Too tired to think about it?
This is the second weekend in a row that I've been out of town. Last weekend I was down in rural Illinois drinking moonshine and blowing up a piece of America in celebration of America, and this weekend, I was over in St. Joseph, Minnesota at St. John's University for the Minnesota Theater Alliance Statewide Theater Conference having a lot of serious discussions about social issues and theater's place in the future positive development of society. The human condition certainly contains multitudes.
Because of that, I missed this weekend's 1 Minute Play Festival; but in the middle of that sober, soul-searching time, secured in a tranquil place of quiet reflection, I also managed to get drunk on whiskey next to a fire while someone sang "A Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid in Norwegian. Multitudes, friends. Multitudes.
I'll admit, I'm dog tired right now. I've got a collection of news here, but at the conclusion of the Conference, we were all asked to give a word or statement summing up our time, and I blurted out, "thinking I should retool my entire life." So, I've got precious little brainspace to come up with many flippant jokes about the state of things today.
Also, Minnesota, some pretty awful shit just went down in our neighborhood, so forgive me if I'm not so quick on the punchlines as I write tonight. We should be able to re-engage with the arrogant quips again next week.
For this week, feel free to supply your own jokes as needed and share them in the comments, and I'll do what the internet does best: outsource my work to people who will put in the effort for free.
Last week on News and Notes we talked about a couple of news stories from outside our own state. There are updates. Prepare to receive them:
You heard about Arizona Theatre Company and their last minute fundraising plea to avoid becoming the next LORT flagship to sink (and also how that hard, fast, do-or-die deadline was pretty easily pushed back two weeks). The company's latest last-ditch strategy is now to enter talks with Arizona State University about merging with their theater program.
Out in LA, the lawsuit is on between Actors Equity Association and the actors whose wishes they claim to represent over the 99-Seat Plan. This week, Bitter Lemons actually brings us some funny, well-crafted commentary on the situation, with a noir-soaked peek into the battle.
Last week, we also talked about Christiana Clark's encounter with a racist while out working at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and this weekend at the Statewide Theater Conference, one of the keynote speakers was Claudia Alick from OSF. These facts are not directly related, but Alick did give a fantastic presentation on what OSF has been doing to try to cut through systemic racism and create real connection in their own community; and godammit, a little bit of that would be nice right about now.
Other recent local controversies
Up in Minnesota's Iron Range, it seemed like a movie industry might be taking root. Last year saw the opening of Ironbound Studios in Chisholm, MN, 20,000 square feet of studio space in what was formerly an ice rink in what was also formerly the town's city hall. It was all part of a larger plan to lure major film projects to the state, and everyone up north was very excited about the prospect right up until the point at which the studio's founder, Jerry Seppala, was arrested and indicted on fraud charges. Seppala, along with two other associates, is accused of lying to investors and using money that he promised would go into film projects to fund his own lavish lifestyle. But, don't worry, Chisolm: Seppala has resigned from Ironbound, and he promises that it will survive just fine in spite of this little hiccup, because it's totally legit, you guys, I swear.
If you're one of the Minneapolis-hating trolls that hang out in the comments sections at the Star Tribune (my god, how many of you are there?!), you've definitely seen their recent article about the acclaimed Zenon Dance Company. The company's founder, Linda Z. Anderson, recently sent out a rather indelicately worded fundraising email that said (along with many other things) “Our longtime home at 6th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis … has now become an environment that is hostile to the arts." In a phone interview for the previously mentioned article she cited the construction of the new stadiums, a lack of parking, and fights on the sidewalk in front of the company's home at the Cowles Center on Hennepin Avenue. I know that the trolls have seen this article, because the comments section is flooded with hysterical and terrified descriptions that paint downtown Minneapolis as a vast, lawless wasteland straight out of Escape From New York, proving once again that you should never, under any circumstances, read a comments section.
The day has finally come. Lin-Manuel Miranda has taken his final bow as Alexander Hamilton. For those of you who can't let things go, you can watch the final curtain call over and over and over again as you wait for ticket prices for the show to finally start falling.
Manuel may be leaving, but the show he created will live on, which is a good thing, because the revolution in diversity on Broadway that it helped contribute to may be dissolving before our very eyes. Keen observers of the upcoming broadway season have noticed that the next crop doesn't look all that diverse. Was this year just a fluke? If so, at least Hamilton will still be carrying the torch. The man stepping into Manuel's role is an HIV-positive, gay, latino cancer survivor, so the show just got even more diverse. Hopefully, the show won't have to be carrying Broadway's diversity all alone.
You can be better
Speaking of curtain calls, over at City Pages, Jay Gabler has the following message for you: Don't be a jerk.
Which reminds me: July 29 is Don't Be A Dick Day. It's a great day for everyone to observe Wheaton's Law. To celebrate this year, perhaps everyone could put their non-dickness into practice not freaking shooting anyone. That would be nice.