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How About Chautauqua?

F YOU LIVE in a city with a population of fifteen thousand or less or in a town of over four hundred people, your Chautauqua will probably have come and gone before this reaches your eye; or, will be coming soon. For seven, five or three days you will have spent more or less of your time in the big tent "taking in" the succession of entertainments, lectures and plays.

One who has spent half a decade talking to Chautauqua audiences as they patiently faced him from their uncomfortable benches is wondering just what you thought of it all. Was it time enjoyably spent? Did you and a sufficient number of your fellow-townsmen sign the contract for the return of the Chautauqua next year? If so, did you do it because of the pleasure you and your neighbors had out of the programs or did you do it as sort of a "Christian duty," a grudging contribution to an uplift movement?

Has the Chautauqua really become one of America's major institutions? Has it established itself as a permanent part of the community life of our towns and smaller cities or is it but a fad of a decade or two? Are Sinclair Lewis and H. L. Mencken right in classifying it as an instrument of demagogy, a product of an unhealthy provincialism or is it measuring up to the claims of its promoters as being educational without the boredom of the usual didacticism and the bearer of the romance of the universal to the uncolorful life of our smaller communities? Is the Chautauqua welcomed by the average man and woman of the communities it visits or is it swallowed as an unpleasant dose of "uplift" after the manner of Jiggs taking grand opera?

"The Chautauqua is not coming back to our town," related a rural banker. "We've had it for four years now, and every year after we have paid the bureau the amount of our guarantee we have been badly in the red. So this year we decided to tell them mene mene tekel upharson.

"Our people don't like anything but jazz. The classic music and heavy lectures all go over their heads," was his explanation of his community's inability to make the Chautauqua pay. And every experienced booking agent will agree that there are not a few towns that find the bureaus wanting because they do not build sufficiently "jazzy" programs.

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"prominent citizen" refuse to sign a contract for another year's Chautauqua because “we can get the same kind of entertainment and plays you are bringing us at the theaters and vaudeville houses in the city thirty miles away. We are tired of jazz orchestras, magicians and the ancient vintage funny stories of your lecturers."

Towns are as different as people are different; and as alike. The writer has many times been visited by local committees as he was about to go on the platform. With varying degrees of apology the chairman would say in effect, "Our town is not educated up to heavy lectures. Can't you make your talk mostly humorous. Our people like good stories." Many more times, how

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ever, he has been told, usually by those. who are far from being "high-brow,' that "What we like are lectures that make us think. We have already heard most of the funny stories many times."

There are numerous lectures and en

tertainers who prepare at least two lectures or programs, one "low-brow" the other "high-brow" and after sizing up their audience, use the one they believe will be received with the greatest favor. It has been my observation, however, that those who do this are, on the whole, less successful than those who stick to

the mode of expression which is most in accord with their own talents. They are usually the "hacks" of the profession.

Those familiar with Chautauqua audiences know that there are what the profession calls "lecture towns" and others that are distinctly "concert towns;" there are towns that are "highbrow" and towns that are “jazzy." How then is it possible to build a program

that shall cover three, five or seven days which will accomplish the educational, inspirative and entertainment purpose which is supposed to be the goal of the Chautauqua, in towns of such varying character?

In the early days of the movement, Chautauquas were what is technically knows as "independent." The communities organized their own committees, set their own dates and chose their own lectures and entertainers, making individual contracts with them. In this way, each community built a program to satisfy its own taste, or, failing, had only itself to blame. But this proved to be an extremely expensive and, because of the problem of co-ordinating the dates of the Chautauqua and those who were to appear on its platform, inconvenient method. To overcome these obstacles, the circuit plan was devised. By booking towns in reasonable proxmity, so that equipment and talent need move only short distances from one Chautauqua to another to meet dates arbitrarily fixed by the bureaus, the difficulties contingent upon the "independents" were overcome. But the circuit plan put the selection of lectures and talent into the hands of the bureaus and gave rise to the problem of the varying demands of the towns.

Comparatively few communities are capable of operating an Independent Chautauqua. So the average town must either be satisfied with the circuit plan or give up its Chautauqua altogether.

