Monday, January 14, 2008

Drinking Kool-Aid with Dead Artists

The Boston Foundation last month issued a report entitled "Vital Signs: Metro Boston’s Arts and Cultural Nonprofits 1999 and 2004" where it suggested that smaller arts organizations consider "[e]xiting the market" (page 9.) Curious, as while the Boston Foundation is a philanthropy, it only gives grants to largest of arts organizations-- indeed as Bill Marx reported this past August, to the Citi Performing Arts Center whose internal financial dealings appear to be quite suspect.

Ian Mackinnon, in response, sponsored an "Art Die Off" at Outpost 186 where those of us in the arts community could apologize for not becoming bigger arts organizations and simply die. Purple Kool-Aid and chili was provided. Big RED, and Shiny's Matthew Nash reported and Christian Holland took photographs.

In an entirely extemporaneous speech, I apologized for co-founding a mime troupe in the Boston area, when clearly, the art-form in question was ultimately unacceptable, as evidenced by the failures of Pocket Mime Theatre Company, Mirage Mime Theatre, and Cosmic Spelunker Theater to become major Boston institutions. I apologized for the fact that Cosmic Spelunker created Waltzing to War before criticism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq had become mainstream, I apologized for performing in just the sort of spaces that the Boston Foundation feels should "[exit] the market." I even apologized for confusing the audience by often performing mime while reciting poetry-- it's bad enough to work in a medium or genre that does not fit into the appropriate disciplinary pigeon-holes but to combine it with another genre in a manner that defies expectations?

Ultimately, as the purple Kool-Aid took effect, I did die, landing on my back with a nice loud thud by means of the most elegant prat-fall I have ever taken.

Markus Nechay, and Alisia L.L. Waller of And So No Sin and Mobius Artists Group (which should "exit" because despite recently opening a new space, they are simply not large enough to be seen as viable by the Boston Foundation) also presented. Eric Zinman provided musical accompaniment.

We're dead, and all of you dance companies, small presses, tiny art galleries, and small theatre troupes are next.

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