Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Adventures in Obviousness

The S-T, the local "newspaper," has finally come right out and said it: "Art is Economic Goodiness."
The above article, by easily-offended-by-art Dublin sailor Don Cuddy, includes the mandatory long-ass quote from "Katherine Knowles, executive director of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center," who "believes that promoting culture is vital to SouthCoast's interests, both socially and economically." (Many remember the days when Anne Brengle, Executive Director President of the NB Whaling Museum, would get to read the Chamber of Commerce marketing quote. Knowles can get an 8-year old to play with Buddy Guy, so the novelty factor of dead cetacean carcasses is a little old. Anne also doesn't address donors with sparkles like Katherine does.)
Don's money shot: "A flourishing arts scene downtown and across [the] SouthCoast could prove to be the final piece in solving the puzzle of economic redevelopment that has taxed [!] the region for longer than anyone cares to remember."
Which is to say, "The Arts are part of the Economy, although the mouth-breathers still won't admit it."
Used to be, stories about aht were clumsily-worded, poorly-crafted, cliché-ridden slogs through the show's program by the semi-retired part-timer with a car that could make it to the church basement or art gallery. He'd get good and sauced-up, pull out the thesaurus and try to "aesthetic, artistic, arts'n'crafts" his way through a few column inches, which some editor or other would stuff near the Niagara Falls bus tour ad. He'd have his free ticket, his by-line and his check for $17 (which he would be expected to report as income) and that was the extent of aht as economic driver.
But that was way back in the 1990's, when there was an Arts Ampersand Entertainment section of the newspaper. Then there was an epoch of space-filling Associated Press stories about openings in cities no one around here had ever heard of ("Duluth"?). Now, aht has to share the LIFESTYLE! page with "readers' letters" about ADHD, STDs, new diets, and pictures of dogs catching Frisbees. And then the finger-sniffing guy who writes a column about how he feels when he sees a picture of a dog catching a Frisbee.

Every week.
Our friend David Boyce also writes for the S-T. He's in hospital with cancer. When he went in, we weren't sure how he'd be coming out. There was a palpable pall throughout the art community. David's been an advocate for hundreds of artists, simply by writing. He doesn't just drop names. He genuinely knows the artists in his community and in the larger world, which brings a legitimacy and solidity to the arts community here. He's a gay man who educates and inspires through his take on gender issues, OutPosts, also in the local paper. He's understood the part a conscientious media plays in the cultural life of the area. Again, at the risk of over-stating it, David is as much a part of the the success of arts in the area as the University, the Zeiterion, or NBAM. That said...
My Beloved Redhead explains that David's doctors insisted he

get started on a hormone therapy. He starts tomorrow. The hormone therapy is intended to push cancer into remission. A reasonable expectation for his survival is 3-5 years. This is significantly longer than both David and I believed... needless to say, we are greatly relieved and want to pass that along, hopefully for your relief, as well! Everyone's case is different, and no one can know for certain. It can head in a negative direction and move faster, but Dr. Lang said he does have patients who had advanced metastatic bone cancer and yet have survived for as long as thirteen years.

The treatment is too complicated for a topman to address here, but my reckoning says don't cock the yards just yet. The guy's still got work to do.
Including getting back to writing the columns, reviews and newses, curating at local musei. And saying things like what he said to editor Bob Unger when they announced his LGBT column:

"There are many ways to be in the world, and they're all valuable."

And that's a different kind of obvious. The sensible, 'this bears repeating' kind. Fair winds through this new course, David.


Dr. Momentum said...

I will raise my drink in a toast to David and his future.

Large said...

in the immortal words of Dr. Maturin (Master&Commander,..the book)

I guess this man was meant to be hung after all...

( he had just revived a "drowned" seaman )

I wish many red skies at night to Mr. David

ThirdMate said...

Inspiring, both of you. David is, as of this moment, on his way home. With sixty or so new houseplants and bouquets and gifts. Now he can get some rest at home since he's broken the St. Luke's Single Visit Room Occupancy limit and approached the overall "number of visitors" record. They don't keep accurate records.
David appreciates the drink and any sea allusions since his Dad was a Coastie.(However, he's more of a "musical theater quotes" guy. You know.)