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Long Fringe Review: Drawing a Paycheck

An ode to local artists who still don't make a living at it

By Jillian Owens, 5:11PM, Wed. Feb. 1, 2012

Art: It's a living. Or is it?
Art: It's a living. Or is it?
photo by Bret Brookshire

Annie La Ganga always knows what I need. I show up to review Drawing a Paycheck without a pen and hallelujah, she has carefully rubber-banded stubby pencils to the programs, which ask silly questions about arts & crafts and terrible business ideas.

Drawing a Paycheck is La Ganga's ode to the creative, multitalented Austinites who have hit middle age and still don’t know how they’re going to earn a living when they grow up. But the show is also a psychological experiment of sorts. By fusing her idiosyncratic improvisational storytelling with visual art, La Ganga hopes to transform her turbulent relationship with making money.

The self-designated "craft hag" reflects on two decades of a misguided "You can sell that!" art business model, sharing her failures and successes with characteristic exuberance. As she talks, La Ganga draws portraits of audience members and has us draw one another. "I wanted to show off," she giggles. "I’m a real artist!" I must admit that La Ganga’s pretty good with a pencil.

I secretly hope La Ganga never gets a real job with a paycheck. I hope she keeps doing what she's doing because it is a joy to watch an artist transfixed by the beauty in this world.

Thursday, Feb. 2, 8:45pm, Blue Theatre, 916 Springdale. Running time: 1 hr., 30 min. For more information, visit www.hydeparktheatre.org.

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