Monday, May 23, 2016

And Then There Was One

For a while there we had six cats.  There was Rolaren who I had from a long while back.  Then there were Bra'Tac and Freya who we adopted one day when we went to buy patio furniture.  After that there were Petra and Bean who we literally rescued off the street.  And rounding out the pack was Tivel, my mother's cat that we took off my father's hands.  We never intended to have that many cats.  I don't think anyone really ever intends to have that many cats.  It just happens.  One day you have a cat and then some day you look up and you've become cat people.

When the boy was imminent we decided we needed to thin the herd some.  It didn't seem responsible to begin that project with all that chaos.

Tivel was the first to depart.  He had to go to the shelter.  Tivel was mean.  I decided he wasn't going to be able to stay with us when it became glaringly clear he was never going to make friends with the rest of the group.  He had been an outdoor cat in Chicago and never adjusted to being an indoor cat here with us.  Plus he had been on his own for more than a decade.  I don't think it was in his plan to become one of six.

Next to go was Rolaren.  I don't think Ro liked being part of a big family either.  She was twitchy right from her adoption and in hindsight it seems like maybe she was better off in a one cat household.  One of my former students took her on and it seems like she's very happy there.  I see pictures of her occasionally on Facebook.

Next was Petra.  We tired really hard to find someone to take Petra and Bean together but had no luck.  It didn't help much that we couldn't really give a rousing recommendation for her: "she only bit me once..."  As the clock ran out on the project we had to take Petra to the shelter.  We did find a new home for Bean.  He went to the family of a co-worker.  We were talking about him just the other day and like Rolaren, Bean is having a fine time of it in his new home.

That left us with Bra'Tac and Freya.  Two cats seemed reasonable for a house with a new child.

Last Friday Freya passed away.  She seemed fine at the top of the week.  I didn't notice anything amiss the times I saw her.  And then Friday she was gone.  Mrs. TANBI saw her Friday afternoon and thought she looked mopey.  She thought it was strange that Freya had let the boy get close enough to pet her.  I figured I'd give her a look over when I saw her.  After we got home Freya didn't present herself, so after a little while I went looking for her.  She was in the basement on the first step just hanging out.  I brought her upstairs thinking maybe she needed some water.  She didn't eat or drink, just sat on my lap.  Her breathing sounded labored so I put her down and searched that online on my phone.  While I was looking she walked into the living room and laid down.

She didn't get up again.

I got her carrier and found a 24 hour animal ER but we never made it to the car.  She'd stopped breathing and I couldn't hear a pulse.  I put her nose in my ear to see if I could hear breathing but there was nothing.  Just like that she was gone.

We're sad.  I'm taking solace from the thought that she got to say goodbye and that it happened quickly and at least apparently without pain.  The whole family is going to miss Freya.  She was a great cat.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Should I write something?  Ok, I'll write something...  Commencement was last weekend.  I spent the next week buttoning things up.  It's taking more than a week...  I really don't think the total lack of a supreme court confirmation is getting enough press.  Starting to wonder why the Democrats aren't jamming up anything else that tries to move in the Senate...  There's a robin's next outside our bedroom window.  Probably makes sense to move it, but I can't come up with a reason...  I weaseled out of teaching Drafting this summer...  Freya kitten passed away last night.  Two days from appearing perfectly healthy to the end.  We're sad...  I can't remember if anyone but my parents came to my 8th grade graduation.  I do seem to recall that I was next to Eric Steiger in the procession...  There's a nice house for sale three blocks over.  Is it stupid to move three blocks?  Feels like it should demand a fairly significant upgrade to be worth it...  I didn't go to the NYC cocktail again this year.  Probably should make a point of going sometime soon...  I'd really like the folks harping on Sanders to get out to tell me why prolonging an argument taking the discourse to the left is really such a bad thing.  We've lived right of center for so long.  Seems like a leftward current is a good thing...  If at all possible I would like news directors to change up the relative amounts of conjecture, opinion, and news in their news...  Looks like it is going to be a summer without Melissa Etheridge for me...  I'm hoping this next week will see an end to a home project that has dragged out for nearly two years now (although it's not like I've actually been working on it).  If it does I'll post some pictures...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Worth a Look

