Hi, I’m Trav S.D., creator of Travalanche.
WordPress recently changed their back-end on us bloggers, and one positive outcome is that they made it easier to make a post sticky — to make it stay at the front of the blog. And so I post this — a variation on messages I have periodically put out into the ether over the past decade-plus. It is designed to alleviate our mutual misery, above all, mine.
I am a performing artist. For the past three decades I have acted in other folks’ plays and films, and written and performed and directed and produced my own plays and songs and monologues and movies and variety shows, mostly in New York City. That is my principal orientation. That is why I use a pen and stage name that is a synonym for “joke” and why I use the photo above — variations on that costume and make-up have been my default “look” in public for a quarter century.
My secondary calling is criticism. I took cinema studies at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and for many years (since around 1999) have been an arts critic (mostly reviewing theatre, but also film, books, museums etc) for publications like the Village Voice, Time Out New York, American Theatre, the New York Sun and the New York Times, among others. This led to some popular show biz books. Recently, someone had the generosity to plug this blog, using the qualification “He definitely has his own opinions.” That his observation should seem in any way remarkable is perplexing to me, but such are the times we live in. The way I see it, a critic is worthless without unique opinions, so long as they are well informed and the result of cultivation and experience. This is not a place to come for hagiography or received wisdoms. Like the crab in William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, I am MYSELF. MYSELF alone.
So, this is a platform for my own self-expression. I like to entertain, tell stories, and provide guidance in the development of taste, which is the job of a critic. Aesthetics is a branch of moral philosophy. This blog is conceived in the satirical spirit of the respective dictionaries of Dr. Johnson and Ambrose Bierce. It is about ME as much or more than its purported topics. How are you to know that? IT’S THE TITLE OF THE GODDAMNED BLOG. It is an avalanche of ME. While I could well do so (I know hundreds of lesser mortals who presume to do this and with less justification) I make NO claims of authority here. I write strictly for my own pleasure . This is why the blog is called “Travalanche”, not “The Scholarly Database of the Things That YOU Want to Get Out of this Interaction”. It’s why I strongly object to being called a historian, or being expected to uphold the standards of one. I’m wearing CLOWN MAKE-UP! When I am paid for publication, it is different. There, I am beholden to editors, publishers, fact-checkers, and sometimes even advertisers and accountants. Here, freedom to be myself. Do you get something out of this blog? Good, I’m glad. Me, I’m just having fun learning about my art form and sharing what I learn along the way. If you get up in my grill with corrections, rebuttals, questions, comments, and so forth it will equally be my pleasure to bite your head off cleanly at the neck. Ask around. I WILL do it. On this blog, as in life, I’ll correct my own lapses as I go foward, at least here, the only place in the world where I am King. And as the photo above indicates, I’m one who subscribes to the Peter Townsend school of self-expression. Woe to those who come within swinging distance of this uke! Have fun — and don’t bother me none!