Sorry, Twin Cities: That second-most-theater-seats-per-capita-outside-New-York stat is total bullshit

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Virtually any list of Twin Cities civic boasts include the claim that our metro area has “the second most theater seats per capita outside of New York.” Google the phrase and you’ll find pages and pages of colleges, businesses, and boosters of all stripes making the claim. But how do they know it’s true? Many of them cite sources, but they’re all just citing each other. Search in vain to find a single one of these mentions that cites an actual study demonstrating the fact.

This mantra is getting embarrassing for us—and for all the other cities that make similar claims. Cleveland claims “the second largest theater district in the nation, outside of New York.” The Houston Theater District says it “ranks second behind New York City for the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area.” Detroit “is home to the second largest theatre district in the United States behind only New York City.” The Denver Performing Arts Complex “is the second largest performing arts center in the world after New York City’s Lincoln Center.” Everybody wants to be #2.

The thing is that we actually do have an incredible theater scene—just not necessarily in that particular way. In a 2008 Twin Cities Businessarticle, Camille LeFevre listed several impressive indicators of the size and vitality of our theater scene: we sell more tickets per capita than Chicago or Seattle, the combined annual budgets of our theater companies dwarf those of Philadelphia and Boston, and performing artists make up a 30% larger share of the workforce in the Twin Cities than they do nationally.

In that light, the number-two theater-seat claim seems plausible…but here’s the thing. We’re smaller than New York and Chicago, but we’re not that small. If it really comes down to a per-capita breakdown, it would be easy for small communities to grab the edge over us—and that’s what’s seen in a 2008 National Endowment for the Arts report on growth and challenges in nonprofit theater. Of course not every theater is nonprofit, but locally, almost all of the organizations we’d consider core to “our theater scene” are: the Guthrie Theater, the Hennepin Theatre Trust (which runs the Orpheum, State, Pantages, and New Century theaters), the Children’s Theatre Company, the Jungle Theater, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Park Square Theatre, and so on.

“The states with the highest per capita concentration of theaters,” concludes the NEA, “now include: Vermont, Alaska, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.” That’s a ranked list, which means that we’re in the mix—but we’re number ten. Of course, that stat doesn’t account for theater seats—so if a few of our nonprofit companies are disproportionately large, we might rank higher in number of seats than we do in number of companies. Might.

Where did the second-most-seats claim come from? At this point, it’s essentially an urban legend, but a thread on the now-defunct Callboard discussion site for theater insiders once traced the claim to a questionable interpretation of a study that was made decades ago. Once people started saying it, they just kept right on saying it, and the more people said it, the more other people felt safe repeating it—because how could it be wrong? No one (except grumpy nitpickers on pro-Cleveland discussion boards) had any incentive to question it.

I’m not trying to tear down our theater scene. I love our theater scene, and I’m proud to be a part of this community. When we speak with justifiable pride about our theater scene, though, let’s start saying things we can actually prove. There are more than enough of them to go around.

Jay Gabler

For more about Minnesota by Jay Gabler, 34 other writers, and nine illustrators and photographers, grab our book Bright Lights, Twin Cities

(Source: thetangential.com)

People are offering us THOUSANDS OF EUROS in association with tonight’s reading/trivia event at the Har Mar Barnes & Noble, but you can attend for FREE!

People are offering us THOUSANDS OF EUROS in association with tonight’s reading/trivia event at the Har Mar Barnes & Noble, but you can attend for FREE!

Mike Cahill calls I Origins “sci-comma-fi as opposed to sci-dash-fi.” What does that mean? You and a guest can find out—for free!—at a preview screening this Wednesday, July 23 at the Lagoon Cinema. Download a pair of passes, while supplies last, here.

Mike Cahill calls I Originssci-comma-fi as opposed to sci-dash-fi.” What does that mean? You and a guest can find out—for free!—at a preview screening this Wednesday, July 23 at the Lagoon Cinema. Download a pair of passes, while supplies last, here.

(Source: http)

Winona Ryder is from Minnesota. So are we. So are you. Why don’t we all meet Thursday night at Har Mar Mall?