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

Costumes and Makeup: Designing Temporary Body Modification

HowlRound: Every day we get up and get dressed. We may think for hours, days, and weeks on what to wear. For some of us this process begins with the buying of garments, and for others it is a no-brainer because our likes are clear and our needs are simple. We modify our look with what we wear. It is our armor. We use it to protect ourselves from the weather, to suit our mood, and to shield our psyche from the world. As a costume designer, I know this to be true. I use this process to discover the characters I am designing for the productions for which I am involved. However, how many of us have considered it to be a type of body modification? It is temporary, but it is also modifying. We are visually changing how we are seen.

Historians are criticizing Hamilton, and fans should be thrilled. In part thanks to this Q&A between Slate’s Rebecca Onion and Rutgers professor Lyra Monteiro, a conversation is finally brewing about how Hamilton, the brilliant musical phenomenon, approaches history, the factual record, and its real-life subjects. If, like me, you work in theater and spend a lot of time procrastinating on social media, you’ve probably seen many of your friends ranting about small-minded academic quislings fact-checking every minute of the show from their ivory towers.

Orientalism, Whitewashing, and Erasure: Hollywood’s Historic Problem With Asian People

The Mary Sue: Hollywood has no idea what to do with Asian people. And, given the fact that Hollywood often serves as a reflection of contemporary culture, this is a major problem. Aside from casting us as goofy comic relief (Long Duk Dong, really) or evil mystical ninjas (come on, Daredevil season 2), they just don’t know what to do with us. The confusion and ignorance around what we bring to the table sometimes gets so bad that rather than try and find out who we actually are, they’ll overwrite us with white characters, erasing us completely from narratives that inherently belong to one culture or another (looking at you, Ghost in the Shell). Sometimes, to bridge that gap, they’ll even try to use yellowface, which (if you somehow weren’t already aware) is the practice of donning makeup and a really racist accent to look and sound Asian.

Breaking Records at Art+Feminism's Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

The Creators Project: For it’s third-annual Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Art+Feminism supported 2,500 participants in 175 events across 6 continents for a record-breaking year of editing and creating pages for women in the arts. Organized in collaboration with the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts) and the Museum of Modern Art, the Edit-a-thon was led by Siân Evans of Art Libraries Society of North America’s Women and Art Special Interest Group, Jacqueline Mabey of failed projects, and artist Michael Mandiberg (read: "Meet the Man Printing Wikipedia as a Book").

Yes, Calling Someone a "Techie" Can Be Offensive

OnStage: Sometimes, even with the best intentions, certain terms, labels and names you have for various people can be offensive to them. One term that is commonly used in theatre is to describe the technical crew, technicians, etc as "techies". And while this term is often used with the best intentions, at the end of the day, it's offensive.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Worth a Look

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

How To Survive Working On An Underperforming Team

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: In general, people are poorly educated to deal with workplaces. That's because education is a largely solo affair. Students are asked to work alone. Grades are given to individuals. Indeed, the idea of individual achievement is so ingrained that when kids are assigned a group project in school, they worry how their own grades will be calculated if their team members fall down on the job.

They're probably right to. In the workplace, teams that fail usually bring everyone down with them. But there are a few ways to survive that fallout, or at least minimize its impact on your own career.

With Hollywood's Advanced Digital Face-Lifting, Do We Even Need Actors?

NPR: You can now digitally replace just about anything on an actor's body — including the actor himself. Journalist Logan Hill explains this practice of often invisible digital retouching in media.

The Writers, Directors, and Producers who Make Films that Fail the Bechdel Test Rather than generalize a sexist system, one theory is simple: filmmakers, unintentionally, make movies about themselves (i.e., write what you know). Since the most powerful producers, writers, and directors are men, male-themes permeate into Hollywood’s output. To see if women are more likely to write about women (i.e., pass the Bechdel test), we compiled the genders of the producers, writers, and directors on thousands of films.

