Thursday, November 29, 2007
Agreement has been reached between the stagehands Local One and the League of Theater Owners and Producers, so the lifeblood of Broadway, money, will begin flowing a little more strongly in the narrowing arteries of the"fabulous invalid". Once again, she has survived an enounter with death, but how much more abuse can the old lady take?
It is interesting to note that there hardly was a famine of theater offerings on Broadway during the strike. Just look at the list of shows that were sold at the TKTS booth near Times Square:
DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS-THE MUSICAL
RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
The new Broadway musical Xanadu, based on the motion picture, had just opened when the strike began, but was covered under a different agreement than the one that cuased the strike.
A HARD HEART
BIG APPLE CIRCUS
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
DIE, MOMMIE DIE!
DORIS TO DARLENE
GAZILLION BUBBLE SHOW
GROWING UP 70'S
I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE
MAKE ME A SONG
MONDAY NIGHT MAGIC
MY FIRST TIME
MY MOTHER'S ITALIAN, MY FATHER'S JEWISH
NAKED BOYS SINGING!
NONE OF THE ABOVE
PETER & JERRY
STRANGE & UNUSUAL HOBBIES
THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT...
THE AWESOME 80s PROM
THE GLORIOUS ONES
THE JOY LUCK CLUB
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS
THINGS WE WANT
THREE MO' TENORS
Off Broadway, The Altar Boyz barely missed a beat during the strike.
Nobdoy like a strike. And everyone is pretty happy that this one is over. Of course, there is still the technical vote that has to be taken by the members of the local to ratify the agreement. While details are secret, it appears that each side made a list and added up a dollar value of what they were looking to gain. And somehow this was taken care of in wage increases, and from what I gather, a smaller minimum number of stagehands for a load-in, though once committed, it appears they will stay for the duration, and can't be hired for just one day. Probably minor concessions that should have been agreed to earlier. The stagehands are a very minor part of the costs of running a show. For example, just the advertising costs much more than they are paid.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Art that gets PETA upset
What on earth is British artist Damien Hirst going to do with his butcher shop inventory of 30 dead sheep, two sides of beef, 300 sausages and a pair of doves? Why find a big dead shark to add to his art installation of course.
The art world continues madly turning out art that begs the question of who is mad here, the art world glitterati who love this stuff, or those of us who wonder where it will all end.
Hirst's "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living"
Hirst reminds me of Buchel. As the Buchel fiasco at Mass MoCA progressed, I spent a good deal of time researching his other works and came to believe that he was descending into madness at a pace that matched his own work. Messy voyeuristic bedrooms became neurotic enclaves, then massive tributes to obsessive compulsive collectors.
Just before he received the Mass MoCA commission his work became increasingly psychotic, turning on themes of hoarding, kidnapping and ultimately, to a archaeological dig for some future generation to figure out. And in the end, Buchel's madness was uncontrollable and the whole project collapsed.
Hirst's "In His Infinite Wisdom"
Hirst's installation at Lever House in New York City.
Here, Hirst is dissecting the world of the living to examine it, the remnants immersed in formaldehyde. His latest work was commissioned by real estate developer Aby Rosen, for his Lever House. It is called "School: The Archaeology of Lost Desires, Compehending Infinity, and the Search for Knowledge." Hirst says the work is a homage to Francis Bacon's 1946 "Painting". He was paid $10 million for it.
Bacon's 1946 "Painting" that started it all.
Hirst's skullpiece is called "For the Love of God. " This life sized platinum skull is decorated with 8,601 high quallity diamonds. He priced it at $100 million, making it the most expensive pice of contemporary art to date, but nobody bought it. Last I heard, it was available for half off, or just $50 million.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
For the first time in its 121 year history, Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Hands has gone on strike, closing down 27 Broadway shows. The eight shows remaining lit have separate contracts and the scalpers have descended on the available tickets, hoping to score a killing. The eight shows still performing include "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" which began at the Berkshire's own Barrington Stage Company. Others are "Mary Poppins," "The Ritz," "Mauritius," "Cymbeline," "Pygmalian," "Xanadu" and "Young Frankenstein."
As we commented here in September, this strike can spell doom to weak shows, and hurt theater-going in general. Theater is a billion dollar a year business in New York City, and affects everything from hotels and restaurant to the taxi business. While the union has a $4 million dollar strike fund, the League of American theaters and Producers, who already tightened work rules during the non-contract period, has a reserve of $20 million to weather the strike.
As one wag commented, "Even if the producers manage to cut union costs, you can be sure it won't be reflected in lower ticket prices."