Results tagged “l.a. times” from Drama Queen

Last Friday, the LA Times posted a blog entry that did everything a news organization's blog entry should. It was simple, informative, interactive, controversial, featured exclusive content and was fun besides. Best of all, it didn't come out of the sports or business section. The post, which asked 30 comedians, personalities, artists and blowhards to tell them how it would be "If I ran the NEA," was posted on the paper's arts blog, Culture Monster.

kareem_abdul_jabbar_skyhook.jpgSome--the blowhards, naturally--want to shut the beleaguered organization down, period. The comedians are mostly cavalier. Kareem Abdul Jabbar calls for a resumption of WPA-style programs. Tim Miller, Edward Albee, and Bill Pullman are a few of those who want a resumption of funding to individual artists. Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen want it to shore up arts education in public schools. Rachel Maddow wants to take the NEA one step farther and ensure the arts light the corners of our most profitable government institutions--prisons. And Harvey Weinstein? Well, he just wants a New York-based Cinema Hall of Fame. 

Me? I'd cut back on the Shakespeare and ramp up educational programs highlighting American playwrights. I love me some Will, but I also love me some Williams, not to mention Wilson, and I'm betting students would too, if they were ever fed anything besides a steady diet of Elizabethan-style government cheese. I'd also make sure those critic training programs (the most recent of which just announced its 2009 fellows in theater and musical theater) maintain or increase their funding, because better critics mean better public advocates for the arts, and I probably don't have to tell you what that means to us all, especially now.

Check out what they have to say over at Culture Monster (In a handy coincidence, they currently have the latest NEA news posted) then come on back and tell me: If you ran the NEA, what would you do?
March 4, 2009 12:44 PM | | Comments (1)
ebertroeper.jpgThe lastest victims of the critical cataclysm in American media are At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper, and the entire L.A. Times Book Review section. Though the parting of ways between Messrs. Roeper, Ebert and Disney will probably end up working in Roeper's favor, with a new show co-hosted somewhere else (And hopefully in higher profile. Here in Philly, the program aired every other weekend at 11 p.m.), I have grimmer feelings about the impact of the L.A. Times' decision on the publishing industry.

But even in Disney's case, the trend toward younger, shall we say, less sophisticated, coverage (Go on, click. I believe that's a beer bong around new co-host Ben Lyons' neck), bodes poorly for the arts and literature, and all the cumbersome effort involved in understanding them. Anyone else notice that as the arts pages shrank, somehow everyone found room to add video game reviews? Mind you, I'm so addicted to Facebook's Packrat game (God help me) that my skin itches just thinking about it, and my husband and I are about to install a Wii so our children will invite their friends here, rather than always wanting to go elsewhere (read: to a home with Wii). 

But there's only strategy involved in video game coverage, and maybe some cheats and codes. Rolling Stone might send Peter Travers to hole up in his living room for a few hours with Grand Theft Auto, and he might be into it, but that still doesn't make it a movie. (And yes, I'm aware that Talladega Nights was neither enlightening nor fun, but like it or not, its expository demands made it a movie.) I'll grant that maybe video games are even their own paradigm and don't have to subscribe to traditional narrative standards, but neither are they, even in their most sublime form, searching for a higher meaning. Their purpose is to be a fun game. 

Nonetheless there's an entire cable channel devoted to analyzing this zillion dollar a year industry. Meanwhile the A&E network, despite having a few thousand years of art history to which they might defer, and in a desperate bit to attract some viewers, any viewers, resorted to Gene Simmons' reality show (God help us all) and Sopranos reruns. How did we get here?

The arts are thrilling, and should be treated as such--in print, online, on television. Letting people in on the process, as the Grease and Legally Blonde reality shows did, isn't necessarily the answer, but overall, they sure don't hurt in drumming up a little excitement for the whole package. In fact, wasn't Siskel and Ebert a reality competition anyway, where you root for your favorite intellectual to come up with the most clever retort, and your least favorite to prove once and for all what a moron he is? 

However, the situation is so much more dire for the publishing industry. There are no flashy tv shows dedicated to reviewing literature, and as far as I know, there never were. If magazines and newspapers--you know, places for people who read--stop covering and reviewing new books, I shudder to imagine a world where the public is left to slog through the grammatical wasteland of reader reviews and trust the whims of Barnes and Noble's public relations department. And once books are no longer critically acclaimed, where will Hollywood get the bulk of its ideas? From video games?

Oh yeah, right.

Screw it, I'm going to play Guitar Hero. Wasn't there a Kiss song on there somewhere?

July 23, 2008 2:01 PM |
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