Led Zeppelin 'Stairway To Heaven' Copyright Case Will Go To A Jury... Meaning Band Will Almost Certainly Lose

Techdirt: federal district court judge Gary Klausner rejected a variety of claims from Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and said that the case needs to go to trial in front of a jury. That's going to make things difficult for Plant and Page. As with the Blurred Lines trial last year, you see that many people freak out when they hear two songs are pretty similar and assume that something wrong must have happened. Of course, that's not how copyright law is supposed to work, but alas, that's what years of the big legacy industries brainwashing the public on copyright has resulted in.

After social media outcry, AMC changes tune on texting experiment

Ars Technica: Just one day after Ars and other outlets published comments by the CEO of AMC Entertainment saying he's interested in allowing some texting in theaters, the movie chain is backing away from the idea.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Worth a Look

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

How One Simple List is Changing the Face of American Theatre According to a recent study, only 22 percent of plays produced in the United States are written by women. That means, if life worked like theatre, 4 out 5 things you ever heard would be said by men. But a Los Angeles-based gang of badass women playwrights and theatre makers are attempting to rewrite this narrative.

The novel and play that predicted Donald Trump's rise – and countered a swell of Great Depression demagoguery The performing arts and politics have an uneasy relationship.

From Aristophanes satirizing the senselessness of the Peloponnesian War in Lysistrata to Shakespeare telling the story of Elizabeth I’s grandparents in Henry IV Parts I and II, artists have put forth sharp criticisms of their governments. Artists in Russia and Germany during the 1910s and 1920s created art that supported communism. And during the 1960s, artists all over the world were some of the loudest voices for social and political change, whether it was the civil rights or anti-war movements.

“He struggled and kept his guard up”: Hamilton in the Big House

plainKate – The online portfolio for Kate Powers: I work with a group of men who aren’t used to seeing themselves in the narrative, unless it’s as the villain; maybe not in your history book, but in a few newspaper articles a few years back and in the hearts of their victim’s families. These men understand that much of America thinks they are monsters who deserve to be locked in cages. They are the bastard, orphan sons of … every kind of women you can imagine; they are also beloved sons and husbands in close families who come to see them in the visiting room at the prison every week. Maybe they’ve been “livin’ without a family since I was a child. My father left, my mother died, I grew up buckwild.” Many of them know all about impoverished, in squalor, and fathers who split. A few of them are in college, working on being scholars.

People look at them like they’re stupid; they’re not stupid.

The Tonys Are Just As White As The Oscars

Forbes: #TonysSoWhite might become the new social justice hashtag. In the midst of a notably diverse Broadway season, we delved into the Tony Awards database to see how they compared to Hollywood’s highest honor. The result? The Tonys and the Oscars are almost the same institution when it comes to racial diversity.

crew safety meeting...for real. being a safety conscious touring industry.

this tour life: In light of recent events in the world (Brussels attacks), even more specifically in the music industry (Paris attacks), we have never been made more keenly aware of the need for emergency procedures when on tour. These horrific attacks have sparked discussions on how to create a safety conscious industry and what things to implement in case of such incursions. Venues all over the world have plans in place in the event of an emergency but does your touring crew know what those are? Do you know where all the exits are? Do you even know what the emergency number is for the country you are in?

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Worth a Look

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

To Our Members

Actors' Equity - Representing American Actors and Stage Managers in the Theatre: Yesterday we published a tweet that made many of you angry. We’ve been monitoring the conversation all night, and we now regret that the message was worded in that way. We at Actors’ Equity are fully committed to diversity, inclusion, equal employment opportunity and universal access to auditions for all of our members.

Casting Call Creators on Their Viral Video That Exposes Sexist Industry Practices

Women and Hollywood: There's no denying that women have faced sexism in the entertainment industry since its inception, but actresses in particular have it especially tough as a result of ridiculous standards of beauty.

