Thursday, May 15, 2008

Do you understand the sub-prime mortgage crisis?

Would you like to?

Maybe you already heard last week's This American Life, but if you're not an addict like me, you might want to check out the free podcast for a clear and wonderful dissection of what has been going wrong with the economy for the last several years.

Then, bonus, head over to TCG's (free, downloadable) audio transcript of a recent teleconference with former Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin. Rubin breaks it down in elegant and excruciating detail, and makes some surprisingly deft observations on the cultural economy. The second half of the transcript is a Q&A with theatre-practitioners, and I am happy to report that we seem to hold our own with one of the brightest economic minds of his generation.

I've been trying to pull my head out of the sand and not freak so much about the economic bubble popping all around us... it's not quite working yet, but I guess I'll keep trying.

Another Conference I Can't Attend

The 15th International Conference on Cultural Economics:

6/12-6/15 in Boston

-Scale, Scope and "Crowding Out" in the Nonprofit Lively Arts: Economic Analysis of Organizations in a Geographic Market
-The Socioeconomic Composition of Arts Participation: Definitions, Evidence and Policy Issues
- Innovation in the Cultural Industries
- Artists' Demographic Characteristics and Employment Patterns in the US
- To Dare or Not to Dare: Key Risks in London's Cultural Industries
- Tax Incentives as a Tool for Cultural Policy: The Experience of Japan, Italy, and Bulgaria

Oh boy. Four days of cultural economics freakout-geekout in my hometown? And it overlaps NPAC? Why does everything happen when I'm already busy? Phooey.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP)

No, I didn't get hit by a bus - just buried under some exams and term papers. Hopefully I'll put out a mini-avalanche of posts in the next few days to catch up.

First, I wanted to highlight the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a new annual survey designed to track what artists actually do with their lives once they leave school.

Besides Theatrefacts, I can't think of another long-term study of cultural engagement and involvement. (If I'm missing something, please let me know!) I can't figure out how they're choosing the survey participants, but I'd be happy to volunteer.

From the press release:

SNAAP is a visually engaging online survey system to collect, track, and disseminate national data about the artistic lives and careers of alumni who trained as visual, performing, or literary artists at both the high school and college levels. As an ongoing research system, it will allow education institutions, researchers and arts leaders to look at the systemic factors that helped or hindered the career paths of alumni, whether they have chosen to work as artists or pursue other paths.

Neither an exit nor a longitudinal survey, SNAAP will be administered as an annual survey of alumni at specified junctures following their institutionally-based arts training 5, 10, 15 and 20 years after graduation. Once fully operational, SNAAP findings will allow for national and other comparisons and can be disaggregated in various other ways so that institutions can better understand, for example, how students in different majors use their arts training in their careers and other aspects of their lives.

So. Excited. About. This.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Weekend Reading

I am in love with Leonard Jacobs' interview with Andrei Belgrader and the cast of BAM's Endgame.

Alvin Epstein, currently playing Nagg, played Lucky in the first US performance of Waiting for Godot, and played Clov in the first US performance of Endgame. Forgive the italics - it's the best I can do for a national treasure.

From the interview - Elaine Stritch, on Beckett's intelligence:
Beckett must have been some sort of a fucking genius. I think he was one hell of a smart son of a bitch. I'm just getting this off my chest.
Finals this week! Back to posting next week.