Monday, December 22, 2008

"Hip" No More

Posted by Bruce Miller
I’ve taken down the meanderings I posted on Dec 19 called Addressing My Dislocated “Hip.” My intentions when I wrote that misguided effort were:
• to publicize and congratulate Bianca Bryan, the wonderful actress who played Mathilde in The Clean House and recently snagged a performing gig on Letterman, and
• to poke fun at my innate lack of “hip-ness” (David Letterman being a hipster extraordinaire).

I should have stopped there. Instead, I went on to mention how some folks never come to Barksdale because they perceive we’re not as “hip” as they want us to be. I listed Barksdale shows that I thought were “hip.” I used Bianca’s uber-hip gig on Letterman to prompt this exclamation: “So take that, you hipsters!”

I should have kept my mouth shut. I intended it all to be in good clean fun. I’ve since learned that quite a few of you thought I was being serious, mean-spirited and/or critical of other theatres in Greater Richmond.

In the comments to the post—it brought in more comments than any article in months, over 20 all told—my good friends Frank Creasy and Grant Mudge advised me that a director from Richmond Shakespeare, James Bond, also had recently been on Letterman. I thought this was great to hear—a fun news item of which I had not been previously aware. I clicked Grant’s link to Mr. Bond’s appearance and had a grand old time watching James read the Top Ten.

However, in the comment I left in response to the Creasy and Mudge comments, I replied not by saying I enjoyed the James Bond video, but by saying: “Curse you Creasy and Mudge!! Out-hipped again!!!”

I’m 100% sure without even talking with them that Frank and Grant took no offense. We’re friends; they knew, I’m sure, that I was joking around. But I know now that some of you thought I was intending to disrespect them. I wasn't.

Then Angie Shipley and I exchanged a few blog comments (good-naturedly, I thought) about what is “hip” and what isn’t. I like Angie. I never thought she was “attacking” me, and I hope she didn’t think I was “attacking” her—but some of you thought both of us were going for each others' jugulars.

I should know by now—emails and blog posts scream sarcasm and evil intent to some people, even when none of that is what the authors had in mind.

To do my little bit for peace on earth (and dispel rumors of unrest), I simply took the whole thing down. I know no one intended to offend anyone. It seems odd to me that it came off that way. But if it did, it did.

Thank you, Michael Vandergrift, for your nice comment that wisely said "Forget about it," and offered a good deal more supportive and useful advice.

To those who had fun with the post, I'm glad. To those who didn't, I'm sorry. I wish each of you, gentle readers, the Happy Holidays of your choice.

And again, congrats to Bianca for landing the gig on Letterman.

--Bruce Miller


Angelika HausFrauSki said...

I did not mean harm. I am, by nature, an honest and forward person, even when my opinion differs, but I do not operate under the principles of sarcasm, nor did I ever suspect that you did.

I am sad that you felt the need to remove the post. I was enjoying the conversation. :)

Frank Creasy said...

I'm pretty sure old Will Shakespeare would call all this "Much Ado About Nothing"!

This weekend, at separate holiday parties including many, many theatre friends from far and wide (for example, Justin Dray popped in from LA to celebrate), Grant and Bruce and I all laughed about this silly little thing. Truth is, we're all very glad to see talented folks who've been involved in Richmond productions get national recognition. It really confirms the depth and breadth of talent in this little Virginia capital of ours. And while none of us took any of this seriously (certainly, none of us consider ourselves trend-setters), I'm a little surprised to see some took umbrage! Surely, if we wanted to stab someone in the back, we'd have the decency to do it in private!

Okay, okay, I kid here, just in case anyone had doubts! Truth is, it's hard to turn around in Richmond theatre without bumping into a friend or acquaintance or at least an "I've seen that guy around, what IS his name?" Now, as Hanukkah begins and Christmas is about to dawn, we've had the chance recently for fellowship and fun and a chance to count our blessings. One of many blessing I'm thankful for is people who take their art seriously without taking THEMSELVES too seriously - and also for wonderfully supportive theatre patrons who make our jobs possible.

God Bless us, every one. See you at the theatre in 2009!

Dave T said...

Darn -- I'm disappointed that I missed out on the conversation! But I know from my little blog experience that things like tone, irony, and sarcasm don't always translate as well as we think. I am very grateful to be able to have frank exchanges with a number of theater folks about issues within and without the community and I always assume that everyone's intent to make theater stronger in town, grow the audience, and increase everyone's enjoyment of the experience. That's certainly what I've assumed about you, Bruce, someone who I believe has been one of the biggest, warm-hearted and inclusive supporters of Richmond theater of all time.

Happy Holidays to you, your family and all Richmond theater-lovers!