Tuesday, June 27, 2006

great speech

Check out this link to Eduardo Machado's keynote speech at the annual ART/NY shindig. And thanks to Melody Brooks at New Perspectives for pointing me towards it.


When everybody's saying the same thing, maybe it's time to start listening to each other.

Friday, June 23, 2006

swing space

Just spoke with Hendrik Gerrits, manager of the Artist Space Program down at Lower Manhattan Cultural Center about their Swing Space program. They hook up artists with empty commercial space downtown. The program is only about a year and a half old and they have plans to expand it to the rest of the city. He was very enthusiastic about sitting down with a group like the League and giving some guidance on what's worked for them and what hasn't. They work with a lot of big firms, you can check it out on www.lmcc.net. Their next deadline for applications is July 17, all of the info is below:

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space program provides artists and arts organizations with rent-free space to create, rehearse, and present work. It’s that simple.In partnership with area landlords, LMCC makes vacant space downtown available to artists, curators, and cultural organizations on a temporary basis for projects. And not only that, but Swing Space artists and art groups are also eligible to apply for stipends ranging from $300 to $3,000 to support project costs.Proposals are accepted twice a year through an open call and reviewed by a panel of artists, arts professionals, and LMCC staff. Next Deadline: July 17, 2006, 5pmInformation Sessions:RSVP required: http://www.lmcc.net/RSVP/index.htmlWed, June 21 6PM125 Maiden Lane, 10th FloorFocus: Studio workspace Rehearsal space Office space Mon, June 26 6PM15 Nassau (at Pine)Focus: Installations Curated exhibitions Public programs PerformancesComplete information on Swing Space including guidelines and applications is available at: http://www.lmcc.net/art/swingspace/overview/2006.5apply/index.htmlContact Jeanne at jgerrity@lmcc.net or (212) 219-9401 x108 with questions.Know any artists? Help us by passing this great opportunity on!____________

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Back on the blessed Lower East Side, banks of the East River.

Last week of the shows at PS 122, Americana Absurdum and The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett, so come on down if you haven't yet. Both are very good fun.

Been thinking a lot about risk this last week. I guess since almost everything I've done in the last six years has been shown in New York over the last six months and then receiving an Obie for Sustained Excellence, I feel like one time is ending and something new is on the rise.

And I want to make sure that this new time is as interesting as the last one and I know the only way to guarantee that is to keep risking.

Risk being wrong, risk failure, risk looking foolish.
Risk offending people.
Risk ending my career.
Risk making major, public mistakes.
Risk alienating powerful people.
Risk sounding really stupid.
Risk losing everyone's respect.

High risk, high yield.

Talking about this League idea is risky because let's face it, it may never happen.
Taking on Midnight Cowboy is risky because I've never done anything like it before.
So, so far so good.

I've been going back through some old notes and reading old messages and I'm struck over and over again by the general acknowledgment that we're in a state of crisis and that things must be changed. If I had a dime every time someone called for "revolution", I'd be the one lined up against the wall. But let's be honest. Are we just blowing off steam? Are we just rattling the bars of the cage we've built and locked ourselves into?

Revolution sounds cool. But revolutions don't rise up like a tide and sweep things away. They are built, action by action. They are prepared by dedicated people working in an organized manner. They are often accomplished after many years of individual failures, brave attempts and flawed or foiled plots. A revolution has to be raised like a child, not embraced like a one night stand.

The real risk is to put your wildest dreams, your most extreme ideas, into action. Because they may not work and they may be laughed at or they may turn out to be commonplace and then you have to come up with new dreams. And that's the hardest thing I can think of.

Everyone who knows me knows how much I like talking. I will talk my ass off. I feel we've talked plenty about this League idea and plenty about how much it's needed and what a glorious future awaits us all blah blah.

Let's risk putting it into action. What's the first step?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

banks of the Thames

Things I've learned this week:

It is not possible to live in London on 20 pounds a day, no matter what a producer may tell you.

Always take the night flight. If you fly all day, you stay up all night, you're bleary and cranky the next day and it takes about 48 hours to focus.

