Sunday, March 26, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Think of the Children Before Scrapping the NEA, Says Mike Huckabee

Hit & Run : The $148 million allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts is fiscally trivial in the context of a $4 trillion federal budget. By the same token, however, the NEA is culturally trivial, a point that Mike Huckabee inadvertently makes in a Washington Post op-ed piece urging Congress to preserve the program.

It’s A Time For Disobedience: MIT Media Lab Will Pay $250,000 To Support It

Fast Company: “You don’t change the world by doing what you’re told.” So says Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, on the nomination form for a new type of award: a prize for disobedience.

The award–a $250,000, no-strings-attached cash prize, funded by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman–will go to a person or group responsible for an “extraordinary” example of disobedience for the good of society. While that might take the form of traditional civil disobedience, Ito defines disobedience broadly.

Cheerleading company can get copyrights, pursue competitors, Supreme Court says

Ars Technica: The Supreme Court issued a 5-2 opinion (PDF) today allowing cheerleading uniforms to be copyrighted. The case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, is expected to have broad effect in the fashion world and beyond. A group of 3D printing companies had also asked the high court to take up the case, asking for clarity on how to separate creative designs, which are copyrightable, from utilitarian objects that are not.

The Company That Launched Broadway’s Great Comet Reveals the Key to Finding Groundbreaking Art

Playbill: Ars Nova has earned a reputation for developing groundbreaking new work that defies the boundaries of traditional theatre—think Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, which the company debuted Off-Broadway four years before it hit Broadway’s Imperial Theatre this past fall.

Since its founding in 2002, the organization has continued to showcase emerging artists with fresh voices and produce innovative new theatre. Last week, Ars Nova paired with WP Theater to present Rachel Bonds’ new play with music, Sundown, Yellow Moon, which opened Off-Broadway to critical acclaim.

What Theatre Artists and Administrators Should Know About Sexual Harassment

HowlRound: Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (beneath the root of a tree, at the bottom of the ocean), you know that sexual harassment in the workplace has been a topic in the news lately. What performers and other theatre professionals may tend to forget is that while they are artists, they are also “acting” as employees, be it of a theatre company or an individual producer. And, as employees, they have certain rights under federal, state, and sometimes city employment laws.

And a bonus article this week:

Tests Show CMU Water Supplies Are Safe Following extensive testing, Carnegie Mellon University has determined that drinking water supplies throughout its campus facilities are safe and free of elevated lead levels.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Yes, women are still getting screwed in Chicago theaters

On Culture | Chicago Reader: Gender Breakdown, Collaboraction's angry and absorbing ensemble piece about inequity in the theater community, is rooted in something equally dramatic, but a lot drier: a ten-month research project undertaken by Kay Kron, an actor, writer, and, currently, development associate at Chicago Children's Theatre, as the "capstone" project for the DePaul University master's degree in nonprofit management she'll complete this year.

Classical ballet has a diversity problem and its stars know how to fix it As an African-American soloist with the United Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, Eric Underwood says he is often asked why the ballet world isn’t very diverse.

It’s complicated, Underwood says. Race, income, social hierarchies and other factors often conspire to create a situation that excludes people of color from serious pursuit of dance.

Musical Theater Can Create Political Action, Right?

Clyde Fitch Report: In a moment when Americans are looking for means of resistance in all aspects of political, cultural and daily life, musical theater seems like, well, one of our less effective weapons. Yet the musical is often referred to (perhaps disparagingly) as a populist art form. What, then, are the possibilities for musicals to harness the power of the people? How effective are musicals at, for example, documenting contemporary, real-life stories? Can they stir audiences to take direct action? Can they organize communities? With a team of writers, musicians and composers, I’m developing and directing a new project that I believe will explore the potential of musicals to meet us where we are.

Don't dismiss Universal's new, interdisciplinary take on theme park rides Universal has developed a lot of screen-based attractions, so it should stop developing new rides that use screens and build nothing but animatronic dark rides, to keep fans happy.

Am I getting this right?