The question then is: how can the circuit Chautauqua serve its purpose while catering to tastes that range all the way from the most enthusiastic jazz hounds to that of the ultra-intellectual.

There being from six to twenty sessions of every Chautauqua, and most of these being double-headers, the bureaus have attempted to solve the problem by covering the entire gamut from Irving Berlin to Bach and from lectures on "How to be Happy Though Married" to those on "Einstein's Theory of Relativity." But out of the experiment every bureau manager has learned that displeased with one number on a Chautauqua course an individual or town is

displeased with the entire Chautauqua.

"How did you like your Chautauqua this year?" we inquire of Mr. Season Ticketholder.

"Didn't like it," is the reply. "If I had my way it wouldn't come back no Them singers who come on the second day was too high-flutting for this town."


Yes, he admits he liked the lectures,

especially the man on the last night hit the nail on the head when he said the farmers weren't getting a square deal; and his wife says he wore off five pounds of flesh laughing at the impersonator and neglected the store for days trying to figure out how the magician got the rabbit up his sleeve. But he wouldn't sign up for another year. This year's This year's Chautauqua had been a fizzle; the singers on the second night had a too classic program.

But perhaps in common with all "uplift" the Chautauqua should not attempt to please its patrons. Uplifters have always considered "give the people what they want" an immoral doctrine. Education is popularly supposed to be attained only through agonizing labor. Possibly it is the business of the Chautauqua to "give the people what they should have," which is commonly considered the antithesis of what they want. But this position being taken, there at once arises the question "Who is to pay the bills?"

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public irrespecting of their preferences. While presuming to be educational it has been supersensitive to the criticisms has been supersensitive to the criticisms of a minority. This sensitiveness has been responsible for a hedging policy which always makes for mediocrity.

The bureaus have not told their speakers what they must say, but their system of rating them according to the "reports" of two or three committeemen has had the undoubted effect of making has had the undoubted effect of making many of them "tone down" their lecture to where there is little or nothing in them with which any committeeman could disagree. For disagreement with a lone statement of a lecture will mean a bad report. But lectures with which no one can disagree seldom have the desirable virtue of saying something.

Bureaus and entertainers have learned that certain musical selections, certain plays and a certain class of impersonations never give offense. Therefore they stick to that which time has proven harmless. Consequently we are compelled to listen to much of the same thing year after year.

The managers of the thirty-odd bureaus which have been sending their canvas tops into approximately ten thousand. cities and towns annually admit that it is becoming harder to secure "bookings" each year. But the time is not yet when we can unsheathe the typewriter for the purpose of writing "The Rise and Decline of the Chautauqua."

"I don't doubt that," the Texan an- The Chautauqua gives thousands of swered. "They probably like one kind American communities their only opporof lectures while we here in Gtunity to enjoy musicians above the grade like another kind. And for my part, I propose to pay only for the sort of lecures I like."

Evil as such a stubbornly selfish doctrine as this may be, there are a sufficinet number who hold it to make it highly unprofitable for the bureaus if their programs do not find a reasonable degree of favor.

This same problem is to be faced when it comes to granting lecturers the privilege of unhampered expression. Any superintendent will tell you that the average Chautauqua auditor will pronounce worthless a lecture with which he disagrees. And as has been said, dissatisfaction with one number means dissatisfaction with all. The most influential minister in a Southern town refused to support or attend the Chautauqua for the sole reason that several years before a lecturer had suggested dancing as part of a community recreational program.

As a result of all this, the Chautauqua has fallen between two stools. It neither frankly caters to the superficial, sensational and emotional for the sake of mass popularity; its eye is not, more than the exigencies of the case demand, upon the box office, nor has it pedagogically set standards to which it has to bring its

of the singers in their local choirs; or to see dramatics that are superior to the itinerant medicine shows or the annual class plays of the local High School; or to hear speakers of greater ability than the local pastors. To the citizens of these communities who are not fortunate enough to own automobiles, even the vaudeville houses and the occasional road shows and concerts of neighboring cities are inaccessible. In a great per cent of the ten thousand Chautauqua communities in the United States the inhabitants, especially the children, see and hear far more of the outside world during Chautauqua week than they do during all the other fifty-one weeks of the year. The only contact many of them have with people who have talent or who have travelled or won distinction is when "Chautauqua comes to town."

