Sunday, December 08, 2013
Here are some posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...
Substantive WorkFrom the President | Actors' Equity Association: Substantive work is what I think we’re all looking for: work that means something, work that challenges us, work that makes a difference. Sometimes that’s a meaty role, sometimes it’s being a modest part of a terrific production, sometimes it’s just a job that makes a significant contribution to our monthly nut.Posted by David at 12/06/2013 02:43:00 PM
Nelson Mandela dies: His legacy to the artslatimes.com: Many people know that Nelson Mandela’s life inspired novels, poems, plays and films, but few people know how powerful his effect on the theater was and how powerful the theater’s effect was on him.Posted by David at 12/06/2013 02:39:00 PM
The theater served as a mirror to Mandela, each side influencing and reflecting the other, placing them both in time.
Frank Rich on His Friendship With Stephen SondheimNew York Magazine: There are few things that remain constant in life, but for me one of them is this: Stephen Sondheim’s work has touched me for more than half a century. It did so when I was first listening to records as a child, when I didn’t know his name or much else, and it does so right this minute, as songs of middle-aged regret like “Too Many Mornings” and “You Must Meet My Wife” are randomly shuffled into my headphones by iTunes. It’s unusual to remain so loyal to a single artist. We tend to outgrow our early tastes and heroes. It’s even more unlikely to have that artist materialize in person and play a crucial role in one’s life—as Sondheim first did when I was 21 and he was 40. Since then, with some lengthy intermissions along the way, he’s been a mentor, an occasional antagonist, a friend, and even an unwitting surrogate parent.Posted by David at 12/06/2013 02:37:00 PM
Contract Mumbo Jumbo You Really Should Read (And Understand)Pro Sound Web: It’s been 45 days, you’ve completed the work and you haven’t received final payment. Now you find out your contract included a paid-when-paid provision you didn’t notice. Sound familiar? You are not alone.Posted by David at 12/06/2013 02:39:00 PM
Let’s identify some of the most significant contract clauses to watch out for when reviewing your prospective subcontract agreement.
By taking the time to understand and negotiate these danger clauses, it also paves the way for a greater understanding of the shifting risks toward the subcontractor.
Seek Nominees for Jefferson Mentorship Programsightlines.usitt.org: Two African-American students will be chosen to attend the Fort Worth 2014 Conference & Stage Expo as part of a new diversity mentorship program honoring the late Tayneshia Jefferson.Posted by David at 12/03/2013 12:32:00 AM
Any USITT member may nominate a deserving African-American student for the Tayneshia Jefferson Mentorship Program by submitting a letter of recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 29.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Something different this week: all from one article...
Student #1 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
I agree with the previous comments that the school is probably not serving various cultural dishes to the students, and I am all for introducing children to different cultures and flavors. However, discriminating against the sandwich is ridiculous. I'm going to say that the school believes sandwiches are what white kids eat. This is probably due to the fact that Anglo-Saxon England coined the term "sandwich" for the Earl of Sandwich. But I guess the school didn't know that the first sandwich was made by a Jewish man who placed meat inside two pieces of matzah. And I guess the school didn't know that flatbreads were used to wrap and scoop up food in Western Asia and Northern Africa, making the sandwich a multicultural dish. Not only is the sandwich tasty, but it is easy to eat with your hands on the go. I also don't understand what the definition of "racist" is in this school. Just by assuming that certain cultures like to eat certain foods is racist. I guess they can't serve pasta because that would only appeal to Italian children. And I guess they can't serve hamburgers and hot dogs because that would only appeal to the German children. Like Jess said, this country is a melting pot. We all came to this country as immigrants and slowly began to accept several cultures. If the school gets rid of sandwiches, wouldn't that be (by their terms) racist against white children? I believe that is called "reverse racism." I wonder what food the school will deem acceptable to eat. I'm going to say that they will try to find an American food that can be eaten by any culture. What is American food anyway? Everything was stolen from other countries! I guess we will have to give American children Deep Fried Oreos, Buffalo Wings, and Turduckens for lunch from now on.Student #2 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
I thought long and hard about if I should even comment on this… but this little paragraph below told me I should:Student #3 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
"Me? Well, I am finally going to quit fighting the obvious. I spend a lot of time criticizing the policies of our President and his administration and am considered a racist because of it. Oprah says so. Al Sharpton says so. So many say so I'm tired of denying it"
I think that the author just wanted to write something and they did. I am happy that they now know that they are racist. Welcome to a large club. Now moving on with my thoughts!