A California Movie Theater is Trying to Appeal to Families With Playgrounds

Movie News | Imagine you go to see Disney's new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast and while the show is playing there are kids running around and climbing on a jungle gym and going down large slides all around you. That's what could be the experience at some "Cinepolis Junior" theaters in California trying to appeal more to children, and with them whole families.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Worth a Look

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

PURF research reveals theater concussions

OHIO: Compass: There’s no tackling or helmet-to-helmet hits in theater, but actors and stagehands are just as susceptible to head injuries as those on the field.

Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Jeff Russell and Brooke Kapple, BSAT ’16, noticed a growing trend in head injuries while working in the Science and Health in Artistic Performance Clinic (SHAPe Clinic). Students working in theater, including set builders, soundboard technicians, actors and stagehands, frequently visited the clinic complaining of concussion symptoms.

Collaboraction’s ‘Gender Breakdown’ tackles the tearful truth of discrimination through laughter For any woman who’s been told she’s not pretty enough, not thin enough, not white enough, not feminine enough, not “enough” to succeed in theatre…and for any man who has stood by and watched this happen, this show is for you.

The Mill’s incredible Blackbird at GDC : The future of Virtual Production

fxguide: Filming cars was never going to be same again, after The Mill introduced the Blackbird. Their car invention was truly an incredible cutting edge production tool. It addressed a fundamental problem: automotive car availability on location. But when filming with the Blackbird, the problem was trying to make decisions creatively without the actual target car visible on set...

Two High School Shows That Couldn’t Be Saved

Arts Integrity Initiative: When incidences of high school theatre censorship arise, the point at which they occur, and when that breaks out beyond school walls, can be central to efforts to reverse the decision. At other times, one finds webpages like the one above, from Danville Area High School in Pennsylvania in late January.

The recent debate in Cherry Hill NJ over Ragtime is an excellent case in point. The decision by the school administration to alter all “offensive” language in the play, without permission from the licensing house or the authors, arose while the show was in rehearsals, six weeks before performances were to begin.

Billions Season 2 Taylor Gender Nonconforming Character The mere fact that the writers of a popular prestige drama with an A-list cast (that also includes Paul Giammatti and Malin Akerman) created a non-binary character is in itself groundbreaking. The fact that a gender-nonconforming actor who hadn’t affixed that label to themselves yet ended up playing that role? Dillon calls it coincidence; I call it one of the most incredible cases of synchronous casting in Hollywood history.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Worth a Look

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

The NEA Is Vital, Democratizing: Teresa Eyring Corrects the Record

AMERICAN THEATRE: I’m writing on behalf of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre, in response to your Weekend Edition Saturday interview with David Marcus on February 11, 2017. You’ve opened the door to a meaningful conversation about the value of public funding for the arts, and I hope you’ll be willing to consider some additional information and the opportunity to take the conversation even deeper. We were also concerned about some misleading statements that were made in the course of the interview and wanted to take the opportunity to address those here.

Women Directors Might Just Get the Hollywood Ending They Have Been Hoping For

American Civil Liberties Union: This week, Deadline reported that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is in negotiations with the major movie studios to settle agency charges of systemic sex discrimination against women directors.

The EEOC began a wide-ranging investigation of Hollywood’s hiring practices in 2015 after the ACLU and ACLU of Southern California notified the agency of evidence we had gathered showing that sex discrimination against women directors was “standard operating procedure” among movie studios and television networks.

Marriott’s ‘Mamma Mia!’ Rosie takes on body shaming in ‘Sun-Times’ review I’ll start this by saying, reviews are reviews. If you read ’em, you’re dancing with the devil. You may like what you see and you may not. I read them because I’m a spaz and I can’t handle not knowing what’s out in the universe regarding my person.

I’ve been called lackluster. I’ve been called a budding star. I’ve been called the best in the show. I’ve been called the worst in the show. I do a little dance with the devil every time, digest the words and eventually (good or bad) they fall away.

