Thursday, December 24, 2009

I said in the earlier post

about that LATimes article that I didn't have much to add to Morris' or Shirley's comments, but the more I think about this, I would like to add that I don't necessarily want L.A. theater journalism to champion L.A. theater, but I wouldn't mind if it would treat the scene as if it actually merits coverage, and then provide coverage that shows even a modicum of rigor.

When an evening of 10-minute plays gets an easy default description as "showcase fare," in a review that contains blatant inaccuracies about the production, I get cynical. When the LATimes theater editor champions a scene for work he doesn't show much evidence in print that he actually sees, I get cynical. Then there's that Variety piece, which might send me into orbit if I think about it much more. And don't get me started on James C. Taylor and Theatre Talk. I don't just want better coverage as a someone involved in the theater community. I want this as a theater-goer, as someone who cares about the medium.

Okay, so mainstream journalism's influence is slipping. Let's look to the blogosphere. There's LAStageBlog, which, outside of Don Shirley's column, seems more like boosterism than anything else, along with the majority of the other theater blogs on the scene, limited mostly to local theaters promoting their own work. There's Bitter Lemons, and LAWeekly's blog. Remind me who I'm forgetting or introduce me to new ones in the comments if you like.

Bitter Lemons has an attempt at a conversation on his blog -- "Does the 99-seat AEA Contract Hurt the National Reputation of Los Angeles Theater?" It's a valid question, but I'd like to see it rephrased a bit to ask, "Does the 99-seat AEA Contract Hurt Los Angeles Theater?" We know we take our work seriously, even if some of us want to break into film and TV and all the rest of it. How much do we really need to fret about our national reputation? Let's talk about the work.

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