Friday Link Fest!

Hello all… Wow, it’s a new year woo-hoo!  2010!!!  I…. still see no flying cars.

But, either way there has been oodles of artsy culturati news happening of yet and I’m compelled to write one of those “Lists” to help all you busy artists* but putting all the important stuff out there on one easy to understand forum

*by all I mean the one or two people who used to read this on occasion and another the more than likely millions of invisible people who will silently thank me for the witty repartee and for making their day a little easier

so here goes.


1. The National Arts Index: probably the most comprehensive and important set of data in the past 10 years… because it took that long to get all the data! From now on, Americans for the Arts will be putting out a YEARLY report, so keep an eye out later this year for the 2009 edition.

You should also check out all the commentary and such on ArtsBlog and the other art experts on the themes that the index showed including that the attendance at the major, mainstream organizations (museums, orchestras, etc.) and  is down, but personal creation is up.  So, more people busy DOING art, but not going out and OBSERVING it.

2. The Cultural Data Project:  powerful online management tool designed to strengthen arts and cultural organizations. The CDP was started in Pennsylvania in 2004 and has since been expanded to Maryland, California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Ohio.  By filling out the profile, organizations can then compare themselves in similar organizations in their own county, state and between states on several indicators; attendance, philanthropy, space specifics and so on. You can also use this data to find funding options from hundreds of donor organizations that also take a part in the project.  What is super about this part, is that the online form will actually fill out grant applications for you, using the data that you have entered.

There is, as always, another side of greatness with the Cultural Data project.  Because of the amount of data collected in Pennsylvania since it’s beginning, it proved a powerful advocacy tool during the 2010-11 fiscal year budget crisis here. Funding for the sector is once again on the block for “mid-year” budget talks with cuts to the administrative support for the Penn Council on the Arts by 24% and ZEROING out the $3.1 Cultural Preservation Assistance (funding the Heinz History Museum and 9 other Museums) that was just created.

3. YOUR CITY/STATE’S ARTS COALITION WEBSITE: I’m not going to link it, just find it and read it.  If you are an artist looking to expand your work (by getting into a gallery, buying one your own, starting a theatre or dance space, etc.), you should know the environment you want to work in.

4. NEED A WEBSITE? Sure! Everyone needs a website these days.  Remember to look at what you are doing, maybe you don’t NEED your own website to sell yourself! Start small… do you make beautiful crafty things?  Join Etsy, or Art-Fire! Build up your Facebook/Myspace/Linked in presence!  These are all FREE ways to market yourself and make sure people know where to find you! Need a good art-based website that won’t blow your wallet?  Check out Heavy Bubble, these are fantastic chicks who know exactly what an artist needs

and finally 5. INSPIRATION!  oh sure I could give you a bunch of links that are inspirations with OMGPWNIES and what not, but I’m going to refrain.  And just point you to some of my favorite sites that I like to look at:

The Big Picture… consistently awe-inspiring photography

Made in England… by Gentlemen, tales of a seriously talented graphic designer and his fabulously creative fiancé, Monster Munch

SmittenKitchen… artists gotta eat, and she has some amazing ideas, most are simply to do and are oh-so delicious!

Dr. Sketchy… odds are, there’s one in your city and if you are any kind of visual artist, you should go.  How can you pass up the opportunity to draw burlesque stars, domanatrixes, sideshow people and other ne’er-do-well, fringes of society all with the background of amazing music and usually a little imbibing on the side?


State of the Union

If anyone is still even following this blog, you’ll know I’ve been gone for a while.  Believe me, its not becasue I wanted to be away… it’s only becasue I had to focus on my “real job”.

So what is bringing me back into blogging world now?  This. I read that article this morning and it brought tears to my eyes.  There are still so many people suffering this economy we’ve found ourselves in.  I am thankful to have a job, even though it is not my dream job of starting The Z is Silent.  I do have to focus to keep it, however. I am working very hard to even help keep the company I work for going, and its costing me the extra time and energy I was using to research and develop The Z is Silent.

I know, that if there was any time that the world needed more art and culture, it would be now.  I wish more than anything I could focus all my time on getting this project, which is my heart and my goal, into existence.  The state of the economy and the state of arts and cultural funding in the state of Pennsylvania is what is holding me back, pushing my plans to the corner of my desk while I buckle down to the work at hand.

I hope you will stay with me.  I am overjoyed at the amount of readers that would come here to read about my project.  I know soon, I will be able to restart where I left off and do what I do best, provide the best space to showcase Philadelphia’s cultural community. I hope some of you will comment, email or contact any of us if you wish.

The Z is NOT dead, or even dormant.  The plan is there, the ideas are coming strong.  We just have to wait until the time is right to implement.


PS: don’t forget to continue to support arts and cultural funding here in PA, and Philadelphia!


nom, nom, nom

nom, nom, nom

What is going on with zombies lately?  It seems everywhere we go, zombies are on the collective brain (pun, VERY MUCH intended) of our fellow Philadelphians, and other places across the globe. A few examples:

-the well reviewed and current reading project of one of our staffers, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from the fine folks over at Quirk Books, right here in Philly.

-the popularity of video games such as Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3 and zombie killing games in general,

-The wonderful, flesh eating creators of the Philly Zombie Crawl putting on a  summer Zombie Beach Party (which was last weekend).