What the Debate Over That "Big River" Review Really Means

Clyde Fitch Report: It’s rare that a piece of theatre criticism kicks open debate in the way that the New York Times’ Feb. 9 review of the Encores! revival of Big River did. Although Laura Collins-Hughes gave a largely positive account of the 1985 Tony-winning musical, which is based on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ Nominated for Costume Award

Variety: For the first time, an animated feature has been nominated for a prize at the Costume Designers Guild Awards, to be presented Feb. 21 at the Beverly Hilton.

Designer Deborah Cook used her talents to bring to life ancient Japanese characters for the stop-motion film “Kubo and the Two Strings,” created by Oregon’s Laika Studios and distributed by Focus Features and UPI.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Chicago Theatre’s Gender Breakdown (It’s Not Good)

AMERICAN THEATRE: A new independent study shows that when it comes to gender parity, Chicago’s theatre scene still has room for improvement. Chicago-based artists Kay Kron and Mariah Schultz conducted the study as part of Kron’s master thesis at DePaul University. According to their findings, in the 2015-16 season, out of 250 plays at 52 theatres, 25 percent were written by women and 36 percent were directed by women.

V-Day in TrumpLand: Exploring the Relevance of “The Vagina Monologues”

THE INTERVAL: In 1996, activist, performer and writer Eve Ensler debuted her play The Vagina Monologues in the basement of the West Village’s Cornelia Street Café. The show became a major hit, and Ensler used her success to combat violence against women on an international scale. In 1998, she created V-Day, “a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls,” and, to celebrate V-Day’s 15th anniversary in 2013, she founded 1 Billion Rising, “the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history.” As part of the V-Day movement, Ensler allows college and community theatre productions of The Vagina Monologues to be licensed for free during the month of February, with the understanding that proceeds from these benefits will be donated to charitable organizations aligned with V-Day’s mission.

A Battle for Contextual Criticism

Exeunt Magazine: New York theater criticism is having a week. Where is my fainting chair and good strong drink?

It’s been a while since we had a bona fide criticism kerfuffle but I wish this one did not exist. The dispute that arose this week somehow queries whether contextual criticism is “serious” criticism. I can’t quite believe I have to defend the merits of theater criticism which responds to the work’s place in our time.

What Has Equity Won in Los Angeles?

AMERICAN THEATRE: The decisive blow came last December. After years of vociferous wrangling, legal and otherwise, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit filed by Ed Asner and a group of plaintiffs against Actors’ Equity Association, which contested the union’s actions in its campaign to organize the region’s small theatres, with the goal of requiring them to pay minimum wage to actors. And so on Dec. 14, a predetermined deadline for Equity’s new 99-Seat Theatre Agreement kicked in, and the old L.A. 99-Seat Plan—a pact that for nearly 30 years had allowed Equity members to work in theatres under 100 seats in L.A. County for small performance stipends, as essentially volunteers, leading to a local theatre scene that blossomed in quantity, if not in numbers of paid work weeks for union actors—was kaput.

As Trump Mulls Funding Cuts For The Arts, An Artist Argues Against The NEA

NPR: NPR's Scott Simon talks to David Marcus, a senior contributor to The Federalist and the artistic director of a theater company in New York City, about defunding the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Worth a Look

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

The 23rd Thea Awards: This Year's Most Innovative Entertainment Design Projects

Entertainment Designer: The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the 23rd annual Thea Award recipients at the annual IAAPA event in Orlando. The award is one of the industry’s most prestigious honors, and recognizes achievements in technology, design, theming and immersive experience. “As TEA heads into its 25th anniversary year, our annual Thea Awards reflect an industry that is increasingly global and technically sophisticated.

The N-Word on Stage

HowlRound: Jordan Cooper was reading the autobiography of Lucille Ball in Bedford Junior High in his hometown thirty miles outside of Dallas, Texas, when a passing classmate knocked it out of his hands and said, “What you reading,” and then added what we are going to call the n-word.

“I pushed him against the wall,” Cooper recalls. They were both brought to the principal’s office.

