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Festivals, Tourism and Social Change November 26, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in General Studies.
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5164v6df2el_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou02_This book provides a fascinating anthropological look at festivals and events around the world that have conflicting relationships with tourism. There is a neat introduction which examines the modern roles of festivals and events with regards to social change, and then we are off to the races, with 15 great case studies on interesting events that create / experience social change because of / in spite of “tourism.” The G8 Summit Protests in Quebec are analysed as a counter-culture movement discredited by some as a tourist activity, but which actually have a much more complex relationship with tourism and festival theories. On that note, the evolving face of Gay Pride festivals are analysed with the same concerns about consumerist tourism versus subversive politics. I also enjoyed the case study analysis of the Edinburgh Mela, which looks at the positioning of this organic festival alongside more commercial ventures. In summation, this is an easy-to-read book with a nice selection of thoughtful and entertaining case studies.

ethno-techno November 11, 2008

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possessionritual_lo1i was familiar with the iconic performance art of Guillermo Gomez-Pena but had no idea he was such an accomplished writer and scholar of the madness that is modern life. This book is a treat, and apparently he has published a few before. Part academic performance theory university level post social dialogue, part post apocalyptic provocative performance poetry, ALL NOURISHING.

This is a brilliant read for anyone interested in art and identity. Gomez-Pena is frank and self conscious about the intersections between the world of ideas and the world of commerce; the book provides an excellent and hilarious road-trip through the modern artist’s journey to sustain him/her/itself through art. Of much note is his lament to the thief who steals his laptop. Of more note are references to activities like crashing the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a dominatrix leading him around on a leash while he is dressed like a crazy primitive/futuristic Mexican identity crisis.

Festivals Mean Business September 27, 2008

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This is a research report for the British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) from 2000, subtitled “The shape of Arts Festivals in the UK.”

On their website you can download the 2008 version of this report, which I have not yet read but will. I hope that it provides more analysis than the 2000 report, which presents excellent statistics which have been thoroughly checked and qualified. The report, however, does little to present the significance of these statistics and what they might mean for the festival industry.

They would do good by checking out Theatre Facts, annually presented by the American team Theatre Communications Group. Theatre Facts tells you directly where the business is at and backs it up with the statistics.

Scotland Creative Nation March 1, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in Film School, General Studies, Theatre Department.
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getjimdyson_sultan460.jpgexperienced a lot of great stuff and a lot of baloney at the Scottish Arts Council Cultural Summit 2008: Scotland Creative Nation. Overall, it was a fantastic event and I am truly lucky to be in such a creative nation where the arts are valued and well shepherded by the arts council. good work arts council.

highlights:

Suzanne Lacy‘s lecture about her work. She is fascinating! She’s a conceptual artist who goes around to communities and organizes events, dinners, art installations that have meaning for specific communities. i love the word community. great word. she celebrates, comments on, illuminates communities by creating rituals or milestones for the twenty-first century. loved hearing about her work and hope to hear more.

Per Ericsson talked about the Swedish Film Institute and their education initiatives. They use multimedia in school to engage students and he was very convincing about the benefits of relating to kids by talking about movies and giving a classroom a camcorder.

lowlight:

fascinating debate about “excellence” with Sir Brian McMaster and Joyce McMillan. Sir Brian has written a new scheme about evaluating which institutions are excellent. i’m sure it was well intentioned but it provoked a great deal of controversy in the crowd, and there was much skepticism. interesting debate, but i’m not sold on this excellence concept. i’ll have to read the report.

ultimate highlight:

chat with vicki featherstone and helen marriage about producing. informal and fun. unlike the other discussions which centered on buzzwords and business models, these gals just sat around and chatted, musing on the nature of the Arts Producer. As Vicki said, “this is the hippie shit.” or “artsy faggot bollocks” which is the new buzzword for this lecture. Helen Marriage runs Artichoke which clearly does cool shit like The Sultans Elephant and she told great stories about producing it. finally, real people.

