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Re: “Greta Garbo's extreme close-up, some fond farewells and an erased mural

Emily Weinstein actually does have a legal leg to stand on, as the federal VARA legislation has been called upon by numerous mural artists whose work has been destroyed under similar circumstances. And I don't particularly blame her for not wanting to participate in a meeting called by the group that destroyed her work without bothering to get in touch with her. She told me that she would rather spend her time making new work than spend time helping Caktus heal their public image. She's hurt -- her life's work is gone. And Caktus has shown alacrity by... putting a post on their blog. Time is ticking off and other than that they've done zilch, which makes me wonder how sincere the remorse and shame really is. I don't really understand why a public meeting would take time to put together, and I wonder if they're waiting until enough time passes that they feel safe enough to not call a meeting at all. I hope they get their act together very soon. And in my opinion, this is a cultural disaster for Durham. I've spent a lot of time with the mural with my kids over the years. Our family shed tears when we saw Caktus' gray wall, and I know plenty of others who can say the same. It might not be a disaster for everyone, of course. Different parts of a city become different parts of our lives. For instance, if the Durham Bulls moved away I wouldn't care at all -- the team isn't important to me. But I know friends next door who would mourn that for the rest of their lives. And I care about my friends and neighbors, so I would sympathize. I hope that you, badpoetry, could find a way to sympathize too.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Chris Vitiello on 08/13/2014 at 5:59 PM

Re: “Greta Garbo's extreme close-up, some fond farewells and an erased mural

It is truly sad when the Indy does not present the whole story and presents only biased news coverage based on an artist's feelings. One cannot passively stand by and expect any community to protect what you see as your identity - if it's that important you should actively be protecting it and restoring it and educating others as to what it is about. Additionally, the artist actualy has no legal leg to stand on, if researched further this would become evident to the author. And Caktus has shown considerable alacrity in addressing this by offering to have a public forum (that once again the artist passively bows out of) and expressing remorse and shame which is something most companies would not do. And finally, NO, this is not "a disaster." Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, homeless people needing food those are all disasters. This is a spun biased piece of news, which isn't news at all.

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by badpoetry on 08/13/2014 at 4:19 PM

Re: “What does a state poet laureate do—and why does it matter?

No one has yet posted Valerie Macon's resume in order to enable the public to make educated comments on this situation. I presume that "elitist" was not the word intended, but rather something like the word clique (Sp?) is what happens in all poetry societies, I believe, and also Arts Councils. There always seems to be an "in" group that gets and gives all the attention and it is difficult to crack the system unless one self-publishes as she did. Macon's mind may be overflowing with ideas to share with students. I'd like to see an interview with her to see whether what she has done already is the sum of herlifelong contributions, or whether she is bursting with enthusiasm to locate a readership with whom to share her current and developing convictions. We have no idea of who she really is. No mainline media will review self-published poets or authors so we haven't read about her. The Governor must have had some kind of reliable insider information to have gone out on a limb with the appointment.

0 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom on 08/09/2014 at 8:07 PM

Re: “What does a state poet laureate do—and why does it matter?

I've always been in the camp that anyone can (and should!) make art and share it however they want, or not at all. Community arts programs make that available all around NC and with technology it's becoming even easier. However, I don't think it is in any way elitist to have a practiced writer and teacher serving as poet laureate, especially if they only have 2 years to do the work. It doesn't leave much time to learn on the job. I hope that Ms. Macon continues to write and finds other ways to serve her community through art.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by jessnmoore on 08/08/2014 at 10:19 AM

Re: “What does a state poet laureate do—and why does it matter?

This attitude clearly exhibits the very elitist mentality the governor was addressing. How do you know she couldn't do the job, she wasn't even given the chance. Thank you for supporting the very walls that keep the "regular poetry" followers out. I think the four of you should be ashamed of what you put this poor lady through. For a group that should be leading the way to celebrate a skill that we celebrate from the tobacco barns and lament the way that these voices are "drowned out" in today's world, you surely turned the faucet on one that was trying to be heard. For one that has always been proud of his North Carolina writing heritage, you have given me pause.

Jonathan Bolick
Lincolnton, NC

4 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Jonathan K Bolick on 08/06/2014 at 11:55 PM

Re: “What does a state poet laureate do—and why does it matter?

