Garbage Men

Carmel Morgan ( a dc-based dance critic) and I have been working on an article for about 8 months now…. I’m not gonna post much, cause we’re working toward ‘real’ publication. But in response to some recent online conversations, here’s a small excerpt:

Bloggers and online news are simultaneously undercutting and enhancing general news coverage, in every field. The issue in arts journalism is the same as in journalism in general; do we need paid journalists at all? Are bloggers and free-lancers sufficient?

Professional critics remind the public to look beyond current trends, and encourage an appreciation of the long view. Classical audiences are aging, as are the defenders of the classics. The arts as a profession obviously feed into arts education. Without adequate connection and understanding between the last generation, the current generation, and the future generation, classical arts will decline.

Beyond consideration of ‘classical’ art, critics contribute to the development of tomorrow’s curriculum. The Humanities are a funnel: millions of creations, ideas, concepts and concerts fall into the world every year. The informed mind, eye, and pen, have helped shape that funnel since the middle ages. The elimination of critic positions in major newspapers threatens to create a chasm between the values and work of recent generations, and those of today.

As the article proceeds it gets into more of the problem, and some potential solutions. There are a lot of issues with newspaper decline, and significant overlap between the economics and the emotions….

by Rob Bettmann
I read yesterday that:

“If tv killed reading, the internet saved writing”

I thought that was interesting. Some months ago read this on John Rockwell’s Articles blog:

“Mediums are not necessarily the message; mediums are the mediums, and if the future is the internet, the present is still partly in print.”

Will hopefully post a full version of our piece in the next few months, following its publication. In the meantime, if you’re wicked curious email me and I can send a draft.

The image here is something I made just to make it, to illustrate our piece – maybe. I have a freelance business making words, images, etc. for people. If you think I can help with something, please contact me. You can see more about the business here.

Art, Activism, Advocacy

This is a video that I made about a year ago. I made it to accompany a dance – this video was gonna be projected. But I found that the video was much stronger than my dance, and that I was accompanying the video, not the other way around. So the video is now its own separate entity. Let me know what you think.

I’m involved with the DC Advocates for the Arts. We’re having a meeting that I think is gonna be really interesting on Wednesday December 17th from 6:30-8:00pm. A big thank you to the CUDC for hosting the meeting at the Source on 14th St.

In meetings leading up to this event, and in preparation for the series of events we’ll be running in the new year, the Steering Committee has had some interesting discussions about the difference between activism and advocacy.

We are the DC Advocates for the Arts. Our mission empowers us to increase awareness and support for local arts. As Advocates, our central program is lobbying the City Council. Local arts funding has a major impact on local arts. Not only is the money important, but in terms of germinating and supporting local art, local funding has a major impact on the focus of local art. Where local arts funding places emphasis, and priority, that portion of the arts community grows. The DC Advocates works to make sure that our local government sets appropriate priorities and funding levels.

While we are ‘advocates’, we do not consider ourselves ‘lobbyists’. Nor do we consider ourselves ‘activists’. I have been thinking about that.

We need an engaged and active arts community to make our (the DC Advocates for the Arts) voice heard. Basically, if we have no constituent support, why would the government representatives listen to us? So as an organization I feel like we need to work to encourage engagement from the arts community in local politics.

The meeting that we are having on the 17th is trying to work toward that.

According to DCist, in the next session of the City Council, there will be consideration of a Gay Marriage bill. I know a lot of us that think such a thing – especially in the face of Prop. 8 – would be a great step. In order to make our voices heard, we’re gonna need to learn how to advocate well. This meeting brings together several individuals with expertise in local politics.

Tom Birch serves as legislative counsel for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in Washington, D.C. His work focuses on the interests of artists and arts organizations, directing advocacy efforts, and advising state and local groups on advocacy and lobbying strategies. He served two terms in elected public office as Georgetown’s neighborhood commissioner.

Rick Rosendall was president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance for three years ending in January 1999, and is now its Vice President for political affairs. He is a columnist for the Boston gay newspaper Bay Windows and Washington’s Metro Weekly. He is a native Washingtonian.

Ben Young is the Chief of Staff for D.C. Councilmember David Catania. In this role, Young regularly interacts with advocates and lobbyists wishing to advance their agenda before the Districts legislature.

This is not a meeting about Gay Marriage, or promoting Gay Rights. At this meeting we will be looking at influencing local policy, with examples from arts funding and gay rights. There was some talk amongst the steering committee of whether or not this was taking us off track. Why have a meeting that deals with any subject other than the arts?

My sense is that artists have many interests, and since the DC Advocates need an engaged arts population to do our arts advocacy, it is in our interest to encourage all forms of advocacy. It increases the pool of engaged artists who might be a part of arts advocacy. That sounds a bit mercenary, but in my role with the DC Advocates for the Arts, that’s my line….

F showed me a video the other day that’s been making the rounds:

See more videos at Funny or Die

Please let your friends know about the meeting on the 17th. I know it’s the holidays, but we need to take the momentum we have from the national election and keep working for the things that matter to us.


This is the fifth or sixth version of Wobble. As a poem it pretty well rots. And it keeps getting shorter with each revision…  I think because I have found no real connection between the lines I like and the central feeling I am trying to express.  Along those lines: I was editing Mad Rush this morning (the piece I wrote about in the last post.)  I auditioned it for the Clarice Smith/ PG Parks Showcase last week.  Though I didn’t get in, I recommend that event.  Always a good show.  I’ll be performing Mad Rush at next week’s Dinner Party event at the Warehouse Theater.  Please come check it out, and let me know what you think.

Dancers will be able to relate to this poem: it describes my sore feet when I get up in the middle of the night. One of my favorite things about the poem was writing that I get up and wobble like a penguin. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, the foot soreness, and being a penguin all of a sudden always makes me smile.


When I wake in the middle of the night you are with me, until I leave,

wobbling like a penguin.

At night we park. At night I dream, wake mad and drive off.

Forget me not maybe is to remember you,

forget the wobble.

Morning music and light I am grace for you.

I wobble.

Copyrighted, aight !??!