Sunday, June 25, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

New CAA study says diverse casting increases box office potential across all budgets

LA Times: There’s been little debate over the moral arguments behind increasing diversity on- and off-screen in Hollywood, but the economic arguments haven’t always been so clear.

While women, people of color, LGBTQ folk and other historically marginalized communities in Hollywood continue to insist “diversity pays,” the box office success of films with diverse casts such as “Hidden Figures” ($230.1 million worldwide) and “Get Out” ($251.2 million worldwide) is inevitably deemed a “surprise.”

Theaters that perform Shakespeare are getting death threats

The Boston Globe: The messages started pouring in earlier this week.

“Your play depicting the murder of our President is nothing but pure hatred,” read one of the tamer ones.

“[H]ope you all who did this play about Trump are the first do [sic] die when ISIS COMES TO YOU [expletive] sumbags [sic],” read another.

The senders were outraged over the Public Theater’s controversial staging of “Julius Caesar,” a production in New York’s Central Park that has become a national flashpoint for its depiction of the stabbing assassination of its Trump-like title character.

Should There Be All-White Productions of "Hairspray"?

OnStage Blog: Imagine that Hairspray is being produced in a local theatre near you. And after the auditions were completed, you notice that the show has an all-white cast. How would you react? Would you be angered? Insulted? Confused?

While it might be questionable that Hairspray would be cast this way, it's something that happens fairly regularly and the reason is that in large part, it's actually endorsed by the creators of the show.

Home Depot, Menards Customers Cry False Advertising When They Learn “4x4s” Aren’t Actually 4×4

Consumerist: Talk to any contractor or carpenter — or most people who are reasonably familiar with home construction and repair — and they’ll tell you that a “4×4” piece of lumber is not actually four inches by four inches, and that it hasn’t been that way in any of our lifetimes. Yet some Home Depot and Menards customers are — literally — making a federal case out of this discrepancy, accusing the retailers of false advertising.

In its defense of a theater critic, the Tribune sidesteps the real issues

Chicago Tribune: I am disappointed by your misleading, glib editorial on the Chicago theater community's response to Hedy Weiss' pattern of, at best, racially tone-deaf criticism.

You cite the length of Weiss' tenure at the Sun-Times and describe the critic-artist relationship in lieu of offering a substantive defense of the specific critique of racial animus that the community has raised.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

‘Bachelor In Paradise’: Lisa Bloom On Sexual Consent, Lawsuits

Variety: Prominent attorney Lisa Bloom is calling on TV-dating shows to change the rules of consent for casts engaging in sexual behavior on camera in the wake of the “Bachelor in Paradise” controversy. “I think it would be very helpful on these shows to have a course of conduct like a lot of these colleges have, which is there has to be an explicit verbal ‘yes’ to each sexual act,” said Bloom, who is currently working with other stars in the midst of high-profile cases, including Kathy Griffin.

Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones Responds to Online Petition Against Critic Hedy Weiss

www.broadwayworld.com: The reviews are in and some in the theater community are non-too-pleased with Chicago Sun-Times theater and dance critic Hedy Weiss.
A petition urging Chicago theater companies to stop inviting Weiss to productions was posted on Change.org on June 13th by the Chicago Theater Accountability Coalition. As of this writing, the petition has received more than 2,000 signatures.
In the petition, the group specifically charges Weiss with having consistently made inflammatory remarks in her reviews.
"[She] has proven that she is not willing to work with us to create a positive environment," the petition states. "She has proven this repeatedly
Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones responded to BroadwayWorld's request for comment on the story.

Scholars See Bad Omens in Pulled Sponsorship of ‘Julius Caesar’

The Chronicle of Higher Education: This year’s free Public Theater performance sets Shakespeare’s drama in modern dress, and presents Julius Caesar as a figure resembling President Trump ­— complete with blond hair, blue suit, and gold bathtub, according to a review in The New York Times.
While the production faces conservative and corporate backlash for depicting the assassination of a Trumplike title character, scholars critical of the backlash said it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the play. But more important they said, it portends ill for public faith in the arts during the Trump era.

