Friday, January 29, 2010

District Beat turns 100!

Wow, what a year it’s been. I’ve been blogging for just over 14 months now, and we’ve arrived at a very exciting milestone. This is officially our 100th post to District Beat! And what a long, strange trip it’s been, both personally and for the blog. In the past year, I got a new job, moved, and got engaged (the last of those items I hope goes to explain my slowness to post these last two months). And on the blog side, my intrepid team of reporters and I have brought you information about 110 shows (yes, I counted). We’ve written about all the plays, concerts, events, and food we could get our hands on (much to the chagrin of my budget and my waistline). We’ve written about the good, the bad, and the just plain weird. We've reported on all different kinds of arts, as well as important world events. This whole thing gone from being a crazy idea that TheClubScout and I had at a concert to a real thing, with real readers (who sometimes even comment). It has been an honor to be on this journey with all of you, and I can’t wait to share with you all our future journeys: both personal and artsy. But before we go any further, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to restate our thesis. As I look back on my first post, where I outlined my vision for this space, I realize that our concept has grown and changed in the last year. I think this is a great chance to take a step back and restate who we are and why we do what we do.

Let me start with what am not. I am not a reviewer. I have the greatest amount of respect for reviewers. I have learned so much from the pros and from our fellow bloggers. It has been a great honor to be taken under the wing of some of DC’s Veterans. I continue to learn so much from them. And we do, often review the performances that we see. But this is not the purpose of our posts. So what, then, is the purpose? If I’m not a reviewer, what am I?

I am an evangelist. Let’s ignore any connotations, either positive or negative of that word for the moment. Let us especially ignore all religious weight of it for a bit. In esscane though. evangelists just love something so much that they can’t help but share that excitement with you. Evangelists share their joy with everyone they meet. Evangelists have seem some sort of light, and they want you to see it too.

I love the DC arts scene. I feel so blessed to be living here and living here now. Did you know that we have more theater companies than any other metropolitan area outside of New York? How cool is that? That is my joy and my light, and I hope to share with you.

I noticed at a certain point, back when I thought that I was a reviewer, that I rarely if ever reamed a show. Instead, I always seemed to find something to like. At first, I thought this was a failing. A true critic, must be critical. It's in the name. But I was saying things like "well at least the set was cool," or "this might be some one's cup of tea, just not mine." Lady AWesome can tell you that I was really stressed because I thought that I would loose all my credibility as a reviewer if I was being too forgiving. And then I realized why I was going so easy on everyone and I forgave myself. I love going to shows, and so I am inclined to find the good in each one. And more importantly, I want you to love going to shows. So, for instance, if cool sets are your thing, far be it from me to discourage you from checking some out. I just want to be your information broker. I want to help you all find things that will get you as excited as some of them get me. So I'll find the good in almost anything, just in case that one little part was exactly what you were looking for.

I also realized something else about myself. While I am a general fan of the arts, apparently I am particularly passionate about theater. I have been a theater buff for as long as I can remember (I was the only kid in my kindergarten class who wanted to be a set designer. No joke). But I didn't realize, when I started this project, that I would want to focus on it so much. But, as a good evangelist, I know that theater won't ring every ones' bells. So I am trying to branch out, and to add in a few writers who can share their passions. Hopefully, you will find some light in all of this that makes you as happy as it makes us.

So there it is. That's who I am. I'm not a reviewer and I'm not a critic, though I do review and criticize. I have the utmost respect for those professions, but please tell me if I err to much in that direction. Our job is to get the word out, to share the love. We've got our ear to the street, so that we can share the beats that we hear with you. And if it strikes your fancy, leave us a comment. Tell us what you thought. That's what the comments section is for: It's a place where you too can evangelize about the things that moved you. And hopefully we can bring you along with us for the next show.

And the Beat goes on...


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