I noticed the lack of reviews, especially in the Chronicle
, so I sent in a brief little letter to the editor, saying
I’m incredibly disappointed with your lack of performing arts coverage, specifically visiting dance companies. For example, Compagnie Jant-Bi’s two-night run at Yerba Buena shone brightly as one the past year’s major dance highlights, and Compagnie Marie Chouinard recently swept into San Francisco, yet the Chronicle didn’t review either of these companies. San Francisco serves as an arts mecca, and I would hope that the Datebook would support our cultural ideas and process of expression rather than simply write about passive, couch-type activities that really don’t require a lot of press and hype such as new television series, badly written movies, and what’s new out on DVD. Arts companies and presenters don’t have the big budgets that, for example, ABC, Universal, and Clear Channel have, so how about supporting them (the arts, that is) a little bit more? And maybe then, I’ll renew my subscription.
P.S. Two wonderful companies are coming to town in the six months. Have you assigned reviewers to Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE and Doug Varone & Dancers?
Within hours (and this was on Saturday), I received an email response from David Wiegand. While I was disappointed with the paper's reasoning, I was impressed that I got any response at all.
Hi Becca, I am sorry you're disappointed, but the reality is that we probably offer more dance reviews than reviews or features on any single art form. Really. Ironically, we don't have a dance critic, but we have actually reviewed MORE dance programs using freelance writers than when we had our own critic. Can we get to every dance event in the Bay Area? Not at all. And we never can. I guess we prioritize Bay Area dance companies because they are Bay Area companies. For example, while we were not able to do Compagne Jant-Bi, we did choose to do the Yerba Buena program on up and coming Bay Area choreographers. Datebook serves many masters and many readers. You may not have any interest in TV or films, but I'm sure you understand other readers do. Our hope is to try to offer a balance. Again, I am sorry you're disappointed but assure you that we will always do our best. We make choices. We have to, and they are never easy.
Thanks so much for writing,
Acting Deputy Managing Editor for Features