Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Blue Man Group Goes to Church

Kevin (uh, he's the white dude in top photo...The Blue Dudes in the other photos are not his least not that I am aware of... I'll explain in a bit), lead pastor of a cool new church plant in Fresno that launched last 9/11 , mentioned attending a Blue Man concert; and coming home with lessons for church in our current culture. Here is an article below to get us started, thinking blue...but it's only the opening act until Kevin posts here his thoughts on "What the Church Can Learn From Blue Man." I will pay you, Kev...

The Business of Blue Man

Rob Walker

When Chris Wink talks about the challenges facing his organization, he
doesn’t start quoting from Who Moved My Cheese? He quotes from The White
Stripes. He points to the song "Little Room," from the Detroit duo's album White
Blood Cells, the lyrics to which run in full: "Well, you’re in your little room,
and you’re working on something good. But if it’s really good, you’re gonna need
a bigger room. And when you’re in the bigger room, you might not know what to
do. You might have to think of how you got started, sitting in your little

The organization that Wink and partners Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton
founded in 1988 is Blue Man Group. "Little Room" is on the founders' mind
because Blue Man faces a similar conundrum: How to define their enterprise,
stretch it, and reach a larger audience — without losing the things that made it
special when they were starting out.

If you have never heard of Blue Man, here is what you need to know.
Their shows are nothing like traditional theater. There's no obvious plot. The
three performers are slathered in brilliant blue greasepaint and never speak.
Instead they do things like twirl a canvas while spitting paint on it, creating
a small work of art. Sometimes they play music by drumming on homemade
instruments built from PVC pipe. They make rhythmic noises by chomping on Cap'n
Crunch cereal, and in a bit involving Twinkies they split one in half with a
saw. It's hard to describe, but the most important thing is this — it's fun.

Blue Man shows are now permanently established in four U.S. cities. The
first Blue Man CD recently went gold, and a second is due out this spring.
They've appeared in ads for Intel, and landed a spot on Moby's Area 2 tour last
summer, joining a bill that also included David Bowie and Busta Rhymes (who
subsequently called the Blue Man set "f------ incredible"). The three founders
manage more than 500 employees, and while they politely decline to give any
financial details, Blue Man Group performers put on 38 shows a week for more
than 20,000 people paying $43 to $88 a ticket. So by rough estimate, if every
show sells out, that's about $1.4 million in revenue every week from the
performances alone.

We've all heard stories about enterprises that start off like a
rocket — then crash and burn because they didn't stay in control of their
original vision. Fifteen years after its birth, Blue Man has managed to avoid
that fate, largely by making smart choices and turning down opportunities that a
lot of entrepreneurs might have jumped at.

To find out how they have maintained the balance between vision and
growth, I made my way to a battered-looking door on Third Street, between ....

continued here

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