Saturday, April 22, 2006

Marsha Lederman likes cliches


Marsha Lederman did a piece on Bev Oda and federal government funding of the arts for the CBC radio program The House, this morning (if you'd like to hear it yourself, click here, and look for the April 22 show).

Basically Ms. Lederman talks to two dancers, and the guy who runs the Confederation Center in PEI in a lame attempt to ask "tough" questions. The two dancers, Joanna de Souza and Denise Fujiwara, don't appear to me to be the cream of the crop in the Canadian Dance world. Ms. Fujiwara's press kit contains 10 quotes from "critics." Three of them are by Michael Crabb, and two of them are by Susan Walker. Ms. de Souza's work is viewable on the Zed TV website, and it has been viewed 160 times in 320 days, or one time every other day. For comparison purposes, on June 20 (306 days ago) I uploaded the recording of Sakamoto Hiromiti playing here, set two has been downloaded 300 times (or slightly less than one time/day). So, if Ms. Lederman spoke with someone who performed here at Zeke's Gallery about their perceptions of government funding of the arts, would you take them seriously? Didn't think so.

Why didn't Ms. Lederman try for Jana Sterbak? Rebecca Bellmore? Artists who have soaked the government for a couple hundred thousand dollars each? Why didn't Ms. Lederman talk to Margie Gillis? Édouard Lock? Canadian dancers who are actually recognized internationally as being better then great and who have received some serious backing from the government?

Then instead of talking to David Mackenzie of the Confederation Arts Center (who is going to get all $6 million he needs to fix his leaky roof) why didn't Ms. Lederman talk to someone at the National Gallery where they, too have a leaky roof in desperate need of repair, but haven't found the funding yet? Which one is more important to Canadians? Some multi disciplinary arts center in a town of 65,000 (about 30% more than the population served by the Saidye Bronfman Centre or 60% less than the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre) or the National Gallery?.

And after Ms. Lederman's piece, Katherine Canty continued to fumble the ball. A) Bev Oda does not control the purse strings for culture in Canada, while Heritage Canada does give out a lot of money for culture, Caroline Di Cocco, and Line Beauchamp give out almost as much money individually, and combined give out way more money than Ms. Oda. B) Ms. Canty then allowed Ms. Oda to avoid defining the words "long term," C) did not ask anything about this New Museum Policy, D) shot herself in the foot when Ms. Oda pointed out that Mr. Mackenzie was already getting $1,500,000 of the $2 million he needed this year to fix the roof, and E) apparently believed Ms. Oda when she said the Canada Council was the equivalent of "every arts organization in the country."

Man, I don't listen to The House at all, but I certainly hope that their coverage of politics is better than their coverage of the arts.

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