Results tagged “Perez Hilton” from Drama Queen

mark.jpgMy new favorite blog is Mark Blankenship's The Critical Condition, and not just because he sparked up my Lazy Sunday by posting his distressingly catchy Silence of the Lambs hip-hop track right after a post about Eminem's imminent return. I love it because even though he's often critiquing theater for the New York Times, he's not afraid to simultaneously feed his pop culture jones. And why not? If someone has to check out Celebrity Autobiography or Perez Hilton Saves the Universe, then all the better if they own a copy of Suzanne Somers' "Touch Me," (everyone should) or check in on the pink poseur several times a day anyway. 

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At this point, Pop culture is so pop that VH1 is already loving up the naughty aughties while we're still waist deep in their muck, and FakeSarahPalin has 4,263 followers on Twitter (Yes, I'm one of them). With troupes like Les Freres Corbusier eliding easily between Schoolhouse Rock and Ibsen, it ain't enough anymore to brush up your Shakespeare. You've gotta watch New York brush up on hers as well. Or not. But still, you never know.

So hallelujah that playwrights like Tom Stoppard are there to worry about the big stuff, to school us on Havel and Housman, and that theater critics are, for the most part, thrilled to have such a deep well from which to draw. But considering the heaping helping of Pink Floyd in his latest work, it seems even Stoppard's been dipping into the shallow end of the waterhole lately. 

Though Blankenship--kicking back and mixing up his arts coverage with "Clay is gay" stories--may not save the world, he just might help save informed, professional criticism from extinction by expanding its reach outside the realm of a handful of subscribers and niche enthusiasts. And by "save it," I mean, "make a video for his Silence of the Lambs rap." Hey, whatever works.

Below: the meta-moment of the pop culture year. So far.


September 24, 2008 3:59 PM | | Comments (4)
Today I was invited to be the--let me get this right--Guest Critic at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II Festival in January of '09. (The invitation was accepted.) Region II includes college productions and aspiring critics from schools in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C. I mention this not because I love blowing my own horn (though I do), and not to convince anyone (okay, maybe myself) of my own legitimacy as a critic, but because of the reason I was chosen. 

It's almost all about the blogging. 

Each year, the festival picks a handful of students who express interest in reviewing theater, and after an intensive several days of playgoing and review-writing, submit a final critique to be judged by the guest critic (Me!). The winner attends the Kennedy Center's big national event, and hopefully, a new batch of arts writers is hooked. 

However, with the future of print media a bit less rosy these days, the festival sought me out precisely because I work both online and on paper. Of course, "working" doesn't necessarily equal "getting paid." Though print, via the Philadelphia Inquirer, generously supplies my paycheck and ample opportunity to practice my favorite sport--reviewing theater--blogging supplies me with hope for the future.

Perhaps in that spirit, the guest critic spot is an unpaid honor (hey, at least they cover expenses), but one that may someday pay off in employment offers. In that future--and I'm guessing it will be the near future, if gas prices continue their heavenward trajectory, making home delivery a losing proposition--most media will go wholly online. It's anyone's guess whether information will arrive in specialized chunks through individual feeds, if there will still be room for centralized content providers (i.e., online versions of old-fashioned news organizations), if the most successful efforts will come from devoted individuals toiling away at home on their own sites, or some combination of the above. All I know for sure is willful ignorance of online journalism's free-form possibilities is anything but bliss, unless your version of bliss is monastic poverty and a Sysiphean sense of accomplishment. 

You don't hear Perez Hilton complaining about the decline in Page Six readership. In fact, he's even starting to encroach on my territory by publicizing the recent Tricia Walsh-Smith YouTube freakshow and the Cubby Bernstein webisodes. Soon, he'll even be the subject of an off-Broadway musical. As a wise person once said, don't hate the player, hate the game

Obviously, the guy's not doing extended features or reviews, or, well, anything resembling journalism, but he's sure making a living, which is, unfortunately, more than many of my brilliant, worthy, formerly full-time colleagues can say for themselves. All those readers who used to open their newspapers every morning over breakfast and coffee, are now carrying that coffee to their computers, logging on and looking for the same in-depth information. It's up to us as journalists to keep providing it or other, savvier, and perhaps lesser voices will be happy to fill in the gap. 

Initiate podcasts, critics' roundtables, and multimedia stories at your paper. If your paper won't do it, get together with other critics and do it on your own, on a blog (hmmm... good idea...). It's not all that complicated and well worth the investment. The goal is to keep critiquing Willy Loman, not become him.

June 10, 2008 4:11 PM |
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