Giving Program Pick For February, 2014: The Rest Is Noise

This month’s Giving Program pick is the always popular blog from the ever-sharp king of classical music culture, Alex Ross. His blog, The Rest Is Noise, is arguably the most popular culture blog around and it doesn’t take much to realize why.

Adaptistration-Guy-049Granted, you might find his publishing platform a bit too austere for its own good. For instance, beyond the search function, there are no date based or category archives nor will you find any tag clouds.

For the record, his initial post was on April 24, 2004 but it would take you the better part of your day to click through to that post one page at a time. Hint: his permalink structure goes in reverse numerical order; meaning, the more Ross publishes, the higher the page numbers go (at the time this blog was published, the highest page was 148). The font is pretty tiny so those of you who consume your cultural content via tablet or Smartphone best warm up your pinching fingers for all of the zooming in; asnd I almost forgot, you can’t leave any comments.

But all of this is forgivable since the content is just…that…good. Simply put, it’s Alex Ross. If some sort of Good Housekeeping seal of approval for culture blogs existed, it would have his face on it. In all likelihood, he’s one brilliant observation away from becoming a proprietary eponym.

So yes, we can even forgive him for using font sizes so small I’m convinced he’s being paid off by the American Optometric Association to secure decades worth of new customers. Seriously though, if The Rest Is Noise isn’t part of your cultural blog lexicon, you’re missing out.

Since Ross doesn’t maintain a virtual tip jar, I will make a donation to a nonprofit organization of his choice.

What Is The Giving Program?

The brainchild of Shoshana Fanizza from Audience Development Specialists (ADS), the Giving Program is a way to acknowledge those within the culture blogging community that I believe make a difference. I’ll be posting something each moth featuring the latest Giving Program target, although for obvious conflict of interest reasons, I’ll have to exclude what would otherwise be my shortlist of authors at Inside The Arts (plus I’m pretty sure they already know I love them).

I hope everyone considers giving the program a try; all you have to do is follow Fanizza’s four point guideline:

  1. I will keep track of the blogs and other free information sites that I have come to rely on.
  2. Every month I will decide on a person to donate or contribute.
  3. I am making sure to value the people that are making a difference and showing them my appreciation with this gift.
  4. I am making note of what happens to me during this program.

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About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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