Less than a decade later, Cooper, now 22, is an actor and playwright living in New York, who recently starred in a play he wrote, Ain’t No Mo’, that repeats the n-word some thirty times.

#101Wednesdays - The Great Escape (...Or Not...)

NFPA Xchange: “Escape rooms” seem to be popping up everywhere. For a fee, you’re locked in a room with a group of friends. The goal is to escape from the room by searching for clues and solving a series of intellectual challenges within a given time-frame. Businesses use them as a fun team-building activity. Others go just to test their wits and see if they can solve the challenges before time runs out. It’s a great concept… except for the being locked in a room bit.

Here's How Hollywood Views Women

The Frisky: Last year there was a fairly amazing Twitter account being shared regularly. Run by Ross Putnam, a screenwriter, @femscriptintros garnered quite a bit of buzz for posting the short intros awarded female characters in major Hollywood films.

OSF tours canceled due to immigration concerns

KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2: “It’s certainly already affected us negatively cause we want to increase tourism in Southern Oregon.”

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival brings hundreds of people a year to Ashland from across the country, and around the world.

A group of students from Canada were set to visit this season, but recently canceled because of the immigration order.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Worth A Look

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

Writers Guild East Blasts Proposed Anti-Union ‘Right to Work’ Legislation

Variety: The Writers Guild of America East has blasted proposed federal legislation that would allow workers to opt out of paying union dues.

The new bill, H.R. 744, was introduced this week by Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Joe Wilson (R-SC), would extend “right to work” to all states nationwide.

“One of the strange perennial rituals of Beltway Washington is the introduction of legislation to destroy the only effective voice American workers have on the job,” said WGA East President Michael Winship and Executive Director Lowell Petersson.

Still in transition: DC theaters, seeking leaders of color

New Pittsburgh Courier: Who would have bet that the country would have elected a Black president before any of Washington’s biggest theater troupes had an artistic or executive director of color?

“It’s not necessarily from any ill will, but more from ignorance,” says Jennifer L. Nelson, who led the now-defunct African Continuum Theatre Company until 2006 and is a resident director with the rapidly evolving Mosaic Theater Company. “And a lack of inclination to change.”

SAG-AFTRA Draws More Than 500 to Videogame Strike Rally

Variety: SAG-AFTRA drew more than 500 supporters Thursday to a spirited rally as its video game strike moves into its fourth month.

“We are not going to stop until we have a fair contract for our members,” said David White, SAG-AFTRA national executive director. “This is not just about money. It’s about fair working conditions and secondary compensation.”

More Than Booth

HowlRound: Part 1: Why Every Theatre in America Should Have an Active Shooter Plan
Real tragedy lies in the fact that out of all of the moments, and milestones that have occurred in American theatres, perhaps the most noteworthy occurred on a spring evening in 1865 during a performance of Our American Cousin. Despite the centuries of breathtaking performances and soul-revealing cultural revolutions that have characterized theatre history, schoolchildren’s first exposure to theatres historically is as the setting for Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Between the passage of time and the cringe-worthy, “But how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” jokes, it is easy to relegate the concept of real-life theatre gun violence to a time when horse-and-buggy was the favored mode of transportation.

An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton When I first heard of Hamilton, I was doubtful ("a hip-hop musical?"). But from the moment I sat down to listen the whole way through, I was done for.

I was obsessed. I had the soundtrack on repeat for months, it was all I listened to in my waking hours. I listened so much I had favorite lines and favorite songs. I analyzed the lyrics; I reveled in the layers of complexity, the double entredres, the clever word plays.

Then my obsession hit a peak; I kept wondering, what would a visualization of Hamilton look like? I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Love or Money: How About Both?

AMERICAN THEATRE: Art has always been done more for love than money. Actor Hilary Swank revealed in an October 2016 interview with Chelsea Handler that she was paid no more than $3,000 for her Oscar-winning role in Boys Don’t Cry. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) minimum to receive health insurance then was $5,000, which meant she had an Academy Award but no health insurance.

Who Killed Teatro ZinZanni?

