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Mixed martial arts at the Wang Theatre?

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 27, 2010 08:22 AM

Yes, the word “arts” is in the title. But is the May 6 “Bellator Fighting Championship” – a mixed martial arts event – the true purpose of the Wang Theatre? 

Absolutely, says Citi Performing Arts Center CEO Josiah Spaulding Jr. 

The center’s financial and other problems have been well documented. Spaulding points out that the martial arts event, which is a four-wall rental – meaning the Citi Center isn’t involved, other than to hand over its building for the night – can help keep the lights on.

“We have an obligation to rent the building at full rates to whoever wants to rent it,” he told me this week. “This rental, to promote the building to the fastest growing sport of a worldwide television audience, is a good thing.”

Spaulding points out that while the center’s 50 percent occupancy rate is the same as   last year’s, the shows being brought into the Wang are selling more tickets. But do the other shows scheduled for the Wang this year, including pop star Mariah Carey, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, and comedienne Chelsea Handler, line up with the center’s mission?

Spaulding said it is a misconception that the Citi Center, because of its non-profit status, is not supposed to feature commercial artists and events. With the exit of Boston Ballet last year, that means there’s an increasing emphasis on star-centered, one nighters.

He then referred me to the City Performing Arts Center’s mission statement.

Citi Performing Arts Center is dedicated to providing broad-based, popular entertainment and arts education programming.  As a non-profit institution, it is committed to KEEPING LIFE COLORFUL for New England residents and visitors by inspiring a greater appreciation for the performing arts through educational outreach, public programming, and community partnerships.

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(Globe Staff Photo / Stan Grossfeld)

Big RED & Shiny turns 6

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 24, 2010 02:54 PM

Boy, do they grow up fast. It seems like just yesterday that BR&S started posting art reviews, opinion pieces and interviews with the art-world movers that make our city so dynamic. But no, it's been six years. And Big RED needs your help. The online journal opens up into a donation site. We're not telling you where to spend your money. But we can tell you that keeping Big RED is good for me, and it's good for you.

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Newports at the MFA

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 19, 2010 08:59 AM

I've already received some borderline hate mail after today's story on the hanging of the Sully and the comments section of Boston.com is alive with people upset that A. I mentioned that one of the MFA facilities guys smokes Newports and that B. I ended the story with a quote from Joe Morgan.

"This article could not be more pretentious if it TRIED."

"Would the reporter have made a comment if a museum executive had a piece of food in his/her teeth? Of course not."

Well, first things first. If Malcolm Rogers came downstairs wiping the tunafish from the corners of his mouth, I bet that would have been in the story. Because it would have been interesting that a museum director ran downstairs so fast to make sure he caught the hanging. As for Bryan's Newports... My favorite stories, fiction or non-fiction, have detail in them. They also show contrast. And to me, the idea of Bryan's Newports and his 76ers hat being in the same gallery as these whispering curators...that's about the contrast and detail.

But hey, perhaps when I get into my 12-year-old car or try to change the washer on the bathtub faucet, I'm harboring a deep resentment of the working class.

Here are three pictures David Ryan took that didn't make it into the paper.

 

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Boston Pops season

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 19, 2010 07:40 AM
300h.jpgArlo Guthrie, Dave Brubeck, and Doc Severinsen. That's the season announced today. What about Pops on the Edge?

I'm not sure, but I'm going to ask management that question today. Perhaps they plan on releasing those dates later.

Monday morning gallery

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 16, 2010 07:02 AM
Twenty-five Mass Art faculty members are featured in "Selections 10," which runs at the school through March 13. Artists include Sharon Dunn, Ellen Shapiro, Soon-Mi Yoo and Marc Holland (below).

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Michael Rush returns...

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 14, 2010 08:02 AM

The last time Michael Rush curated a show, he was barely able to enjoy it. Just 11 days after a Hans Hoffman painting exhibit opened at the Rose Art Museum last January, Brandeis University administrators announced a stunning plan to close the campus museum and sell its $350 million collection of art.

