From today's edition of the weekly
All Over Creation
Whenever you feel like throwing a pillow over the Payne Awards, consider this
by Robert Faires
[ . . . .] You'll find [. . .] fume and froth anywhere awards are handed out – the Oscars, the Grammys, the Daytime Emmys – and in any judged competition where "one day you're in; the next day you're out." [. . . .] [B]y virtue of their longevity, the Paynes have the greater claim on a local tradition of disputatiousness.
So why even have these arts awards if they're so divisive and infuriating? It's not as if every profession recognizes its work this way. Plumbers aren't honored for the year's best installation of a kitchen-sink disposal, nor are waiters for outstanding recitation of the daily specials. If they don't require awards, why do artists? Well, awards have become valuable to us in building community, bad attitudes notwithstanding. In our fractured, cocooning culture, the handing out of these awards is one of those increasingly rare public rituals that can still draw us out of our separate corners of the community – like homecoming dances and Independence Day parades – and into a shared space, to gather us together in acknowledgment of our common bonds. Even with all the carping, the Payne Awards reaffirm the shared commitment of people making theatre in Austin.