The Editor’s Desk: Catching Up on Who We Are

It’s important in the life of an arts website to check in from time-to-time about what makes the website (and its staff) tick. Basic principles. And so this particular post.

Let’s face it, most people do not read the “About” (or equivalent) page on most websites. So, I’m going to post the content of ours here.  It’s worth a read if I do say so myself. We started with these basic ideas 5 years ago and have held to them pretty well to this day.


Aisle Seat Review (ASR) is created by people devoted to theater, opera, ballet, music performance, movies, writing, and the arts in all its forms.

While our primary focus is on the production of art in the greater San Francisco Bay area, our reviewers have been known to cross California and even go beyond.

If it’s well done — we’d like to see it, read it, or experience it.

Editorially, we hope to add our voices and experience to those helping to keep the arts vigorously alive and growing. We will tell you what we really think, not what we know the venue’s or person’s management would like us to say. If it’s bad, we’ll tell you how and why. If it’s good, we’ll tell you how and why.

We’ll strive to make our reviews interesting, original, well written, and well-edited. We may drop a page or two from the AP Manual of Style or Chicago Manual of Style, but know our hearts are in the right place (as in, at the beck-and-call of our editors…)

If you have an event, a book, a play, music, or a show you’d like us to cover, a comment, suggestion, or even a complaint please don’t hesitate to let us know at

We’ll read every email and reply as necessary ASAP.


In the hard-fought trenches of contemporary art, being able to post a review in this manner conveys valuable information and opinion to our readers,..

Review Bylines

Our reviews have two types of bylines — an individual byline (i.e. “by Michael Brown”) and a team byline (i.e. “by Team ASR”.)

The TEAM ASR approach allows contributors to this site to remain anonymous when posting a review.

In the hard-fought trenches of contemporary art, being able to post a review in this manner conveys valuable information and opinion to our readers, while retaining/maintaining professional relationships.

While Team ASR contributors may do so anonymously, please understand that they take personal responsibility for creating their reviews and that all reviews are subject to editorial review without exception.

Now, here is where the rubber meets the road:

    • All content on Aisle Seat Review is subject to editorial review prior to publication.
    • All content accepted for publication on ASR is subject to editorial review, editing for space, approval of and by the Editorial staff.
    • Final approval or rejection of any and all content, language, “message”, or imagery (of any kind and in any form) is always reserved by and for ASR founder Mr. Neely.

Editorial Questions 

Q: Can submitted content be flat-out rejected by Aisle Seat Review?

A: In a word, yes. It is mainly a reflection of the majority vote from the editorial board who are the governing body that makes up this site. And, as before, final approval or rejection of any and all content, pictures, and language is always reserved by and for ASR founder Kris Neely.

Q: Are all the editors on Aisle Seat Review paid for their work? 

A: With the exception of Mr. Neely ASR’s Editor-in-Chief and Publisher who does not take any compensation, yes indeed, everyone else on this site is paid, monthly. We’re inordinately proud of that fact, too.

Lots of folks write about the arts and lots of people have people writing for their arts-oriented website. But goddamn few have the resolve and the commitment to pay their people. Our editors aren’t going to retire on what they make here, but that’s finally not the point. Respect for the craft of writing is.

Review Forms

Our reviews also come in a few basic forms, including:

  • An “Aisle Seat THEATER Review”
    • These focus primarily on the overall theatrical presentation with less emphasis on the underlying text.
  • An “Aisle Seat DRAMA Review”
    • These focus primarily on the playwright and his/her/their work and message(s).
  • An “Aisle Seat PLAY or SCRIPT Review”
    • These focus primarily on the words on the page of plays and scripts.
  • An “Aisle Seat TECHNICAL Review”
    • These focus primarily on the technical aspects of the performance, such as direction, lights, set design, costumes, make-up and wig design, sound design, stage management, and so on.
  • An “Aisle Seat PERFORMANCE (Music, Opera, Ballet, etc.) Review”
    • These are (non-theater) genre-specific event performance reviews.
  • “Thoughts from the Playwright’s Desk “
    • Without playwrights, the theater would be pretty dull. This column presents a forum for a playwright to voice his or her thoughts. If you’re a playwright and have something on your mind that you’d like to share with our readers, drop us a note at
  • “A Few Words from The Management “
    • Performance Arts management and editorial staff often have thankless jobs. That said, the work these dedicated professionals do gives them a unique perspective on our world. We should hear more from them! So, if you’re in Performance Arts management or editorial and have something on your mind that you’d like to share with our readers, drop us a note at
  • ” Lesson Notes: Performance Arts Teachers Speak Out”
    • Almost all of us started our performance journey in a classroom of one stripe or another. Often, performance teachers and/or teaching artists are cited as some of the most influential contributors of successful performing professionals. So, if you’re a teaching artist or teach in a more traditional school, college, or university setting (or are a retired teacher!) and have something on your mind that you’d like to share with our readers, drop us a note at
  • An “Aisle Seat GEAR Profile”
    • These entries focus primarily on the hardware, software, and equipment used in the performing arts.


Thanks for reading this far. Much appreciated. Suggestions? ideas? Complaints? Drop us a note at

I appreciate your time and attention. Hang in there and stay healthy!


Kris Neely

Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Aisle Seat Review

Kris Neely