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An Observation About Feedback

May 13, 2009

Looking back over close to three years of blogging, I've been struck by what kinds of blog posts attract the most comments from readers.

The posts that seem to compel by far the highest number of responses are the ones where I take an unpopular viewpoint on some element of popular culture. The barrage of feedback (some of it unpublishable!) I've received over the past few days following an entry I wrote about Britain's Got Talent chanteuse Susan Boyle is a case in point. When I wrote in a similarly skeptical vein about the movie Mama Mia! last summer, I received an even greater volume of outburst from readers -- and still receive occasional emails on the subject to this day.

Obviously, the high number of responses I have received to these posts can be attributed to a degree to the fact that both Boyle and Mama Mia! are part of pop culture and consumed by people all over the world.

I'm fascinated by the passion with which people have defended both subjects of my posts and I'm extremely happy to hear from all these avid music fans. I only wish that readers would engage as enthusiastically on other topics.

While I realize that live theatre and music performances are experienced by far smaller audiences than blockbuster summer movies and YouTube clips of prime time TV shows, it'd be great to receive similarly ardent messages from readers, telling me that they agreed or disagreed with what I wrote on a recent blog post about, say, countertenor David Daniels' most recent appearance at the Herbst Theatre or Mark Jackson's new play at Shotgun Players.

This doesn't happen very often. Sad.


  • I think you mean your blog about Mark Jackson's Miss Julie at Aurora (trying to see who's paying attention?). His Faust at Shotgun hasn't opened yet. I'm visiting and will see Miss Julie Sunday and I'd be happy to comment then. Unless you meant his recent Macbeth at Shotgun, though I don't recall you blogging about it. One of my least favorite Jacksons, by the way. It seems one of his favorite recent shows must be foolsFury's Monster in the Dark - half the Monster cast was in Macbeth and Peter Ruocco returns in Faust.

    By Blogger Tom, At May 15, 2009 at 12:12 AM  

  • Hi Tom
    Funnily enough, as I was composing this blog entry a couple of days ago, I was thinking of you! You're one of the few people who does write back offering their thoughts about plays they see in the Bay Area. And I'm very indebted to your for your input :)
    As for Jackson' Macbeth, I wrote my column for SF Weekly about it late last year:

    By Blogger Chloe Veltman, At May 15, 2009 at 7:43 AM  

  • That's sweet. I'm in exile for a year but still read your blog to keep up on what's happening. Even when I'm here I rarely read the rag you write for so I missed the review. You focused on things I didn't pay sufficient attention to, which was great and that's the kind of thing that makes you a good critic. But I expected more from Mark, more surprises, more moments that revealed a new dimension or nuance or fresh way of staging a scene. You mentioned most of them, but they were just flashes within an otherwise very average Macbeth, and I've seen several people in the cast do better work. The single witch was an interesting idea, but she wasn't used as much as she could have been. While I love directors whose hand is almost invisible, such as Kent Nicholson, in this case I wanted more from the director. I didn't see a real need to get this Macbeth on stage, and nothing like the radical reimagining of Chekhov or Don Juan that we'd seen Mark do recently. It seemed uncommitted, especially in contrast to Patrick Stewart's recent Macbeth in NY, which had the typical design you mentioned but every moment of that performance was fresh & completely realized. And we know it doesn't matter that it had a famous actor and a zillion dollars because we both liked Cutting Ball's Endgame better than Turturo's.

    By Blogger Tom, At May 17, 2009 at 12:40 AM  

  • I'm confused. If you didn't blog about Macbeth, where's the beef? I will probably always comment on something you blog about Mark Jackson, as long as I see the show, and just left a comment about Miss Julie. The beauty of this format is that it's almost a conversation and people like Mark are worth talking about. I wouldn't typically write a letter to the editor about something you wrote for the SF Weekly unless you started trashing great shows for no reason, but if it helps you to get published more I'd be happy to send them email about your reviews.

    By Blogger Tom, At May 19, 2009 at 10:03 PM  

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