Winona Ryder is from Minnesota. So are we. So are you. Why don’t we all meet Thursday night at Har Mar Mall?

(Source: ohwinonaryder)

fjordslorn:

my stepdad is giving this mug to my norwegian uncle but i’m fixin to fuckin steal it

fjordslorn:

my stepdad is giving this mug to my norwegian uncle but i’m fixin to fuckin steal it

Tags: Wisconsin

At 7 PM on July 24, test your Minnesota know-how with a free round of trivia by the masterminds of The Tangential as well as Brett Ortler, author of The Mosquito Book and The Fireflies Book. YES THERE WILL BE PRIZES, AND THEY MAY BE FROZEN FOOD ITEMS.We’ll read brief selections from our new e-book Bright Lights, Twin Cities, and Brett will drop some wisdom about mosquitos and such. We’ll sign books (our first book, Future Cities) and flyers representing Bright Lights, Twin Cities at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.Come hang out with us at the mall that gave Har Mar Superstar his moniker. You won’t regret it.
Facebook event

At 7 PM on July 24, test your Minnesota know-how with a free round of trivia by the masterminds of The Tangential as well as Brett Ortler, author of The Mosquito Book and The Fireflies Book. YES THERE WILL BE PRIZES, AND THEY MAY BE FROZEN FOOD ITEMS.

We’ll read brief selections from our new e-book Bright Lights, Twin Cities, and Brett will drop some wisdom about mosquitos and such. We’ll sign books (our first book, Future Cities) and flyers representing Bright Lights, Twin Cities at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.

Come hang out with us at the mall that gave Har Mar Superstar his moniker. You won’t regret it.

Facebook event

We picked a dream team of nine Twin Cities blogs that will be all-stars of your bookmark menu, or Twitter feed, or something like that.

We picked a dream team of nine Twin Cities blogs that will be all-stars of your bookmark menu, or Twitter feed, or something like that.

Tags: Minnesota

The Pros and Cons of “Kom Hit!”

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Pros

Any excuse to hang out in the American Swedish Institute’s Turnblad Mansion is welcome—especially at dusk, when the illuminated nooks and crannies feel especially cozy and mysterious. If feathers occasionally fall on you, all the better.

The overlapping musical elements—some performed live, some played on record or tape or other media—are eerily beautiful.

This dance/theater production—created by Sally Rousse and Noah Bremer—has an appealingly leisurely pace, with lots of room for wandering and contemplation during its 60 minutes.

The cast is multigenerational, and every member has compelling moments.

As the performers move you through the space, they alternate between performing for you and engaging with you—sometimes making eye contact, sometimes taking your arm or holding your hand. It’s memorably unsettling in a way that interactive theater too rarely is.

Cons

You’re asked to wear an adhesive mustache.

If you don’t know much about August Strindberg (anyone?), you may feel a little lost.

The climax is so gentle, you may not realize it’s come and gone.

The show is a triumph of style, less so of substance.

Did I mention the mustache?

Jay Gabler


Kom Hit! runs through July 10.

(Source: thetangential.com)

foxadhd:

Indiana, Utah gay marriage bans struck down 
Source: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states
This man rolls with rock stars and monetized the culinary arts! Who is he? Find out at a FREE SCREENING of Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon on Monday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lagoon.

If you’re interested in attending this screening, send an email to MinneapolisRSVP@gmail.com with “SUPERMENSCH- Tangential” in the subject line, and include your full name in the body of the e-mail message. The deadline for entries is Sunday, June 15 at noon. A limited number of winners will be chosen at random to receive an admit-two pass and will be notified by e-mail.
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon opens at the Edina Cinema on June 20.

This man rolls with rock stars and monetized the culinary arts! Who is he? Find out at a FREE SCREENING of Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon on Monday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lagoon.

If you’re interested in attending this screening, send an email to MinneapolisRSVP@gmail.com with “SUPERMENSCH- Tangential” in the subject line, and include your full name in the body of the e-mail message. The deadline for entries is Sunday, June 15 at noon. A limited number of winners will be chosen at random to receive an admit-two pass and will be notified by e-mail.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon opens at the Edina Cinema on June 20.