That never happened. An international backlash - led by an outraged Rush, director of the museum - convinced the administration to put its controversial idea on hold. But Rush’s contract was not renewed, leaving him without a job.

A year later, Rush is clearly enjoying himself. Shaking hands and hugging old friends in the lobby of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, he welcomed more than 100 people last week to the opening of “Virtuoso Illusion: Cross-Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde.’’ He is the show’s guest curator.

Keeping reading...


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Michael Rush, former director of the Rose Art Museum, curated "Virtuoso Illusion: Cross-Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde." (Mary Schwalm for The Boston Globe)

Brandeis: "The school that wanted to close the Rose."

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 13, 2010 07:17 AM
Brandeis senior Joanna Schorr writes in the school newspaper about the Rose Art Museum controversy and how it has changed the way people respond to her outside Waltham.

"When I applied to Brandeis, this University was noted as one of the most up-and-coming universities in the United States," she writes. "I was hugely proud to be afforded the opportunity to graduate with a degree that would help me get into graduate school or give me a leg up while finding a job. Now when I tell people I go to Brandeis, their only response is, "Oh, the school that wanted to close the Rose Art Museum?"


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'A Christmas Carol' to play revived North Shore Music Theatre

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 12, 2010 05:02 PM

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Handout photo

Since opening in 1955, North Shore brought Broadway-style theater to the suburbs. It was once the largest theater in the region, with close to 350,000 people attending each year.

The ghosts of "A Christmas Carol" past are in the future of the revived North Shore Music Theatre.

The theater plans to bring back its longtime holiday production of “A Christmas Carol,” an audience favorite sliced out of the schedule just before the organization’s demise last year.

Theatergoers can also expect other productions to start as soon as this summer, according to William Hanney, the South Shore businessman who this week finalized his purchase of the shuttered theater for $3.6 million.

“I paid for it, so now the hard part starts,” Hanney said today.

Though he said it was too early to reveal which productions he will bring in for his first season, Hanney made it clear he was eager to see the adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic return with longtime artistic director Jon Kimbell, who retired in 2008.

Kimbell, who has been counseling Hanney for months, will direct the run.

"Jon’s been fantastic through this process,” said Hanney. “He has been my North Shore mentor. Anytime I have a problem or concern, I pick up the phone and call Jon. He was delighted to hear I was going to do it and he was all over it.”

Many Kimbell supporters blamed his successors for the 54-year-old theater’s demise, in part because they chose to replace “A Christmas Carol” with “Disney High School Musical 2.’’ In reality, the financial problems had deeper roots. The theater – which at its peak drew some 300,000 people a year, making it the largest regional theater in New England – had been saddled with years of deficits.

Its loss left a hole for locals who didn’t want to pay high prices and battle traffic to see polished, Broadway-styled productions in Boston.

Citizens Bank paid $3.6 million at a foreclosure auction last year. Hanney bought the property, which includes 28 acres, for the same amount. In addition to NSMT, he owns Theatre by the Sea in Rhode Island and a chain of cinemas.

Kimbell said he was encouraged by what he had heard during multiple discussions with Hanney.

“I think Bill is going to be a really savvy businessman,” said Kimbell. “He’s a smart guy. It’s his own money so he’s going to be careful with it. I don’t know where the budgeting is going but I know, from my conversations with him, that he wants high quality theater there.”

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com

Blogger Confession

Posted by Geoff Edgers February 12, 2010 12:14 PM

This morning, at one of our fine arts institutions, I ran into a loyal reader of "Exhibitionist," who looked at me sadly and said: "I've really missed the blog."

I was about to say, "yeah, the last time I posted was..." but he cut me off and finished the sentence: January 26.

Ouch.

Why so lax? Because I've simply been busy. I've always had to blog on off hours, either before I go to work or after work with the occasional post done at my desk. But in recent months, I've been busy with my movie - and the site I created for it - and haven't been able to focus on the blog on my off time. Which is really not such a great excuse.

So today, a pledge. I am going to post at least once a day for the next month, weekends included, and see where it gets us.

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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