As per usual people like to side track the public from the bigger racist issues facing the world and concentrate on the stupid, insignificant babble to make it appear as though everyone who uses the word "racist" is just throwing it around nowadays. I HAVE NO PATIENCE FOR NONSENSE LIKE THIS! Why talk about a sandwich?? Why, but if we must talk about food, so be it. I cannot comment on what schools in America serve, as I have only attended ONE which has a high population of international students, therefore they try their hardest to be very INCLUSIVE. When you cater to a large international population you have to. Does that happen in other schools? Probably not! If we want to discuss this food thing and non-inclusive and inclusive food, then let us do it. Let's change menus every week to include options for all types of kids; Muslim, Indian, Caribbean, Japanese, Chinese, African, American, Cuban, etc. Let's be INCLUSIVE. Which I think is the word that they were looking for. Don't worry it happens all the time, people like to misuse words to have better articles.
Why not focus on the REAL RACIST ISSUES.. Like the little girl who was asked to TAME her hair at a private school because it was seen as distracting. Why not talk about Trevon. Why not talk about schools selecting plays which do not cater to the black student population. Why not talk about the real issues instead of dancing around it with more insulting concoctions such as a sandwich! Really? Let's talk about how some students would drop racist comments in classes, but teachers would say nothing. Let's talk about how the KKK is allowed to hold meetings in 2013! Let's talk about how people think that it is OKAY to have black jokes or how black people actually allow it.
Let us get to the real issues.
I can't entertain this any further! God be with us all!
***After reading the original article from The Examiner, I re-thought my stance on this argument and needed to amend my thoughts to come from an informed place.***Student #4 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
"This, according to the powers that be is indicative of our exercising our "white privilege". I didn't even know there was such a thing." For the record after I read this completely ignorant and obtuse statement this author completely lost me and I stopped caring about what the author had to say. But for the purpose of being able to make an informed and relevant argument (something this author clearly has no interest in doing) I muscled through.
This article and author completely missed the point. I don't necessarily agree that labeling PB and J's as racist is right. Not because I disagree with the rational behind the argument but because I think the term racist is incorrect and focuses the argument in the wrong direction. I think that the more appropriate term would be un-inclusive. PB and J sandwiches are not inclusive. The original point behind describing PB and J sandwiches’ as racist comes from the food being used as an example in class, and “what about Somali or Hispanic students who don’t eat sandwiches.” I'm not going to regale you with my awful experiences in public schools and feeling like an outsider because what I ate at home was different then what my peers ate. But that did shape the way that I engaged or rather did not engage with my fellow elementary school kids and didn’t feel comfortable asking certain questions to my teachers because I thought I was weird or different. Knowing about my past experiences with being culturally isolated and thinking about how using that as an example in class or in an exercises would make me feel as a child, alienating me from my peers is not the type of environment one should be creating in a classroom. And for my Mom who paid taxes, money that goes into my education, why should I have to feel that way?
And honestly for this author to say that the problem of a PB and J comes from the word “sandwich” and how it’s “indicative of white privilege”...That’s not the point. It’s not about the stupid sandwich. It’s about student’s not being able to relate or understand something and this is a block in their education. The sandwich is just an example. The larger issue is that that multiculturalism isn't supported or a priority in schools and that's wrong. Also a lot of this authors argument is really unsupported, she makes a lot of stupid comments about people blowing something up out of proportion, while not even addressing the original issue or posing solutions or compromise! She complains about how ridiculous it is that we are considering a silly food item as racist, but it really is about raising awareness about being inclusive and supporting all students!
