Economic Stimulus Money Brings Gertude Stein to Stage

Jul 17, 2010

The LA Times recently profiled a new theatrical adaptation of Gertrude Stein's novella, "Brewsie and Willie."  Within this production lies several interesting stories.  The first is that the project was created with federal economic stimulus job-creation grant funding from NEA.  Another is that the work being created is by a team of emerging (Poor Dog Group) and veteran experimental theater artists (Travis Preston and the CalArts Center for New Performance) in a rooftop commercial loft space in downtown Los Angles.

In the July 16th article, Mike Boehm writes:
The show is "Brewsie and Willie," adapted from a novella Gertrude Stein published a month before her death in 1946. It's being done by California Institute of the Arts' Center for New Performance in association with Poor Dog Group, an experimental theater company made up of former CalArts acting students who graduated in 2007.

A $50,000 chunk of the production budget is job-creation money from the feds — one one-thousandth of the $50 million the economic stimulus bill set aside to boost employment in the arts, after Congressional debate as to whether the work artists do actually has any economic importance.

The pay is hardly lavish — less than $3,000 each, on average, for eight actors and nine designers, technicians and other behind-the-scenes personnel, covering about three months' work. But without it, says Carol Bixler, producing director of the Center for New Performance, "we would never have been able to do this show."

In applying for the economic stimulus grant, administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, CalArts emphasized that $50,000 for "Brewsie and Willie" would put money in the pockets and a credential on the résumés of young theater artists trying to gain a foothold on their careers at a time when the prospects for recent graduates in many fields, including the arts, have been darkened by the Great Recession.

continue reading full article...

If you're in the greater Los Angeles region in the next couple weeks, be sure to check out "Brewsie and Willie." Ticketing and info found here.

Have other tips about art making in a time of "financial crisis" that we should know about? Send them to us at

Tags: CalArt, Travis Preston, Poor Dog Group, Los Angeles, Obama, Economic Stimulus, NEA

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