Why did I do WHAT ? ? ? you ask?
Well, maybe you Don't know, Maybe you're one of the Mirror's readers who either bookmark one or two of its pages, or use the drop-box to go directly to your favorites. (And if you are, how come you're reading This Now?) But people who start with our Inroduction Page or use the "Show me Larry's Daily Update Now!" line on our Summary Page know that I spent the past five days making the COMING ATTRACTIONS and UP AND RUNNINGand OUTA THE HAT! pages in The Mirror into listings of the plays going on in the six (okay, in FIVE of the six) New England states) as I and JulieAnn Govang's NEW ENGLAND ENTERTAINMENT DIGEST could make them.
Why did I do it?
I'll start with my own, personal, selfish reason:
When Beverly Creasey sends me her reviews, she doesn't include that "listings-box" --- title, company name, theatre-address, phone; it's at the bottom of every review --- so about a month ago I was trying to look up that information to add to her new review.
When I checked NEW ENGLAND THEATER 411 I not only couldn't find it, I was astonished at how FEW people actually bothered to put their information into this useful website ... obviously what I needed wasn't there.
Okay, so I tried The Boston PHOENIX --- only to discover that whoever maintains that page had gone on vacation Thanksgiving, and didn't come back till New Year's Day. The date at the top changed every day; nothing else did. (Except for that lapse, they're now pretty reliable, if a little cumbersome to read.)
By then I was less concerned about one theater-company's vital statistics than I was about the difficulty of Finding that information Anywhere on the Internet.
After a while I stumbled on TheaterMania, which is pretty complete --- except again there's a lot of back-button work, and the list is NOT alphabetical just sort of hap-hazard. But maybe I stopped there.
Of course, I could probably have resurrected the month's N.E.E.D. --- which I still think is the most indispensible Monthly Newspaper on the arts, and Especially theater, that money can buy. (Just look at their fat AUDITIONS listings!) But of course, it's a Monthly; it's not on the Internet; it's a newspaper; and again, the arrangement presents information in a way that I, at least, find complicated.
Ah, but I heard that StageSource has a listing of performances --- and they may; I'm not a member, and for some of the StageSource advantages it's members-only-access. In any case, today when I checked their calendar, guess what I found? This! (Note the tiny note at the bottom-right of this page.)
Admittedly, I'm not good at "googling", but in any case I still, upon occasion, need quick access to an easily-handled list of shows either playing or coming, and I'd like it to cover all six states.
So that's why my "Little-Red-Hen"-act.
I had done it every week for years in the past (of course, my arthritic thumbs and myopic eyes were about five years younger then), and decided to try doing it again. As a Free Public Service for anyone on The Web who needed to know.
So now you know...
Ah, but that isn't your question is it? I know a Lot of you are just Dying to ask:
Okay, Larry, what in hell do you have against poor little Connecticut, Huh?
Honest: Nothing At All!
If I had stuck to my grindstone, I might have gotten the work done in four days --- updating it all every month, back when I was doing it, used to take me four days --- but I took time out for frivolous things, like seeing a few plays, trying to write about them, buying groceries, eating them, and sometimes sleep. And I did manage to get all the stuff for five of the six states in the list. But I finished that on the 29th of January --- and the February edition of N.E.E.D. will be in my mailbox Tomorrow. So I decided to spend all yesterday Sleeping the Sleep of the smugly Satisfied, because tomorrow afternoon the New, IMPROVED Connecticut Listings will be available, and I'll just type all of them in --- instead of having to find all the Added New listings for Connecticut that will also be there.
Yes, I will have to find and deal with the NEW listings for those Other Five states, but that will, I expect, be a four-day Snap compared to translating some six full pages of small type into what you can now see in The Mirror's COMING ATTRACTIONS page.
It is true that I once found this work taxing, and stopped. Then "St. Matt" Breton volunteered and did it for The Mirror (while still a full-time student at UMass Boston!). It's just a lot of typing and re-checking and there are people much better and much faster than I am at it. I suggested to some other organizations that they try it, but the only one that replied threw me that line about "Who's going to pay for the Insurance?"!
But, in any case, my Little Red Hen act proves it Can be done, it Doesn't cost money, and it may even prove useful to some people.
In my previous Notebook entry, I asked for this:
Oh, I almost forgot: I want a radio-station, too.
It should be an A.M. station, one that makes money but hasn't become the gold-mine or cash-cow the owner expected. I'll bet we could turn it into a twentyfour-hour Radio Theatre space on the dial with very little effort --- and leave all the commercials right where they are!
Failing that, I'd accept an hour slot each week on one of the high-end F.M. stations to do a show I'd call "The Ten-Minute Play". What with SUMMER SHORTS and THE MARATHON and PLAYWRIGHTS' PLATFORM, the ten-minute play is becoming a Boston specialty.
I'd run three of them --- recorded at the actors' convenience --- with talk with the playwright before or after each, and maybe five minutes a week in which I could answer the question "What Happened in Boston, Larry?"
This one is so easy I can Taste it!"
Well, I may actually GET That wish ---
A couple of friends are talking about digitally-recording a program much like this, then Streaming it into The Internet!
I could live with that. Couldn't you???
WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!!