And finally, a few of my peers mention the term melting pot, and that it's not our job to "cater to other cultures". Newsflash, America's composed of many other cultures, and if public education is meant to educate and serve the community, then it definitely should be considerate and proactive about making students feel safe and nurtured about having and learning about different cultures. You view "catering to somebody else's culture" as being a problem? Well I think cultural supremacy is a larger one. And it's not catering, it's making the world a more inclusive place. If you have a problem with that then you should really reassess why you think that way.
PB and J's are racist. I'm sorry can we all just take a second to look at that sentence. Okay good. Now someone please tell me why this is even a thing?Student #5 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
I understand that we can't solve the "race" problem in our country by not talking about it, but being as superficial and might I say stupid about the topic as to call PB and J's racist, or to say that we don't used enough multicultural names in our classrooms is just plain perposturous. Also, on the note of using multicultural names and cultural foods in lessons, I would like to point out that I am half black and first generation on my paternal side and yet my name is entirely american and I grew up eating, guess what PB and J. If anything, these silly assumptions of what racism is diminishes the reality of what it actually is racism.
I would like to take a moment now to urge you all to disregard the blog post we are all commenting on as it sorely misses the point of the article it was based on and ask you to read the real article by the examiner. http://www.examiner.com/article/portland-school-sees-racism-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches
The point is that our terminology in the classroom ostracizes students. The reason that our minority students are not engaged in the classroom is because they feel no connection to word problems like " joe eats two PB and J sandwiches…". I'm sorry but does anyone feel a connection to those problems? I sure don't. If you want to engage students in the classroom, make you're lectures engaging. It's not an issue of color, and I find it astounding that people still think that the color of ones skin or their ethnicity is the reason they are failing in school.
There are a few different type of students. Their are those who will find interest in what ever you present to them because they are just naturally curious. Then there are those who don't want to learn and don't want to try but they have parents who push them to try harder, or in some cases parents who pay someone else to push their children to try harder in school and last there are those you don't have a desire to learn in the classroom and don't have anyone out side of the classroom to push them for a myriad of reasons. That might be due to socioeconomic status, that might just be apathy, but blaming it on race and cultural differences misses the point altogether.
This whole issue isn't a race one, its an educational one pushed towards race by misunderstanding. Then again if society it saying that PB and J's are racist, the problem with our education system is a little more obvious than we'd like to think.
I was confused by this article, since it's very vague about why sandwiches are actually racist, so I to the actual source and read the article about the school (the link to which is hidden very far down in the article, which makes me suspicious that this author wasn't trying to make a point about this actual occurrence, but rather use it as a base for a rather tangential argument). The whole sandwiches-are-racist thing was something that the principal used as an example of "racism," although I think it's more an example of white culture being predominant in all of our educational system. The situation was that if a teacher asked a question mentionning a PB&J sandwich (for example, a math problem involving John eating a sandwich a day for 3 weeks), it might alienate kids who never eat PB&J sandwiches. It's the same concept as using multicultural names in word problems instead of just "white" ones- if you're teaching a class full of "black and brown boys" using examples of sandwiches when they've only ever eaten tortillas, it's going to alienate them and make them care less about the class.
It's a bizarre and irrelevant example of something that is an actual problem- that curriculum are often very focused on white culture. For example, how many dead white men did we learn about in history class? I know I only read one book by a black female author in high school. Institutionalized racism is an actual and serious problem that needs to be addressed, but when it is obsessed over to this level it begins looking silly, which defeats the purpose of the entire cause.
