Well, that's just super
Here it is, folks. It's the week of the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Time to batten down the hatches and get the hell out of Dodge, as we prepare for the two NFL fanbases with the worst reputations in the sport to descend upon us. It will be loud and expensive and crowded and expensive and heavily policed and expensive and messy. Did I mention it will cost us a lot of money?
But, don't worry! The Star Tribune as been assuring us for years that it will pay off. "Just think about all that sweet cash," they have whispered to us over and over again. (Except for those times when their own reporting undercuts the wild claims of their editorial board.) "All you have to do is ignore the giant bulk of reputable economists who say differently."
So, pray to the Almighty God of State-Supported Capitalism (may His Invisible Hand be ever upon you) that our newly arrived guests are willing to spill an unconscionable amount of money while they're here, because we've got a hole hundreds of millions of dollars deep to fill, and constitutionally-mandated spending we still need to do. (By the way, congratulations to the latest round of MRAC grant winners!) This means that, regardless of your stance on Bowls of Super, we've got to put on our Very Patient Midwestern faces and hope that a whole bunch of change falls out of these people's pockets before they head home and we're allowed to get back to our normal lives. And, maybe, just maybe, one or two of them will attend a play while they're here. It's nice to dream, isn't it?
Personally, I will be avoiding downtown Minneapolis like the plague, since being crushed in the middle of a horde of drunken clowns from out of town is my own personal definition of hell. I'd rather look forward to March, when the World Clown Association convention comes to town. Now that's a horde of clowns I can get behind.
One thing you can do once all this Super hoopla is over is go out and get yourself a new job. It's been high times here in Minnesota for nabbing executive level jobs at major arts organizations, as leadership here is turning over faster than the Vikings at the end of the season. (That's the last dig at football, I swear) The big ol' Ordway recently got themselves a new AD, as did the little ol' Ten Thousand Things, and congratulations to both of them.
Now there's a new Artistic Director gig that's just waiting for you. Over at St. Paul's Park Square Theatre, longtime AD Richard Cook has announced his retirement. Cook has been with the company for over 40 years and has been in the AD chair since 1980, shepherding Park Square through multiple expansions from a tiny 88-seat joint to one of the biggest theaters in town.
Those are some godawfully big shoes to fill. Can you do it? The search for Park Square's new AD starts in February. Get ready. Get set…
…But before you do that, let me just ask you, "What's your stance on sexual harassment?" You say you're against it? Great! Welcome to the club. Almost everybody is here in it, too, except for that weird handful of Redditors over in the corner there. (By the way, don't ever let them "show you their subreddit.")
As the #metoo moment continues, anybody who's everybody is getting themselves a brand new, bulletproof, absolutely ass-kicking new Workplace Harassment Policy. For example, London's Old Vic Theater just rolled out some new policies that they're really jazzed about. (I wonder why…).
Unfortunately, as we discussed last week on Minnesota Playlist, a really great Policy is just a stack of paper gathering dust in a corner if nobody actually lives it. Since scenic carpenter Molly Diers publicly quit her job at the Guthrie's scene shop over the toxic environment she experienced there, other female scene shop workers have come forward to not only back up her claim, but to say that the same thing happens in other scene shops, too.
A whole host of Guthrie employees signed an open letter in support of women working at the G. To their credit, the higher ups at the company have promised a swift and thorough investigation, which I'm sure will result in a brand spanking new Policy that they can send us all a nice press release about.
But will they actually live that Policy?
It's all good and well to have an investigation. Minnesota Public Radio's very thorough investigation of Garrison Keillor's crass activities has been sorely needed to counter the brazenly false and tone-deaf defenses he has put up for himself. It's great to get rid of leaders who abused their positions of power; but this is all just cleaning up after the fact. It's like kicking an angry drunk out of your bar only after he vomits all over the floor, breaks a chair, and punches a waiter. You could have just cut him off after drink number five and avoided this whole thing, but you didn't want to make a scene.
If people had done their prep work, we wouldn't need all this mop work. We wouldn't be paying out huge severance packages to perpetrators on their way out the door, and we wouldn't be hiring guys who already made a habit out of being creeps in previous jobs.
So, Guthrie, do your investigation, print up your new policy, tack it to the forehead of every manager in the building. Unless you get down to the business of making it a living part of your culture and not just a series of virtuous-looking boxes to tick, we're going to be having this same problem again in the future.
Did you ever wonder how cultural ideas get embedded in our collective consciousness? Here's a fun example, courtesy of the Daily Beast: "How Arthur Miller Smeared Marilyn Monroe and Invented the Myth of the Male Witch Hunt". As it turns out, many of our lauded classic plays have really screwed-up ideas about power and sexuality. Who knew?!