Yo Olde Public Houses of Note January 19, 2008

Posted by goldblatt in General Studies.
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Pubs in Edinburgh that I like:

The Doric on Market Street under Waverly Bridge. Laid back chill out olde timey wine bar. Quiet.
Sportsters, next door is good for watching NFL football.
The Southern on South Clerk: a fantastically hip, chilled-out bar which just happens to be owned by my neighbors! Stylish and snazzy with a friendly feel but not filled with old drunks–more of a young student crowd.
The GRV on Guthrie, off Chambers. Where Left Bank used to be. It’s pretty hip and folks are friendly. Really stylish decor. And you can buy cd’s there. Good venue.
The Rat Pack Piano Bar off Princes Street: ha! this is a silly tacky good time. A guy playing piano with pre-recorded back up bands. The place is all decked out to look like a rat pack joint right out of swingers. Really fun, and people dress up like they are going swing dancing so it’s fun.
Whighams Wine Cellar: really nice chilled-out wine bar where you can sit in a cool little cellar area. Classy.

Edward II December 20, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in General Studies.
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Terrific production of an obscure old play. Gale Edwards treats the original text with respect, drawing out the complex relationships between these characters and rendering them with rich emotion and poignancy in the elegant Sidney Harman Hall. The theatre is beautiful and reason to see this alone. One thing: Gaveston’s role as Edward’s guardian angel is suggested one two many times in the second act, so that the audience is kind of beaten over the head with an obvious symbol. But I’ve never found Edwards’ directing style, shall we say, subtle, so I did go in expecting a big beautiful show with folks wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and thats what you get. And that’s pretty good for such a weird old play that most people would never go to see. There was a big audience the night I went, and I was pleased that they were all engaged.

And there’s some drag queens! Chris Crawford is amazing! Most spectacular, though, is Aubrey Deeker! It is such a treat to see him here as an understudy after his terrific performance in The Taming of the Shrew. His role here could not be more different, and he is so great! What a terrific classical actor and so young. He can speak the text with clear motivation, which is rare for folks of his age. He rocks!

Interesting thing here.

Sweeney Todd December 11, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in General Studies.
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Brilliant. This is another one of those times when I am the only person I know who loved this movie. (See Across the Universe for a more drastic example). I expected the very worst from this movie. Something in my head just kept telling me that Tim Burton doing a musical was a terrible idea, and that Sweeney Todd was going the way of Hairspray, Phantom of the Opera, and all the other movie-musicals Hollywood has been churning out lately. But to my delight this is a brilliant, captivating little gem of a movie. Burton has managed to blend his own signature aesthetic with the world of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd seamlessly.

The film looks like sleepy hollow or the nightmare before christmas–it is a Tim Burton Film. And yet this is the sweeney we all know and love without any stupid twists. Best of all, Burton takes a theatre piece and makes it convincingly cinematic. No crap choreography that looks dumb on screen–instead the thing feels and looks and sounds like a movie, and a haunting, gory, violent one at that. the violence is made more intimate and more real. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter both croon through their songs respectably with a cinematic singing style. The kids playing the sailor and Joanna are clearly professional singers and they nail their songs, same for the tiny tot playing toby.

Why did they cut The Ballad of Sweeney Todd?????

Dark Rapture November 9, 2007

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This is the show I am stage managing. This is the cheapest ticket in town! Sex! Violence! Nudity! Adult language! Smoking! Drinking! Goldblatt! It’s all here! Come tomorrow, Saturday night–it’s pay what you can and it’s opening night so there will be a fun reception with free refreshments. what more can you possibly ask for?

The King of Kong September 17, 2007

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kong.jpgcute movie about people who play classic arcade games competitively. actually gets kind of serious, because there is some really serious competition and some real assholeness going on here. A lot of the competition is mean-spirited. and a lot of the guys are just losers. but some of them are actually kind of cool. surprisingly engrossing. excellent documentary. really mythic conflict between good and evil.

Earth on Stone on Earth is Naturally So August 21, 2007

Posted by goldblatt in General Studies.
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devil1.jpgi dug it. typical of flashpoint: hip, contemporary exhibit. not terribly professional or elite, but very young, urban and raw. i really dig ecological earth art. this exhibit presents the actual greenery in merely superficial ways, however. Interesting and fun sculptures, but not sustainable agriculture. Pads of grass strewn across the gallery floor are fun and bold, but not sustainable, not terribly thoughtful in terms of gardening. Neat exhibit. Needs more water.