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Saturday, September 23, 2006

NYCentrism

A Poor Player, a theater blogger out of Buffalo, posts a criticism of the NY-centrism of the theater blogosphere and theater community in general. Now, there are other kinds of -centrism in the theater world that I generally rail about on this blog, but I think that it's a valid criticism that those who get national (or international) attention for their blogs are a very small group (of mostly straight white men) blogging out of NY.

I think this has something to do with the nature of the conversation. Local theater conversations are most interesting to local audiences. There's some strange conviction out there that NY theater is something more than local, which is both true and untrue, but certainly problematic for those of us who don't live anywhere near New York. So ideally (for me), different theater scenes should have their own conversations. There should be a group of LA theater bloggers talking to each other, a group of Chicago theater bloggers talking to each other, theater bloggers from Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, Buffalo, and anywhere else that exciting theater is happening. It doesn't have to be a national conversation, and NYC doesn't have to be more important than anywhere else. But it's harder to find each other than that. I don't know what else is out there, and I'm mostly disappointed in the few other theater blogs I've found in LA. I'd love to know of more and better contributions to the Los Angeles theater conversations. Right now I read The LA Stage Alliance Blog, Son of Semele Ensemble's blog, the CTG and Redcat MySpace Blogs, and the occasional review on LAist. Not much of a conversation, really. Most of the LA theater discussion occurs on a Yahoo group called BigCheap Theater. If there's more out there, I'd love to know about it.

The most productive thing to do is to talk more about the things going on outside of NY. Those of us in other places need to keep on talking, to each other and whoever's listening. The U.S. theater community suffers from the mindset that NY is the only metropole and the rest of us are nothing more than provincial "regional" theaters, but it doesn't have to be that way. Personally, I think there's great theater coming out of Chicago, and a really unique if nothing else scene in LA. We don't have to act like the only worthwile theater is in New York or that the only theater bloggers are in NYC. For reference, check out The Steppenwolf blog and An Angry White Guy In Chicago (despite the political implications of the name) from Chicago. There's P'tit Boo in Seattle. Intermission is in San Francisco. I totally miss the now defunct Staged Readings from San Francisco. I don't necessarily recommend or read all of these regularly, but it's good to know they're out there. What else should I know about? What's out there?

UPDATE: Frank's Wild Lunch seems to be the major LA theater blog that I completely overlooked.

8 comments:

Freeman said...

Hello from NYC.

parabasis said...

Welcome aboard. That was a great post.

parabasis said...

And by welcome aboard, I simply meant that it's good to discover your stuff. Obviously, according to your archives, you've been doing this for some time. I just wanted to make sure that's clear.

(god, am I neurotic or what..?)

frank's wild lunch said...

Hey VV, pleasure to blogmeet you! We've probably been sitting next to each other in darkened theaters for years! It's so nice to find your blog, and thanks for he plug!

P'tit Boo said...

I hope you don't mind me exposing you to the other bloggers !
Your blog is great and you should be read !
Hi !

hpmelon said...

Hello from DC. Great blog.

Joshua James said...

Hello again from nyc -

I know a good LA playwright blog, it's by RB Ripley (link is on my recent Dojo's Greatest Hits) - most of the other LA writer blogs I know of are all screenwriter-related (not so many of those in nyc) - but Ripley's pretty cool, I think you'd dig his blog.

Alison Croggon said...

Well, I laughed a little... What about Americentrism? It's a big world out there, guys, and down the bottom, near Antarctica, is Melbourne... and guess what? They too make theatre. Good theatre, too. It's a mere click away on your computer, though.