-several of my blogging cohorts have mentioned “zombie apocalypse training” including one of my favorite crafty women from across the pond, Nicky

Now, don’t get us wrong, we’ve got nothing against our undead brethern; “Shaun of the Dead”  is one of our favorite movies of all time!  And, zombie starts with the coveted “Z”!

And, now… the zombie plague has hit the stage!  From the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia:

Plays & Players’ Zombie! The Musical
By Johanna Dunphy, Shoshanna Hill, Joseph Nevin,
Ken Sandberg & Owen Timoney

Winner of the
Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work


Now, don’t worry your sweet, tasty brains… P&P’ers will be presenting this fine work during the Fringe Festival as well! See their schedule, and don’t forget to tell them The Z sent you

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter !

buzz buzz

Thanks to all the friends and fans who have told all their Twitter/Facebook/other social media buddies about our little project.  I’m happy to say we had the biggest viewership to date the other day! wOOt!

So… we are going to take a leap here…

If any of our fine viewers out there have experience researching GRANT OPPORTUNITIES for us to get our little project a few steps forward, please contact us!  We want to get this party started and we NEED your help!!! We cannot offer any steady pay… yet… but we can offer you some commission on whatever you get in, and a future gig working for us when everything gets up and running!

In other news, if anyone is attending Dr. Sketchy Philly tonight at Fleisher Art Memorial, be sure to visit our Production Manager’s alter ego Cocktail Onion holding down the bar!

join the circus!

join the circus!


…on PA FY10 state budget (SB 850)

From the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance:

In May, the Senate introduced their version of the FY10 state budget (SB 850), which zeroed out all funding for arts and cultural agencies in Pennsylvania that support nonprofit organizations across the state. The budget also slashed funding for many other state agencies and programs, and does not rely on the state’s “rainy day” funding. On May 6, SB 850 was passed along party lines.

The House Appropriations Committee examined SB 850 and thanks to considerable backlash from advocates and constituents, failed to move out of committee. It is now up to Governor Ed Rendell to introduce a new budget for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to consider.

Given the current climate of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to keep our arts well funded, marketed and attended.  It has been said that after World War II, the first thing Europe started to rebuild were theatres, as it brought a wide variety of people back to work in a relatively short amount of time.   If any arena has the means to create wide social change, it is the arts and cultural one.  In no other sector of business is almost everyone accepted, their ideas pursued and valued than in the arts.  Whether gay or straight, African-American, Anglo-Saxon, or Hispanic, the arts and culture of a society is often touted as that which defines it. Music, performing and visual arts are the means in which a culture’s people express themselves in a way mere language often cannot.  One can look a famous Cézanne painting without knowing French and be able to appreciate the colors and shapes, or listen to an opera and be just as carried away into its world without knowing a word of Italian.  This is art’s most powerful tool; its ability to cross gender, social and racial lines to reach everyone no matter their age, income or background.


Why do this?

Some people (parents) ask us why we are pursuing this project despite the economic climate, despite all the heartaches, blood, sweat and tears that it will likely take to get this project off the ground and actually running AND despite all of those things PLUS the bookoos of cash it will take to KEEP it running…

“Why bother when you can just get a cushy office job?”

image links to Wikipedia article!

Honestly… it’s because we have to.

Because we can’t NOT do it.

And because we were in awe of The Muppet Show growing up.  Seriously.

These…ahem… people put on a show EVERY.WEEK. They had to deal with critics (Statler and Waldorf), crazy diva actors/actresses (Miss Piggy. The rest of the pigs were kind of hoity-toity too, if you ever noticed) and crazy… well… monsters.

But, Kermit and Scooter managed to pull it off, time and time again. AND managed to get huge stars to come out and perform with them, despite the almost fact that they might get eaten, slimed or crushed at any moment while doing the show.

Though we were mighty wee when the show was originally on, the syndicated episodes were among our favorite shows (along with (almost) EVERY CARTOON EVER MADE!) growing up. It still makes us want to open a theater space where we might get to do shows like “Pigs in Space”.  Because we HAVE to.  And because we know YOU’D really want to see that.

As always, contact us with any comments or if you want to join up with our rag-tag bunch of muppet-loving, theatre-geeks!

The Royal Theatre in Philadelphia


The Royal Theatre Mural

The Royal Theatre Mural

We recently received an email from our friends over at Hidden City about two performances happening at the Royal Theatre on South Street in Philadelphia.
June 10 @ 8pm- Saxophone performance by Jemeel Moondoc
June 11 @8pm – Saxophone performance by Marshall Allen
Both evenings feature a film by Anri Sala and film/video installation by Laurie Olinder & Bill Morrison, as well as an original Todd Reynolds composition performed by musicans from Network for New Music.  Tickets are $20 and available here.
The Royal Theatre, once a beautiful space brimming with life and performance is now a utter mess.  This beautiful building was a beacon for the city’s African American arts  and culture from 1920 when it opened its doors throught the 1960’s.  It was forced to close its doors in 1970 due to the threat of an expressway being built in the neighborhood– which never happened.
The theatre has been purchased and we as well as a lot of the arts and culture community in Philadelphia are hoping for its re-opening.  Until then, we will be at this performance to hear some amazing jazz and get a peek at the inside of this space.  If you are going, look for our Production Manager, Beth (she has short, curly hair) and introduce yourself!