Songs for the Struggling Artist


No One’s Coming
April 1, 2014, 11:23 pm
Filed under: art, feminism, theatre | Tags: , , ,

Andrew Simonet, of Artists U and Headlong Dance Theater, gave a talk on Artist sustainability at the Brooklyn Commune and told them, “No one’s coming.” (Listen to it, it’s smart.) This phrase was then quoted in the Brooklyn Commune’s report on the state of the arts, The View from Here. In this context, “No one’s coming” serves to remind us that we won’t be discovered at the drugstore counter and that no one is going to swoop us up and take us to the magical land of MAKING IT. It’s a powerful idea, if only in the revelation that so many of us have perhaps held an unconscious hope that someone was on his way to save us.

I found myself quoting this phrase in an exchange with a friend about the lack of feminist criticism of a Broadway show she’d recently seen. She couldn’t believe that none of our critics had taken the show to task for its sexism, or even mentioned it. I, unfortunately, COULD believe it. As far as I can tell, there is very little feminist coverage of the theatre AT ALL. Before I published my first feminist rant here I would have said there wasn’t ANY. I found out quickly that there is some feminist analysis, but those who are talking about these issues in theatre are doing it mostly in closed circles, without public amplification.

Since no one is coming, we’re the ones who have to do it ourselves. When I can’t find feminist analysis of something, I just have to make it myself. Slowly but surely we become the someone who showed up. People end up at my blog after searching for, “sexism, Peter and the Starcatcher.” Before I wrote about it, there was nothing to find in that search. Now I’m there. When someone goes looking for some help understanding why the show made her feel so weird, she’s got it.

My friend saw an award winning show, surrounded by people giving it an enthusiastic standing ovation and was hoping to find some help in thinking through the weird sexist layers she saw. And there’s nothing. No one’s there yet.  So in the light of No One Coming, I find it best to just show up myself. And perhaps if more people stepped in where they saw a need, we might begin to resolve some of our issues.

  One place to step up: http://howsexististhisshow.wordpress.com/

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