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Friday, September 19, 2008


posted by on September 19 at 12:00 PM

In the comments section to my story about the Hugo House, Stranger Genius Matt Briggs is having an ongoing discussion with brilliant short story writer Ryan Boudinot about the future of the Hugo House. Briggs wants a smaller, more community-oriented Hugo House—kind of the opposite of what former House Executive Director Lyall Bush is famous for promoting—and Boudinot is in favor of continuing the world-class readings series. Briggs has just challenged Boudinot to a face-off:

It has come down to this. You and me. The future of the Seattle writing community clearly, certainly, depends on us and our ideas about outreach programs at Richard Hugo House.

I concede, too, that perhaps a business minded approach is appropriate considering we are talking about an arts organization with a budget and employees and things.

In this spirit, I suggest we resolve our difference in the time honored traditional of all business minded people: dueling PowerPoint presentations outlining the potential futures of Richard Hugo House. In the yawning vacuum of Lyall Bush’s mysterious departure, sense must be made, preferably in three word bullet points.

I suggest we meet in appropriate corporate or edgy marketing attire at a suitable location — a whiteboard perhaps, an AV projector.

Go ahead present your vision of the future in a succinct, and sizzly deck.

I will also have a nice PowerPoint presentation prepared.

20 minutes each. 20 minutes to blow people’s minds.

And then, the people can decide provided they are still awake.

Mr. Boudinot, author of The Littlest Hitler and soon to be released novel Egg and Sperm, I am calling you out. I challenge you to a PowerPoint-off. I demand this, or I demand your immediate concession to my generally sensible and cogent explanations and thoughts about the future of Richard Hugo House.

Name your time. Name you place. Check my Outlook calendar and schedule a rumble.

Thank You,

Matt Briggs

I know this is partially meant in jest, but I think this is a great idea. A PowerPoint-off about the future of the Hugo House. (Briggs suggests the MacLeod Residence as a neutral territory.) The Hugo House is right now figuring out what it’s going to be for at least the next five years by choosing its next Executive Director. This would be a fun way for everyone to get their respective opinions heard. I say yes, please.

RSS icon Comments


this would be great if powerpoint wasn't the worst way of making an argument or conveying a complicated idea. but as, a performance piece, why not?

Posted by josh | September 19, 2008 1:09 PM

PowerPoint -- where's the power? What's the point?

Posted by Tim Appelo | September 19, 2008 1:38 PM

I want a pro wrestling match. Both of you in trunks, oiled. Forearm smashes, headlocks, the works.

You can declaim your comments with dignity while you pretend to fight.

I'll referee.

Doug Nufer

Posted by Doug Nufer | September 19, 2008 1:53 PM

Uhhh, add some beers and this could be the absolute best thing since Salon of Shame.

Posted by Original Monique | September 19, 2008 2:05 PM

Sometimes, you've got to see the vision of the future shot against the wall from an AV projector.

It looks, however, as if Mr. Boudinot has been defeated without much of a fight. (from the comments section on the article). I've asked Mr. Boudinot to reconsider his concession, and I hope he does. I believe the matter should be resolved. In the business world, such matters are resolved with PowerPoint presentations..

I also hope that other people feel entitled encouraged to say what they would like to see from the so called community based writing arts center known as Richard Hugo House. In its currently rudderless state during the sudden and bizarre absence of Lyall Bush, this seems like a good occasion to do so..

I think Seattle is awash (World Class!) in excellent readings and events at Elliott Bay, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle Arts and Lectures, Town Hall, Bumbershoot, the UW Bookstore, and the Kane Hall Lecture series. Richard Hugo House’s mission used to explicitly address community-based writing and writes who may not find a stage or institutional (not necessarily financial) support at these other venues. I believe under Bush, this mission has been thrown out. I offered a specific “vision” of what that would look like. Mr. Boudinot remains unconvinced, as I remain unconvinced by his view. I would like to show my explanation. I would like to see Mr. Boudinot explanation. If the board of Hugo House has expectations from the Executive Director, in turn, what are the expectations of the community from this community-based arts organization? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who has a “vision.”

Posted by Matt Briggs | September 19, 2008 2:10 PM

Briggs, the only vision you have is of a sandwich going into your fat mouth.

Posted by Hugo Fan | September 20, 2008 1:06 PM

I do like sandwiches, and I was actually eating one when I read this. But I'd say it isn't my mouth that is fat. And sadly, Ryan Boudinot is no longer my friend on FaceBook or MySpace. Alas. I will miss his status updates. I miss having been in his top eight for so long.

Posted by Matt Briggs | September 20, 2008 8:49 PM

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