Dec 5, 2008

It's Critic-O-Meter Day!

A number of times over the past few years, I've been involved in some of the usual back-and-forth—in person and blogospherically—about the role of the critics, their relationship and responsibility (if any) to theatrical artists and consumers, the inordinate power of the Times, etc. I recalled that years ago on this blog I used to cull L.A. theater reviews into rough groupings and ranks, rating which shows had been reviewed best, worst, etc. I've enjoyed such features as Slate's Summary Judgment, which pithily sums up reviews of movies, and I often look at Metacritic to see a survey of critical opinions. (I also fondly remember Spy's "Review of Reviewers," but that's a horse of a slightly different color.)

You see where I'm going with this? When my esteemed colleague Isaac Butler of Parabasis linked approvingly to a proposal by (apparently now a private blog) which posited the "theater Metacritic" idea in so many words, I contacted Isaac right away, and we talked about launching just such a site.

Long story short, I got some advice from Marc Doyle of Metacritic, who told me there have been proposals over the years to rate theater reviews there but the economics haven't worked out; for a while Isaac and I received help from James Marino of Broadwaystars, where we thought we might launch our site. In the end, we decided to just get it up and running in Blogger.

And so, without further ado, I present to you the official launch of CRITIC-O-METER. It doesn't include every show up in New York, and it doesn't include every review of every show up in New York, but that's essentially our goal (Nate Silver of 538 is also a sort of inspiration). I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you'll feel free to offer your suggestions and feedback.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go check the latest reviews.

(Image: "The Art Critic" by Raoul Hausmann.)

1 comment:

Kerry said...

Carrie Kaufman, the editor/publisher of PerformInk in Chicago, used to run a column years ago called "Watching the Watchers," which was her critique of critics. It was excellent. Nothing like that officially in Chicago now, that I know of (and lord knows no one here is shy about letting loose).

An old boyfriend of mine once came up with the Reid-O-Meter to gauge my various moods. One side was the Ideal Kerry, the other side was the Wife of Bath. As I recall, the problems came in when I pointed out that I ASPIRED to being the Wife of Bath.