Sunday, June 08, 2008

Advice on art (and life) from Jim McKay

In a town as heavily invested in sports as Indianapolis is, I hope it's not too jarring to apply some advice from Jim McKay, the well-known sportscaster who died on Saturday, to the local arts scene.

Writing in the New York Times this morning, Richard Sandomir recalls McKay's words in admonishing ABC Sports for yesterday's Big Brown-focused coverage of the Belmont Stakes. Buying into the "buzz" about Big Brown, according to Sandomir, ABC Sports overlooked the story on the rest of the pack, including the surprising winner, Da' Tara.

Claiming that ABC Sports was "stung" by covering only Big Brown, Sandomir suggests the network would have done better to follow McKay's advice: "To find the best stories, leave the main road and look down the side streets."

In other words, sometimes it's the long shots that make for the memorable moments (in the arts as in horse racing).

All this by way of saying: Get out and look at art ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE. Don't buy into the hype of what's "worthy." Make up your own mind. One of these days you'll find yourself with your eye on a winner while everyone else has their attention focused on the media darling.

I'm sure that I'm preaching to the choir here at On the Cusp. But I can always do with a gentle reminder not to rely too much on media attention or artistic self-promotion when deciding what to see -- and there is such a LOT of art to see these days around town.

Between the baseball games, car races and big-production art exhibitions, I hope to bump into you down some of the side streets this summer.

In tribute to Jim McKay, who made sports coverage on TV enjoyable for many of those (like me) in the sports-averse sorority.

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