Earlier this month, a video from a project called "Casting Call" went viral. The clip draws attention to the frustratingly sexist way women’s roles are often advertised in casting calls.

Brussels Terrorist Attacks: Are Broadway Theaters Safe?

Variety: No one on Broadway wants to talk about security concerns and safety precautions — a silence that’s only amplified by the fact that high ticket prices and a largely affluent clientele make Broadway easy to overlook as a perfect storm of worry: A cluster of small, high-profile targets, right in the middle of tourist-magnet Times Square, where big-name celebrities onstage are increasingly common.

Scenic artists at Oregon Shakespeare Festival can create just about anything

News - - Medford, OR: When a designer comes to Gabriel Barrera with new ideas for a play's scenery, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's scenic artist doesn't back down from the challenge.

"I never think, 'We can't do that.' I think, 'We can do that. We just have to figure out how,' " said Barrera, who is in his eighth season with OSF.

This Stretch Of Route 66 Plays 'America The Beautiful' If You Go The Speed Limit Even for the speed demons out there, it would be unpatriotic to go anything but the speed limit on a small stretch of Route 66 in New Mexico. That’s due to the fact that if drivers obey the signs, the road will treat them to its own rendition of the song “America the Beautiful.” That’s right. The road will belt it out.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Worth a Look

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

‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Freed From Jail In Shock Ruling

Deadline: Midnight Rider director Randall Miller is being released from a Georgia jail today after a motion filed by his attorneys Friday was heard in court this morning. The surprise move came after Assistant District Attorney John Johnson and Miller’s attorneys had negotiated a two-for-one deal in the hallway prior to Miller’s plea agreement a year ago, so Judge Anthony Harrison said today he had no choice but to honor that agreement, follow the law and release Miller.

The 2014-15 season.  How many people saw new shows?

Shubert Ticketing Blog: How many people see more than one new show in a season, which I defined as May in one year to September in the next to allow for those who buy tickets to a new show after the Tony’s. Every new show fights for as large as share as possible of the audience that sees new shows. Ideally the audience that sees new shows would expand but it seems however much it expands it is never enough to keep all producers happy.

Toonz Software Used by Studio Ghibli and 'Futurama' Being Made Free and Open Source With one announcement, the animation software game may have changed forever. Toonz, the software used by Studio Ghibli to produce films like The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises, will be made free and open source to the animation community beginning March 26, 2016.

Survey Reveals Attitudes on Arts Education, Government Funding

Your Performance Partners: The link between robust K-12 arts education today and a vibrant performing arts community tomorrow is easy to understand. Today’s students who are taught to explore, embrace and appreciate the arts are tomorrow’s actresses, musicians, stage & sound technicians, costume & lighting designers and – importantly – ticket-buying audience members and tax-paying citizens.

Our Shrinking Repertoire A few weeks ago, I saw a bad production of a great play. I won't mention the play's title or the theater's name, because I like the people involved, I value their efforts, and I bear them no ill will. They chose to do a great play, they fought hard to do it justice — oh, how well all of us in the theater know that story! — and they didn't succeed, except in patches. But I won't write them off, and neither should you. After all, they aimed for greatness.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Worth a Look - Jumbo Spring Break Edition

Here are a few posts from the last two weeks of Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Stephen Sondheim: 'Commercial theatre limits variety of musicals'

Carousel, News | The Stage: Stephen Sondheim has suggested the “financially fragile” nature of commercial theatre is restricting the variety of musicals that get produced.

The celebrated composer and lyricist – known for his work on musicals including Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Gypsy – said producers in the UK and the US depend on show templates proven to be bankable, and rarely take risks on other styles or new ideas.

