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  • I am a cultural omnivore,

  • one whose daily commute

  • is made possible by attachment to an iPod --

  • an iPod that contains Wagner and Mozart,

  • pop diva Christina Aguilera,

  • country singer Josh Turner,

  • gangsta rap artist Kirk Franklin,

  • concerti, symphonies and more and more.

  • I'm a voracious reader,

  • a reader who deals with Ian McEwan down to Stephanie Meyer.

  • I have read the "Twilight" tetralogy.

  • And one who lives for my home theater,

  • a home theater where I devour DVDs, video-on-demand

  • and a lot of television.

  • For me, "Law and Order: SVU,"

  • Tine Fey and "30 Rock"

  • and "Judge Judy" -- "The people are real, the cases are real,

  • the rulings are final."

  • Now, I'm convinced a lot of you

  • probably share my passions,

  • especially my passion for Judge Judy,

  • and you'd fight anybody

  • who attempted to take her away from us,

  • but I'm a little less convinced that you share the central passion of my life,

  • a passion for the live professional performing arts,

  • performing arts that represent the orchestral repertoire, yes,

  • but jazz as well, modern dance, opera,

  • theater and more and more and more.

  • You know, frankly

  • it's a sector that many of us who work in the field worry

  • is being endangered and possibly dismantled

  • by technology.

  • While we initially heralded the Internet

  • as the fantastic new marketing device

  • that was going to solve all our problems,

  • we now realize that the Internet is, if anything,

  • too effective in that regard.

  • Depending on who you read, an arts organization

  • or an artist, who tries to attract the attention

  • of a potential single ticket buyer,

  • now competes with between

  • three and 5,000

  • different marketing messages

  • a typical citizen sees every single day.

  • We now know in fact

  • that technology is our biggest competitor for leisure time.

  • Five years ago,

  • Gen-X'ers spent 20.7 hours online and TV,

  • the majority on TV.

  • Gen-Y'ers spent even more --

  • 23.8 hours, the majority online.

  • And now, a typical

  • university entering student

  • arrives at college

  • already having spent

  • 20,000 hours online

  • and an additional 10,000 hours

  • playing video games --

  • a stark reminder that we operate

  • in a cultural context

  • where video games now outsell

  • music and movie recordings combined.

  • Moreover, we're afraid that technology

  • has altered our very assumptions of cultural consumption.

  • Thanks to the Internet,

  • we believe we can get anything we want whenever we want it,

  • delivered to our own doorstep.

  • We can shop at three in the morning or eight at night,

  • ordering jeans tailor-made for our unique body-types.

  • Expectations of personalization

  • and customization

  • that the live performing arts --

  • which have set curtain times, set venues,

  • attendant inconveniences of travel, parking and the like --

  • simply cannot meet.

  • And we're all acutely aware:

  • what's it going to mean in the future

  • when we ask someone to pay a hundred dollars

  • for a symphony, opera or ballet ticket,

  • when that cultural consumer is used to downloading on the internet

  • 24 hours a day

  • for 99 cents a song or for free?

  • These are enormous questions

  • for those of us who work in this terrain.

  • But as particular as they feel to us,

  • we know we're not alone.

  • All of us are engaged

  • in a seismic, fundamental

  • realignment of culture and communications,

  • a realignment that is shaking and decimating

  • the newspaper industry, the magazine industry,

  • the book and publishing industry and more.

  • Saddled in the performing arts as we are, by antiquated union agreements

  • that inhibit and often prohibit

  • mechanical reproduction and streaming,

  • locked into large facilities

  • that were designed to ossify

  • the ideal relationship

  • between artist and audience

  • most appropriate to the 19th century

  • and locked into a business model dependent on high ticket revenues,

  • where we charge exorbitant prices.

  • Many of us shudder in the wake of the collapse of Tower Records

  • and ask ourselves, "Are we next?"

  • Everyone I talk to in performing arts

  • resonates to the words of Adrienne Rich,

  • who, in "Dreams of a Common Language," wrote,

  • "We are out in a country that has

  • no language, no laws.

  • Whatever we do together is pure invention.

  • The maps they gave us

  • are out of date by years."

  • And for those of you who love the arts,

  • aren't you glad you invited me here to brighten your day?

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • Now, rather than saying that we're on the brink of our own annihilation,

  • I prefer to believe that we are engaged in a fundamental reformation,

  • a reformation like the religious Reformation

  • of the 16th century.

  • The arts reformation, like the religious Reformation,

  • is spurred in part by technology,

  • with indeed, the printing press really leading the charge

  • on the religious Reformation.

  • Both reformations were predicated on fractious discussion,

  • internal self-doubt

  • and massive realignment of antiquated business models.

