THE ARTS FIX: Criticism news, grants, and LA STAGE goodbyes

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Five small bits for your LA arts fix. 


In response to recent cuts in theatrical criticism coverage at LA Weekly and Backstage, the Weekly’s Steven Leigh Morris has just announced that he will launch an independent, community-funded digital criticism publication in February. According to a proposal letter, the site (which will keep the Weekly’s and Morris’ Stage Raw brand) “will consist of eight capsule reviews (300-400 words — slightly expanded from the current 200-word count), plus long-form features, profiles, essays, quizzes, a gossip column and humor, written by Morris and his team.”

The proposal letter — signed by publicist and producer David Elzer and Boston Court executive director Michael Seel — also details a community-wide fundraising effort to raise $31,000, the total cost of running Stage Raw for the 2014 calendar year. This method would be temporary; the letter implies an impending effort to work with local nonprofits to obtain future funds through grants and other more stable channels.

I spoke briefly with Morris about the challenges of community fundraising. He cited the impassioned conversation among members of LA’s theater community about the need for professional criticism. “The sentiment is that the need for this is strong,” said Morris.

He said he is aiming for three months to achieve the initial goal of $31,000. “We hope that it matters. But if people feel that it doesn’t matter, it won’t launch.”

Morris also says that he’s looking to bring on a site designer, and is completely open to bringing on new people to write for Stage Raw.

If you’d like to contribute to the Stage Raw campaign, contact David Elzer at


Directors Lab West applications are now open. I’m a DLW alum, and I thoroughly encourage any and all directors to apply. It’s a week of workshops, lectures, experiences and networking that you won’t want to miss.

Applications are due Friday, February 28 at 5 pm PST.


Three Clubs, a Hollywood Fringe Festival venue, is opening its doors to showcase its performance space to potential Fringe participants. The open house will occur on Sunday, January 26 at 7 pm. And yes, it’s more than just a show-and-tell; there will be food, drinks, a “Best of Fringe” cabaret and variety act, and a special showing of The Devil and Billy Markham. At 9 pm, it’ll be a straight party. RSVP to for happy-hour pricing all night.


Theatre Communications Group has announced its first round of Audience R(Evolution) grant recipients. Congratulations to Pasadena Playhouse, which will add a Latino Community Taskforce to its Theatrical Diversity Project, and Cornerstone Theater Company, which will add “Community Connectors” — past participants of Cornerstone’s collaborative play-making process — to its audience engagement program, Creative Seeds. To see all recipients, check out TCG’s website.


And in LA STAGE news, I just want to add a note to mention that last Friday was Doug Clayton’s last day at LA STAGE Alliance. He was at LA STAGE for nine years, and he was responsible for the development and operations of many of our past and current programs. On a personal note, he hired me (alongside half of our current staff), and I speak for all of us in saying that he will be tremendously missed. Thanks for all your hard work, Doug Doug.

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Dani Oliver

Dani Oliver

Dani is the Editor of @ This Stage Magazine. She is an award-winning poet (Candace Silverman Memorial Scholarship, Virginia Middleton Creative Writing Award), theatre director, and journalist. She was previously the Editor of Daily BR!NK (, and she holds a bachelor's degree in English and theatre from the University of Southern California, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a proud member of the LA poetry collective, the WOMEN group, a Kahn Fellow, and an avid yogi. Find her on Twitter @DaniOliver.