10 major milestones for women directors in Hollywood

www.usatoday.com: For all the progress Hollywood depicts in its films, behind the scenes, gender and racial equality has barely inched forward in the last several decades. In fact, just 7% of 2016's top-grossing films were directed by women, a two percentage point drop from 2015, according to research by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University.

Equity & LORT Reach a New Five-Year Agreement

Stage Directions: Actors’ Equity Association announced that it has reached a tentative agreement for a historic new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) for actors and stage managers. Key provisions of the agreement include substantial salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 81.7 percent over the life of the contract. Upon ratification, members will also receive raises retroactive to Feb. 13, 2017, when the original LORT agreement expired.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Worth a Look

Just because the students are off shouldn't mean I have to stop these posts.  Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Why is the Seat Moving?: Seeing “Wonder Woman” in 4DX

Balder and Dash | Roger Ebert: On a Tuesday night in June, I drove an hour north of my home in the Chicago suburbs to the only 4DX theater in the Midwest, and one of only nine in the entire country, to experience the latest adventure in heightening the moviegoing experience. My son came with me to see his first superhero movie in the theater, Patty Jenkins’ already-beloved “Wonder Woman.” Posters outside the theater advertise the 4DX experience not unlike the nearby Six Flags Great America advertises a new roller coaster with an excited patron holding on to his armrests for dear life as he doesn’t just watch the movie, he becomes an active participant in the experience.

Lynn Nottage Is 50 Percent of All the Female Playwrights on Broadway Right Now, "And In 2017, That's an Abomination"

www.elle.com: The New Yorker deemed it "the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era," but Lynn Nottage takes care to explain that she wrote (and set) Sweat, the show that is now on Broadway and won her a second Pulitzer Prize several months ago, before Donald Trump was elected.

Charges Finally Brought in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire Investigation: Two Men Face 39 Years in Jail

Flavorwire: Six months after the ghastly fire at Oakland DIY venue/living space Ghost Ship, charges have been brought against those in charge of the building. As per a report in the New York Times, both the building’s “master tenant,” David Almena, and Max Harris, who “assisted [Almena] in a supervisory role in the building,” have been charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

NYC's 'Freelance Isn't Free' Act Goes Into Effect Today

Gothamist: The country's first freelancer protections against nonpayment go into effect in New York City today, so now's a good time to brush up on a law intended to help a full third of the city's workforce get paid on time.

To recap, the law mandates that freelancers be paid in full for work worth $800 or more, either by a date set forward in writing or within 30 days of completing an assigned task. The Freelance Isn't Free Act also aims to protect freelancers from employer retaliation, and can increase monetary consequences for employers who refuse to pay.

Video gaming’s voice actor strike is ending in slow, small drips

Ars Technica: The video game voice actors in the SAG-AFTRA union have been holding a solid line since they started striking last October, demanding limitations to vocally stressful work sessions and bonus payments for work on top-selling games. But as the strike extends into its eighth month, plenty of games are still getting made with unionized vocal talent. That's because even as the strike as a whole continues, the union has been able to peel off a growing number of developers and publishers willing to agree to new contracts that meet their demands.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Protest Theatre. Schenkkan pushes back on a Donald Trump promise with Building the Wall

DC Theatre Scene: It’s in the air – an urgency to use theatre to get people into the conversation about what many see as our national crisis: the Trump presidency. Now Forum Theatre gets into the act presenting a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Building the Wall.
I’m not sure it’s even a play. But I’m not sure that matters. The work and the conversations that it can ignite matter terribly.

Parody Protection For Fair Use Is Important: Taiwanese Man Faces Jail Time Over Parody Videos Of Movies

Techdirt: Because we talk so much about fair use here, we often likewise find ourselves talking about parody. Parody is one of the forms of content protected under fair use, and that protection is responsible for the availability of a great deal of great content. Parody tends to be equal parts humor and commentary and enjoys a long history of important speech here in America.