Most English actors can do a pretty convincing New York accent, none can do Texan. Think Benny Hill doing Blanche Dubois on a lot of cough syrup. Strange, unsettling utterances I have sat through.

Everyone says they've seen Midnight Cowboy. Most, if pressed, have no memory of the film.

In England, lemonade is 7-Up. I actually knew that one, just forgot.

Flying home tomorrow and back for at least two weeks. Hope to get a lot of this League business in motion before the fall, so watch this space. Also may put some old essays up here if I can figure out how.

Be safe, speak soon.

Monday, June 12, 2006

day of rest

Woke up this morning with nothing to do but pack for a week away. A week ago we loaded two shows into PS 122, teched and opened them both, critics have been in and now they're running and I'm in that great, strange place in the director's life where I am of no real use to a project anymore. Very proud of them both, check them out if you can. And deep gratitude to those who came early, nothing gets a cast focused like a crowd.

Over the weekend I took part in a Creative Capital workshop at LMCC and heard about LMCC's "Swing Space" program. It's a working model of something we've been talking about, an arrangement between realtors and arts organizations to provide temporary rehearsal space. So no need to re-invent the wheel on this front. I'll talk to them when I'm back and see if the deal can be replicated throughout the city.

Something we need some help on is finding a simple way to determine how many Equity actors work under the Showcase Code in a given year. We have to start gathering this kind of information for a compelling case. Also, over-all attendance to Off-Off or indie theater. The collective numbers are impressive, we all know, but we need to do the research now to make the case in the fall. Any ideas on how to start?

And just to throw some seeds out there, here are the 11 things I wrote down when I first started thinking about what a League of Independent Producers might be able to accomplish, in no particular order of priority:

1. New York 99 seat theatre plan (new contract or code)
2. Rent subsidies for 99 seat theatres
3. Affordable or subsidized rehearsal space
4. Mentor program (matching established producers with first-time producers)
5. Creation of a National Alternative Touring Circuit
6. Creation of a new weekly arts and culture newspaper
7. Getting an accurate annual audience count for 99 seat theatres in New York and establishing a system to make that count each year
8. Completing an Economic Impact study
9. Out-reach to opera, dance and visual arts producers and venues
10. Creating an avant-garde curriculum for high school students
11. Getting financial commitments from commercial producers and film companies to support 99 seat theatres in New York

That's everything I scribbled down. Ambitious, but it's been my experience that dreaming big early is the most efficient way of getting something launched. Of all these, I think the first and the third are the most pressing and the seventh and the eighth the most important to get an accurate read of the territory. Let me know if anyone thinks differently.

Feels to me like we should start thinking about a meeting. I'm back from London on the 19th and then flying out again sometime early July, gone until September. So late June works. If not then, then it's the fall.

Again, thanks for supporting the shows and a huge cyberthanks to Steve Kovacs for designing our new website, www.clancyproductions.com. Seriously spanking.

I'll see if I can do some London blogging over the next week. In the meantime, all good things to all.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

dreaming wide awake


Sorry for the silence. I've only had this blog for a couple of months so not sure of the etiquette, but I can tell you I feel a little pang each morning when a day has passed and I haven't posted. Time is just racing now and next week I'm out of the country. May have more time then, actually. Anyway, apologies.

Many, many good ideas and threads in the comments below. Just want to say that I'm very happy to be back in this kind of conversation, it's the one real thing I miss from my days as an artistic director. As artists we dream for a living, but it's usually an individual dream, a private vision. And god knows it takes all we have to get that singular, private vision up and running, but it's nice to dream collectively once in a while.

You can see, just by reading below, how much passion and imagination there is and also how much commonality. Let's keep talking and I'll try a little harder to keep posting. Individual dreams are individual burdens, and they take so much effort and often, sadly, never come true. Common dreams can be a lot easier to achieve. Because if we're all dreaming the same thing, who's to say it's a dream? Maybe it's time to wake up and go to work.

Come see my shows, you non-attending bastards. And thanks for seeing the shows, you beautiful, attending sons-and-daughters-of-bitches. Man, probably shouldn't post after 2:00 AM. I start sounding all abusive.