Things They Don’t Teach in Arts Administration Programs #2

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the sad lack of bong water removal techniques in my Masters of Arts Administration program.

Staying with the theme of disgusting substances, I bring you the second installment of:

Things They Don’t Teach in Arts Administration Programs

#2 – How to say vomit in Russian.

A few months ago we hosted a Russian ballet company who danced a beautiful performance of Romeo and Juliet.

Over the few days they were in residence, I quickly got used to tripping over stretching dancers in the lobby and Prokofiev pouring out of the speakers instead of the usual John Hiatt or Buddy Guy.

It took me a little longer to realize that only one member of the company spoke English.

And even he spoke very little.

During one of the performances I was in the office when that one member, the company manager, came rushing in.

“Heder. Help.” He said repeatedly.

(No disrespect intended with the phonetic spelling. That’s just how he said my name.)

I followed him backstage where he proceeded to point to one of the dancers on stage and make a terrible face.

I watched the dancer for a moment.

He seemed fine. He was dancing, dancing well from what I could tell. I mean I’m no expert but he was leaping and twirling and doing all those other things ballet dancers do.

But Igor (the company manager’s name was Igor) was getting frantic. He pointed more urgently, made up progressively worse faces and repeated a single word over and over.

Finally (probably in disgust at my ignorance) he leaned over, stuck out his tongue and made a splatting motion with both his hands.

In other words, the universal symbol for puke.

Apparently the dancer had vomited just before going on stage and they needed Tums.

I feel badly that I made Igor go through such antics for some antacids.

And it all could have been avoided if my degree had included a class in how to say vomit in 29 different languages.

Things They Don’t Teach in Arts Administration Programs #1

I’m a firm believer in education.

And my masters degree is arts administration gave me a lot of valuable information that contributes to my success as an executive director of a non-profit performing arts center.

But no program, no matter how comprehensive, can prepare you for everything.

So I’ve started a list of items I’ve needed to know in my job that aren’t covered in the standard arts admin curriculum and I plan to post them here from time to time.

Things They Don’t Teach in Arts Administration Programs

#1 – How to get bong water out of a carpet.

Our performing arts center, on occasion, will present a show whose audience enjoys a toke or two.

While we don’t allow it and certainly put a stop to it if we see it (it is still illegal after all), once in a while people will sneak weed and its accompanying paraphernalia by our ushers and into the theater.

Then they get dancing or twirling around or bouncing or one of the other things high people do at concerts and the next thing you know, there’s bong water on our carpet.

It doesn’t smell good and it stains. But no one ever taught me exactly how to best clean it up.

Who knew that a class on bong water would have been more helpful in my career than one on intellectual property rights?