Photograph by Andrew Waits for City Arts.
I recently had a long conversation with a very angry actor.
He seemed to think that I – I’m paraphrasing here – was a jerk. What, he wanted to know, gave City Arts the right to program its own festival? He was referring, of course, to the Heineken City Arts Fest, for which this month’s issue serves as the official guide (See “The Guide,” page 23).
The role of a publication such as the one you hold in your hands, he contended, is to cover culture, not create it. To combine the two, he spat, could only result in some sort of vicious exclusionary arts autocracy devoid of critique and bursting with sloganeering and self-promotion.
He was quite drunk, but I understood where his anger was coming from. Shifting landscapes upset people’s emotional and intellectual order, and it is clear that the ground beneath both the arts and journalism has been rendered unrecognizable in the last decade. City Arts was born within that tumult, just four years ago, and has been crafting its identity as the land slides about. We are, therefore, a bit of a different beast, but our goals are far from nefarious.
Lift up the artists we love. Tell good stories. Earn your trust. These are my aims. I know that we have done the first, and I am confident that this issue of the magazine does the second, but whether we have accomplished the third is up to you, livid thespian, to decide. I hope you’ll give us that chance.
Enjoy the issue and see you at the festival.