You who live in the smaller towns, think back on the lectures, and concerts which made a lasting impression, the memory of which gives pleasure after

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small per cent of our current literature is insipid or bunkish. That which is supplied by the columns of our daily newspapers is worse. And yet the most radical of our intelligencia would hardly venture to entirely dispense with their newspapers and those of them who live in rural communities are usually to be found attending the Chautauqua. This writer knows of no American platform that, with all its shortcomings, offers the man with something to say a better opportunity to say it than does that of the Chautauqua. Certainly not our political forums or our luncheon clubs.

The need of the Chautauqua is for greater virility. It is not improbable. that the same can be said of all our institutions. But certainly the Chautauqua would gain by adhering more closely to its early policies.

I do not refer to the policies of Bishop Vincent and the religious cultural school that had its beginnings on the banks of Lake Chautauqua, New York. For while the name of the present institution had its origin there, the Vincent movement was more properly the parent of the "Home study courses." The Chautauqua as we now have it had its source with the Lyceum movement when Colonel George Pond sponsored the lecture tours of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Ward Beecher. Emerson was

really the first Chautauqua lecturer. Thus the Lyceum and Chautauqua had their birth in the exploitation of rare personalities, men who had something to

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A radical Methodist evangelist has derided the Chautauqua as being a cross between a revival service and a circus. But it partakes of the real nature of neither. It does not encroach upon the prerogatives of the church; its business is not the uplift. In spite of its tents and some of those who appear on its platform, it is not its function to exhibit curiosities. But by authority of its traditions the field of the Chautauqua is the affording to the people of our rural communities the opportunity to enjoy the expression of the best available brains and talent which they can appreciate and to afford those who possess brains and talent channels for self expression. And in the degree that it occupies this field. will the Chautauqua attain its educational, inspirative and entertainment objective.


New York Plays and Players

OW and then, a play comes along that is so vastly different, so stupendous that it is overwhelming. Such a play is "The Miracle," which Morris Gest and Max Reinhardt are offering to a rather stunned, as well as delighted New York audience nightly. "The Miracle" has had a very lengthy run and probably no play in New York has created as much favorable comment as this one.

It departs from every tradition of oldtime stage ideas. There are more than seven hundred people in the cast, and the whole thing is handled in so massive, so spectacular a manner that the finish of the play leaves one spent and breathless-weary from the spell which it weaves.

The entire interior of the Century Theater was transformed, in order to present "The Miracle." The action of the play takes place chiefly in a marvelous old eleventh century cathedral, and so the Century was rebuilt with long cloisters where the boxes were before, with the orchestra-a magnificent one, which includes a choir of some of the finest voices it has been my privilege to hear-placed high above the balcony, at the left of the theatre, in a surt of old-time "choir-loft." There are no spoken lines the play is a pantomime— but some wag has said, quite truthfully, that the sudden little gasps and screams, that take place during the action of the play are far more effective than any lines that could have been written. There is no "stage" as we understand the word, by which we mean the proscenium arch, footlights and all that. Built on a flagged courtyard, stands the fine old. altar of the big cathedral. Part of the action takes place up and down the aisles of the theater, and when it is necessary to change the stage-setting, a smoke screen creeps up between the audience and the players, and when the smoke dies away the scene has changed. The story is a simple one-and by its very simplicity, gripping. It tells of a young Nun, who has lately taken her vows, and who, a bare handful of minutes later, becomes enamored of a young knight, and is persuaded by him to leave the convent with him. The old cathedral holds a sacred Image of the Madonna, and when the Nun has gone, the Image comes to life, and performs the Nun's duties. The play relates the adventures of the Nun, in the outer world —she is looked upon by men with the eyes of desire and falls upon evil ways. The play leaves her, at the finish, back on her knees before the Image, receiving forgiveness. This is a very bald outline


of a magnificient play, but it would be impossible to describe it all with any degree of coherence in the space permitted. There are eight massive scenesmasterfully handled in settings and action. A scene of such gorgeous color, such superb purples and golds and scarlets, of gleaming satins, supple velvets, floating, airy chiffons-a scene that is worthy of the finest brushes of a Maxfield Parrish-and for contrast such a scene will be followed by one of bare, ugly spaces, of dun greys and tired dull browns.