ESPN Asked to Pay More Than $15 Million Annually to License Ambient Stadium Music

Hollywood Reporter: In response to ESPN's demand that a New York federal court determine a reasonable license fee for the performance of songs on its cable sports networks, licensing agency BMI is noting the "vast amounts of music played loudly and prominently in stadiums and arenas," ambient noise that is often picked up by the broadcaster's microphones and heard by its viewers.

Guest Post: Why Are People Concerned Directing Is "Too Much" for Women? We Can Handle It, Thanks

Women and Hollywood: When I was a little girl my mother worked in an unheated factory five days a week and cleaned houses on weekends. Never once did anyone tell her, "Well, that’s too big a job for a woman." Nor was she told, "You need a self-sacrificing partner at home to do that job." She certainly never heard, "Oh, you can’t combine that with raising children."

People are always happy to hand a woman a mop, frying pan or sewing machine for a minimum wage job. They never ask if it'll be "too much" for her to handle.

New Jack City 25th Anniversary Oral History Twenty five years ago this month, New Jack City opened to the public. The film, starring Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Ice-T, and Chris Rock, was Hollywood’s first and arguably its most enduring cinematic glimpse at the crack cocaine epidemic. At a time when Operation Desert Storm dominated the news cycle, mainstream America was blindly stepping over the junkies, and reading past the inner-city murders in the obituaries.

A Career Option for the Theatre Major: Drama Therapy

HowlRound: As my son George graduates this spring from the University of Tampa as a musical theatre major, he dreams about earning a living performing on stage. But statistics show a very small percentage of actors will actually be able to accomplish this. My uncle’s motto in life was “Always have a Plan B, so theatre majors that enjoy working with people might want to consider a career in drama therapy.

Marriott Theatre faces criticism over 'Evita' casting The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is facing controversy over the casting of its upcoming production of Evita, which was announced earlier this week.

Chicago actor Bear Bellinger, who has not been shy on social media about discussing issues of race in Chicago theater, published an open letter on Facebook this morning stating that he had seen the casting announcement for Evita and "was shocked to see that only one person of Latin heritage had been cast in it."

Klingon Language, Pointy Ears, 'Mood and Theme' of Star Trek All Copyrighted, Paramount Claims

Hit & Run : Paramount, the studio that owns the Star Trek franchise, is suing the producers of a crowdfunded Star Trek fan film, Axanar, over "thousands" of copyright violations.

At first, Paramount did not specify these, so the producers being sued argued the suit should be dismissed because Paramount failed to list the specific copyright violations. Paramount returned with an amended lawsuit that listed their specific claims, ranging from the use of "phasers" to the appearance of various Star Trek aliens like Vulcans.

ESTA Places Five Documents Into Public Review

Stage Directions: ESTA has made five documents available for public comment. Two of the documents are from the control group (RDM over IP networks, and ACN over TCP/IP networks), two are from the rigging group (manual counterweight rigging best practices, and boom and base assemblies) and one from the electrical working group (mounting devices for hanging fixtures).

USITT Names Gateway 2016 Class

Stage Directions: USITT selected 12 theatre artists from groups underrepresented in live entertainment production for their Gateway mentorship program at USITT 2016 in Salt Lake City. Part of USITT’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the backstage arts, the Gateway Program pairs 12 emerging artists with professional mentors from similar backgrounds and career paths to maximize each mentee’s experience at the USITT Conference & Stage Expo and beyond.

Behind the Scenes of Cirque du Soleil's Broadway Debut

Out Magazine: Having dazzled audiences world-wide, Cirque du Soleil now has its sights set on Broadway. The company will make their Broadway debut with Paramour, a new musical that begins previews at The Lyric Theatre (213 West 42nd Street) on April 16. In anticipation of the spectacle in store, we caught up with ensemble member Broadway veteran, former Survivor competitor, and devoted fiancé Reed Kelly to get the inside scoop on the show and how he balances work and his relationship.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Worth a Look

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

Consent on Campus: A 'Nightline' Event

Nightline | 02/25/2016 - Consent on Campus: Can Consent Education Help Prevent Sex Assault Among College Students?; Consent on Campus: What Does Giving Sexual Consent Mean?

