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« Dear God, tell tboy it's not true! | Main | Sometimes, when you're down and out ... »

Tuesday, 26 July 2005



Not a clue. How about some hints, oblique references and fake names so we can half way understand what your source told you without burning the source? I mean, snaps for being all Judith Miller and everything, but toss us a bone here.

George Spelvin

Hmm, it could be timidity or disloyalty, I suppose. Or it could be impatience with disorganized and distracted artists who rely on their collaborators to pull shows together, to the extent of leaving town during tech week. It could be disappointment with ill-considered production concepts that only sort-of-kind-of make any sense. Or weariness of presenting another NY area Italian-American setting of Shakespeare, which, come to think of it, had become pretty timid as production concepts go.

Or maybe they just didn't like what he pitched for this season.

Jay Hardee

I think Joe is an amazingly talented director, as well as a great guy. I don't think he deserves to be put through the Tboy rumor mill for cowardly Spelvins to attack. I hear people talk about how supportive the DC theatre community is of one another. Clearly, anyone who thinks that way is blissfully unaware of Tboy's friendly forum, rampant with George Spelvins who take such joy in the misforutnes of their fellow artists.

George Spelvin

So Jay, what's your opinion of those unnamed sources attacking the amazingly talented, great people at the Folger? Do they deserve to be put through the rumor mill?

I'm not a "fellow artist" but I was once a board member of a theater company in town that's been dark for a while now, so my sympathies perhaps lie elsewhere than yours, Jay. As for being supportive, well, if the subject is why the Folger has not hired a particular director this season, maybe said director (and those who have expressed opinions about the theater's disloyalty and timidity to Theaterboy) might best be supported by some tough love. No joy taken here, though, just impatience with some who confuse loyalty with sentiment.


I grant you that sometimes I'll introduce a topic as I introduced this one -- coyly, or in a tone that might be taken as an invitation to pettiness. It's meant to be entertaining, but maybe it's a bad instinct.

'Cause I do think sometimes y'all get a little rough on each other. Without wishing to suggest that we should all just get along, may I suggest that we imagine ourselves to be at a bar somewhere, post-show?

That is, that we're together in a room where the company and the cocktails and the energy of a good performance make for lively, uninhibited conversation--but where anonymity doesn't give us license to say things that would get us smacked in the mouth?

In short: Be anonymous if you want. But don't be anonymous and vile at the same time. Tboy's given up on the anonymity, you'll notice--it was too much work--and of course he hopes he was never vile...

Jay Hardee

Trust me, there's nothing entertaining about ending up the topic of conversation on this gossip rag. Thankfuly for Tboy, as a critic (whom I greatly respect) and rumor pimp (whom I don't), he'll never have to find himself the subject of such scrutiny. So yes, it would be nice if Tboy would think before he posts rather than relying on his impish instincts. Also when Tboy interviews people, he shouldn't assume they know it's for publication on his website and not CityPaper. I had never seen this website before he interviewed me for the Bob Anthony piece, and naively it didn't occur to me that my comments would ever become gossip column fodder. Whatever, I can take it when cowards hiding behind screen names attack me. It pisses me off, but I can take it. It sickens me even more when I see these venemous cowards sink their fangs into people I care about. So Tboy, take it from me, if your site is entertaining, it's entertaining in a way Caligua would really appreciate.

Jay Hardee

I left the 2nd 'l' out of 'Caligula.' That's my point about this site. I feel if I don't point out my typo first, the Spelvins will have a field day.


Wow, Jay--stick the knife in and twist it a little more--Tboy seems a bit sheepish about this whole Joe Banno posting. Meow.

Also, as the PR person of a theatre company, it shouldn't matter where your quotes are published, should it? I mean, isn't it your job to be the mouthpiece of the company, no matter whose ears (or eyes) are privvy?

I also disagree with you that this is a "gossip column." Granted, you didn't start the subject--that was all Bob Anthony's doing--but the whole purpose of a blog is to give it's readers a chance to comment on the opinion of the poster. In my opinion, you came out smelling a lot more rosier than Mr. Anthony--AND you still get to see the show on press night!

And I wasn't one of the "venomous cowards," but I still remain anonymous. To be frank, I kinda like it, plus I don't want to show up at an audition or show and have someone start up with me about how I feel Bob Anthony shouldn't be turned away by...well, you get the idea...

Keep on bloggin', Jay--this whole deal is yesterday's news. I suggest if you don't want to participate in what you deem gossip, start up something else! It's clear this bunch has opinions on everything...


Not sheepish in the slightest, actually.

Let's start with Jay: Yep, he's the mouthpiece, and he should expect to see his comments repeated. Possibly I should've said specifically that the Bob Anthony thing was for Theaterboy, but Jay certainly knew the conversation was on the record; we were explicit about that. And really, would he rather have seen that item in the City Paper, which prints what, 100,000 copies?