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missed one of the finest and most unusual efforts the American stage has ever been privileged to offer.

From "The Miracle" to Mr. Ziegfeld's celebrated Follies is a far cry, but it's just that sort of "far cry" which is meat and drink to the visitor in New York, so here goes; and since we speak our minds, regardless, be it known that we were bored to the point of tears at the Follies. It was a tiresome, draggy, untuneful affair-and the girls of whom Mr. Ziegfeld boasts so overpoweringly proved quite disappointing. They looked tired, bored, faded-it may be considered awfully bad form to say so, they were reminiscent of nothing quite so much as the tired-out chorus of a one-night Number Four musical comedy troupe playing a small Southern town. Bright spots in the dreary affair were, of course, Brooke Johns, with that delicious "trademark" smile of his, and the wonderful personality that has made him such a


WHEN I had half forgotten, half had turned
To living love, a lighter love than that
You gave me when you walked within the day,

Through the dusky doors of sleep your spirit burned
One night, a radiance I wondered at,

Yet knew and welcomed. Like one long away

Eager to clasp his own again, you came
With arms outstretched, a swift, enfolding flame.
-Katharine Lee Bates.

Pinchot played the role the night I saw the play, and with all due respect to Her Ladyship, I don't see how the portrayal offered by Miss Pinchot could have been improved. Her lack of stage experience is an asset here-she is lovely to look at, and she flings herself into the role with a superb abandon that grips you from the opening scene until the close. Lady Diana plays the role of the Madonna-the Image on the nights that Miss Pinchot is the Nun-and Lady Diana acquits herself with distinction, holding her rigid pose, looking every inch an ivory figure, for fifty consecutive minutes-which is an achievement in itself. Rudolf Schildkraut gives a magnificent portrait of the Emperor, magnificent portrait driven mad by the murder of his son, splendidly played by Schuyler Ladd. But the entire cast of seven hundred people deserves special praise, and, failing space for that, we merely say that not to have seen "The Miracle" is to have

favorite; his little co-partner, Ann Pennington, too, was delightful-rouged and dimpled knees twinkling like mad! Edna Leedom, a newcomer to the Follies, was the best performer in the show, however, and she won the audience in her first five minutes on the stage. Fannie Brice's burlesque of Russian Art was the funniest thing Fannie offered-but the hit of the show was the "Amachewer

Night at Miner's Eight Avenue Theater, Twenty Years Ago," with Arthur West, unseen, but most distinctly "there" as Paul "A Voice From The Gallery." Whiteman and his band failed to live up to expectations. Otherwise, it was a good show-if you except the fact that there was no particularly good music, very little really clever comedy, and the far-famed "glorious American girls" didn't go over! We understand that a new edition of the Follies will make its bow to the public sometime next month, with Will Rogers as the star. May (Continued on page 330)


This Interesting World---Sometimes I Am Glad That I Live In It

ART of the interest of this interesting world comes from the things people say. Sometimes a profound dissertation only disturbs the idle air, and sometimes a chance remark registers the pulse-beat of a great movement.

The other day in passing I overheard two girls of about sixteen who were talking earnestly. One said:

"It is not fair. A man comes home at night from his business and finds his dinner all ready for him; after he eats it he can do as he pleases the rest of the evening. The woman has to spend her evening washing the dishes and doing up the work. Nobody need expect that of me. They will have to find some other way.

The rest of the conversation was broadcasted elsewhere. I did not hear her solution of the problem, nor what her friend thought of it. They were perfectly able-bodied young women, very fair of face; they did not look languid or feeble, or even as though they would shun a game of tennis. Why this horror of the dishpan? Who is to endure its tyrranous reign? Apparently some

one must.

Probably it is not fair to attach too much importance to the expression of a chance opinion. Perhaps they were merely voicing a mood of the moment.


