Art of the Possible: Somebody out there likes this blog

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Time to pop a collar and a cork. Every year the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies gives awards for excellence and this year Intermission Impossible was named as one of two finalists for best blog authored by an individual. Not “best theater blog” or “best performing arts blog” mind you but best all around blog. When I think about how many great political, news, sports, and food blogs there are out there in the digital soup I'm kind of blown away by that. Even if I don't take home the tallest trophy it's pretty cool. And this rare moment of public self-gratification provides a splendid opportunity for a public service announcement. I really need to take care of some unfinished business.

Intermission Impossible was born "in progress." There was no buildup and no fine howdy-do. It simply wasn't and then it was. And I feel like I've got so much explaining to do. What is this blog thing? Who is this blogger? And why should anybody care?

Regular readers of the Flyer probably recognize the byline. I've started making theater in Memphis in the 80's and I started writing about it in the 90's. As a Flyer staff writer I've covered multimillion dollar scandals, Hurricanes and other disasters. I've written about media, attended three major political conventions, and a penned a long-running column about regional eccentricities. On a few special occasions I've given readers the shirt off my back. Through it all I've kept my eye on Memphis' performing artists and this blog finally gives me a versatile platform for all the pictures, movies, squibs, sound bites, and even "how to" segments that never made it into the paper. My intentions (strictly dishonorable, I assure you) are to inform, entertain, and to start conversations.

A New Playhouse from Chris Davis on Vimeo.

I'm not playing modest when I say I was genuinely shocked to hear that Intermission Impossible had been nominated. The news made me look back in the archives and having done I'm really kind of impressed. There's some decent writing and reporting. And a whole lot of stuff I never could do before.

I taught myself how to video-blog while covering the 2008 political conventions with nothing but a Sony Cybershot camera...

... and have been supplementing my writing with mini-documentaries since.

Video has been a crucial component at Intermission Impossible and I'm certain that's one of the things that caught the AAN judges attention. I hope they also liked all the web-sized features and shameless gimmicks. Now I'm going to interrupt this clip-show and focus on something that isn't working quite right.

As noted above, I don't just write about performing arts and I can't be everywhere all the time. But that doesn't mean Intermission Impossible can't be. This is the age of instant communication and reader-supplied content has always been encouraged. I probably should have told somebody, huh? Well now you know. If you're at a fundraiser and get a great video clip of your favorite critic with a lampshade on his head send it my way. Or if you've got a fun backstage story or photo to share, bring it! If you're in a show and really want to tell the world how great it is to work with a particular actor or director this is a place where you can do just that (in a paragraph or two, no books please). Or, if you've been in the audience at a show you thought was amazing drop me a sentence or two, even if I've already reviewed it. Whatever you've got, if it's good, I'll share it. That's a big part of what blogs are here for, I think. And it's the part I've done a really lousy job of cultivating so far.

This is a really interesting time for Memphis artists. We've got players stepping out onto the national and international stage. Old war horses are learning new tricks and young upstarts are making interesting noises. Meanwhile, our venerable institutions prove that age doesn't always mean ossification. The way to get people excited about all this good news is to talk about it. In public.

That's all I have to say, really. Thanks for indulging me. And thanks to AAN for noticing. Chin chin.

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