Jan 6, 2010

DIY or Die

I needn't have feared that the new unveiled 99 would pull his punches. His new post, mostly digesting Todd London's breathtaking state-of-the-new-play-industry study Outrageous Fortune, is a reminder of how indispensable he is. I'm also glad there are some quotes from London's book now out on the Internets; I read most of it last year when I was at TDF, and it's a sobering, clarifying exploration of a bundle of seemingly intractable challenges facing American theater and its artists. Don't just surf the quotes, though; get the book.

I should add that as someone who cut his teeth as a critic and sometime participant in L.A.'s anomalous theater scene, the disconnect is even starker between the Joshua Conkel/Qui Nguyen-style DIY model, which in my L.A. experience spawns a serious amount of great, overlooked work by ever-struggling-to-sustain companies, and Southland institutional theaters like the Taper and South Coast, whose sights are set inordinately on N.Y. for talent and validation. The gap may be even more gaping because of that town's other source of institutional neglect/indifference for the live arts (the film biz's, to be precise).

Maybe we're all headed more in this direction (h/t Thomas Cott), and maybe that's OK.

UPDATE: As he notes in the comments below, Hunka steps back here and gives some valuable systemic perspective--all of which, as he rightly adds, is explored exhaustively in London's book.

1 comment:

George Hunka said...

I also have several posts on the book here, with links to a few other comments.