Notes on Words

for Writers, Readers, Logophiles and Logorrhetics

Today in the Arts — November 10, 2013

Today in the Arts


Recent articles:

Another to-do for PaperClips215 last Thursday, including this, which I’m attending tonight. Also including a link to Ellie Brown’s indiegogo, at which she’s raising $7,000 to put her SoLow show on stage. Anyone who doesn’t get how even a low budget production costs a fortune will be interested to read what she has to say there. And to give a few bucks.

I saw THE GARDEN Thursday night, Nichole Canuso’s latest show. Really delightful. Review here.

Also, an article for the latest incarnation of Art Attack, on how David Patrick Stearns is not putting forth competent work in his new job as staff theater critic.

A bit nervous about this one, because it’s the second time I’m criticizing a critic publicly. The first time, it spurred conflict with the critic I came out against. Poor Stearns is a classical music critic, why would they transfer him to theater? I’m mostly speaking against the ridiculously desperate tactics of the Inquirer. Thing is, they’re a respected news source; if they quarter-ass their theater coverage, people will still believe them. Air Bud could be their staff writer, and he’d still get hits.

Actually that’s a really good idea.

Mini Books and Mini Souls — November 5, 2013

Mini Books and Mini Souls

Ignore what I said before about art attack being done. They’re not done, they’re just moving. Watch It’ll be up in a couple of weeks.

Did anyone see my paperclips post last week? In it I suggested people check out InterAct’s We Are Proud to Present and SmokeyScout’s Nice and Fresh, among others.

One of those others was a one-time special event, a kind of mashup of 11 performance and visual artists around The Mural and The Mint’s Race Street Pier soundwalk, ANIMINA (the soundwalk you can preview here and which is always available for $0.99).

I was furious to miss it. I was at Nice and Fresh (you can see my review here), which was awesome. But a shame to miss such a weird and neat event. Thus far I see no reviews online . . . if I find something, I’ll share it.

Two cool things coming up. Tonight you can check in at the PMA between 5:30 and 8 o’clock to curate your own exhibit . . . don’t worry, you don’t have to bring materials or paint or anything. Check it out.

Also, make a minibook. I know I will.

Lexiwrongicon — October 3, 2013


Did you know that enervate means “to weaken”?

I thought it meant “to strengthen” – I’ve been using it the wrong way all this time.

Oh, mendacious memory! These fallacious confidences beguile me at every turn.

A Cause for Celebration! — August 8, 2013
SoLow Post-Mortem — July 9, 2013
The Last Plot in Revenge — June 25, 2013

The Last Plot in Revenge

Every once in a while a show occurs which is so joyfully inventive that it’s almost too ridiculous. The Last Plot in Revenge rides that line sagely. It’s a spaghetti western, a puppet show, site-specific theater, sci-fi, a musical, and dinner theater, and at the same time it’s sneakily avant-garde and philosophical. It’s other things too, and it’s hard to talk about without actually blowing one surprise or another. If you’re in Philly, go see it. If you’re not, read my review on Art Attack.

The SoLow Fest – Performing for Nothing — June 20, 2013

The SoLow Fest – Performing for Nothing

So writing is easier when most of the writing is done for you.

That, sadly, is not the case with my weekly Art Attack article – like this one here which is on the SoLow Fest. Or for most of what I write here (when I do write here). However, it is the case for the SoLow Spotlight which is basically a daily interview I’m putting together featuring SoLow artists.

I love doing interviews. You get a chance to delve into an artist’s (or whoever’s) work, and then (and here comes the work) come up with questions which are original, somewhat challenging, and flattering in that they show that you actually looked at their art. The questions are designed to give the artists the opportunity to talk about what they’re doing in a way which is revealing, for us and hopefully for them as well.

Challenging the artist is important, and far easier in a face-to-face interview, which none of these SoLow articles are—and also something which I’m not particularly experienced at.

The SoLow Fest is, in a relatively insignificant way, dominating my life for the last two weeks and the next one. I say “insignificant” because it’s nothing like how it’s dominating the lives of Amanda Grove or Meghann Williams, the talented women running the fest this year, or artists like Amelia Longo and Liz Green, who created work for the fest. But I did just write an article on it for Art Attack, I am conducting ten-to-twelve interviews for it, and I am performing in Amelia’s piece.

So it’s, to some degree, what I’m breathing for the month of June.

The best part of doing interviews is culling the words of the artist, picking what’s interesting, re-arranging your own questions, and cropping the rest; pulling out a line or an idea which makes a fun title; and in the end, being able to put your name beside someone else’s hard work and idea-making. This kind of restructuring happily does not incorporate the gut-wrenching cruelty of the blank page, or the subjective helplessness and inadvertent masochism of self-editing. You get to edit someone else, which is nicer, and (at least in my case) all in the name of making them look good.

Adaptations — June 12, 2013


Another article on

Quintessence Theatre, who did that Arms and the Man I didn’t like very much, produced, with the same cast, a production of Martin Crimp’s adaptation of Moliere’s The Misanthrope.

Michael Billington gave a fairly down-the-nose review of the adaptation (not this production of it). I find some value in it. This touches on the question of why we adapt classics in the first place – the answer hopefully not being “because we can’t think of any new stories.”

Small Town City — March 15, 2013


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for Writers, Readers, Logophiles and Logorrhetics