Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Three times a charm: I survived TIF deadline

It's over yet it has begun.

After spending the past two months answering the same question for the 100th time and frantically sending out e-mails, I have survived another Idea Fund deadline which was for our 3rd round!

Fortunately for all the applicants, your work is done since the deadline was Friday, October 15. But my job is just starting, and hopefully with some help, we will be able to process the more than 250 proposals in time for the panel date of December 1.

Applicants will be notified about their status (if you got a grant or you didn't) by the second week of December. (Oh the number of late nights will be lengthy.)

So here's to hoping TIF makes your holiday wishes come true!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Rowers Wanted

You know how you have all the intentions of doing something, and then life gets in the way? I guess sometimes that it works out for the better.

I had been meaning to blog about the Universes residency here at DiverseWorks. Speak about how the show Ameriville was going to bring down the house – politically, artistically, and with the insightful energy of the company. Add in ideas about how Universes was going to be working with students from area high schools and Meta-Four Houston, the teen spoken-word crew that represents H-Town at Brave New Voices. Highlight that DW was awarded a Community Fund grant from National Performance Network that would allow for some of the Universes crew to work with students at MECA. (We’ll soon post video and pics from those events, so you, too, can see how awesome they were.)

After last night’s show and Q & A session, I have much more to say, or maybe be a bit smarter about what I should say.

Diane and I saw an excerpted version of Ameriville at the NPN Annual Meeting in Knoxville, and realized that it would be a great companion/extension to the Before (During) After exhibition that looks at how Katrina and other disasters have affected artists and their creative process. When Diane saw the show in New Orleans, and saw how the audience reacted and took it all in, it was clear that Ameriville needed to be part of the whole B(D)A and Under-Standing Water experience.

Let’s be clear. This is not a show about Katrina. This is not a show about New Orleans. Mildred talked about how, as the mouth of the Mississippi, New Orleans is the repository for all of America. The show takes on that metaphor and speaks about “America” in the past five or so years – the fear mongering, the panic, the lack of clarity and justice. This show uses Post-Katrina New Orleans as a lens to address ideas – post-September 11 culture; health care; environmental conservation; homelessness and a host of other issues – to examine what has happened to community in 21st century America.

What has always been important about Universes
– at least to me, is that the actual show is only half of the experience. The real art is the conversations that are catalyzed by the performance, so that the ideas don’t just exist on stage, but happen in the post-show Q&A, in cars & bars afterwards, and in the minds of people much later. Ameriville does what good theater always does – makes audiences think, feel and get energized about life and what is happening around us.

When asked what the company was hoping to accomplish, they talked about “wanting to bring the unity back into community,” and encouraging people to be part of the solution they want to see. In the words of the show, “Everybody Row.”

I hope people come to see the show tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 to join the ride. Buy tickets here.