Jessica Zeller is the publicity director at American Cabaret Theatre, as well as a dancer and choreographer. She is also the program director for the Youth and the Arts Summer Workshops. She’s currently performing in ACT’s Kurt Weill: From “Mack the Knife” to “September Song.” Q: What are you reading now? A: I’m perpetually reading Letters to a Young Poet. A professor of mine while I was at Butler introduced me to it, and it’s a book every artist should read, regardless of medium. It is a collection of 10 letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke in the early 1900s. He corresponded with a young aspiring poet who was seeking his advice, and the letters are beautifully written, covering topics from solitude to love to joy to death. I read it at least every year, and it affects me differently each time, depending on the events of my life. Q: What do you like about the Indy art scene? A: Indy is a small city, but we have a wide variety of arts organizations, each seemingly having created its own niche. There’s very little direct competition between arts groups here, which I think brings the community much closer together. Yes, we’re all looking for the ticket buyers and patrons that fall into the same demographic, but the products are so varied that each company can have its own following of regulars that prefer their style over the others. Q: What don’t you like? A: We’ve alienated the potential arts audience in this city by not giving them more than one type of each arts organization. We only have one of each type of theater, dance company, art institution, opera, symphony, etc., and the Indianapolis public hasn’t been educated to distinguish quality from simply what’s available. There’s not a way for them to compare and learn, so the quality of the arts suffers because the bar isn’t being raised. Q: Who’s your inspiration? A: I’m not really inspired by any one person in particular. I’m always the most moved to create when I spend time with someone who has passion for what they do. Q: Drug of choice? A: Love and caffeine. Q: Who’s your favorite politician? A: Trick question? Q: What’s the hardest thing about what you do? A: Keeping it separate from who I am. Q: Name three people living or dead you’d invite to dinner. A: Isadora Duncan, Tori Amos, Rainer Maria Rilke. Q: What’s your favorite TV commercial at the moment? A: The Visa commercial with the Olympic volleyball players in the snow. Q: Can love be pornographic? A: Love, in its essence, is not pornographic.

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