It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for impassioned feedback on pieces I’ve written about various arts events in the Bay Area. The variety of approaches and fury-levels prompts me to create a short list of the most over-the-top ways in which artists and arts organizations have exerted their will in recent times:
1. Leave a voicemail for the critic followed up by an email saying, among other rabid things,Â that you’re going to make it a stipulation of your contract that I be forbidden from attending your performances.
2. Have the head of your organization’s PR department call me up and tell me that he had to stop the artistic head of the organization from writing me a venomous email.
3. Have your organization’s Board of Directors write an indignant letter to the Board of the major media organization for which I work as a regular freelancer to complain about my coverage.
4. Refuse to allow me access to artists so that I can write a fully-reported (ie non-editorialized) feature assignment commissioned by a major international newspaper following the publication of one article with an editorial slant in another newspaper more than a year previously that included some critical insights.
5. Call me up and tell me that I’d better get a good lawyer because you’re going to sue me and that “I don’t know who I’m dealing with.” Follow up with a similar phone call at the same time the following evening for good measure.
6. Slip a tarantula on to my seat at the theatre when I come to critique your show following a negative review of your previous effort. (Just kidding. This has never happened to me.)