Nevada entertainment safety training bill draws support

Las Vegas Review-Journal: The entertainment capital of the world may soon require health and safety training for workers in the entertainment industry.

The Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee on Monday heard Assembly Bill 190, which would require health and safety training for supervisors and those who work with stage props, rigging, pyrotechnics and high-voltage wiring.

How Sports Illustrated Made The First Live-Action VR Film On Everest

www.fastcompany.com: It’s famously “there,” so a whole lot of people want to climb Mt. Everest. But the vast majority of them will never get anywhere near the peak in the Himalayas. Now virtual reality can take anyone to the top of the world’s tallest mountain.

For some time, it’s been possible to “climb” a computer-generated Everest, thanks to “Everest VR,” which lets users of high-end VR systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive ascend to 29,035 feet in an entertaining, albeit facile, facsimile of the experience of summiting. Save for a scene or two in which you disappear in a fog of wind and snow, though, you don’t get much of a sense of how incredibly dangerous climbing Everest is.

Fyre Festival Disaster: Industry Vets Weigh in

Rolling Stone: Like everybody else who watched the wreckage of Fyre Festival, the "luxury" event last weekend in the Bahamas marred by shoddy housing, questionable meals and overall substandard conditions, veteran managers, agents and others in the concert business tell Rolling Stone they couldn't believe organizers neglected to supply attendees with basic food, water and lodging. Billy McFarland, who created the event with rapper Ja Rule, lamented to Rolling Stone last week that "we tried building a city out of nothing" — but those who put on Bonnaroo, Coachella and other music festivals do such a thing every year.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

NEA study explains financial effect of the arts nationally — and California's huge cultural economy

LA Times: Data released Wednesday by the National Endowment for the Arts, in a joint effort with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, offers an argument for keeping arts funding alive at a time when the Trump administration seeks to eliminate the NEA altogether.

Women to Watch: Highlighting Powerful Women in the Production Industry

www.productionhub.com: The production industry is always changing, from new ways to film to new technology, with so many women spearheading new initiatives that continue to change the industry. We are thrilled to present a few of our favorite "Women to Watch" -- women who are constantly inspiring and reaching new ceilings in an industry that was previously male-dominated. Check back frequently as we add to this amazing list of women throughout Women's History Month, and place your own suggestions in the comments below.

Analysis: New Canadian Softwood Tariffs May Have Limited Impact

Remodeling | Framing, Lumber, Lumberyards: The U.S. government's imposition of 20% countervailing duties will anger builders and delight dealers by helping prop up current prices, but it's unlikely to lead to any new surge in the cost of softwood because traders have factored the duties into their prices for months.

Why Decolonization Means The Possible End Of Shakespeare In South Africa's Schools

The Theatre Times: South Africa’s education authorities are reviewing the school curriculum. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has confirmed that the review will feature a focus on “decolonization,” reflecting the need to move towards the use of more African and South African novels, drama, and poetry. This might spell the end of William Shakespeare in the country’s classrooms. The Conversation Africa’s education editor Natasha Joseph asked Professor Chris Thurman about the implications of the proposed review.

Turning the NFL draft into grand theater, with Philadelphia as the stage

www.philly.com: "Standing on those steps and seeing that this is such a heroic moment, this is a culmination for these [draft picks], we set out on, 'Could we create a theater? Could we build a theater here?' " said Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's senior vice president of events.

"We know it's going to be complicated. We know it's going to be audacious. But this is what we have to do, and the Parkway itself was natural. It's a home to so many iconic events over the years."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

I Am Miss Saigon, and I Hate It

AMERICAN THEATRE: Growing up, my dad always told me, “Every Vietnamese family has a remarkable story.” I was raised in Orange County, Calif., the home of Disneyland, the Angels baseball team, and Little Saigon—the largest population of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam. It means that we were surrounded by people who were refugees, veterans, war survivors—people who were forced to uproot themselves from their homeland, travel across the Pacific to a country where they did not speak the language, and build a new life. And every one of them, according to my dad, carried a story of how they got there, of the sacrifices they had to make, the family they lost or abandoned.

