smARTy

Art, theatre, music, and other spasms of the soul.

  • Sociometry
    YES! There really is an Institute of Sociometry and, yes, it is helmed by two artists, partners Heather Link-Bergman and Peter Miles Bergman, who claim a collective of over 700 special authorized agents in 23 countries join them in their efforts at culture jamming and guerrilla communications. As artists, they take a more adventurous approach Read More
  • Translocal Arts Activism
    An interesting discussion with Complex Movements, an artist-activist collective in Detroit, about the intersection of art, technology, and commodification in trying to build “translocal” alliances for change here.
  • About Love and Tyranny
    Anand Giridharadas in conversation with biographer Ann Heberlein about her new book, On Love and Tyranny, The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt, “a thinker with profound relevance to this moment.” https://the.ink/p/arendt?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cta
  • The Oldest Story
    By choice I’ve spent most of my life among storytellers. Poets, novelists, playwrights, songwriters, and just sitting around the campfire tellers of tales. I love stories and the people who tell them. Have you ever wondered what might be the oldest story of them all? The one that’s been told longer than any other? One Read More
  • 50 Years of Patti Smith
    Highly recommend this brief, poignant interview with the artist Patti Smith as she prepares for an anniversary performance in London 50 years after her first appearance in New York City here. She’s covered a lot of ground in her time and produced some amazing work.  
  • Performance
      Dramatists, directors, actors all will tell you the same thing about it: theatre is when strangers come together to share a common experience. What is so unique is the connection between artists and audience. The same could be said of all the performing arts in pre-pandemic times. What about streaming theatre?  The various ways the Read More
  • Paying More and Getting Less
    The damage done to the employment prospects of recent college graduates by the pandemic, and the litany of other 21st century disasters that preceded it, is severe. The pain is compounded by the cost of the education they pursued in good faith, only to have far fewer opportunities available to them than their parents’ generation. No Read More
  • South of Turtle Island
    When I was a young man with a serious interest in the indigenous peoples of North America, the accepted theory of their origins was that they came from Siberia across the Bering Land Bridge about 12,500 years ago. Proposed origin dates before that time were dismissed by academics, but gradually we are coming to have Read More
  • Theatre From a Distance
    A very bright young student of theatre by the name of Janice Rabian posted an interesting study of her industry’s response to the pandemic that has closed live performances for most of 2020 and the foreseeable future. Necessity being the Mother, it’s worth a look at how innovative people in the field are reacting, what Read More
  • Play4Keeps
    When we began this website, the focus was Center for the New Northwest, a non-profit center for ideas about change. One of the things we wanted to change was Ashland New Plays Festival. A proud promoter of new works for the stage and the playwrights who write them, ANPF for nearly three decades had been Read More
  • Clownfrontational
    There’s nothing funny about authoritarian systems. But there are clever ways to protest them. Taking it to the streets, clown style here. And it is worth noting that activism roils clowndom, too, as our institutions undergo generational soul searching here.
  • Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Interview
      The late, great artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who were preparing the ground for their proposed Over the River Project on the Arkansas River in Southern Colorado, sat down with me for an interview in January, 2002. The result, which was published in Eye Level and is reprinted below, was used by them on their Read More
  • Mysticism in Theatre and in Life
    We revisited this post from 2017 the day after the 2020 elections and found it to be every bit as relevant now, as this quote from the linked article suggests: “As we head into a more difficult and divisive period in American political and social history, a reinvigoration of these ideas represents a much-needed remedy. Read More
  • Politics in Theatre
    Intelligence is the third in Arena Stage’s Power Plays initiative—a ten-year plan to commission twenty-five plays, one for each decade of American history, about power and politics. Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko told me that the initiative was the result of Artistic Director Molly Smith “having her ears, eyes, and heart open to the heartbeat of Read More
  • Hippie Recall Dims
    Groove not approved: permit denied for Summer of Love 50th anniversary party Plans to celebrate a pivotal moment in San Francisco’s hippie history have been quashed after city cited safety concerns – and people says it’s not cool, man. Hippies dance at a psychedelic rock concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California, in Read More
  • Arts in the Time of Trump
    Whither the arts under our current Administration? Harvey Young in HowlRound argues that the outlook may not be as bad as we might fear, and concludes with this statement: “In this Age of Trump, my hope is that we collectively can lobby for continued (and, perhaps, increased) arts funding, advocate for the creation of socially Read More