The Battle Ground of the Dish Pan

Perhaps, according to the theory of someone that the individual recapitulates the development of the race in the stages of


What is your opinion? Is it fair to ask women to perform the drudgery of the dish pan? Or can it be made other than drudgery? We shall be glad to hear from the people who have and the people who haven't, the ones who would and the ones who won't.

We are even willing to listen to the opinions of mere men, who, of course are only theorists in the matter. Are they eager or at least willing, to "find some other way," so the Lady of Heart's Desire need not crumple her temper and spoil her hands while they do just as they please, in the evening after dinner?

his advancement, they may have just reached the stage at which Woman, with a capital W, startled and puzzled our doughty Cave-man ancestor by her assertion of a separate personality.

At first glance, the question of who shall wash the dishes does not seem a burning one. Mother has always done it; why worry? But the steam from the dishpan has penetrated into fields economic, social and industrial.


whole problem of domestic service lies in the bottom of the dish pan. A strike on the railroad may paralyze industry, but a strike at the dish pan would paralyze even the bread line.

The question of the dish pan is a fundamental one; it confronts every individual daily from the high chair to the grave. As long as present methods of nourishment prevail, apparently someone will have to dry silver, wash soiled cups and scrape kettles. Many have solved the problem satisfactorily for themselves, some by delegating the task to others for a recompense, some without a recompense, some by performing the duty, willingly or unwillingly, some even acquiring skill and proficiency and raising it to the dignity of a calling.

The significant fact in this survey, however, is the ease with which one half of the human race has been able to delegate the work to the other half, at least after the period of school days. A growing and perhaps slightly reluctant class known as Young Husbands seem at present to form a considerable exception to this rule.

But the increasingly long line of vigorous women with their faces turned resolutely away from the dish pan begins to assume the proportions of a world trek.


A Chinese Rice Paper Picture

HE beauty of rice fields is, on its smaller scale the beauty of vineyards. There is the same arrangement of terraces, sloping down a hillside, there is the same lush greenness, there is the same thought of provision for human need. But the rice has the additional charm of gleaming with water and of rippling in the summer breezes like waves.

It often happens, since the rice is planted in the valleys and coves, that its fields are shaped like a horsheshoe or like a bow stretched for shooting. In such a case, as the string to the bow, is the narrow strip of earth, trodden hard, which serves at once as dyke and parapet to keep that rice field from disin tegrating and sliding down on top of the one below, and as pathway to permit wayfarers to pass from one village to the next without having to climb half


way up the hill to get around the fields. Even without being barefoot or shod in the native straw sandal walking this strip of earth presents no difficulties in dry weather. But when it is awash after a heavy rain the wary pass by another way. I had always heard that any smallest talent one might possess would find its use in the mission field but never did it occur to me that training in walking the tight-rope might stand one in good stead. Nevertheless, I have seen the time as I tiptoed and balanced, equally afraid to stay on the fast-sinking hummock I was occupying, or to plunge to the next which might not sustain me at all, when I have wished for such training.

It sometimes happens that a waterbuffalo will be taking his promenade in

the inverse sense to yours. Then what are you to do? No one cares to be so polite to a water-buffalo as to step off waist deep into mud-and such mud!and water in order to yield him the pass; but if he doesn't step aside for you then what. Water-buffaloes detest foreigners. and it is humiliating to be assured that this is because they do not like our scent. A native child, scarcely up to his shoulder can lead leviathan with a hook, or rather with a ring in his nose, or, failing that, can guide him with a wand the size of your little finger and, to do them justice, such children are most condescendingly kind about protecting the foreign devils from their charges; I should hate to trust an American urchin to shoo out of my path a snake, a cow or (Continued on page 334)


Benjamin Brown of Pasadena

HERE is a studio in Pasadena, vine covered and unpretentious, that is as truly an Art Center as any museum or gallery in the west; and none who enters the little rose arbor and lifts the knocker on the weather

stained door, on a Sunday morning, but goes away realizing deeply that Benjamin Brown is a name to conjure with in art, and in the cultural development of the southwest. Mr. Brown and his versatile brother Mr. Howell Brown make one welcome with the unfailing courtesy that is the heritage of their southern ancestry.

