Whom to follow on Twitter? Start with 25 of Culture Monster's favorites
Friday, July 15, is the fifth anniversary of the first public tweet, a milestone that may warm your heart or boil your blood. In that time around 260 million people, including 13% of online Americans, have told the world about their dinner, their dog and their duodenum. (I wish that last one was a joke. Sadly, no.)
Haters describe Twitter as a cesspool of narcissism. They are not entirely wrong, but Culture Monster is willing to look beyond the spam and oversharing to find much to delight in.
Across all arts disciplines are lively communities sharing news, striking up real friendships and playing impromptu parlor games like #conductormovies. Let's face it, there aren't many other places where you have instant access to people who creatively mash-up movie titles with conductors' surnames.
Twitter also gives some our favorite artists a chance to address the public directly. Dancers like Devin Alberda and Maria Kochetkova, from New York City and San Francisco ballets, respectively, have embraced Twitter to lift the cloak a little on one of the mysterious branches of the arts.
Institutions have joined the party as well, although mostly as newswires. Some, like the BBC Music Magazine, get how Twitter works and are a pleasure to keep up with.
Each week more than 1 billion tweets are sent, which can make keeping track of everything a bit overwhelming. To give you a leg up, our staff has chosen 25 accounts well worth your attention. Read on and then share your favorites to follow in the comments section.
Carolina A. Miranda (@cmonstah) blogs at c-monster.net, where her daily, profusely linked listing of (frequently surprising) topics includes art, science, gossip, art, comic books, soap operas, food, art and more. She also keeps up on gallery events for a New York City public radio station. Hence, her tweets cover more than the waterfront.
The College Art Assn., (@collegeart) age 100 in 2011, might not fit the definition of “spry,” but it does keep tabs on the professional comings-and-goings of academics, museums, artists and ethicists in the ever-enlarging field of visual art.
Tyler Green (@tylergreendc) One of the first art bloggers -- and probably the most widely read -- Green is based in our nation’s capital, which might partly explain why his tweeting links to a wide range of art stories that aren’t only local but range from coast to coast. He also likes hockey.
Jen Graves (@jengraves) How can you not follow a Seattle Stranger writer whose succinct Twitter bio says “Art critic. Former synchronized swimmer. Rocker of hats.”? There is more to art-life than deconstructing relational aesthetics.
Sam Jacob (@anothersam): An architect who helps run the neo-postmodern firm FAT in London, Jacob directs a Twitter stream that links to his personal blog and freely mixes aesthetics with politics. For him, as one recent tweet put it, "taste is political."
Annie Chu (@chugooding): The L.A. architect (of the firm Chu + Gooding) tweets about what she's reading, of course, but also regularly about the buildings (and cities) she's visiting; a recent trip to China produced a steady stream of photos of projects by Steven Holl and others.
Tom Dyckhoff (@tomdyckhoff): Architecture critic for the Times of London, he Twitter-narrates his life with generous helpings of sarcasm and self-deprecation, in true English style. Last month, as he got back to work in earnest on a book he's writing, he tweeted this: "In fact I am so hyper-writing at the mo, I have two keyboards/computers on the go simultaneously, like Thomas Dolby in the 80s. Calm down!"
Tom Vanderbilt (@tomvanderbilt): Author of the 2008 book “Traffic” and a transportation columnist for Slate, he tweets about bike lanes, parking, architecture, car wrecks and city planning. There is refreshingly little log-rolling or self-promotion; instead of social media, he tweeted recently, he's "more into antisocial media these days."
CLASSICAL MUSIC & OPERA
Alex Ross (@alexrossmusic): The classical music critic for the New Yorker somehow manages to find time to tweet in between his numerous assignments and book projects. Fun to read, and it will make you feel smarter too.
Joseph Calleja (@MalteseTenor): The 33-year-old Maltese tenor is one of a few major opera stars who tweets on a regular basis and who seems to do his own writing to boot. Past tweets include references to Russell Brand, Monty Python and European soccer teams.