With that being said, this whole thing is a little bit silly- both the original statement of PB&J sandwiches being racist, as well as the fact that this was actually taken seriously enough to be reported as news, and then this guy's total overreaction to it.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Here are a few articles from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time:
Girls Shouldn't Try Raunchy Comedy, Variety Critic Says: Variety's television critic Brian Lowry let slip a bizarre opinion this morning while reviewing Sarah Silverman's upcoming HBO comedy special We Are Miracles—namely, that because she's a woman, she shouldn't be "as dirty as the guys." Uh. What?Posted by David at 11/30/2013 12:00:00 PM
Culture professionals network | Guardian Professional: The Unicorn was founded in 1947 as a touring theatre that operated out the back of a van and took plays around the country for children. Its core founding philosophy was that plays for children should be treated as, made the same way and judged the same way as plays for adults. Today, the Unicorn serves an audience aged zero to 21-years-old. At the moment, the majority of our audience comes from London and we're about half school audiences, half family audiences. We programme around 30 shows a year, of which about half to two-thirds are our own productions.Posted by David at 11/30/2013 12:00:00 PM
HowlRound: A couple of realizations have emerged from the National Gathering of the Latina/o Theatre Commons in Boston. Among them are two that pertain specifically to the knowledge and accessibility of Latina/o plays. We recognize that: 1. There is a great need for a catalog or list of Latina/o works for the general public, and 2. we need to determine which plays we presently consider to be influential works to us as theater makers. - See more at: http://www.howlround.com/101-plays-by-the-new-americans-or-on-latinidad#sthash.ljUXOju1.dpufPosted by David at 11/27/2013 12:54:00 PM
HowlRound: Eco theater’s modern aesthetic began not in theater, but with the conservationist and naturalist writers of the nineteenth century. It can be argued that Henry David Thoreau, John Ruskin, William Morris, Edward Carpenter, and their contemporaries radically redefined our conceptual relationship to the natural world. They sought to achieve not merely a balance with nature, but a reverence and subjugation to it. These writers and other conservationist and naturalist authors, artists, and politicians led in large part to the formation of our national parks and first environmental legislation. Later theorists and artists in theater and literature have come to call this early writing and the later work inspired by it, ecocriticism.Posted by David at 11/26/2013 02:36:00 PM
Electronic Frontier Foundation: “Oh no!” said the email that went round the EFF office on Friday. Could it be true that the Beastie Boys had unleashed the legal hounds to shut down a parody ad that uses the group's classic misogynistic ditty, “Girls”? Surely not. As remix pioneers, the Beastie Boys are the veterans of many legal battles against copyright maximalists. The Beastie Boys aren’t copyright bullies, they fight those bullies. Right?Posted by David at 11/25/2013 01:23:00 PM
Monday, November 25, 2013
As usual, by Friday morning. This week's contenders:
Student #1 left a new comment on your post "Fightaturgy: Towards a Dramaturgy of Stage Violenc...":
"It is my own feeling that consistency and dramatic effectiveness trump historical accuracy, but specific choices must be made by the performers and production staff."Student #2 left a new comment on your post "Some Art Institutions Deserve to Fail":
This quote is fascinating, because as I was reading the article, I kept thinking, yes, it's interesting that it means different things when an actor has his japanese sword on the left or the right, but will the audience really understand that? Perhaps it will help the actor psychologically, but if it doesn't, then does it really matter? The quote above clarified this for me, because it points out that while we should aim to put on historically accurate productions, the most effective choices on stage may not be congruent with historically accurate details. It's a trade-off. In most cases, honestly, I doubt that the audience would even notice.
I appreciate this author's efforts to explain why violence is more than violence itself. The intentions behind violence and the cultural implications of different violent acts can have a huge effect on how actors play the violence and how the audience perceives it. I'm sure that playwrights would appreciate this article, because they don't just put violence in their plays because they can. (I'm not sure that the same can be said for movies, but that's a whole different story.) This is a great example of how thorough dramaturgical research can enhance a production for both performers and their audiences.