The studio is a place of dim corners, full of stacked canvasses intriguing to the imagination, and cabinets of choice books; a place of shadowy cobwebbed brown rafters, with a fine north sky light-of heavy comfortable chairs from which one may invite his soul before two or three splendid canvasses, perhaps a triumphant symphony of snow mantled Sierras, or a purple pattern of desert bloom, subtle, caressing, or eucalypti in stately rhythm against a greenblue sea. There is a litter of prints. on the table, a glimpse of an etching press in an adjoining nook, all the tools of the workroom of an artist and a craftsman. The Sunday morning hour of open studio is an hour of inspiration and argument, of frank criticism and generous help, of persiflage and fine philosophy.

Mr. Brown is a most picturesque figure, unique in appearance, in vividness of personality, and in originality of conversation. Unusually tall and thin, he has a handsome thatch of thick white hair, rumpled in the heat of the discussion, alert blue eyes, and a ready whimsical smile. His spirit is an unquenchable flame in a frail but undaunted body. As one looks through his sketch books of pencil studies, his series of vignettes in oils, his notes in water color and pen and ink, one has a tremendous respect for the amount of hard work of patient study, and faithful observation by which he has familiarized himself with the varied material of California landscape, desert, mountain, sea and valley and changing skies. All this he interprets in his studio in oils or prints, with rare poetic sympathy and keen sensitiveness to the decorative abstractions and nuances of rhythmic line, fine harmonies of color and well balanced pattern. Turning from the oils to the portfolio of prints, one is amazed at the versatility

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hibition, and he was awarded a bronze medal for his soft ground etching "Venice" which proved to be very popular. He worked out printing in colors with a basis of soft ground etching with a spontaneity and freshness that is in his happiest vein. His prints have been repeatedly exhibited in New York and Brooklyn and Chicago Etching Societies. He is a member of the Chicago Society of Etchers. Six of his color etchings have been purchased by the British Museum for its print rooms. In the United States, his work is owned by the United States National Museum, the Library of Congress, the California State Library, the Los Angeles Museum, the University of California, the Oakland

Municipal Gallery, and is also included in many private collections.

An etching must necessarily depend both on elimination of detail, and on a felicitous suggestion of areas and textures and atmosphere by the poetic selection of a few dramatic and salient lines. "In Palm Canon" is an etching in which there is a peculiar affinity between the technique and the subject. The serene diapason of these enigmatical palms, the vibrating light on arid hills and mocking skies, the still warm lure of these mysterious children of a forgotten past are rendered with delicacy and finish, with a freedom from any fumbling, with strong simplicity. "A Windy Day at Carmel" is in a very different tempo

there is a rhythmic action in the lines of the battered cypress, in the scanty herbage of the windswept dunes, in the driven shreds of fog in a harassed sky.

"Eucalypti-Edge of the Grove" is a delightful rendering of rustling foliage, and pleasant open sunlit spaces. It is particularly satisfying and agreeable.

Mr. Brown has done a fascinating series of little etchings-rare miniatures, about three by four inches, which are lyrics in line and in interpretation-"Ice and Snow," "Mountain Shadows," "Bells of San Gabriel Mission," "Garden at Santa Barbara," "Cypress of Monterey," and "San Gabriel Valley.'

He has done a smaller number of lithographs, but his craftsman's instinct, and his zest in conquering a new medium have given us two particularly good studies. One is a "Doorway in Venice," beautiful in texture, the patterned windows in the rich blacks so desired of the printmaker and so difficult to attain. Another is of the Colorado Street Bridge, the entrance to Pasadena, a favorite subject of Mr. Brown's, in oil and in prints, and he is indeed the minstrel of its superb dignity, its gracious curves, springing from the dark of the trees and quiet shrubbery below.

The collector of prints, the emotionless purist of technique may solemnly protest the legitimacy of color combined with etching, but the modernist who believes that the harmonized aesthetic completeness of line, pattern, and color is the justification of the medium, will thrill to a new esctacy in "that first fine careless rapture" of the "White Sail at Venice." It is joyous and idyllic in spirit, sauve and harmonious in color harmony, with both firmness and spon

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