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Meet Enci Box of Better Lemons

Today we’d like to introduce you to Enci Box.

Enci, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m first and foremost a union actress but in addition to filming, I absolutely loved performing in the theatre in front of a live audience. When I was cast in a play, my husband, Stephen Box, and I organized group events to get people into the seats. We rode our bikes (we called those events BAD – Bike ADventure) to the show with a group of friends and had dinner together afterward. It was a social event to go to the theatre. And when I wasn’t in a play, we also organized group rides on bikes or via Metro (those were called MAD – Metro ADventures) to theatres and art events from the East Side to the West, from the Valley to Downtown and South LA. We wanted to bring people to the arts and we wanted our friends to experience the arts with us. Stephen and I started promoting the arts in 2001 and I built a website called Illuminate LA, where I promoted events that took place all over LA and Southern California, even events in the desert.

It was hard work to get people into the seats of theatre productions but we got a lot of people to join us even those who have never been to a play before because we had friends from all walks of life not just in the entertainment industry. So promoting theatre and the arts has been something I’ve been doing for a long long time. I have been promoting theatre and the arts through various websites and in 2016, I started Better Lemons.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With Better Lemons, we invite performers, publicists, and producers to register their shows, productions, or art events on our online calendar. We aggregate reviews from critics as well as audience members, which will leave the show with a LemonMeter rating of Sweet, Sweet & Sour, or Sour. We give out a year-end award for the best critics rated and best audience rated shows. We also give out Sweet LemonMeter badges so people can promote their Sweet ratings on their show page.

We don’t charge for any of this. It’s completely free. We sometimes sell advertising but that doesn’t cover any of our expenses. And that is the hardest part sometimes that I spend a lot of time promoting other people’s events and don’t get any pay for it nor any thanks. And that gets me down sometimes.

It has been a lot of fun but never easy. Website glitches, doing lots of online promotion and keeping up with the various social media platforms is a lot of work. I started promoting the arts when we still had myspace and I built my original website Illuminate LA with HTML. Also, working with theaters to allow a bunch of people on bicycles to attend their show was a struggle because everyone was so car-centric even though most of the venues didn’t have parking.

There were and are always struggles because in today’s world there are so many distractions and people have such a short attention span.

And of course now with the lockdown we had to quickly reinvent our website as shows and artists moved to online performances. And now online performances can be watched from anywhere in the world. So the website had to be reconfigured and reworked and recoded to allow submissions from artists from any country. We can now accept event submissions from all over the world and the time zone on our calendar reflects the time zone of where our reader lives. So for example, a show in New York that live streams at 8pm will show up on our calendar as a 5pm performance for west coast readers. An opera playing in the UK at 8pm will show to our west coast readers as an 11am production.

I’m also a homeschooling (unschooling) mom since my oldest one reached Kindergarten age. With three kids, working and promoting other people’s work has been a big challenge but with my husband on my side, we make it work.

Please tell us about Better Lemons. What do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc.
Better Lemons is a free arts events calendar with front end submission. Better Lemons provides its readers with a LemonMeter rating of shows, which come from aggregated reviews from critics and from audience members. Better Lemons also has articles about current and/or relevant cultural events, it provides advertising opportunities, and it has a resource guide in the works for the arts & entertainment industry.

It is free to submit event listings on Better Lemons, it is free to get a LemonMeter rating from audiences and critics, and it is free to be entered into the Annual Critics Choice and Audience Choice Awards.

Better Lemons is committed to supporting homebound and isolated entertainers and creators as they reach out to their online audiences. Each registered production gets their own show page that lives on indefinitely and creates a space where critics as well as audience members can leave their comments and give a LemonMeter rating of Sweet, Sweet and Sour, and Sour.

To get a LemonMeter rating, a show page will need to get a minimum of three reviews from critics or audience members.

To be entered into the Annual Critics Choice and Audience Choice Awards registered shows will need to have a minimum of 3 critics reviews and a minimum of 3 audience reviews (the Audience Choice Awards need to have a minimum of 10 audience reviews).

Each listing that is approved is promoted on our social media pages as well as in a weekly roundup post of registered events. Events are highlighted in our weekly newsletter as well.

Better Lemons is your #1 calendar for online and streaming Arts & Entertainment from all over the world and is also the Home of the LemonMeter. Most importantly, the calendar allows specific time-zone postings to accommodate the fact that we are now an international community.

There is no other website that promotes the arts with a calendar listing, a LemonMeter rating, yearly awards, social media postings, and featured articles. There are sites that list events. There are sites that let audiences leave a review of an event. There are organizations that give out awards but you have to pay a membership fee. But there is no website that does what we do.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think the proudest moment so far has been how quickly we have been able to adjust to changes. No matter what challenges came our way, we pull through quickly. And having a time zone specific calendar is an exiting new path we are taking!

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Image Credit:

Photo by Diane Meyer

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