With the increase of digital downloads and personal access to art I think it is important to draw the line to or redraw a line to the question "what is art?". Surely it would be wrong to discount pop art as something that is not art however maybe we are experiencing an access to the arts that allows everything created to be popular and therefor subjected to personal objectification. However I do not want to delve into that but instead I wish to talk on the idea of art in the mechanical age of replication and reproduction. This idea that I am drawing on come from Walter Benjamin the author of "The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". He wrote that art's level of exact replication has been growing to greater and greater levels to the point where there are only on characteristic that can separate an original copy to that of an imitation. He writes "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element:its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." (Benjamin 2) So yes as art ordinations begin to fail probably because of the ability of technology to replicate that time and space it can still never replace the original time and performance. Perhaps that would mean for a call of new works of art. Where the time and space of that work is contemporary and with a great influx of original work, the recordings of classics will stay recordings. We can no long view the original performance of Handel's "Messiah" However we can travel to and original run and performance of a brand new musical. If arts organization keep preforming the classics than failure could be inevitably the end of that organization, however new works could also run an organization into the ground with lack of marketing and interest. Either way failure still presents it self as an option despite technology and poor management. We as a culture decided what is valuable and invaluable art, and therefor which ordinations will succeed or fail.Student #3 left a new comment on your post "Finding Common Ground":
As someone who's partner is a computer scientist while I am an artist I'm obviously on the side of thinking that artists and scientists make good partners. I never thought I would fall for a scientist, but despite focusing on different subjects, we both have to think creatively about our work and we meet in the middle when it comes to playing music. At any rate, I kind of think it could be a little boring to be with someone who did the same thing as me, though I know there are many people who do the same thing and it works out beautifully…so, it totally depends, but I know my world is constantly tweaked and expanded through talking with him and it has a big impact on my work. My partner and I always have things to teach each other about our separate focuses, and through it I think we both learn a lot, gain different perspectives and ways of looking at our own work…through each others work. I think that people who don't have this opportunity are missing out. I have met scientists who are so extremely entrenched in what they do that they have no concept of what I do and honestly look down on it. But, they haven't given a chance to really listen and look. I'm sure there are scientists too that have met artists that refuse to even accept the scientists world. It definitely depends on the open nature of the relationship. I think this salon sounds amazing -- what a great way to create communication between the arts and sciences and work toward better understanding and collaboration between the fields.Student #4 left a new comment on your post "Here’s Lady Gaga in a Flying Dress Because Okay, S...":
I think there are two definitions of flight: physical flight and mental flight (freedom and escape). I had recently watched Lady Gaga wear her new flying machine, Volantis, and I was not impressed. She chose physical flight with absolutely no mental flight. Yes, she physically flew, but she was bound to the machine. She was imprisoned and petrified by the machine. It is interesting in that the machine is controlling the human’s actions, but still. Perhaps this is saying something about technology overpowering creativity. I didn’t really find the idea interesting either. After all, do we not see physical flight with planes? Haven’t we seen this before? This is an old idea. We have seen man try to accomplish physical flight for the self in Icarus and Franz Reichelt, both of whom failed to achieve continuous flight. Mental flight has a much deeper meaning. It dives into the human mind, which is already a fragile labyrinth, and releases our inner desires. A desire to escape society’s confinements. A desire to free one’s self and soul. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to show through physical flight. One reason why it is so difficult is that man doesn’t really know what his desires are. His desires are biased and limited to what he knows. How does he know he does not want something he does not know? Another difficulty is transporting your interior thoughts (that is, if you think you have found them) to your exterior figure.Student #5 left a new comment on your post "The Catwalk of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire":
I think flight needs a pulse or at least a breath. When I think of flight, I think of an inhalation after a brief suffocation showing that release and escape. Lady Gaga was trapped. She almost looked like a stone statue with no life at all. She had no breath.
While what Trisch Summerville did for The Hunger Games might not be technically "costume design," I feel it might have been the best way to make this movie. I never even realized that every costume in a movie was personally designed by the costume designer- I always assumed that, especially for minor characters, there was a certain amount of "farming out" that happened. Since movies usually have such huge casts and cover so many different days, each with a different costume, it seems ridiculous to demand that for a person to be qualified as the costume designer they must have designed every item worn by anyone in the movie. especially in a movie such as this, which is supposed to be set in a sort of dystopian near-future, it can be even more effective to use modern clothing, rather than constructing it all. I also find it odd that the author described the use of McQueen pieces as a "risky choice" of fear of spoiling the "illusion" and implying that "high fashion may well be art but, as with Effie herself, is also vacuous and trivial." This doesn't sound like a random choice that has unfortunate and unintended implications- this sounds like a deliberate design decision which was meant to convey just that. There is a lot of design that can happen in the choosing of clothing for characters, and the choice to use clothing from the "real world" can be as much a design decision as choosing to make them all from a certain kind of fabric, or using a certain color palette throughout the movie.