Monthly Archives: April 2011

Guest Blog: Philip Huang, the Home Theater Festival & tuff love for indie performance artists

Dear artists. My name is Philip Huang and I am the founder of the Home Theater Festival. Each year I invite artists and performers to present full-length shows in their livingrooms and kitchens and garages. This year, we booked home shows around the globe, from California to New York, Japan to Australia, and Canada to the Czech Republic.
It’s pretty awesome. And it’s all done with zero money. But that’s not what I want to talk about with you today. I want to tell you why I created this festival.
So you would shut the fuck up.
That’s right. So you would stop running your Goddamned mouths.

Because I’m sick of hearing you talk about that one project that’s been in your head a million years. I’m sick of hearing how you’re totally gonna do it once you get a grant or get accepted into that residency or call that gallery or theater you’ve been meaning to work with. Because the fact is, you’re not going to get that grant or that residency. You’re not going to contact that gallery or that theater. It’s not because you’re not talented and driven and awesome. You are. It’s just that you’re lazy. Let’s face it. You’re never gonna get off your ass to raise money or pick up the phone. You’re just going talk and talk and talk and feel sorry for yourself until Mama takes you shopping for shoes.
Well children, you don’t have an excuse anymore. Mama created the Home Theater Festival for broke, lazy assholes just like you. If you have a shit-hole apartment, you have a venue. If you have ten friends who’ll come over and get drunk, you have an audience.
Listen to Mama here. You already have everything you need, right now, with nothing more, to make a career for yourself.
That’s more hopeful than anything you’ll hear in that $65 skills-building seminar you went to at the local arts foundation.
You don’t need to write a grant. You don’t need to do a residency. You don’t have to work with a gallery or theater. You don’t ever have to go to another lame cheese-and-wine networking event so you can collect a bunch of fucking business cards from people you’ll never call.
What you do need is a deadline.
The Home Theater Festival, at its barest, is nothing more than a series of deadlines to make art.
And what you need is a cheerleader, or a community of cheerleaders.
The Home Theater Festival, at its fullest, is nothing more than a community of broke, lazy artists committed to making art at any cost. We are a community of artists committed to helping each other make awesome work with nothing at all.
And the art you make may be messy and cheap. That’s fine. But I’ll tell you. As someone who’s seen more home shows than probably anyone on the planet, I can tell you that shows in livingrooms and kitchens and backyards are more alive and personal than most of the bullshit that passes for art in “real” venues.
I know what you’re thinking. Home shows are cute and all, but I want to be a legitimate artist. I’m trying to be the kind of artist that gets grants and flies around the world doing residencies, and a home show just ain’t gonna cut it.
To which I say, If you keep thinking that way, you’re part of the problem.
Because legitimacy is a fucking shell game. Legitimacy is a carrot the arts foundations and institutions dangle to keep us playing their game.
Well no more. We can start our own game. We can control how and when and why we make art. We can control the means of production and distribution. We can keep all the money we make, with no third parties skimming our ticket sales. We can marshal the full potential of our networks, and make all of our dreams come true.
We can do everything we want to do, right now, with exactly what we already have.
This idea is only going to get bigger. If we have a network of livingroom venues in every state, on every continent, we can start to host each other on that world tour we’ve all been dreaming of. And it’ll be a hell of a lot simpler than getting off your ass to cold-call theaters and galleries and foundations.
Is your dick hard yet?
Now stop bitching and get to work.

Philip Huang
Join the HTF movement
And if you’re stoned and need some laughs, check out Philip’s Video Club


Philip Huang is the founder of the Home Theater Festival and the author of A Pornography of Grief, due out this month. Please feel free to contact him by email or Facebook:


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Inspiring Creativity, Guest Blog by Lisa Canning

As part of the festival we welcome guest bloggers to share their perspectives on the value of creativity and creative labor.  We are delighted to share the insights of Lisa Canning, Executive Director of The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship™. In addition, To Art & Profit is partnering with the IAE.  Buy your tickets to the April weekend of To Art & Profit and get in to Produce IT!, a professional development workshop, for free. Contact Jess Kaswiner via to redeem!

Arts Advocacy Day: Focus on the Bright Spots

This past Monday and Tuesday, April 4th-5th, we celebrated the 24th annual Arts Advocacy Day. Organized by Americans for The Arts, Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations and grassroots advocates from across the country to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.

