Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gambling, Marriage, and Great Theatre

A new year and already the same old news: governments giveth, and they taketh away. To wit:

BC Premier Christy Clark announced this week that her provincial Liberals were reversing a decision of her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, and re-instituting gaming grants eligibility for arts groups, sports organizations, and the environmental sector, as well as permanently extending her previous one-time boost in available monies from $120 million to $135 million per year. But that's still well below 2009 levels, which is what an independent review of the gaming grants program called for by Clark herself recommended returning to. And such announcements notwithstanding, Clark can't outrun Campbell's long shadow, not least in the inevitable delays in reversing the HST based on last year's referendum results, and which will almost certainly follow her into the next provincial election. Perhaps that's why she's looking so grim these days.

Then came front-page headlines from the federal Conservatives that cast doubt on the legal validity of same-sex marriages of foreign nationals performed in Canada. While Prime Minister Harper quickly dismissed any notion that the stunning announcement from his Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, was a covert way of re-opening the same-sex marriage debate in this country, there was a lot of nervous chatter on various news wires and Twitter feeds until Nicholson clarified that the government would act quickly to amend legislation to guarantee the legality of said marriages--as well as to provide easy mechanisms for their dissolution (which is what prompted the whole tempest in the first place). One such tweet came from sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who married his partner Terry Miller in Vancouver in 2005, and who quipped that he woke up to discover he had been divorced overnight.

Speaking of Dan Savage (and sustainable arts funding), he's part of a group of Seattle-based cultural figures who have come together in a recent YouTube appeal by the Intiman Theatre in support of their goal to raise $1 million towards their reinvention as a sustainable live theatre company after their financial collapse and canceling of their 2011 season. If they are successful (they've raised just shy of half so far, but have only three weeks more to raise the rest), that reinvention will be launched this summer with a four-play festival performed by a repertory of 12 actors, and featuring a new work written and directed by Savage himself (who began his career as a theatre artist). Richard and I have seen many very fine productions at the Intiman over the years, and it would be a tragic loss to Seattle, and west coast theatre more generally, to see this institution disappear. That's why we've pledged money, and that's why I urge those of you who can to do the same. They are not asking for the money up front, just commitments to give. If they reach their goal, they will be in contact to collect the money; if not, well, let's not even go there. Here's the link to give. And here's the YouTube video describing the appeal:

Finally, speaking of great theatre and performance in our own backyard: only two more sleeps to the start of the PuSh Festival! We launch at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre (and we'll be thinking of you, Milton--RIP) this Tuesday with Amarillo, from Mexico. Join us there if you can, or afterwards at our opening gala party at the Waldorf Hotel. Tickets for both events and a host of other great shows are available at And, as I've already shamelessly solicited your dollars on behalf of a rival arts organization, I would be remiss (especially as the Board's Fundraising Chair!) if I didn't also make an appeal for donations on behalf of PuSh. You can give online when you buy your tickets, or by taking away a pledge card at any of the performances over the next two weeks.

Thanks in advance for your support and hope to see you at a show. I will, as per past practice, try to blog about all the productions I see on this site.


No comments: