Why This Decade Sucked, Reason #9: Artists Joined The Farm League

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We will, in the closing days of this wretched decade, list the Top Ten reasons why it sucked. Reason #10 is here. This is #9.

 

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Name your favorite artists of the past decade.

Tough one, huh?

The Voice plays the best-of-decade game in the current issue, and we salute the fine critics who stepped up. But for all their very creditable explanations, we notice a distinct lack of enthusiasm, of passion, of gush.

That's because it's hard to be excited when you're picking kernels out of shit. In the arts, as elsewhere, the 00s sucked.

Take, from the Voice lists, these random lines for the theatrical look-back by Michael Feingold -- Pulitzer-Prize-winner-in-waiting and, to steal a line from Gore Vidal, a master whom we revere:

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"Money, being our culture's central value, is our theater's permanent heartache." "...the worst thing about New York theater in this century: the lack of a great company regularly producing works of classic stature." "The small groups that struggle Off- and Off-Off Broadway to sustain some semblance of our tradition battled bravely, often achieving modest success..." "Even Off-Broadway, where new plays are the main thing, the decade showed severe constriction."

Sounds like a goddamn golden age, don't it.

Feingold picks some winners out of the muck -- he likes The Producers, the long-dead Ingmar Bergman, and the rise of minority playwrights -- but in the main he sounds like a doctoral candidate cobbling together a paper on English theater during the reign of Cromwell or some other such doldrums. With his digging expertise, he can find some nuggets. But if he were writing about any other decade in the past five or six, he could have just picked those nuggets off the ground.

And he doesn't say anything about the money machines -- Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, White Christmas -- that have distorted the theater on the high end.

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