The Playgoer: time-lapse criticism?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

time-lapse criticism?

Always interesting to see a critic experimenting with the form, even if in a different genre. In this case, food. Steve Cuozzo, the restaurant critic of the New York Post (now now, no jokes) is starting something of a revolution. Read about it here.

His assessment reminds me of the occasional call for theatre critics to plan "return visits," to reviews the growth of plays in addition to (or rather than) their opening nights. Not sure how I feel about that, or even how feasible it would be for the busy New York reviewer. But I'm for all creative thinking of our practices.

Meanwhile, consider these sample Cuozzo provocations and observe the parallels to the stage beat:

"Most reviews appear within two to six months after the opening. Once that was considered a fair amount of time to allow a new place to settle in. In fact, today, it's the worst time to take the pulse of a place."

"No wonder no reviewer today has one-eighth the influence Mimi Sheraton had 25 years ago. Zero-star drubbings in the Times the last few years didn't lay a glove on Hudson Cafeteria, Amaranth or Rosa Mexicano.(...)Meanwhile, recipients of three and even four stars fold with embarrassing regularity(...). Critics lost clout to the Zagat Survey, televised "rock star" chefs and the instantaneous omniscience of the Web."

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