Although these two days of recognition are a great achievement for the arts, your advocacy efforts do not have to end on April 5th.  Why not make it Arts Advocacy month? I hope every To Art and Profit reader will get involved by underscoring where you see the arts currently thriving. With actors Kevin Spacey, and Hill Harper at the Congressional kick off in DC this week, and Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey providing testimony at a special hearing of the house appropriations subcommittee, I hope these days are filled with bright spots and not the depressing news about funding cuts for the arts, and our fear, in some cases, of survival. None of this will help us make our point, really.

I know as an artist or an arts administrator it is pretty easy to focus on “the problem.” In fact, our arts training taught us well to quickly recognize “what’s broke”, and to ask and answer “how do I fix it?”  Except when the problem continues to grow in size, despite our focusing on it, like now, we need to change our approach.  So when you contribute your ideas and thoughts about what Arts Advocacy means to you on facebook and twitter, focus on providing the answer to this question alone: ‘What’s working and how can we do more of it?’

This question is rarely the one we ask first in life because it’s far more easy to focus on the problem. And yet, by focusing on the bright spot(s) we have a far greater chance of  transforming impossibly difficult situations.  If it seems hard for you to believe that this really works, read Chip Heath & Dan Heath’s book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. It is loaded with real world “bleak and seemingly hopeless” examples of how the impossible becomes possible when we do.

This past weekend I attended and presented two workshops for Linda Essig, Arizona State University and P.A.V.E. Creating Infrastructure for Creativity Innovation Conference in Tempe, AZ. (P.A.V.E by the way stands for: performing arts venture experience)

Ben Cameron from the Doris Duke Foundation was the keynote and he both figuratively and literally illuminated beautifully the inherent undeniable power of focusing on a bright spot.

While it might be easy to imagine that this photo of Ben was “altered” to illustrate my point, it was not. I took 5 different pictures of Ben on stage, as he spoke, and in every one he only appeared surrounded by bright white light.  And the bright spots that exist in the arts right now are indeed this bright, magnetic and hard not to want to pay attention to. Here are a few of Ben’s bright spots that he mentioned in his speech: The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Bill Rauch and The Cornerstone Theater Company in LA and The Trey McIntyre Project in Boise Idaho. And here are a couple of other things Ben shared that really jumped out at me–  The first was ” What in the arts are we going to stop doing to change our circumstances?”  He went on to remind us all that the only constant in life is change itself and that we must learn how to, like hockey star Wayne Gretzky said about his success,  “skate to where the puck will be to score.”

So, where is your puck going that you need to skate to? What’s working for you artistry or arts organization? What artistically is resonating well within your community? How can you create more of the same?

I hope you will share your ” bright spot” ideas today. Get involved in upcoming panels and contribute to the conversation, April 16th for “Produce It!” with The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship for To Art and Profit’s “Quit Bullshittin’ Recognizing Division And Building Solidarity in the Arts on April 17th.  Join in the conversation.

It’s Arts Advocacy Day.

Lisa Canning, Executive Director

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship™

*Picture caption: Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Foundation aka a Bright Spot

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Get ready for the next installment of To Art & Profit!

APRIL 15-17

Quit Bullshittin’: Recognizing Division & Building Solidarity in the Arts

Collaborating Artists: In The Spirit, Siete Lunas Nuevas, Avery R. Young, Boogie McClarin, Nikki Patin, Crystle Dino, Nicole Noland & Fathom DJ


Friday April 15 & Saturday April 16 

8PM at Links Hall, 3435 N.Sheffield

Sunday April 17

FREE Community Spectacle with Collaborating Artists @ 4pm

& Panel Discussion 5:30pm with Eric Williams (Silver Room), Jess Kaswiner (Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship), Alice Kim (IHC/The Public Square), Meg Duguid (Cultural Grants/Department of Cultural Affairs) & Ed Onaci (The People’s Collective)

At the Maekeen Room

2147 S. Lumber Street, Suite 405

River Front Lofts, Pilsen


Come As You Are: Re-Imagining Art with a Conscienc

Collaborating Artists:

Silvita Diaz Brown, Nicole Garneau & Lani Montreal

Nicole LeGette

The Ladies Ring Shout, Ayako Kato & David Boykin


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized