Welcome to the first installment of your weekly dose of arts-acidophilus and culture-l. casei. Think of me as a friendly flora to help you digest whatever Orlando’s scene serves up. I know any disruption to your reading material can cause distress (the Villages riot whenever the Sentinel reformats “TV Time”), so here is a friendly FAQ to douse your burning questions.
Who the hell are you?
Hi, my name is Seth Kubersky. Glad to meet you!
That name sounds familiar …
Maybe you’ve read some of my arts and attractions coverage in the Weekly over the past year and half?
Hey, weren’t you involved with [insert name of show you loved/hated/walked out of]?
Um, probably. In the 11 years I’ve been in Orlando, I’ve run lights for Barney the Dinosaur and the Ghostbusters, managed haunted houses and parades, performed in dinner theater – and held other less glamorous jobs like director and producer. I’ve staged productions at Shakespeare, Fringe and Theatre Downtown (among others), so if you’ve sat through a show involving a blue-haired stripper, metaphysical porn star or sweet transvestite, I was likely guilty.
If you’re so involved in theater, how can you claim to be an objective journalist?
You got me – I can’t. In writing reviews for this paper I’ve done my best to be evenhanded and impartial, and not to unfairly advocate for people I’ve worked with. But I know a good number of the people who make art in this town, and I call many of them friends. You may call it “conflict of interest”; I think “inside sources” sounds much nicer. Rather than try to hide my biases, I’ll put them up right up front. All I can promise is to give you my honest opinion, and maybe make it mildly amusing, or double your money back.
Enough about you, what are you going to write about?
Art in Orlando, in all its shapes and forms. My background is in theater, so I’ll cover the performing arts, including dance, puppetry, spoken word and more. I also hope to give attention to visual and literary arts. Plus, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date on the latest developments at the major theme parks, as well as shining a spotlight on some smaller tourist attractions.
Theme parks? Why would someone who cares about culture waste time on Mickey Mouse?
Because, like it or not – and I happen to be one who likes it – Orlando owes its cultural life in large part to the Rat (and its offspring). Theme parks form the economic engine that drives this town. Many of our most interesting artists depend on Disney day-jobs, and all of the attractions make a great training ground for aspiring entertainers (in a brutal “This is Sparta” kinda way). Elites may groan at artificial environments and cornball performances, but for many of the millions of Middle Americans passing through the turnstiles in Orlando, that faux-France and strolling street-show may be their first exposure to the worlds of architecture or live theater. If you think about it, theme parks rank with jazz as one of the few American art forms. Since they show no signs of disappearing, they ought to be critiqued in a thoughtful manner befitting their role as our city’s No. 1 cultural export.
All right already, sorry I asked! Is this what every column is going to be like?
I hope not, I don’t have enough material to Q&A myself every week. That’s why I’m relying on reader feedback to help me uncover the hidden art of the City Beautiful. If you want to get the word out about an upcoming event, e-mail me with a heads-up as to what’s happening and send photos. And we all know that there is too much going on around town for any one person to catch it all, so I want to hear your take on things I may have firstname.lastname@example.org