Tuesday, June 30, 2009
If someone had told me 3 months ago that quitting smoking was easy and enjoyable, I would have laughed in their face. But it really can be. As I type this, I still wouldn't mind stepping out for a cigarette, but I don't think it's who I am anymore. The subconscious is a powerful thing. If you are a smoker, right now it is confirming your smoker status. It is telling you that you are a smoker and you cannot quit. It's just who you are.
And that's 100% true. But that script is as changeable as your underwear. Well, it requires a little more effort than changing your underwear, but not much. So, teach your subconscious a new lesson, and it will wake up with you in the morning and tell you that you are 100% a non-smoker. It really will. All you have to do is change the script.
Life is a play. A comedy or a drama, or a drama giocoso. And you get to "right" the script. Entirely. That's the lesson to be learned from quitting smoking. Almost makes you wish you had started smoking so you could quit, eh?
Off to "write my play"! Hope you all have a lovely day!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Suzanne Hefty, Howard Miller, Eric Dillner: I am not at all satisfied with your response so far. I will be writing a letter to the Journal Sentinel, to the editor, and to you. If you prefer to call me and answer my questions before I continue to dig deeper, that would be appreciated. 414.573.4666
It's hard not to just sigh really loudly when reading this. When will these forums for discussions begin? I don't understand the whole notion of Skylight having a $700,000 credit line, $400,000 outstanding, and they are looking at a $200,000 deficit next year making them insolvent? Granted, no one wants to carry around that much debt, but if you still have $100,000 in credit available to you, how does that make you insolvent?
I think Miller and Hefty are trying to snow us with numbers. We have been assured that combining the MD and AD job was never in the works, but then how does the idea to do that appear out of no where? Please call Eric Dillner, Suzanne Hefty, and Howard Miller. Ask them who's idea this was in the first place. I think it's important to know.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Gift of The Skylight
By Christine Harris - Posted on 25 June 2009
I love how social media combined with amazing passion can spark a conversation that has meaning well beyond the borders of the issue that started the flame! It has been both inspirational and sad to read all of the Twitter, Facebook, press, and other communication around the recent Skylight situation. Inspirational because a community dialogue about the health and wellbeing of our future as an arts and culture sector is welcome at any time. Sad because so much blame, hurt, and deep concern for the health of a beloved organization has been going around and around and around.
I agree with Jonathan West's comments about examining the role of community leadership when 'one of us' hits a rough patch. Do we comment; support; ignore; ridicule; criticize? Do we turn inward or do we turn outward? None of us on the outside (and many on the inside) do not know the facts and issues facing an organization's leadership. Those that have a vested fiduciary and policy oversight interest - board members and donors - should be expressing their thoughts directly to the organization and assisting in whatever manner possible in making sure that their organization is serving its stakeholders and the general public well. And then, setting the stage for appropriate stewardship going forward. Many of these comments do not need to be, nor should they be, public. The policy and fiscal oversight of any non-profit rests fully with its Board of Directors - period. And, it lives with the consequences of any of its actions.
That said, these days our personal and organization lives are increasingly public and available for scruitny. Frankly, we shoulnd't bemoan this situation because we collectively have created what we now have. And, the world is only going to move faster in this direction so we had better be prepared for the ride. This transparency can be very healthy if we learn and improve or it can be destructive if we complain and blame. The Skylight's gift to our sector in all of this is the opportunity to self-examine how each of us is handling our stewardship; how genuinely open and communicative we are; how well we are serving our stakeholders; how trustworthy we are to our public. This is the bigger picture dialogue that is worth having now.
The Alliance did privately communicate very early on to the Skylight what it thought was a helpful observation. Whether or not it was meaningful to them was their decision. I say this because there may have been many other such private communications from within and without and they have made their own choices accordingly - and rightly so. And clearly the public media communication has been very available to them.
Now that they have gone public with their process - see Tom Strini's recent blog and story on Sunday - good stewardship would argue for their letting us know what they are going to be doing to ensure that the Skylight remains a beloved, well-respected and supported large performing arts institution. Clearly, a lot of people care deeply and what a true treasure that is. There's an old saying - something like; it's not that you fell down or made a mistake but it's how you get up that tells you the character of a person. The same is true for nonprofit organizations.
