Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
The most interesting part of this article to me is not that Ira Glass is performing in a modern dance show in New York (because hey, why not) but the role his involvement plays in the growth of their small organization. He’s basically like a one-man arts stimulator – I listen to This American Life regularly, and it would be a fascinating project to track his mention of Arts organization and artists themselves and their inevitable respective bump in popularity. His show is one of the first widely distributed podcasts, and it occupies a fascinating intersection of demographic appeal. If he mentions you, or endorses you, or shows up at your thing, then you’re golden. Take Mike Birbigilia, for example. He was a relatively unknown comic out of Boston, and then he started performing on This American Life. And then he co-produced a movie with Glass, and he’s now touring internationally. (If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s definitely worth watching: http://watch.sleepwalkmovie.com). Glass is clearly invested in the arts on multiple levels, and I think his adoption of smaller companies and lesser known creators is really laudable. However, I think it says something a bit daunting about the power of influence, even when used well, that he’s become such a taste maker.