No fines issued after OSHA investigation into Cirque du Soleil performer’s fall

www.cirquefascination.com: The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found no major safety violations after an investigation into a Cirque du Soleil performer’s fall last year.

Karina Silva Poirier, an aerial silk performer with Cirque at Disney Springs, was seriously injured after falling about 45 feet during a practice session Oct. 20.

Could Immersive Theater be Merging with With Theme Parks in Disney's Star Wars Land

Theme Park University: I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I think we are on the cusp of it finally happening. Immersive theater, which I believe is the most exciting form of entertainment out there today, may finally have some elements mixed in with Disney’s new Star Wars Land when it opens in 2019. I’ve got a couple of sources to back this up, but let’s start with a video that was released during Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando.

Making a Mile of Monet

Guild of Scenic Artists: Valerie, a founding member of the Guild of Scenic Artists, and Co-Owner of Infinite Scenic shares her tale of transforming a museum space into an intimate romantic dinner venue; and how one manages such a large and complex painting project.

I want to share with you my process on an all-time favorite project. One of my most creative event planning clients requested Infinite to design and paint 370 linear feet of painted water lily wallpaper inspired by Monet’s iconic paintings.

“New York-caliber actors”: How NYC-centrism hurts regional theater

phindie: I see a lot of theater – my average is 150 shows per year. Many of those shows are in New York, and many are in Philadelphia. In 2016, I also saw professional productions in New Jersey, Delaware, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Williamstown, Mass., to name just a few places. The caliber of acting I found throughout the United States was consistently jaw-dropping, and I can say without reservation that many of the actors who have chosen to make their careers in places like Philly or D.C. or Chicago are every bit the equal of those who work consistently in New York.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Worth A Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Director, performer resign after Calgary Opera plans to cast white woman for Asian role

The Globe and Mail: Calgary Opera's production of South Pacific, planned for this summer, is facing upheaval over the same issue at the core of the musical: race. A dispute over the casting of a Tonkinese character has seen the director, a designer and a performer quit the production. The company says the director's departure was premature as the role has not been definitively cast – although a white artist is on hold for the role while Calgary Opera continues its search for a race-appropriate fit.

When A Censored Play Was Already In Violation of Copyright

Arts Integrity Initiative: The shutting down of a high school play at East Newton High School in Granby, Missouri last week may have set a new low in bad timing for such incidents. The show was not canceled after casting, during rehearsals, just prior to opening night or following the first performance. No, at East Newton the show was canceled roughly 10 minutes into the second act on its first night. Why? Because two parents, watching the show, demanded that their child be pulled off the stage.

5 graphs that show the ethnic, racial and gender makeup of playwrights at the Mark Taper Forum

For The Curious: Then one of my graduate students, Christina Ramos, asked, “How many Latino plays have they done at the Taper in the last 40 years?”

“I don’t know, but lets find out.” Thus began a two week trek through Center Theater Group’s 50 year production history.

The simple answer is 10. There have been 10 plays by Latino playwrights in the past 40 years.

Disney Could Go Westworld With New Patent Filing for Soft 'Humanoid' Robots

io9.gizmodo.com: A new patent filing for Disney hints at a dark, apocalyptic future at Disney’s amusement parks... or even in your own home. Just kidding, it’s fine, everything’s fine. It’s only robots. What could possibly go wrong?

A Las Vegas nightclub is getting turned into an e-sports arena

The Verge: Starting in early 2018, the Luxor Hotel will be home to the very first e-sports arena on the Las Vegas Strip. The joint venture between Allied Esports, Esports Arena, and Luxor-owner MGM Resorts International will see an existing 30,000-square-foot nightclub transformed into a multi-level e-sports venue. It will be equipped with all the staples of a standard sports arena plus an LED video wall, professional streaming video production studios, and daily gaming stations for attendees.