In the column, Mike briefly observes difficulties of entertainment, art and fine arts coverage, as southcentral Alaska's arts communities slowly expand, and the local traditional media rapidly shrink. He then goes on to extoll the advantages of the ADN's Art Snob blog, as opposed to the old ways at the paper:
The main plus of the blog for me has been the ability to post reviews of events almost as soon as they happen. Instead of waiting two or three days to print a review, we can tell readers about it within two or three hours. This is particularly good when a show will run for only two days.Mike is right that the speed arts information sometimes get up on the ADN web site is a very major plus. And it is certainly convenient for reviewers to get their impressions onto the web far more quickly than through the traditional process of mailing in, phoning in, dropping finished reviews by the ADN offices, or going directly to the ADN after a concert, play or event, to type a review out on the ADN terminals.
We've been diligent about getting these overnight Web reviews posted for the past few years and edified by indications that some of you find our efforts useful.
But there's another plus. It may be the most important benefit, yet it is hardly used: The ability for any reader with an Internet connection to comment on a show as fast as we do and to report on shows that we can't get to.
I got reviews into the ADN from 1993 to 2001 through all those means, including using a dial-up modem attached to my first Mac. I even dropped one by, written out in long-hand, when my computer was on the Fritz.
Mike goes on to note that people who attend a local arts event that blows them away or pisses them off, can write about it at the ADN niche, You Be The Critic. To me, it is a great niche.
Like Mike, I feel it is sad that You Be the Critic isn't used more often. I've commented at Art Snob blog a few times, but not often. Mike notes further:
I've noticed that when Progressive Alaska has covered local arts, whether I was observing somebody else's work or commenting on art I had participated in or created, the number of comments here have almost always been quite small. Or non-existent.
Artsnob is not the only Web site in town inviting people to chat up the arts. One dedicated to theater, The Greenroom, is also hosted at the adn site. But all of us involved in this brave new world of e-arts are concerned by a lack of two-way Internet interaction with local fans.
I can't say why people are so reluctant to comment on an art installation or concert. But I will say this: If you're among those who crave more arts coverage, you have the solution in your own hands -- or your own laptop
I'm one of the few "classical" musicians in the USA very interested and engaged in progressive politics. There may be another classical composer who is as involved in organizational politics as I am, but I don't know who that person is.
I'm appalled at how apolitical many fine arts musicians are. Even sadder is how afraid those traditional musicians who are concerned about the course our planet is taking seem to be, to take a more active role in change.
There's another side of that coin. Very few people interested in the systemic changes needed to enact truly progressive politics are as interested in "classical" music as they are in other genres.
Back in 1992 and 1993, when I first considered going onto the new worldwide web, it was to create a set of inter-connected web pages dealing with artists' whose output was based on ecological concerns. I even developed an unfulfilled Masters Degree thesis project around it. It took me 15 years to get onto the web. But that initial early 90s germ, inspired by the sculptors and conceptual geniuses James L. Acord and Peter Bevis, never happened.
Instead, I'm here, writing a blog that seems to get the most comments and hits when I talk about a person who I really wish would go back to her level of competence, or when I compare a courageous Alaska Native woman positively to the existing Democratic Party paradigm. Writing about the arts here, like at the ADN, isn't going to lead anywhere. At least it hasn't yet.
I'm ready for a break......
image - the Kannah Creek at Pete's Point, Bering River - watercolor, 1978 - Philip Munger