KUSC 91.5 - FM (@ClassicalKUSC): The people behind L.A.'s classical radio station offer a daily mix that includes news, programming updates and offbeat classical trivia -- all done with style and a sense of humor.
Robert Vijay Gupta (@guptaviolin87): Gupta is the youngest violinist in the L.A. Philharmonic. A mix of classical news and the musician's own community service work.
Deborah Voigt (@debvoigt): This self-styled, down-to-earth diva interacts regularly with fans and tweets on the challenges of singing Schoenberg, the joys of pupil dilation and wanting to duet with Josh Groban.
Ashley Bouder (@ashleybouder) : Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. No intermission tweets but plenty of chatter about her upcoming performances, politics and Bouder's two dogs, Scout and Enid.
The Ballet Bag (@theballetbag): Run by a British banking lawyer and a physics postgraduate, the Bag Ladies (as they style themselves) provide lively and frequent updates about ballets and dancers around the world.
Devin Alberda (@dalberda): Expect gems likes "My body rejected that petite allegro like a bad skin graft" and "I have ultrasound jelly all over my armpit. The ultrasound technician didn't even hold me afterwards. I feel dirty" from this entertaining member of the New York City Ballet corps.
Maria Kochetkova (@balletrusse): Kochetkova, a principal dancer at the San Francisco Ballet, maintains a feed featuring plenty of beautiful photographs, answers to fan questions and lots of ballet chatter as well as performance news and updates from abroad.
Next Bop (@nextbop): If there's a conversation about the future of jazz and where it's headed, count on this growing site edited by Anthony Dean-Harris (@retronius) to chime in. Dedicated to championing the brilliant next wave of jazz artists, Next Bop for a time was almost too vocal in defending jazz's constant evolution forward -- which is, of course, just fine.
Nicholas Payton (@paynic): A show-stopping trumpeter and composer from New Orleans, Payton has become something like the jazz equivalent of Kanye West on Twitter with a steady barrage of unfiltered (and often foul-mouthed) rants and raves. Following Payton isn't for the faint of heart, perhaps not unlike his R&B and hip-hop-infused new project “Bitches,” an album that has so far gone unreleased by his label.
Jason Crane (@jasondcrane): Writer and host of the Jazz Session podcast, Crane's weekly interviews with artists such as Ben Allison, Fred Hersch and Jason Moran are required listening for jazz fans looking to stay current. His Twitter feed also includes lively reactions to happenings in the vibrant New York City club scene and the occasional poem.
NPR's A Blog Supreme (@blogsupreme): The Jazz Journalists Assn.’s recent pick for “Blog of the Year,” this feed maintained by Patrick Jarenwattananon includes a variety of jazz news from around the Internet, as well as interviews, features and lively conversation-starters such as when and how people first heard Miles Davis.
Boston Court (@bostoncourt): The Pasadena venue is one of the livelier tweeters on the block, with news and opinion on just about anything, including upcoming offerings and the latest Charlie Sheen fallout. For an even more personal (and witty) tone, follow Executive Director Michael Seel (@MichaelSeel).
BroadwayWorld.com (@BroadwayWorld): If you’re hungry for up-to-the-minute theater news, including all the personnel changes of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” this is an indispensible resource. The local edition (@BroadwayWorldLA) will fill you in on the theatrical buzz here at home and help you to land better seats for shows you might otherwise not have heard anything about.
Kristin Chenoweth (@Kchenoweth): The good news is that Kristin Chenoweth is as bubbly and disarmingly frank on Twitter as she is on stage. The bad news is that the actress tweets so much that it can be difficult to keep up with her flying fingers. Still, she’s a must-follow for fans of Broadway, “Glee” and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Michael Musto (@mikeymusto): Village Voice columnist Michael Musto dishes the dirt on Broadway divas and speculates on which new musical flop will be disastrous enough to make the addendum of Ken Mandelbaum’s “Not Since Carrie.”
-- Marcia Adair, with David Ng, Charles McNulty, Christopher Knight, Christopher Hawthorne and Chris Barton.