Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
Every year about this time I make it a point to recite the first dozen or so lines of the Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales — to myself, and to anyone I can get to listen — as part of a spring ritual that’s also a diagnostic of a sort: if I can get through it without stumbling, at least some faculties are still operating in the old brain-box.
And bathed every veyn in swich licour
Of which vertu engendered is the flour…
This spring is a new beginning for me as well as for the year: I joined Arts Hub as US Editor in January, and, with the encouragement of my colleagues and mentors in Melbourne and London, have made a start on bringing the US into the Arts Hub family, to which I welcome you — and anyone you’d like to bring along with you.
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heethe
The tendre croppes…
I come to you from the life of a gypsy adjunct in the service of upper education, where I taught, among other things, writing, literature, theatre history, public speaking, and hypertext theory and practice. Last fall I was putting 600 miles per week on my car, Mighty Haakon WonderVolvo; today I drove a laptop to work at my dining room table, though in the near future I’ve been promised an office in Manhattan. Woo-hoo!
…and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
It’s a great joy to be spending my days and nights finding out what’s going on here and now in the US arts scene, when just a few months ago, and for many years before that, I spent most of my time finding out what was going on in some arts scene a hundred or a thousand years ago, someplace else. That was deeply fun, and I’m glad I have that historical and multicultural perspective to bring to the work at hand here at Arts Hub US. But, as we say here in Nee Yawk, dis is betta.
And smale foweles maken melodye
That slepen al the nyght with open eye
I’ve been to gallery openings for outsiders and an artists-book maker, a late-winter exhibition on ice, and a collective celebration of Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory Superstars and followers; I went to a conference on digital publishing (and got a free laptop tote!), and a talk on the copyfight and free culture; I saw the films The Children of Men, The Departed, An Inconvenient Truth, and The Devil Wears Prada; I attended Galway Kinnell’s 80th birthday party at Cooper Union; I read Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories and Oprah’s new book club selection, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. And, under a warm spring shoure last week, I strolled back to the Middle Ages at the Cloisters, where hang the breathtaking newly-cleaned Unicorn Tapestries.
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages…
Since I showed up, Arts Hub has cut over to an entirely new web design, first at the mother ship in Australia, then two weeks later in UK, and as of last week here in the US. This week Arts Hub US ramps up from one e-bulletin per week to two, with an eye towards achieving parity with UK at three “bullies” per week in the near future. This week and all this month we will also add new voices to the two doughty feature writers E.P. Simon and Howard Emanuel, who’d been holding the fort since November, until I could come on board.
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages…
This month at Arts Hub US you’ll read about John Fugelsang’s new one-man show All the Wrong Reasons; Steve Reich & Philip Glass at 70; Ad Hoc Chorales all over the world; Andy Warhol 20 years after his death; a visit to Arts Fairs; an interview with Americans for the Arts’ CEO Robert L. Lynch; audience development for the arts; and our first US Artist’s Voice by Emna Zghal, a Tunisian mixed-media artist working in New York.
We’ll also introduce columns by the New Media Maven, the Expressions Dance Company — an Australian troupe on tour in the US — and a special guest, the Psychologist Observer, a patron of the arts with a special point of view…
I’m keen to goon on this pilgrimage, and look forward to having your company and stories along the way.