HOWEVER: I might not bike to and from the donation center in 90 degree heat ever again. I thought I was seeing little dots of light everywhere. It was beautiful, but trippy.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Officials of the Skylight Opera Theatre came to the Journal Sentinel Wednesday, to comment on the company's financial condition and the hotly controversial firing of artistic director Bill Theisen and other last week.
Much more to come on this, notably in a column coming in print on Sunday, but here are some basics from what managing director Eric Dillner (the special object of scorn of bloggers and social networkers), board president Suzanne Hefty and immediate past president Howard Miller had to say:
- No one dreamed, when Dillner was hired a little over a year ago, that he would take on the duties of artistic director. This move was an unanticipated response to unanticipated financial pressure.
- This financial pressures include racking up $460,000 on a bank line of credit with a $700,000 ceiling. Also, the Skylight's building complex, a money-maker for its first 10 years, has become a financial liability as maintenance needs have grown and commercial rents have evaporated.
- Theisen and Dillner had already worked out a $400,000 cut in the production budget for the coming season when more bad economic new further depressed contributed income. Dillner felt he had no place left to cut but where he did.
- The board and Dillner continue to hold Theisen in the highest personal and professional esteem and dearly hope that he will return to direct three main stage and two studio theater productions next season.
- They feel that they did err in executing and announcing the firings the way they did, and and they acknowledge the resulting public relations disaster as damaging to the company.
- They feel they have no choice but to stay the course and hope that the rancor passes, the economy improves and the Skylight returns to the happy place we know and love.
- The company has not hired a PR firm and Dillner has not issued a list of talking points to employees.
I wonder what questions were asked. Clearly, the question asked re: the last comment was a given. No PR firm would handle this this way. Good luck, Eric. It's all yours now. Last time I felt like someone stole something this big from me was Gore v. Bush.
Hello Skylight Staff:
The next Skylight Full Staff meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 16 at 9:30am in the Skylight Bar.
All staff members are required to attend this meeting. Among the topics will be safety in the Third Ward and how we as a staff and a business can best prevent vandalism, theft, and other destructive occurrences.
So the theft he must have been referring to was his stealing of the company. The vandalism is what he was planning to do to the company's reputation, and the destructive occurrences are all the things he has done so far to mismanage the company. Now that I read the email again, I see that he was very specific, just a bit poetic.
I'm mad as hell...
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I didn't blog much today. Wasn't too angry, and didn't do to much. And now I'm blogging about not blogging and telling my followers that I have nothing interesting to report. I call that meta-blogging.
Keep up the fight, those that believe.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Tomorrow morning, June 23, 2009, at around 8:45am, I will ask Eric for his "talking points" that supposedly will validate the restructuring of the company. I am not doing this to be malicious. I am doing this because the only way forward for Skylight is the company without Eric. And I do, and have, care for the Skylight deeply. It has been my friggin' home for like 10 years now. Eric must go. Skylight must conquer. Eric, if you are reading this, this is the worst day of your idiot life. Please copy this note and send it to Eric. Sage, please copy this note and send it to Eric. firstname.lastname@example.org
To my absolute astonishment, Eric has decided to dig in. You must call him tomorrow at 291.7811 x221 (and I hope to re-post his cell phone here, if I can find it...anyone have it?) and demand either his resignation or his so called "talking points" (a document he is handing out to the staff, letting them know what to say to the public), i.e., the answers.
(this is a copy of my facebook status. eric has forced me back into all out warfare approach again. The community has spoken overwhelmingly against him. And still he, his wife, and Suzanne Hefty believe they can pull this off. Unbelievable hubris, but moreover, idiocy. Please forward this content to everyone you know. Have them call me if they have questions. (414.573.4666) Tomorrow, I go TOTALLY viral on his ass. He will not know what hit him.
But I find that hypnotherapy, and particularly my lovely hypnotherapist, Denise Keenan, to be so much more useful than just quitting smoking. I feel more connected to joy, awareness, strength, and tranquility than I ever have.
She offers a five session package that she says will guide you through any obstructions that are keeping you from reaching your full potential. I feel like she touched on a lot of that today. It was amazing. I found answers to some questions that I had, and they came from me, not her. And I'm pretty sure they are the right answers.
I'm sold. It's really more of a de-hypnotizing of false beliefs and thoughts that you might have that you don't even know you have. Starts with, why do I__________? (i.e., smoke). If you live in Milkwaukee and are looking for help with a problem, try Denise!
