Front Row Reviewers

Jul 19, 2018 | Extras, Musings

Guts and Goethe

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Jennifer Mustoe, CEO/Editor-in-Chief Front Row Reviewers Utah

The world is filled with wonder, beauty, and love. It is also filled with doubt, hatred, confusion, pain, and anger. The Arts give us a way to enjoy the good and process the difficult. A play, a symphony, an opera, a book, a movie—the Arts are our soft place to land. We can attend a production or look at a painting in a museum and so forth and we become an anonymous soul experiencing something entirely personal—and often are sitting with hundreds or thousands of others, also having their communal, individual experience. This anonymity levels the playing field for humanity. We all have the right to experience the Arts as we see fit.  What I like, you may not. What I love, you may hate. Your favorite might be my least favorite.

But the Arts exist to help us through life.

So, by a raise of hands—how many of you think criticism, scorn, and sometimes even a lack of integrity and respect encourages us as a whole and us as individuals to cling to the Arts that help us stay sane? Now, raise your hand if you think praise, honesty, integrity, honor, and respect can allow us in the Arts, those who produce and those who patronize, grow and learn and thrive?

In this age, there are many who think that any kind of attention (followers, page likes, social media “wins”, “discussions”) are worth everything and are willing to be rude, dishonest, and even often destructive just to get that attention. We see it all the time in the social media universe. If that’s your jam, I guess that’s for you to deal with. That kind of fame and attention gets that immediate rush of recognition, and if it hurts others, so what?

That is not what Front Row Reviewers Utah is about—never has been and never will be.

We are often disparaged because we have the audacity to look for the good and not trash what might often be considered subpar. We don’t have “guts”, we aren’t “tough”, we aren’t critical.
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Darn right, we’re not critical, in the most destructive definition of the word. But we have the guts and toughness to word things kindly because that is the best way to support the Arts. Straight up.

But because we are kind does not mean we aren’t authentic, honest, or transparent. Because we aren’t willing to slam (and destroy) a young actor is his first lead in a community theater play, because we aren’t willing to say in the harshest way possible the problems in a production does not mean we are weak, or trying to kiss up with false praise, or gloss over problems. It doesn’t mean we are not working to always improve every production we see and review. We just believe that looking for the good in a production and also how to word our reviews is really the only way to see any positive change.

We’re just doing what we can to lift up the Arts in a world that needs them—now more than ever.

That being said, it does not surprise us that there are some in the Utah Arts community who are critical of us. Critics are critical. To all those who think that saying things kindly and honestly isn’t doing the Arts in Utah a service, we respectfully disagree.

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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