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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tom Williams and You (An Expose)

ERIC
Hey Andy! Did you hear the internet argument that rocked the Chicago Theatre world over the weekend?

ANDY
I did not. I use my weekends to do fun stuff. What’s the scoop?

ERIC
Well, it started when our favorite critic, Tom THE BOMB Williams posted his review of The Kid Thing on his blog. You can look at it here.

ANDY
Ok, now that I have read it, I do remember seeing some talk about this. What did he say that was so wrong?

ERIC
Well, everyone decided that what he said about lesbians wearing dresses and makeup was completely bigoted, as if he was 25 years old and knew better. I just saw an old man doddering on about what he thinks lesbians are...it was like when my Grandma called African-Americans “colored” in 1991.

ANDY
Hasn’t the Theatre Scene had some issues with this fella before? I mean, wasn’t there a thing that happened a few years ago with copying somebody else’s material? Hasn’t he said some things that get people huffy in the past?

ERIC
Oh, for sure, Andy. Tom THE BLOB Williams’ theatre blog is dug up every few months by some slighted industry person as an example of “what criticism ISN’T” and everyone comments and facebooks and twitters about how we should not invite Tom to shows any more and how he needs a kick in the pantys and why he likes to eat his own poop. You know, internet arguments.

ANDY
So what you are saying is, people keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Why, as adults, would we do that?

ERIC
I don’t really know, Andy. I mean, it’s the textbook definition of insanity. But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that everyone is actually insane. It’s just that some people are prettier and younger than other insane people, like Tim THE GRIM Willbians.

ANDY
Well, I wanna be clear to you about something. I think that Torm THE SWARM Wimbeldon can say whatever he wants because these people continue to invite him to their shows. They are asking him to critcize their art, and for that I say “BRAVO, Mr. Wallarms.” But what I WILL NOT TOLERATE, is some old dude thinking he can out misspell US and make casually racist comments. That, my Sir, is our territory!

ERIC
Amen to that. Here’s the deal, America. All these critics in the world, they have their turf...Venus Williams wishes everyone a good show, Chris Jones is British and aloof, Hedy Weiss is a vampire, and Ada Grey is six so no one can make fun of her. And Eric and Andy are the idiot manchildren who say retarded shit and call people retarded women who smell like placenta omelettes and this guy is HORNING IN.

ANDY
WE make the Lesbian comments in this town! Maybe Tome THE GNOME Willkens should try some other things he might be good at, like shoveling or fixing toys.

ERIC
One of the great, and really stupid, things about the internet is that anyone can say and do whatever they want. If Thomas THE GROWNMASS Wilferd wants to talk about lesbo dikes who wear jeans and have tatoos and smell like patchouli and should live in compounds while he sleeps in a Nazi uniform and eats all the flowers on your windowsill...then GODDAMN can he ever do it. But, you guys are STILL THE ONES POSTING HIM ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE WHEN HE GIVES YOUR SHOW FOUR STARS.

ANDY
So what’s the answer here, E-Bone?

ERIC
I honestly think your theatre company should have a lucid and frank OFFLINE discussion about who you want to invite to your show to review it. There are a lot of reviewers in town, and if you truly feel that Timmy THE HEADJIMMY Wilbog shouldn’t be allowed in your theatre, fine. Don’t give him tickets. I promise you, it will have no effect on your bottom line.

ANDY
Well, I would like to mention a critic whom I really like nowadays named Bob Bullen. I think he is a thoughtful dude and writes a blog called Chicago Theatre Addict. I also hope we never have to discuss Tom Williams again, because it’s so deeply, deeply uninteresting.

ERIC
I agree Andy. Let us move Tom into the dustbin of history, like driving gloves and American cars.

ANDY
Wanna go take in a Lesbian short film?

ERIC
You know that I am already doing that.

-Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer
-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

10 comments:

  1. Okay, "Venus Williams" made me laugh out loud.

    And just encountered Bob Bullen for the first time, and yes, please. Hope he sticks around.

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  2. Eric and Andy,
    It has been rumored that Tom will show up to a show, invited or not, and write a review. So, unfortunately, the terror of this man is unstoppable. NOT inviting him does not prevent him from coming and reviewing. However, if company's stop inviting him, and other websites that pull his quotes and reviews, stop posting them-The validity of his reviews may diminish.

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  3. I've heard this theatre legend as well about him reviewing a show regardless of invite. Can anyone positively confirm it? After bad experience after another, we didn't invite him to a show last season and had no such troubles. Maybe we got lucky.

    (posting this anonymously feels absolutely silly, but I really don't want him to do this to us)

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  4. Well dudes, that's the thing! We review movies and tv shows all the time without being invited too...it's the nature of the internet, and America.
    As performers, we need people to be discussing the art we make, or there is no reason to make it. So feel relieved that people care enough to talk about your plays, but if there is someone you don't agree with, then don't give them tickets or don't read the reviews.
    Hooray for America! Boo for freedoms!!

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  5. Tom Williams is now the George Lucas of theatrical criticism! FEAR HIS MIGHT!

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  6. Sports folk got this all figured out decades ago when people started jumping on the field to get on TV. The networks decided to not show them. So they stopped jumping, for the most part. (Cell phone video is giving the field streakers new life, though.)

    Stop giving him free tickets and stop reprinting his reviews. Then his blog will be what it would have been before the dawn of blogging: an old crazy dude mumbling to himself in the ham aisle of Jewel Osco.

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  7. It's true that everyone's a critic and that critics can say whatever they like. I don't think the uproar had to do with that. It's the content of Tom's comments that I believe provoked the upset, and you know what? That's a good thing. By simply "not inviting" any perspectives that don't jive with our own, do we think we are eradicating that kind of thought in the world? The frank truth is that a lot of people think the way Tom does. Most of those people probably are NOT coming to see THE KID THING - but they should. The more exposure people have, the harder it is to be ignorant. And since part of About Face's mission is to "further the dialogue about gender and sexual identity," it seems that these unfortunate remarks could be a prime opportunity for some important discussion.

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  8. You're right. It would be a great opportunity for discussion if he would accept comments on his blog. Glad we're able to further the discussion elsewhere.

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  9. My first comment on his blog would be: are you, sir, or are you not Undead Charlton Heston?

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