(Speaking of which: The Bob Anthony item itself is something I'd be comfortable seeing over my byline, in print. Mildly snarky it may have been, but it was even-handedly so. Which makes it in keeping with much of what appears in CP.)

Moving on to this item: Still not sheepish.

What, you people think I have bugs planted around town? I listen to all of y'all bitching! The "rumor mill" was busy with the Banno-Folger business loooooong before I brought it up. In fact, the specificity of "George Spelvin's" response demonstrates as much.

Granted, the subject may not have been broached on the Internet, where anonymice can fan the flames without risking burns -- but the fact that they do so, and in such confrontational fashion, says more about them than it does about Tboy.

And finally: As for my not having tasted the tender mercies of same, I invite you to explore the archive.


No, NonTrad - if Jay gave an interview for the CP, and some of his comments ended up here, that's a betrayal in that his words didn't end up where he intended them to ... to spin it as a PR ploy, well ... you should work in the White House.

As for "the bar after a show", T-Boy: for Heaven's sake ... we'd be droppin' vitriol boilermakers(Spinster: I love that word and now try and use it at least twice daily) after our martini's and spewin' fire on each other just as bad as we do here, should these topics come up (juding from the few HH afterparties and other shin-digs I've been to).


Edward: No doubt some people might be just as critical. But they wouldn't be anonymous. So maybe they wouldn't be quite so nasty.


I dunno' ... I think it depends on the group. We tend to hang out with the people we like and with whom we get along.

This blog, in a bar setting, wouldn't necessarily be a gathering of friends -- so I think it'd be just as interesting.

Plus, there'd be drunken "hook-ups" to gossip about.


Face it folks, we are all a bunch of back stabbing liars who hate one another. People talk about how supportive this community is because compared to LA and NYC, we are amateurs when it comes to destroying one another.

The fact is that I would say these things to the people at a bar if they were in the business. Would I say it to a donor or a board member no way.

I would love to think that everyone in this town was in my corner and wishing me success, but come on there is only so much success to go around, if it isn't my success it is someone elses.

I like Joe B a great deal and want him to work as much as possible, but when something happens in this town to someone most of us know, it leads to conjecture. These same crackpot theories are flying around bars and dressing rooms from Downtown to Bethesda. The difference is here we pool our venom and see what we can actually learn.

For my part I really learn very little. Has all this to-do about WSC and Bob Anthony changed my opinion about either institution? Nope. I merely got to comment on one of the hypocricy I noted about a theater company that I have otherwise enjoyed. One day it may be my turn and I will be hurt and offended and flame the hell out of all of you and your children. So flame them all Jay. Flame them all.

Jay Hardee

Tboy: I could have decided to wait and give a written response to Bob Anthony if I had known the format of the debate. Instead, you printed Bob's posting and you filtered my response. I was outside walking my dog when you called, and I said I wasn't feeling articulate and asked you not to quote me. I agree I eventually consented to being quoted and that you did not misquote me. But I would not have agreed to being quoted if I had known I could post my response to Bob Anthony myself. that is why I think you owe it to people you interview to fully disclose where their words are going to end up.

George Spelvin

And I reiterate-- what about the "venomous cowards" spreading rumors about the Folger administration? Is it only cowardly when it's about a great guy?


Oh, I don't know, I actually appreciate everyone's cattiness. ;) After all, it often takes the spotlight away from my own knee-jerk comments. Having strong opinions and mad typing skills mean I've certainly posted critical stuff and later questioned the wisdom in doing so. Once I almost asked TBoy to delete one of my comments that eventually earned me quite a tongue-lashing (heh heh), but then I figured that would be weak and so I let the comment stand and in the process learned something about humility. We should stand by our opinions but perhaps think how we wish to present them. The rule of thumb to never write about anyone in such a way that you wouldn't speak to them is great.

Obviously, we all wouldn't have such strong words if we didn't care so very deeply about theatre. Perhaps someday our opinions and manners won't be at such loggerheads and we'll have regular, civilized, productive, face-to-face interaction on these topics. I think the fact that we're stumbling through these discussions rather clumsily is actually a good sign. I wish more of the lurkers posted instead of just sitting by watching us loquacious ones make a train wreck of every post.

There have been times when I knew my opinions were strong and I was tempted to post anonymously, but then, do we really have to fear retribution from each other if we offer up dissenting opinions in reasonably mature language? This business is rewarding but incredibly frustrating and filled with talented, sensitive, and often angry, paranoid people. We need healthier dialogue. Or group therapy.

I appreciate it when TBoy gently takes us to task for our lack of manners. He manages to do so without the least hint of righteousness.

Edward: "we'd be droppin' vitriol boilermakers (Spinster: I love that word and now try and use it at least twice daily)." Yeah, I love me the words. I was roundly mocked yesterday for using the word "recalcitrant" to describe the kidlets at summer drama camp. :) BTW, thanks for giving me credit for "vitriol," Edward. Let's ask TBoy from whence came "Drama Prom." ;)


George: Anonymous sources aren't quite the same thing as anonymous blogposters. I know who the sources are; you know who I am. You have to decide whether you think I'd post just anything, or whether I might have sniffed around a bit and heard the same thing from more than one person.

