While 2010 brought several top-notch events, performances and exhibits to Houston (including Audi Fashion Houston, the 2nd Annual Cinema Arts Festival, Maurizio Cattelan at the Menil and Cai Guo-Quiang's Odyssey at the MFAH), there are a few practices we'd like some local arts organizations to resolve to quit, kind of like smoking.
A few suggestions:
The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Resolves to Stop Producing the Art Car Parade It's about time. The Orange Show always loses money producing the event, which just gets increasingly ridiculous in size (and relevance) every year. What was once an edgy, aggressive and inventive movement is now a rolling eyesore, a paradox of petrochemical consumption and corporate advertising wrapped up in the costume of "personal expression." The Orange Show utilizes virtually no filter when accepting submissions for the parade, so now it seems everyone and their dad (or school, business, non-profit) can make an "art car" and drive it in the event. Precious few young artists are even into making art cars these days, more concerned with low gas mileage than gluing a ton of shit to their cars. It needs to quietly sputter to a halt.
Houston Grand Opera Resolves to Stop Patronizing Audiences Mariachi opera? Yao Ming/basketball opera? If HGO really wanted to develop audiences, it would instigate a first-come-first-served, pay-what-you-can ticket policy on all loge, grand tier and balcony seats. Seriously, HGO, whose idea was it to broadcast performances in movie theaters? Did you fire that person yet?
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The Alley Theatre Resolves to Cast More Local Actors When we attend an Alley performance, and we can count on two hands the number of Houston actors that would've given a better performance than whichever NY/LA transplant the Alley flew in, we imagine the locals might feel slapped in the face. We wish the Alley would explain why it has this policy, since (in tight-budget times) it would seem our own local crop would cost the Alley a lot less. The Alley's current God of Carnage features an all-Seattle cast, and there's talk that its coming production of the Pulitzer-winning August: Osage County will be cast largely out of New York--apparently the only American city where Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd attends theater.