Each week, our #StageDoorLive News Writer / Researcher Hillary Dziminski chronicles her interaction with the news of the week. Some of it that made it to the show, and other bits that didn’t… but they matter damn it. Watch the news that did make it in #StageDoorLive Episode Eleven.
HAPPY PRIDE, MY GORGEOUS READERS!
I hope all of you have had a fabulous and healthy Pride month. So much has happened this June – well, this year! Every week it seems like we’re all just hopping onto a new roller coaster with different and…surprising twists and turns. So wherever you’re from, however you identify, and whomever you love, I hope you are well. And I hope you’re ready for an adventure through the headlines because I’ve got ‘em. Hot off the press. Let’s go.
This one comes first because:
1. It’s Tom Creed who was on the show last night and coined my new favourite hashtag #ABetterNormal
2. Tom talks about his new cat who, yes, I have been admiring on social media
3. WHAT WOULD A FESTIVAL FOR ANIMALS LOOK LIKE [Answer: adorable]
And also because I think the ideas presented in this video are both beautiful and important. Maybe it is okay to take an interval. Conserve the resources. Some something-or-other on some social media channel reminded me that the fights so many of us are fighting — against Coronavirus, against racism, against homophobia and transphobia (gentle reminder – trans rights are human rights) to name a few — these fights are not sprints. They’re marathons. And as Amy said in our closing last night, people do listen to artists. We have our fingers on the pulse. We are soothsayers. But we can only fight for one another if we have the energy to learn and to teach.
Anyway. This video is part of the Dublin Dance Festival Digital Capsule and yes, it was published a few weeks ago, but I just saw it for the first time this week so it’s news to me. Thank you for coming to my TEDtalk.
“It’s important to be optimistic, to be resilient, but not naïve.”
-Olga Barry, organiser of the 47th Kilkenny Arts Festival
This is a long read but takes a close look at the challenges faced by festivals as we try to reemerge from lockdown. And I think Olga Barry’s quote above can apply to all of us — I know we’re all chomping at the bit to get back out there and see each other, perform for audiences in the flesh, feel the buzz of a rehearsal room, but we have to be thoughtful and cautious, especially as second waves of the virus are starting to happen in other countries.
I don’t know how to feel about this. My knee jerk reaction was – YES! We can learn from this! Let’s try it! But then I think – Florida has had a huge surge of cases and I don’t think that performers wearing a belt with hand sanitizer attached to it is really best practice. I think best practice is probably…GO HOME.
The notion of herd immunity is being romanticised left, right and centre, but that approach is problematic in so many ways. In Sweden, officials have said their soft approach wasn’t an attempt at herd immunity, but it pretty much was and it’s not working.
Even if the folks onstage are wearing masks backstage and only choosing performances that allow for social distancing…I just don’t think it’s the time to be experimenting. Sure, the virus is less likely to kill people in younger age brackets, but the lasting effects of the disease are very much not good, especially for anyone whose livelihood depends on their lung capacity to sing or speak in a controlled manner. Stay home. This virus sucks. We need a vaccine.
Friends, let me tell you a secret: I freakin’ love science. So this article, which looks at the symbiotic relationship between arts and science is basically porn for me.
“The British Academy, the Arts Council and the London School of Economics have got together with others to remarket their endeavours as Social Sciences, Humanities & the Arts for People & the Economy – or Shape, in short.”
Arts and sciences should be symbiotic, and often they are, it’s just that people don’t really realise it. Peter Bazalgette says in the article that “imagination, self-expression and sheer humanity” can drive discovery and 10 / 10 I agree. And science can be a huge inspiration for artists as well; just look at plays like Lungs by Duncan Macmillan or X by Alistair McDowell, telling human stories in science-y contexts. SHAPE and STEM – a match made in heaven!
And now, readers, I’d like to leave you with a few headlines that caught my eye that I just didn’t have time to fully explore. (Seriously, my headlines spreadsheet this week was out of control.)
The Theatre at the End of the World, Part One – James Grissom – I have started reading this one and it is important, especially for anyone working in big-city landscapes which tend to be super exclusive and focused on “star power” when it comes to casting (read: selling tickets).
Art events and artists are facing a brutal Covid-19 reality – This is probably quite grim and I’ll be frank with you, I am not able for any more grim news at this particular moment.
An Open Letter to the Ballet Community – “A statement acknowledging the pain and suffering of those who walk by you in the halls and stand next to you at barre isn’t even the bare minimum in a time when the entire country — the entire world, rather — is confronting how it has failed Black people.” ⬅️ This letter is to the ballet world, but this quote in particular could apply to literally any industry. #BlackLivesMatter might not be trending on Twitter anymore but it’s still time to do better.
Artists need to put a stop to the firehose of ‘free’ – This one was only just published a few hours ago and I feel like I don’t even need to read it to know that I’m probably going to agree with it. Stop devaluing your own work with an avalanche of free stuff! It’s bad for you and it’s bad for everyone else! Especially when we’re trying so hard to convince the general public and the government that our jobs are crucial!
That’s all this week from your friendly neighbourhood news researcher. Be kind to one another. Be kind to yourself. Happy Pride. See you next week.
My favorite of all my Accomplice Appendix resources so far, I’m pleased to introduce you to The Gender Unicorn! A super accessible way to start understanding gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality. It’s also adorable.
The Gender Unicorn
Side note: I discovered the Gender Unicorn through a recent episode of the podcast Ologies from Alie Ward Neuroendocrinology (SEX & GENDER) with Daniel Pfau. It is excellent.
A really interesting perspective on mixed heritage casting and the linguistic limitations of the term ‘mixed race’
Both Not Half: We Need to Change How We Think about Mixed Heritage Casting
GLAAD is always an excellent resource for learning about the LGBTQ+ community; this page of Transgender FAQs is very digestible and informative
GLAAD – Transgender FAQ