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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fixing New York Theater #5

I'll bite.

David Cote writes in the July 23-29 2009 issue of Time Out New York, in an article called Fixing New York theater:

"5. Bloggers: Engage/Enrage
This item will generate noise (and that's the point): I wish bloggers would mix it up more. Does it take a Rachel Corrie fiasco to generate heat. The theater blogosphere has been dull, insular and quiet lately. We need more arguments, more dirt, more bloody know-down-drag-out fights. Not just self-promotion, obscure manifestos and production diaries. And here's hoping for a new breed of long-form critics worth reading."

First of all, I've had this blog since January of 2005. That's four and a half years of writing in this space. It took me less time to get a BFA. I don't feel particularly guilty about having quiet patches or using this space for self-promotion. Between actually pursuing my career as a playwright, working a full-time job as an Assistant Director in a cubicle 40 plus hours a week, and trying to have a life, the blog sometimes is not my top priority. Sue me. I am not a citizen journalist. When I have nothing in particular to say, or nothing of merit to add to a conversation, I don't see why I should make shit up. It won't fix New York theater, that's for sure.

So...has that blogosphere been dull lately? I'd give that a big yes. Scott Walters has gotten a grant and left his New York bashing ways behind, although we did give each other a pair of parting middle fingers before stopped writing Theatre Ideas. George Hunka, who is a gracious guy, has sort of agreed to disagree with a lot of the more network-y-NY blogosphere. David Cote got into a blog argument with Terry Teachout, briefly. And there was this little dust-up about Emily Glassberg Sands, but it didn't exactly set my site meter on fire. There's little news in 2009 that there is sexism. It sounds like an old story, told again, by younger people who think they just discovered it.

Is the NY blogosphere insular? Yes. It is. I wish it weren't so. I am probably part of the problem. Perhaps I should make friends with new bloggers?

I would also add that I use this space for self-promotion because it is, essentially, a very good way to use this blog. If I have a show coming up, I want you to come and see it. I want you, whomever reads this, to see one of my plays a lot more than I want to tell you what I think of the later works of Shaw.

I'm not a journalist. I think Playgoer covers that very well. And I've publicly stated my tendancy to tread lightly in this public space as I make my way as a playwright. Not use burning bridges that you plan on crossing, so to speak.

I agree we need to see more bloggers whose goal is to be citizen journalists of the New York Theater scene, and I would love them to have independent, punchy voices. I also would love to get stirred up by something fun. Mostly, when the spirit moves me, I tend to lean more on a few jokes. Perhaps, at some point, I'll write some more jokes.

I do take David's point, though. If I expect you to read this, I should give you a reason to read. So, I'll make you all a deal. If I occasionally appear to be mildly distracted or just linking to Talking Points Memo too much, give me a minute. I'll think of something. You give me the benefit of the doubt, and I promise, I'll bother to think of something.

If you act like a jilted lover, I swear to Christ, I'll just start linking to the pro wrestling websites I read. See if I don't, bitches. See if I don't. You won't be so happy then will you.

Wait a second. In an odd moment of synchronicity, it appears Jeremy Piven will be hosting an episode of WWE Raw.

No, I'm not fucking joking.

Perhaps he will hit John Cena over the head with a thermometer.

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