File puptcrit/puptcrit.0907, message 81


Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2009 14:01:28 -0400
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] how to consider


But why is it a "sad and sobering realization"?  Would you really 
prefer to be working in a big-business, multi-buck, mass-production 
industry?

-m


At 1:03 PM -0400 7/11/09, Stephen Kaplin wrote:
>This a very interesting question. I think the answer has to do with 
>the economies of scale.
>
>Consider that in the US there are (according to recent Bureau of 
>Labor Statistics) some 1/4 million professional musicians and 
>singers.To provide outlet and support for that small army of talent, 
>there are in New York City alone many hundreds of performance venues 
>of various size, ranging from Avery-Fisher Hall down to Joe's Bar 
>and Blues Joint. Added to that, there dozens of music Festivals and 
>outdoor concerts happening at any given time all over the city and 
>state; an enormous industry set up to record and distribute music 
>globally; dozens of university level programs devoted to training 
>new musicians and technical people entering the field; =A0music 
>programs and/or bands in most public schools and institutions (even 
>the US Armed Forces spends more on marching bands than then entire 
>annual NEA budget!); half a dozen of magazines and journals in any 
>given corner newstand and innumerable websites focussed exclusively 
>on some corner of the music world, =A0etc, etc, etc.
>
>In contrast the field of professional puppet theater consists of 
>(rough guess, since BLS doesn't list puppetry as a separate category)
>about 2500 (?) professional practitioners. In New York City (with by 
>far the greatest concentration of puppeteers in the nation) there 
>are, at last count, 4 permanent puppet theaters (none of them able 
>to seat over 100 people). Nationwide there are 2 graduate level 
>university programs, no industry-wide unions, one national festival 
>and a couple of regional festivals per year and no national touring 
>networks or circuits.
>
>So do the math. We can't afford to exclude anybody from our field. 
>If someone is doing great work in their living room or garage it 
>gets heard and appreciated because there is so little else to hear 
>and appreciate.
>
>Truly a sad and sobering realization (not that Baumann and Dwiggins 
>ought not be heard about). But from what I understand, we are in the 
>midst of something kind of like a puppet renaissance, yet the facts 
>on the ground have not shifted all that much. Or perhaps they have, 
>since many unemployed actors and musicians are beginning to discover 
>the joys of (non-union) puppet work.
>
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