Theater - The Stranger: Teatro ZinZanni is a very successful operation. The quirky combo of modern cirque, cabaret, and five-course dinner service has been in Seattle for 18 years. According to their promotional literature, the organization has generated nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in "economic activity" in that time, and draws an annual average of 60,000 patrons. And that's not including the San Francisco branch of ZinZanni, which opened on April Fools' Day, 2000.

56 State Arts Agencies Face the Death of the NEA

Clyde Fitch Report: On Jan. 3, 2017, I sent an individual email to leaders and selected staff of all US state arts agencies — 56 in total, counting 50 states and six territories. Their contact information is easy to find via the website of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), which provides an interactive map as well as links to websites, social media and superb data, research and analysis. The subject of the email was straightforward. We’re in new and frightening political waters.

An Interview with Madeleine George

THE INTERVAL: Here are some things that I learned about playwright Madeleine George within the first ten minutes of being in her apartment: she likes puns, she is of the “why tell a joke once when you can tell it twice” school of thought, she knows a good Nazi reference and isn’t afraid to use it, she and partner Lisa Kron have to move because they have more books than wall space, she has a painting of an egg that she bought in Moscow, she has been to Moscow, and she has a highly neurotic dog (the mental state of the dog could not be independently confirmed as he was currently in Michigan).

No more nerds, sex bombs: Female animators draw away clichés

New Pittsburgh Courier: The California Institute of the Arts was created partly by Walt Disney’s desire to bring more top-flight animators into the profession. And it has during its 47 years, though for a long time almost all were men.

Now, nearly three-quarters of CalArts’ more than 250 animation students are women, and there’s a new goal: ensure that when they land jobs, they get to draw female characters reflective of the real world and not just the nerds, sex bombs, tomboys or ugly villains who proliferate now.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Dramaturgy of the Duels in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s "Hamilton"

The Theatre Times: Two men face off in Weehawken, NJ just before dawn. They hold muzzle-loaded flintlock pistols, primitive firearms by today’s standard. The moment determining life or death will be that instant that triggers are pulled. Once that mechanism is engaged, flint will strike steel, creating a spark that then ignites powder, which in turn propels a lead ball towards their opponent. This lethal action provides some sense of justice over an insult and satisfies the honor of both combatants.

Two trans actors from Mosaic's Charm tell their Truth

DC Theatre Scene: Mosaic Theatre’s current production, Charm by Phillip Dawkins, is inspired by the true story of Chicago trans icon Miss Gloria Allen, who teaches etiquette classes to youth at the Center on Halsted, an LGBT community center on Chicago’s northside.

The production already garnered a great deal of press when they announced a change in casting close to the start of rehearsals – swapping out cisgender KenYatta Rogers for the trans actress B’Ellana Duquesne in the role of Mama based on Gloria Allen. The move was made after a great deal of conversation between the artists and feedback from the transgender community, arguing that a trans role should be filled with a transgender actor.

Why Unrest is Gold for Creatives

99U: In an era of upheaval and crisis, creative expression takes on new urgency. Writer Mike Sager calls upon his own formative teenage experience in 1969 that led him to begin using his stories to question authority. For those creatives feeling discontent in these fractious times, it’s a reminder that the simmering feeling of anger can be best used to issue a call to action and serve as a tool for change.

Dr. Charlotte Canning on Internationalism and US Theatre

HowlRound: We tend to think of the middle of the twentieth century as a litany of horrors, from the trenches of the First World War and the atrocities of the Second to the fear of nuclear annihilation that came with the early decades of the Cold War. However, as Dr. Charlotte Canning of the University of Texas at Austin chronicles in her new book, On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism, there were also plenty of theatre artists during this time who believed that they could bring about a better future by sharing their work with the world.

Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus To End 'The Greatest Show On Earth'

The Two-Way : NPR: After its nearly century and a half run, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus plans to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth."

The historic American spectacle will deliver its final show in May, says Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling.

Feld announced the news on the company website Saturday night, citing declining ticket sales — which dipped even lower as the company retired its touring elephants.