Where have Boston’s artists gone?

The Boston Globe: WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE IN PITTSBURGH, my apartment senior year was alleged to have once been rented by Andy Warhol, when he was studying commercial art at Carnegie Institute of Technology. The staircase was narrow and unlit, ready to give out at any moment, and the unit’s floors were about as sturdy and level as the Joker’s lair. The freezer was so impacted with frost that the peas we eventually discovered during a thaw may well have been left behind by Warhol himself. Sadly, there was no canned soup.

Who Would Want to Teach in a Room of Armed Students? Texas Is About to Find Out Late last year, Texas passed Senate Bill 11 which officially allows students to carry concealed weapons on campus. The bill, which goes into effect on August 1, has already had a dampening effect on campuses: Earlier this month, the president of the Faculty Senate at the University of Houston warned professors not to “go there if you sense anger,” as a safety measure for faculty.

Game-changing new theater app, developed by a black woman, gets ready to launch

DC Theatre Scene: 12@12NOON provides an SMS platform of dramatic writing for playwrights and audience members to set up, react, and interact with theatrical productions in a powerful and moving way. Karen is an accomplished playwright, produced locally at Theater J and Metrostage, but she’s also the head of BWPG’s Cyber Narrative Project, and I talked with her about the origins of this app and it’s huge potential.

Data Artist Proves Just How Unique Shakespeare's 154 Sonnets Really Are Humans are creatures of staggering complexity, each of the billions on the planet different from the rest in innumerable ways. Our uniqueness can't simply be reduced to one sign or symbol -- but when it must be, perhaps to verify the use of our credit card, something as succinct as a scribbled signature of our name will do.

Can literature, like humanity, make use of such a shorthand?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Worth a Look

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

Sam Jacob: "The copy is both despised and feared" Conservation is often misunderstood as a practice concerned with the past. Really though, like the best science fiction, the subject of conservation is the present. Or more exactly, it is the site of intersection for ideas about the past, framed within the morality and ideology of the present. Its tools and techniques, for example, are both highly traditional and cutting-edge. Think of the conservation studio like a cross between an emergency room and a medieval workshop. A place where X-rays and linseed oil converge. And now, of course, where digital technologies too join the deployed to image, scan and otherwise document the artefacts of human culture.

2 decades later scholars to assess August Wilson’s shocking ‘race’ speech

Theater Cues: Twenty years ago, at the 1996 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) annual conference at McCarter Theatre Center, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright August Wilson delivered the event’s keynote address and blew the lid off the place.

I was there covering the three-day event for the Asbury Park Press as it’s Theater Writer.

“The Ground on Which I Stand” was simultaneously cheered and booed. I couldn’t believe the gamut of emotions from outrage to shouts of encouragement, people walking out and others nodding heads in agreement and applauding. The reactions to the speech which addressed questions of race, diversity, and cultural identity in the American Theater broke down along racial lines.

John Oliver's Attack on Hollywood Whitewashing Is Both Sad and Hilarious Sometimes you sit in front of your TV and realize you’re watching something important. It happens quite often on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Sunday’s episode was no exception. In addition to an incendiary piece about abortion laws, Oliver attacked Hollywood whitewashing.

Copyright Office Decides To Rewrite Copyright Law Itself, Blesses A 'Making Available' Right That Isn't There

Techdirt: The Copyright Office has decided to take a stance on copyright law that requires two slightly odd things. First, it requires ignoring what the Copyright Act actually says and then, separately, it requires pretending that the law says something that it clearly does not say. That's pretty incredible when you think about it.

Playwright Lynn Nottage: theatre is the last bastion of segregation

Stage | The Guardian: American playwright Lynn Nottage has criticised the lack of racially diverse stories being produced on major stages and described theatre as the “last bastion of segregation”.

Nottage was in London to receive the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn prize for female playwrights at a ceremony at the National Theatre in London, one of three black women shortlisted for the global prize.