We’re all at the end of our rope. I had to intervene when a prof started bullying a woman student in the cafeteria. He told me to mind my business. I told him that bothering someone before my very eyes was my business. He ended up apologizing to everyone involved. That’s the nice thing about being a middle-aged madame now. People take a second look at my burgeoning wrinkles and stop assuming things—that they can indulge in unacceptable behavior, for one. I wish I could get all women to this place with the wave of a wand. My favorite saying: “A wise woman once said, Fuck this shit, and she lived happily ever after.” Punk rock forever.
Anyway, for this month, this blog isn’t supposed to be about me, but about my brand. But that’s the beauty of it: my mission is my brand, and my mission is to help and encourage women and artists and their advocates. And so, back to the thesis. Everyone wants a more just and inclusive world. You’d think that’s easily done in the arts. After 3 months in Montreal buried in books and furiously tapping papers out on my laptop, I made an art date. In one day, I saw the Kent Monkman exhibit at the McCord, I met the director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and I encountered Brendan Fernandes’s art, which combines ballet with contemporary African art. Does it get any more relevant to equitable representation in dance?
I’d love to talk to you about the quality of each experience. But that’s not what I’m supposed to do, which melts my mind. I have to talk to you about the messages and promotions that lead me to these events. I get it. The Promotions class isn’t about the beauty or importance of the art, but about how we make people aware of its existence. So I asked my aunt, how did she hear of the Kent Monkman exhibit? It somehow sneaked through her filters. We have strong filters, which means that we take in just 7 to 12 messages a day, out of 1200! What percolated through your filters this week? What about it struck you?
Remember The Artist’s Way? Yeah, I know, I haven’t written my pages in two decades either. I didn’t mean to stir that up. But make an art date sometime this year. [Gratuitous plug:] Get down to the Quartier des Spectacles for the light show or a lecture about art and urban renewal.
I’m going to rope you into my coursework. For a limited time only. It’s part of my social media class, wherein I learn to use Instagram. Do you use Instagram? Who has time, right? My mission: to step fully into arts advocacy. In class, they call it “influencer.” Whatever. I’m not here to influence you. You’ve taught me that culture is vital to our ecosystem, and that it’s high time all people were represented in the images we see, the voices we hear. Helen, Theresa, Angie, Kaara, taught me this, and Richard, Fred, Tom, Dino, Mary, and ... New York, Chicago, and Montreal taught me this. Punk, Hip Hop, and World Music taught me this.
I’m taking this to the streets. And I’m taking the streets online. I guess there’s a way for me to post images on this blog, but instead, I’ll send you to my Facebook or Instagram accounts, OK? Bear with me, thank you. My grade depends on it. And perhaps getting a job.
My thesis also depends on it. I am looking at dance companies’ practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ballet companies in the US are starting to break the ranks of willowy, ghostly pale people with willowy people of varied ethnicity. Will this be a sea-change, or is it a short-lived trend? What are ballet companies’ motives? Is this having an impact on their revenues? Is the overall ballet industry becoming more diverse as a consequence?
You are my influencers. Below, let me know when an arts event blows your mind. And post for me any information you have!