Sunday, June 10, 2007

No, THEM'S Fighting Words

In preparation to head back to the Pretentious Theater Festival, I saw some of the New York Times' summer listings. Not sure what the purpose of these blurbs are, however: is it to raise awareness of what's being done for these hot times, summers in the city, or is it to get a few extra bits of snark in about other shows?

For instance, how does this statement about SUMMERWORKS read to you?
It may not be as diverse and sprawling as the Fringe, but the chances of seeing something, you know, good at the Clubbed Thumb's annual showcase are considerably better.
Great for Clubbed Thumb; bad for the Fringe. Percentage-wise, it may be true, but the way it reads, it makes it seem like each of the three Clubbed Thumb shows is worth at least 70 of the Fringe shows, and I think this kind of equivocating is dangerous. Also, what is it that gets SUMMERWORKS a shout out (not that it shouldn't) and not the upcoming ICE FACTORY FESTIVAL? Because it's Jason Zinoman's listing that I'm quoting, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he just hadn't received a press release yet, but it seems to me that a lot of upcoming festivals were left off that page, and despite being online listings, my search of the NYT online archive hasn't yielded any updates even now, a month later.

I've got no problem with the Times wanting to be an authority, but little things like this (not too little to the festival organizers, I'll bet) are what make it into that disgusting "cultural arbiter" that so many of us out here rebel against. Report the news, write the listings, and let's stay away from snark as best as we can. You've got columns and reviews for the opinionated stuff, nu? As for the rest of us; this is just one of the necessary functions we can serve.

A few more random tidbits from browsing New York Times Online: did you know that you can now click any word twice and it'll bring up a pop-up with the definition, or have I just never accidentally double-clicked a word before? Also, kudos to Brantley's new coinage, "festivate," which is what all of us should be doing. I will nitpick about one more thing: why do Lincoln Center and the National Asian American Theater Company get links to their websites, but not the Pretentious Festival at the Brick? Is there diswebination going on?

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