Five Questions for Andy Horwitz
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
I grew up near Baltimore, MD in a suburb called PIkesville then went to college at Northwestern. After graduation a group of us moved out to Seattle to start a theater company. I started to get frustrated with the limitations of theater – or what I perceived to be the limitations at that time – and, swept up in the music scene, started to do more spoken word and solo performance. I got involved with a group that a bunch of my friends founded called Home Alive and ended up getting a spoken word track on their benefit CD. I came to NYC to perform at the CD release party at Westbeth and decided to stay. Since then, well, that’s a much longer story than I can fit here. I will gladly regale you with tales of my misspent youth (in Seattle or NYC) over dinner.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
I have thought about this question a lot and, like most people, it is hard to answer. I’ve spent my entire life under the influence of the arts and I’m constantly being exposed to new things. It is embarrassing to admit that probably the pivotal work for me was the original Broadway soundtrack to HAIR. As a teenager I spent hours listening to it, projecting myself into it, dying to get the hell out of Baltimore and find some groovy band of ragtag misfits that were making a revolution. In song. I saw the current Broadway production recently and was still really moved by it, though it was different now that I’m on the other side of the generation gap.
3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?
I wish I had a photographic memory. It would make writing – and reviewing – so much easier. I feel like I am constantly forgetting all these amazing things I see, hear and feel. I wish I could just capture it all and report it back more assuredly.
4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
For reasons that most bloggers will understand, I want to be a bit discreet about discussing my work here on my blog. Basically, I work at a foundation that makes grants to artists and scholars. So I go to an office and do office-y stuff for eight hours a day. Then I go see shows or work on my independent projects – like Culturebot – in my off hours. It keeps me pretty busy. I usually have at least one creative project going in addition to my day job and Culturebot, sometimes more, so my days tend to run late into the evening.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
If you mean like a Sophie’s Choice type situation where I had to actively choose between a job and an art project, I’d have to say no. On the other hand, I don’t know if I’ve ever made a choice so much as it was made for me. You have to make a living and you have to have art. I guess in terms of being an art-maker, I’m definitely less prolific than I would like to be and part of that is because I have to spend so much time making a living. I suppose when I really love what I’m doing it is less of a question. I’m trying to live a life filled with meaningful artistic expression – either my own or others – and I can do that regardless of what I do to put bread on the table. Though its nice when making a living dovetails with making art.