial Observer
Marc Moss (Missoula, MT artist)
Mary Louise Schumacher's "Art City"
Other Great Sites
American Composers Orchestra
Arts & Letters Daily
Center for Arts and Culture
Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive
National Arts Journalism Program
NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater & Musical Theater
New Music Box: American Music Center
USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog