28 May 2013

as promised

Good morning!

As promised, I am at the keyboard again, bright and shiny. So now, let me tell you about producing Devotion...

The first few years of Devotion were a quickly thrown together show, nothing stupendous. Chaotic at the last minute as all shows are, but it worked. I was lucky enough to meet Patrick Coffield on a trip in New Mexico and he has been my sound and light tech from the first show. We just click. He is a Buddhist Cowboy and he keeps me sane by various means of humor and seriousness.
2008: The first theater, Climate, was a tiny flophouse of a venue. It was raw, but it had an underground feel so it made sense. When Colleena and I initially conceived of the idea of Devotion we thought we'd create a buzz for San Francisco by having the show in a small (50 seat) blackbox theater on multiple weekends; a Friday night show, Sat matinee and evening show and a Sun matinee, repeated on two weekends. The arts community in San Francisco is notorious for turning it's nose up at anything mainstream, so you have to make your event look like a struggle. That wasn't hard to do.

2009: Unfortunately, the very aspect of making the show available for multiple viewings put it in the category of "I'll catch it next time" and it was not well attended. We shortened the run on the following year, but this time the venue itself was the problem (the Climate organization was starting to fall apart) and we really did have to struggle to mount the production due to issues with wiring and structure. I employed a great publicist, Amy Kweskin, to brainstorm some audience building which involved a pre-show meet and greet at a nearby restaurant. Note to self-bad idea to pull the entire company out of pre-show preparations an hour before opening night.

2010: Suffice to say that we tried exhausted the Climate and had to move on. The next year we found ourselves at Shotwell Studios. A great location, just around the corner from the FCBD® Studio on 19th St at South Van Ness. We could park our cars once and just walk to the venue! If you live in SF or have visited, you know what a joy that is (parking protocol in SF is to find a spot and take the ticket so you can stay for more than two hours, as long as they don't tow it's worth the sixty bucks.) Shotwell was just 50 seats as well, but the layout had more "air" and it didn't feel as cramped. Really, if the owner hadn't been insane we could have stayed there. Sadly, said owner managed to personally offend every member of the company just moments before the start of the show. I was amazed at the professionalism of each and every artist; at first they registered confusion at the personalized insult, then a flash of anger and then each and every one of us pulled an invisible dome of calm over ourselves and walked onto the stage as if nothing had happened. At the end of the run, I think it was just one weekend this time; Fri-Sat, we all just walked away without looking back.

That's all for now. I have lots more to tell. See you in a day of two...as promised!

1 comment:

Diana Lee said...

Ohh wow Love it!! just received it in my email. Now I won't miss any of your posts :-)

I remember in Feb. 2011 when I was there for my TT you were looking for a place for the Devotion Show. We all put our intentions for that to happen, and if I recall correctly you announce to us at the end of TT, that you had found the place. Now I know a little bit more about the history of Devotion ♥