I’ll be heading up to the Columbia School of Journalism first thing this morning (too damn early!) to teach what I guess could be called a master class in thumbsucking. I’m spending three hours with eight arts journalists from small and medium-sized cities who’ve come to New York City under the auspices of the National Arts Journalism Program, an NEA-sponsored project whose purpose is to raise the level of arts coverage in American newspapers. They’re attending classes, going to performances, and allowing themsleves to be hectored by a bunch of art-biz personages. For me, their job was to write an eight-hundred-word “critic’s notebook” essay–the kind of opinion piece that newspaper critics typically knock out every Sunday or so. My plan is to spend twenty minutes editing each piece line by line, with the rest of the class instructed to pile on at will. I did the same thing with my criticism classes at Rutgers University, a weekly ritual one of my wittier students dubbed “Human Sacrifice.” It took the kids a couple of weeks to get used to being put on the spot like that, but once they finally loosened up, we had a lot of fun and (I hope) learned a lot, too. I’m hoping the same thing happens today, perhaps a bit more quickly.
At any rate, I’m going straight from Columbia to a couple of midtown galleries, then back to the Upper West Side to knock out the first half of this Friday’s Wall Street Journal drama column, then down to Theater Row to see the play I’ll be reviewing in the second half of my drama column, immediately followed by eight hours in the sack. Busy, huh?
For all these reasons and more, don’t expect to hear anything else from me today. If for some reason you do, please send me a stern e-mail asking why the hell I’m blogging when I should be working (or napping!).