Skylight Board ~
Your Milwaukee Theatre community implores you to, at the very least, offer some sort of explanation for the events of the past week. As more and more information is uncovered surrounding the Skylight axing (and yes, by now it is quite viewed as a witch hunt) the silence of the board is deafening. With the unfounded firing of Jamie Johns and the resignation of one of your own board members, the waters just get murkier and murkier. I can only hope that many of you are as shocked by these events as we all are (including Bo Beal) and that you are just trying to figure out how to best clean up this awful mess.
Clearly, by now you must be aware that this is not just a bunch of kids who are mouthing off because their friend(s) got fired. I must assume you are aware of the national press this debacle is garnering. Including (but not limited to): Playbill, The Arts Journal, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, The Clyde Fitch Report, among others.
You are also, by now, well aware that this outpouring *protest* from the community is not born from maliciousness, but rather born of passion for a Skylight that we all desperately love.
I have faith that you all, as members of the Skylight Board, also have great love for the Skylight...which is why we implore you to not sit idly by while our beloved Skylight is destroyed. There are other options here. Options that simply MUST be explored and acted upon. You all have the opportunity to be the heroes here. Please, please embrace that opportunity.
- Skylight Patron & Artist
Hoping to maybe go out and have a drink someplace tonight. Anyone wanna meet up? Maybe at Charlie's, the new establishment down by Skylight?
Love to Milwaukee! Viva Milwaukee Arts!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I think there are many things, many many things that we can do to make this all work out just right. Look forward next fall to the Grand Re-Opening of The Skylight Musical Theater (my suggestion for a title, I'll tell you why another time).
And that's why you never name your blog after a specific crisis you are in.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Good night, and good luck.
I will admit that I only see 4-5 other productions a year than the Skylight's . Maybe you don't even think I care about theater. I am making this about me, so it doesn't have to be about me. Milwaukee theater, grow a pair. Skylight opera, I shed many tears every time I type the word Sky.
Why won't anyone join in on this dialogue? What are you hiding from us, Eric Dillner?
There's a lot of opportunity there, and it takes very little imagination to figure it out.
Even if Bill won't come back, we find an interim managing director (Christine would be perfect), beg Bill to direct the entire season, including Paula's show and An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan (both of which I assume are being chopped from next season's 50th anniversary), and we hold a summit with the board. Truth and reconciliation. No one who is working at Skylight now would lose their job, and all cuts would be reinstated. If we truly need to find $200,000, I'm quite convinced that the community is ready to put that (and so much more) up. Instead the Skylight continues to bleed money as donors pull out and outrage sponsors and patrons cut off their support.
Please remember, many important people have already pledged to pull their support from the Skylight. And they have lost Bill. The place is going to totally suck when Eric is out front shaking hands, every third show or so. Hello? The rest of you honestly believe Skylight is going to be worth supporting after this. HA!
Love my mom.
I was told by someone I adore that the very first letter I wrote to the Board needed to be re-framed to help speak their language. Sadly, I had already sent it, when I asked her to proof it. But you know what? If I rewrote the letter and sent it 12 hours later, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. I would have received no response or a polite response, or possibly, radically, a "let's talk about that"...a meeting Norman Moses assures me would end in bewilderment, hypnotized bybusiness-ease.
Some people are beginning to hate me. But, all I did was use my first amendment rights. Not only can you get fired for that in this country, it'll cost you friends and respect.
C'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la pomme de terre.
The sign might also say: Stopping at: The spirit of Colin Cabot, The spirit of Claire Richardson, The Spirit of Richard Carsey. The spirit of Francesca Zambello.
That is exactly what has happened this week. Farewell, Skylight. I will miss you.
I know a couple 100 people and a few $100,000. doesn't mean much to these people, which is what it appears they have lost in this PR debacle so far, but the cause of this debacle was based on only one person, Eric, and his huge ego, and $200,000. So WTF.
I think I learned today that it's rare to beat city hall.
Some people actually believe Eric can do both of those mammoth jobs.
No one I talk to believes that a company can have a marketing director who is also the box office manager. One person of authority on these issues said that the box office manager is the most important employee. The face of the company for 80% of the audience.
So, bottom line, this restructuring is untenable.
Sadly, I doubt the Board will read my blogs. But you can send them to Eric!