Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tarantino, Sugar Daddy

Quentin Tarantino has been for a while, and is now more than ever, the primary backer of The New Beverly, a movie theater in L.A. that shows cheap double features of often obscure movies. He saved it from ruin, and now his financial support is what keeps an unprofitable but culturally valuable institution afloat.

Is this a sign of things to come in other arts ventures? For Theatre? The Internet continues to demolish the old cinema business models, forcing movie studios to rely on 3D gimmickry to entice viewers. Major theatre companies already rely on corporate sponsorship to turn a profit and keep prices remotely affordable, resulting in an often bland homogeneity. The less mainstream, more experimental theatre groups are on even less stable ground, because corporate donors don't want to invest in artistic risk. The Tarantino-New Beverly example should serve as a model: seek out wealthy individuals who share the same artistic ideals and would want to support such organizations.

(This sounds incredibly, perhaps condescendingly, obvious, but bear in mind I say this from a great geographical distance from the cultural centers where these issues are playing out.)

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