That said: It ain't a news story, so no, I haven't reported it out.


Spinster: Drama Prom is a deliciously flippant term, and this last instance was fer shur inspired by your recent e-mail. But actually, I think I heard it initially from Dr. Hottie, who's a recovering theater type, y'know. (And I think he heard it from his ex, who's still a professional addict...)

Though it's always possible that, Rove-like, he heard it from me reading something you'd written, which would mean that *you're* Judith Miller.

And now that we've again invoked the Mistress of WMD and closed the loop on this post, I say enuf... I've got actual work to do.


No! No real work!!

TBoy should host a Drama Prom and bring his post-show-bar-madness to life!

Turn it into a food fight -- $5 buys you a bunch of tomatoes that you can hurl at your fellow party-goer of choice.

The money raised can go to ... I dunno' ... fund WSC's impending move ... re-open Source to employ Banno once more ... subsidize B. Anthony's column ... fill the forthcoming Fringe festival's coffers ...

the vitriolic possibilities are limitless ... but good is possible.


oh no you dihun't just compare me to judith miller. ;)

i gots da words, yo.


I tend to be one the lurkers that Lucky Spinster commented on.

But here goes.

I have great levels of respect for both Banno and the good people at Folger. I actually don't think there is some dark, underlying conspiracy behind any hiring practices. I think that an artistic director (and in this case, a producing director, which is a somewhat unique situation) makes the decisions that they feel are right for that company, at that time. No one is a mind reader here. They have three slots to fill, that's it. Only they know why and how they have chosen to fill them.

Perhaps an interesting discussion to throw out there is to those artistic directors in town -- what it is they look for when hiring freelance directors. And if there does seem to be a trend towards hiring directors in from out of town (at the mid-to-larger size theaters at least) why is that? What is it that DC directors have been unable to prove?

I know, actors often have the same complaint. But I rarely hear the director issue discussed.

I have no comment on the whole Bob Anthony debacle, but I wish I would win the lottery too.

And to Lucky Spinster (and I so know that this is not the place for a message like this) I have been meaning to tell you but I forget when I see you -- you can buy Vernors soda at Roland's market on Penn Ave. on Capitol Hill. Regular AND diet. Six packs only.

Bubbly ginger goodness.


See, this is why lurkers should comment more--sane, reasoned observations and questions AND tips on where to find Vernor's Ginger Soda. Thanks, City Mouse!

George Spelvin

Many good point have been made, and I will respect T'boy's closing of the loop and move on.

After one comment on anonymity. I have no idea who most of the posters here are, despite their apparent familiarity with each other. "George Spelvin" is hardly inspired as a pseudonym but it's pretty upfront about being fictional. And many showfolk in town, including the principals in this thread's topic, would be able to figure out who I am from the tidbit of info I gave and my email address. That email address is real, unlike many used here by frequent posters, and I might well have "unveiled" had someone who found my comments cowardly not seen fit to send me several rants over the weekend.

That, alone, seems to justify a degree of anonymity, and so I will passive-aggressively maintain the mask, in part to drive him crazy and in part because he may BE a bit crazy.

As for last thoughts on the thread, sas said it far better and more kindly than I and I defer to him or her.

John MacDonald

My answer to you query, in re:director selection, is relatively simple in the case of the Stage Guild. When a small organization with limited resources hires a director it puts the institutional life of the organization in that person's hands.

In our case, we have never hired a director who had not previously worked with us as an actor. "Working and playing well with others" is almost as important a requisite as talent. In fact, in our mission statement
there is reference to our desire to "work in a congenial and supportive atmosphere."

All of the founding members agreed at the outset that the concept of collegiality and supportiveness was more likely to result in a good product than was devolving into diva land.

On some level, at least, it seems to have worked. With two exceptions, one who re-located and one who left after the first season but remains a good friend, the founding members of the company are still together, along with later additions, and are about to begin our twentieth season.

John MacDonald


May I respectfully ask if we aren't being a bit too hard on poor Peter Marks? I'm not a professional and have never been on stage so perhaps I'm a bit out of my depth, but I have worked on a newspaper before. I've disagreed with him (most of the time) and shaken my head at his sheer stupidity (not even mentioning Charter Theater in a feature piece on the "lack" of original drama in DC) but don't most writers do what their editors tell them to do? I mean, how much freedom does this guy actually have? The Post obviously wanted some kind of artistic gravitas when they hired the man and they've gone on record as expressing the desire to be viewed as a "National" newspaper, so there's clearly an agenda here. I would posit the notion that Marks does what he's told to do, and that his frequent trips to New York and the pieces that result (which I *never* read -- there's simply too much good theater in this town to waste time elsewhere) are simply the poor lad following orders. Don't know if I'm right, just wanted to throw another opinion into the discussion.

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