Answers: not much and no.

1 like, 11 dislikes
Posted by ProudlyUnaffiliated on 08/06/2014 at 7:44 PM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

You're a nice guy, Julian.

However, the reviewer and I still disagree on whether the chrononauts controlled the behavior of the three women or the three women, through their respective desires, controlled the the actions of the chrononauts.

I wonder if Bryon Woods opinion of those extras would have been different of the women had arrived at the island on a stylized steamship?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bill Brown on 08/06/2014 at 11:24 AM

Re: “What does a state poet laureate do—and why does it matter?

Joseph Bathanti sent the following clarification regarding the founding of the Veterans Writing Collective:

"I cannot at all take credit for founding the Veterans Writing Collective in Fayetteville. I was merely at the initial meeting, with a number of key players, in Fayetteville at Methodist University. Out of that meeting, the Collective was later formed and all the credit goes to poet and Professor Robin Greene, Paul Stroebel and a number of other hard-working folks at Methodist and in Fayetteville who have brilliantly sustained and nurtured it."

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Vitiello on 08/06/2014 at 7:58 AM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Ladies and Gentlemen, thanks for restoring my faith in mankind. How refreshing to read a passionate discussion where respect is shown throughout.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Julian Chachula Jr. on 08/02/2014 at 10:40 PM

Re: “The Lion in Winter at Theatre in the Park

Characters with weaknesses are frequent in theater; they fund most if not all of the great dramas, and it takes strong actors to believably perform them.

Weak performances, on the other hand, are more frequent in regional theater than most of us would like. Though he ignores it, I suspect that shlomo is already well aware of this distinction.

And to answer his question, not only it is entirely fair to demand that all actors on stage be believable, that is actually the minimum acceptable standard for a show produced by one of the region's older and more accomplished companies, for paying audiences.

Should Theatre in the Park's artistic director believe differently, he is welcome to state that view for himself, publicly and on the record.

Playtime is over, shlomo. Ultimately, it's the director's responsibility to make sure that an entire cast is meeting the minimum artistic standards -- and not just the top two-thirds. When that doesn't occur, a mixed but basically favorable review like this one is actually the smallest of consequences.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Byron Woods on 08/01/2014 at 10:45 AM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Mr. Brown should be advised that I have actually seen -- and signed -- my full share of production contracts in my earlier experiences as a director -- well before I researched and wrote a recent cover story about copyright and the theater for INDY Week.

Still, he needn't take my word on copyright and script changes. In the interest of general education, here's a link to an article on the issue from the American Association of Community Theatre. Licensing do's and don'ts from major publishing houses are helpfully included at the bottom of the piece.…

> Nothing the chrononauts did suggested to me....
> [The women's] experiences were a result of free choices they each made,
> not imposed upon them by some outside agency (other than the playwright himself).

Sorry, this is simply incorrect. The women were guided on stage by the chrononauts in the very first moments of the play. They moved the women into place with eyes closed, posed them just so, and then "activated" them by placing jewelry about the heads or throats of two and an arm band on the third. The chrononauts clearly controlled them at first, and repeatedly controlled the "worlds" they encountered thereafter: flipping switches, and turning knobs and cranks prominently placed on the wall of the set. No one besides the chrononauts worked these controls.

It's possible that Mr. Brown somehow missed every example of this manipulation throughout the show. If so, he should be advised that the facts are against him.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Byron Woods on 07/31/2014 at 2:25 PM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Of course. We have no issue with sarcasm.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Brian Howe, INDY arts & culture editor on 07/31/2014 at 2:03 PM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Brian, I'll take joint responsibility with my dumb-ass phone for mistakenly believing one of my posts had disappeared. While I'm at it, I'll give 100% of the blame to my phone for omitting "not" between "it's" and "missing" in my third post.

FWIW, my biting sarcasm, as demonstrated in my first post, has met the ad hominem threshold for other message board moderators I have encountered.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bill Brown on 07/31/2014 at 1:30 PM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

First, I doubt you have seen the contract signed by the producer of this play. I know I haven't. Therefore, I'm not going to debate whether the producers had the "right" to do what they did or not.

