I'm looking for...

That is

Plan yr weekend
by Alan Melson 25 Jan 2008

Here’s today’s (and the weekend’s) Deep in the Arts calendar, courtesy Gini:

  • There doesn’t seem to be an open forum for talking about arts so I’ll post this here. I mailed this to my readers of my Dallas publication Musea:
    Readers –
    I am not going to pledge to the Dallas PBS Station KERA-FM 90.1 this year. And I ask my zine readers of 15 years, to think twice before pledging to KERA or supporting PBS. Here’s why.
    I think their art coverage is so poor and so limited that it has become unfair to both artists and listeners. Specifically:
    1. They don’t cover new art from this century.
    Here’s 5 examples that they refuse to cover: Post-bands music, Post Modern Art, Zines – the bulk of publishing in America, new ways to review arts, the new Ideas for new art centers. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s been 8 years into this new century, and there has been just about zero coverage of anything that is new. It seems they go out of their way not to cover anything new or innovative. And this isn’t just one news show or one talk show – its all of them locally and nationally.
    2. They don’t cover any protest art. All the art they do cover is safe and sanitized.
    3. They don’t cover any art advocacy groups that protest abuses of the arts industry. They seem to pride themselves on journalistic fairness, but hard news coverage of the art industries is non-existent. I seldom if ever hear any stories about any art advocacy groups or hear guests that are from major art advocacy groups. And talk show after talk show spotlights books from authors from a handful of companies while avoiding any controversy about either the publishing business, or the revolt against all the countless abuses, waste, and unfairness in the publishing business.
    4. They refuse to respond to complaints about their coverage. This covers not only Dallas news and talk shows but all the national news and art shows too. This even includes the Ombudsman, who is set up specifically to address such issues.
    We expect more from PBS and we are not getting it. They pride themselves on good art coverage but avoid all that’s new in the arts.
    Their art coverage is safe or more often just nonexistent. And they refuse to respond to tough questions concerning their art coverage. I refuse to contribute to a station that refuses to cover the majority of arts, and refuses to say why it won’t cover the arts fairly.

  • Hi Tom,

    I hear your frustration about coverage of the arts scene and I’m sorry that it’s directed at PBS. I don’t want to argue with you point by point, but I would like to tell you that I hope we’ll be addressing at least some of your concerns in the next few months.

    KERA is creating an Arts Unit that will be helping the station increase its coverage of arts both on the air, and especially, on the Web. The folks in this unit will be casting their nets wide for stories and events that listeners and visitors will want to know about. Yes, we’ll cover mainstream art, but we also hope to represent many of the emerging, and as you point out, at this point, now established groups that are shaking things up.

    This blog is just a first step, and itself, a work in progress. We’ll be sharing much more about our plans very soon.

    And we’re not planning to go it alone. As educated and informed about the arts as we will strive to be, we also know there are myriad creative people doing interesting, important work in our area. Put simply, they know more than we do, and we want to be able to tap into their expertise. We’re experimenting with guest blogging and we’ll have other opportunities as well. If you- or any other fan of a particular genre of art – have suggestions about good stories or sources in the North Texas art scene that deserve attention, I’d like to hear them.

    I can’t resist just a tiny plug for the arts on public radio and television. On KERA, Paul Slavens’ 90.1 at Night on Sundays at 7 p.m. is a great source for familiar music in a new context, as well as forgotten songs and those yet to be discovered. Think’s weekly televised Scene segment often spotlights the North Texas arts community. Off the top of my head, I’d also suggest Googling KCRW in LA for music, KQED in San Francisco for general arts coverage, and the shows Studio 360 and Art 21. Not sure these cover all your bases – and there’s plenty more – but they should, at least, be pointed in the right direction. There can be much more and supporting public radio makes this and other similar work possible.

    Thanks for weighing in, and thanks too, for your patience as we get things rolling here.

  • Paul Slavens is buried in a show stuck on Sunday nite, dead air night.That’s where all Dallas music is stuck. His show should have a better slot. It may be a single bright spot on a dim bulb. Studio 360 is outdated and have proved that by their replies to my e-mail. NYC has become provincial in their art coverage. Think is a book show that unfairly showcases the mainstream publishing to the neglect of all indies (excluding a few U. Presses. They also don’t respond to tough questions. And there has never been a mention of zines, the bulk of publishing in the US, that I’ve ever heard on Think. It’s like 1970 and no one will talk about rock n roll yet.
    The news shows are 95% middle east anaylsis and presidential candidate analysis. What’s missing is news of the world and the US. And decent art coverage. The local art coverage is also safe and somewhat provincial in its refusal to handle tough art topics. Example the cost of the Modern Art Museum in FW could probably end poverty in a small country. Arts are not in a vacuum anymore.
    If you mean what you say it will help Dallas.
    Remember you’d get more benefit if you ask artists to contribute their talent , then just their cash. Some really good ‘all local arts’ show would be a plus for your schedule.
    I welcome some change.

  • Sammy

    Who is this Tom hendricks guy I keep stumbling over in different comments on music, always complaining that no one is covering stuff, but he never directs us to see any of this stuff he loves so much. Does it even exist except in his mind? It’s all complaints. I may even be one of the few people so bugged by this guy I’ve bothered to reply.