  • And at heart, both reformations, I think

  • were asking the questions:

  • who's entitled to practice?

  • How are they entitled to practice?

  • And indeed, do we need anyone

  • to intermediate for us

  • in order to have an experience with a spiritual divine?

  • Chris Anderson, someone I trust you all know,

  • editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of "The Long Tail,"

  • really was the first -- for me -- to nail a lot of this.

  • He wrote a long time ago, you know,

  • thanks to the invention of the Internet,

  • web technology,

  • mini-cams and more,

  • the means of artistic production

  • have been democratized

  • for the first time in all of human history.

  • In the 1930s, if any of you wanted to make a movie,

  • you had to work for Warner Brothers or RKO

  • because who could afford a movie set

  • and lighting equipment and editing equipment

  • and scoring and more?

  • And now who in this room doesn't know a 14 year-old

  • hard at work on her second, third, or fourth movie?

  • (Laughter)

  • Similarly, the means of artistic distribution

  • have been democratized for the first time in human history.

  • Again, in the '30s, Warner Brothers, RKO did that for you.

  • Now, go to YouTube, Facebook;

  • you have worldwide distribution

  • without leaving the privacy of your own bedroom.

  • This double impact is occasioning

  • a massive redefinition of the cultural market,

  • a time when anyone is a potential author.

  • Frankly, what we're seeing now in this environment

  • is a massive time,

  • when the entire world is changing

  • as we move from a time when audience numbers are plummeting.

  • But the number of arts participants,

  • people who write poetry, who sing songs,

  • who perform in church choirs,

  • is exploding beyond our wildest imaginations.

  • This group, others have called the "pro ams,"

  • amateur artists doing work at a professional level.

  • You see them on YouTube, in dance competitions,

  • film festivals and more.

  • They are radically expanding

  • our notions of the potential of an aesthetic vocabulary,

  • while they are challenging and undermining

  • the cultural autonomy of our traditional institutions.

  • Ultimately, we now live in a world

  • defined not by consumption,

  • but by participation.

  • But I want to be clear,

  • just as the religious Reformation did not spell the end

  • to the formal Church or to the priesthood;

  • I believe that our artistic institutions

  • will continue to have importance.

  • They currently are the best opportunities

  • for artists to have lives of economic dignity --

  • not opulence -- of dignity.

  • And they are the places where artists

  • who deserve and want to work at a certain scale of resources

  • will find a home.

  • But to view them as synonymous

  • with the entirety of the arts community

  • is, by far, too short-sighted.

  • And indeed, while we've tended to polarize

  • the amateur from the professional,

  • the single most exciting development

  • in the last five to 10 years

  • has been the rise

  • of the professional hybrid artist,

  • the professional artist

  • who works, not primarily in the concert hall or on the stage;

  • but most frequently around

  • women's rights, or human rights,

  • or on global warming issues or AIDS relief for more --

  • not out of economic necessity,

  • but out of a deep, organic conviction

  • that the work that she or he, is called to do

  • cannot be accomplished in the traditional

  • hermetic arts environment.

  • Today's dance world is not defined solely

  • by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet or the National Ballet of Canada,

  • but by Liz Lerman's Dance Exchange --

  • a multi-generational, professional dance company,

  • whose dancers range in age from 18 to 82,

  • and who work with genomic scientists

  • to embody the DNA strand

  • and with nuclear physicists at CERN.

  • Today's professional theater community

  • is defined, not only the Shaw and Stratford Festivals,

  • but by the Cornerstone Theater of Los Angeles --

  • a collective of artists that after 9/11,

  • brought together 10 different religious communities --

  • the Bahia, the Catholic,

  • the Muslim, the Jewish,

  • even the Native American

  • and the gay and lesbian communities of faith,

  • helping them create their own individual plays

  • and one massive play,

  • where they explored the differences in their faith

  • and found commonality

  • as an important first step

  • toward cross-community healing.

  • Today's performers, like Rhodessa Jones,

  • work in women's prisons,

  • helping women prisoners articulate the pain of incarceration,

  • while today's playwrights and directors work with youth gangs

  • to find alternate channels to violence

  • and more and more and more.

  • And indeed, I think, rather than being annihilated,

  • the performing arts are posed on the brink of a time

  • when we will be more important

  • than we have ever been.

  • You know, we've said for a long time,

  • we are critical to the health of the economic communities in your town.

  • And absolutely --

  • I hope you know that every dollar spent on a performing arts ticket in a community

  • generates five to seven additional dollars for the local economy,

  • dollars spent in restaurants or on parking,

  • at the fabric stores where we buy fabric for costumes,

  • the piano tuner who tunes the instruments and more.

  • But the arts are going to be more important to economies

  • as we go forward,

  • especially in industries we can't even imagine yet,