Second, your interpretation of the effect of chrononauts on the "women's agency" in particular and the play in total could not be more different from mine if we had gotten together and plotted to take points of view that were completely at odds. For me, the chrononauts provided a means of providing background as the play moved itself from one scene to another and a means of providing "a less than high-tech simulation of the terrains they [the women] discover" as well as other staging. Nothing the chrononauts did suggested to me that the the women were "pawns" or "lab rats." Their experiences were a result of free choices they each made, not imposed upon them by some outside agency (other than the playwright himself).

Also, a quick google search leading to commentaries on other productions made it clear to me that it is not uncommon for tasks handled here by the chrononauts to be done in other ways that are not in the script. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the script so I will not try to provide specific examples. (OK, I'll debate the producers' rights a little bit.)

Another more open way of looking at things might have allowed you to better enjoy this production.

Disclosure: I (like Julie Ritterskamp) am a friend of the director and I am an acquaintance of others associated with the production. But, I am also an independent thinker. My opinions about this production of On The Verge are driven by what I saw last Saturday night, not who was involved in delivering it.

Semi-sorry about the sarcasm/irony of my first post mostly because it detracts from my effort to now make serious points about my differences of opinion with the reviewer.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Bill Brown on 07/31/2014 at 11:58 AM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Mr. Brown, I didn't remove any comments from this review. If one of yours is missing, I'm not sure why that is. You are welcome to repost it. We don't censor opinions, we only remove off-topic comments or ad hominem attacks.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Brian Howe, INDY arts & culture editor on 07/31/2014 at 11:37 AM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Unfortunately, on at least one level it doesn't matter if the chononauts, those characters this production chose to add to Eric Overmeyer's script, were clever, humorous or cute as a button.

When theater groups buy the performance rights for plays in the U.S., the contracts they sign bind them to perform the script as written. They cannot legally add or delete material or otherwise alter the play without permission. Licensing houses can and do close productions down when companies make unauthorized changes. Theater artists unaware—or unconcerned—with this fact are actually putting themselves and those they work with at significant risk.

Mr. Overmyer's script is clear. The three women aren't on some holodeck. And in particular, they _aren't_ being manipulated by paramilitary figures invisible to them, who have the power to turn them off and on.

That's not a small change. It effectively removes the women's agency, transforming intrepid explorers into pawns who are being manipulated in this show's opening moments by characters Overmyer never wrote.

In that moment, they're no longer sojourners actually exploring terra incognita. They're more like lab rats instead, being sent through a maze controlled by others. Why? The reasons are never clear -- and were possibly never thought through all the way, since this change seems to be discarded by the end.

Ms. Ritterskamp's willingness to sacrifice a play's momentum on behalf of an entire audience suggests a generous character in defense of friends. But I ask her to spare a thought, please, for everyone else: the paying public who didn't go to a theater to see their neighbors, but simply came to see a play instead. They, along with the playwright, deserve consideration as well. Providing that is a part of my job -- particularly when other stage artists are having difficulty doing so.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Byron Woods on 07/31/2014 at 9:49 AM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

So, now it's missing.

Never mind.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bill Brown on 07/30/2014 at 9:35 PM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

I thought my now missing comment was pretty good, more ironic than the sarcasm I admitted to. My main point was I disagree (quite sharply, truth be told) with Byron Woods' opinion of the value of the chrononauts [who I was given to believe are akin to stagehands in a more conventional (and mundane) production].

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bill Brown on 07/30/2014 at 9:33 PM

Re: “Victorian women explore the future in On the Verge

Huh? "... the women APPEAR to be forging through ... a simulation of the terrains they discover ..." Wow! How did you ever figure that out? How perceptive of you. Are you perceptive enough to recognize sarcasm?

Jus' sayin'

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bill Brown on 07/30/2014 at 8:27 PM

Re: “On the uncompromising artifice of influential local painter and professor Marvin Saltzman

Mr. Saltzman was my favorite professor at Carolina. He told me I was an artist, and even pointed me out to colleagues of his and said the same thing. That meant more to my incredibly awkward and self conscious 19-year-old self than I can describe here. A hard ass, yes, but still a dear, dear man.

Posted by Ronda on 07/30/2014 at 2:25 PM

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