Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since I began blogging, but The Hub Review's first post, "Welcome to the Hub Review," did indeed go up on November 15, 2006. Here's the post in full:

You've found it - the only site devoted to Boston (high) culture that tries to cover everything that matters (at least to me). Yes, I'm elitist. Yes, I'm gay. If you don't like either of those things, there are plenty of middlebrow-religious-hetero sites around to tickle your fancy. So get outta here and go crazy. Just don't whine that my standards are too high or that I'm a pervert threatening the arts or what have you. 'Cause I don't put up with that you-know-what.

No doubt you recognize the tone. I was welcomed to the blogosphere, poignantly enough, by the late Will Stackman, a pioneering local arts blogger, who wrote:

Welcome to the blogosphere. Tom. Looking forward to good reading.

I replied:

Thanks, Will. I hope I can keep things interesting.

Will, wherever you are, I think I can say I have kept it interesting. Just how interesting can be judged by what I think may have been my ten best posts over the past year. So without further ado - here's the Hub Review's first Top Ten (in no particular order).

1. Return to Sender - I started strong right out of the gate (indeed, this was only my second post), with a rant against the Huntington's smooth production of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, and the local critics who raved about it. As it turned out, the critics in New York, where Mauritius was eventually staged, agreed with me. (The post also marks the first appearance in the Comments section of Art Hennessy, fellow blogger and proprietor of The Mirror Up to Nature.)

2. My next bit of prophecy was probably "Back to the Future," my critique of the new ICA building, done at a time when the MSM was all but doing hand-springs over it. Slowly, however, more realistic assessments have surfaced - although at least David Byrne still thinks it's hip (as he ought to, it's designed by and for his generation).

3. My first jab at the "Matter Pollocks" was here, way back in January, 2007. I was sure from the start that they were fakes, and wound up in a long pissing match with a writer at the Arts Fuse who clung to both his delusions about them and his anonymity with equal fervor. By now, however, the case for their authenticity is in ruins. Hub Review 1, Arts Fuse 0.

4. & 5. Those who feel I have it "in" for the ART might re-read my review of Britannicus, their best production since far side of the moon. That analysis I feel is nicely paired with my appreciation of the Huntington's Cherry Orchard.

6. & 7. My ongoing critique of the BSO and James Levine began here, while I gave my highest praise to the Boston Ballet here.

8. & 9. I took a month or two off while playing dramaturge for Zeitgeist Stage's Valhalla, then returned with a post which raised quite a few local eyebrows: an argument that we were now producing too many new plays. Without missing a step, I then turned out a similar analysis of the problems with new musicals.

10. Awwww, are we at #10 already? But I'm only about halfway through the year, and haven't even touched on my catfight with Bill Marx, my takedown of Pauline Kael, the mini-war with Ty Burr, the infamous "Who Not to Give Money To," my thoughts on the ethics of anonymous blogging, and a whole lot more . . . Ah, well; maybe they'll have to wait for the fifth anniversary list!

So - do you think Will would agree it's been interesting? ;-)

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