The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.—
John Kenneth Galbraith
Windows 8.1 - Day Two
I’m on day 2 of my new Windows 8.1 experience. I’m getting more and more used to it but still find myself exclaiming “This is so weird!” every so often.
I love the boot up/down time. I’m so glad I got a touch screen laptop because touch really is integrated into everything in a (mostly) pretty awesome way.
I ended yesterday thinking that there was no way that I could ever see my mom (or others similarly tech-impaired) on 8.1. Now that I’ve spent today diving a little more into the settings, I am starting to see the ways that most everything could be disabled, making it usable.
I still cringe at the thought of trying to have a conversation with my mother in which I try and explain the difference between the programs on her computer and the apps on her computer.
On home, perspective, and the greenness of grass
I feel ungrateful saying this, but here’s the truth: I’m in an amazing city that I’ve always wanted to live in and am spending this holiday weekend at an awesome music & comedy festival that is taking place one block from my house. But every time I see pictures of people’s trips to the Alaska State Fair, I get a little sad.
I’m so happy to be where I am. But to the degree that Alaska can still be called “home” now that my family has moved away and only a handful of friends remain, the fair will always be a pure representation of the place that I come from.
My first memory of the fair is the summer of 1992 and in the two decades (!) since, I’ve visited it upwards of 75 times. (With the single summer record being 10 times.) I’ve gone to the fair with family, friends, boys, and a few strangers. I’ve gone on rides, seen baby pigs, and eaten a multitude of cookies made by hula hooping girls. One year I (along with my entire youth group) found Jesus at the fair. Another year my brother and I walked the aisles with our mother and plastic-wrapped bloody legs fresh from getting our first tattoos. Every year I run into someone I never thought I’d see again.
I love the fair for the memories I’ve made there. I love the fair because it’s reliable. A booth may change here or there but, in general, you know from the moment you park exactly what your day is about to be. It’s like a warm, familiar, delicious-smelling blanket where many of my adolescent and young adulthood memories were born. And I really miss it some days.
Someone on my Fb page just posed a question about Out North and why people think that programs there were not well-attended. I spent 20 minutes writing this long response but then the original post was removed before I could reply. I’m posting it here because the process of writing it made me feel a lot of feelings.
A few prefaces to what is written below:
- I haven’t lived in Anchorage since 2011 and, therefore, can’t speak to the accuracy of the original post’s premise that Out North productions have been recently under-attended. I just know they have been in the past.
- I know absolutely nothing about the current situation and, therefore, cannot speak to it specifically, only hypothesize broadly.
I found Out North to be incredibly supportive. They are a primary reason that the Alaska Film Forum has seen any success. Their queer prom and support for Stellar High School theatre productions proved that they could make a contribution to patrons of all ages. They provided a home for Anchorage International Film Festival screenings, sewing club meetings, and community fundraisers alike. Despite all this, productions were under-attended, as you indicate.
I think one major factor was parking. It seems silly, but I don’t know how many times I heard people express interest in a show then quickly follow it up with “but I don’t want to deal with parking.”
Additionally, I think they were in a really difficult position with the size of the organization and the challenge of balancing “money-making” productions with the boundary-pushing art pieces that don’t really have another place to go. (Which is a balance every arts organization has to strike in order to stay afloat.) They’re one of the only ~120 seat theatres in town (that aren’t part of a University). The real money makers went to bigger theatres. But the smaller art-y shows didn’t have many other places to go. So Out North filled their schedule with these types of productions, rarely saying no to anyone. And not enough people filled the seats to keep the water from rising (as it were).
I think that anyone who has ever worked there would, in answering your question, talk about the historical baggage of any arts organization that has been around for several decades. It’s the nature of the beast. Some people or groups have been burned by past leadership or situations and never come back. Some people have their mind made up of the “type of programming” that occurs there and never think to see that it may or may not be the same. Not to mention the reputation it has in more conservative factions of Anchorage - I grew up in a right-wing, evangelical environment and while I had no idea what happened in that building, I knew very clearly that it was not something that Jesus approved of.
I think there are also pages and pages to be written about the challenges and opportunities that any non-profit arts organization faces in the relationship between the board leadership and the operational staff. But that topic is too big for Facebook…
Out North meant a lot of things to me during my most recent stint in Anchorage. That place, and the incredible people, offered me support, sanity, and hope during a very lost period of my life.
Arts for everyone. No exceptions.
That isn’t about a building or staff or a board or money. It’s about making art.
Go do it.
SIFF 2013 Day 25
Secret Fest #4 - 11am at Egyptian
Drinking Buddies - 4pm at Egyptian
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer - 7:30pm at Uptown
SIFF 2013 Day 18
Secret Fest #3 - 11am at Egyptian
Teddy Bears - 3:30pm at Uptown
Short Term 12 - 6:30pm at Uptown
Edit: Didn’t make it to Teddy Bears. Relaxing was more appealing.