For reasons I can't go into right now, I've found myself in Austin, Texas tonight where I had dinner at Stubb's (just a block down from the Club de Ville shown here) and was given a tour of the place.
A shack outside. Wood tables inside. Very cool.
Meanwhile, Les Claypool from Primus (he's the pink blob in the blue light between the women - he wore a "pig" mask for one of the numbers) was playing in the backyard. Literally. Apparently he just happened to be in town.
In the process, I checked out the area. Probably one of the most bohemian cities I've come across - and I've lived in a few places (NY, Wasshington DC, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and LA).
Anyway, very interesting place Austin - about as different from my idea of a place in Texas as it could be. Cheap to live in, I understand it's got a big art community and a fantastic small-house theatre scene.
This, by the way, is the "pit" at Stubb's. It holds a thousand pounds of meat. They go through something like 2 and a half tons of meat a week.
I'm not sure this "meat fact" is all that appetizing, but it is astounding.
In a side note, I've seen George Hunka has replied in appropriate bemused way to my post below about his assertion that marketing theatre is useless. While he's right that the work should come first, I stand by my opinion that he's mistaken on the marketing matter. And I disagree that audiences are getting smaller because of what's being put on stage. That kind of purism is great, but the reasons are much more complex. And they can be countered.
Ultimately, I believe there's lots of good theatre out there. I believe we could all use a fresh look at how we talk about it to people who have crossed theatre off the list of things that might be enriching for their lives.
There is an opportunity today to make a space in our society for the kind of direct intellectual, physical and emotional engagement that only theatre offers - and that I love. "Marketing" correctly helps.
That marketing, whether we like it or not, begins the moment a playwright drafts a letter to an artistic director as part of a submission.
Finally, as noted, while I find George's thinking often provocative and interesting - and I'm sure he does take joy in them working them out, I'm not gonna pretend his expression of those ideas doesn't occasionally cross into pretension for me. Which is why I definitely take exception to Alison Croggon's comment on George's blog that pointing out pretension is equivalent to anti-intellectualism.
You just have to read George on a regular basis to see what I'm talking about. And while I know George has threatened not to change, and while I'll always take a look at what he's saying even if he makes good on that threat, I think you can call for a "radical rethinking" in theatre without sounding like a 12th grade teacher, can't you?
And didn't Hemingway get everyone to rethink American literature with simple, bold sentences?
Anyway, here's a really great and thoughtful summation of the heart of the matter from Store Front Rebellion.