Monday, October 26, 2015

NY Tabloids Shrink Theater Coverage

James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson are click-worthy enough
to get their show The Gin Game a full review in the New York Post.
Credit: Joan Marcus
In the past year, several publications and services such as Associated Press and the Village Voice have drastically cut back on their theater and arts coverage. Except for NY-1, TV stations no longer run reviews at all. That disturbing shrinking trend continues. Not even Broadway is safe from this neglect. Both the New York Post and the Daily News, two tabloids losing millions of dollars a year, have reduced their reviews and features of the stage. This strike me as very weird considering Broadway is the single largest tourist attraction in the city, taking in more annually at the box office than all sports franchises combined. But, evidently, reviews are not getting enough clicks on line unless a major movie star is above the title. Years ago, I had thought the Internet would lead to more theater coverage, not less. What we are getting is more unpaid, unprofessional reviews and less major media consideration of the theater. As a result, a major portion of the city and nation's cultural life is being marginalized.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cutting the Cable, Part II

When I cut cable, I'll still be able to watch
The Judy Garland Show on GetTV
You never know when your 15 minutes of fame will come. Yesterday I received a call from a TV news producer who read my last blog about cutting the cable cord and she wants to interview me about it. She just happens to be in Queens on this coming Monday, doing a story at JFK, so she asked to come to my place in Jackson Heights afterwards. Hopefully it will all work out.

I explained I haven't cut the cord completely as of yet. We have bought a Radio Shack antenna online and I have connected it. We are now able to receive local channels out of the air including the major broadcast networks, Spanish and Chinese channels,  and a bunch of crappy channels showing 30 and 40 year old reruns I didn't know were broadcast including MeTV, Cosi, Antenna, a Game Show Network knockoff called Buzzer, and GetTV which is now showing old Merv Griffin Shows and the Judy Garland Show from the early 1960s. I plan to disconnect cable this week and take all three of my boxes into the Time Warner Cable office and save about $140 a month.

I will have to rely on individual networks's sites to watch my current favorites like The Big Bang Theory, The Amazing Race and Project Runway (I can't find the current Doctor Whos, but if I am patient, it will turn up on Netflix eventually.) But when I was watching the latest episode of Project Runway on Lifetime's websitemy viewing experience was interrupted by an extended commercial with Cate Blanchett for Armani perfume. The downside of catching up with your favorite shows on the Internet without paying for it is the commercials. Geico tried to get around it by trying to be clever. They say "You can't skip this commercial because it's already over" and the guys pretend to be frozen. Then the woman comes in and says "What's going on here?"

The Cate Blanchett ad got stuck and I had to start the whole episode over again. Then, during the runway critique, the audio for a diabetes medication started at the same time. I'm glad they finally got rid of Merline who had improved but I was never impressed with her work.

I'll let you know what happens with the TV interview and the continuing saga of cutting cable.