Sunday, April 26, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Injuries Put Safety in Spotlight at Cirque du Soleil

WSJ: Sarah Guillot-Guyard lay dying on the floor of a basement inside a darkened Cirque du Soleil theater here, one leg broken and blood pooling under her head.

It was June 2013, and the 31-year-old mother of two had fallen 94 feet in front of hundreds of horrified spectators after the wire attached to her safety harness shredded while she performed in the dramatic aerial climax of the company’s most technically challenging production, “Kà.”

It was the first fatality during a Cirque show, and it capped an increase in injuries at Cirque with the “Kà” production. The show had one of the highest rates of serious injuries of any workplace in the country, according to safety records kept by Cirque that were compared with federal records by The Wall Street Journal.
 

AEA Changes the Game for L.A. Theatre

AMERICAN THEATRE: This might look like the end, but it’s likely only the beginning. From its offices in New York City, Actors’ Equity Association yesterday announced the decision of its national council to effectively dismantle the current Equity 99-Seat Plan—a unique L.A. code, in place since 1988, by which union members can volunteer in small theatres for small stipends—and offer in its place what they called “a broad range of options.”

The New Face of Study Abroad

Daily Infographic: Apart from the personal development and the bettering of your language skills, international experience is a great way to market yourself to future employers. Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity presented to high school and college students with numerous rewarding benefits.

Unfortunately, a small percentage of American students actually take advantage of this.
 

Making creative staging safer with the new CDM regulations

Event Industry News: A new way of thinking

Take away the 100-foot screens, blasting lasers, holographic projections and elaborate sets and what do you have left? Thousands of people with nothing much to do but look at a solitary figure standing on a platform.

Creative staging can be almost as crucial as the music or show itself – transforming concerts and festivals into an unforgettable, transcendent, multi-sensory experience.

Dearth of Tutu-Makers Puts Ballet in Crisis

www.newsweek.com: The show can’t possibly go on. Or, at least, no ballet company should be expected to woo paying audiences without its principal dancers twirling and whirling in hand-stitched tutus.

And there’s the problem. There just aren’t enough tutus to go around.

“Fashion colleges don’t teach students how to sew; they just teach them to be designers,” says Opera Philadelphia’s costume director Millie Hiibel. “I get applicants who don’t even know how to sew on a button.”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Worth a Look

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

How To Maybe Be a Generative Artist

HowlRound: I’m a generative artist. I think I even know what it means. I’m an actor, a writer, a musician. I take photos. I write essays, interview people, work a bit in journalism. And I use any combination of those skills to make new, personal work.

I’ve written and performed works that are autobiographical (The Skype Show), and created installations that combine art and activism (The Female Playwright Project). Because You Are Good, the current piece I’m devising for the East Side Stories Festival, has been different; I am working in a biographical way with another person’s story. Someone I respect, with an important history, legacy, and future.
 


AEA 99 Seat Referendum Results go 66% Against and 34% In Favor: Big Win for Los Angeles Pro99 Movement

LA Bitter Lemons: The ballots for the 99-Seat Proposal Advisory Referendum have been tabulated. We have already shared the results with the National Council and we will be posting the results on the member portal shortly.

The Arts Connect People and Perspectives by Building Welcoming Communities

The White House: As Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), I work with a dedicated and passionate group of people and organizations to support and fund the arts in communities across America. I believe what we do is so important, not just to celebrate and affirm the arts as a national priority critical to America's well-being and future; the power of the arts can be transformative and I've experienced firsthand how this works. My story is especially relevant today as the White House Task Force on New Americans has released its report to the President on recommended actions the federal government can take to build integrated and welcoming communities across the nation.

I was born into multiple cultures, often with seemingly opposing perspectives. Had I not been engaged with the arts, I don’t know if I would have been able to make sense of my own life.

Pay Gap in Publishing, Film, TV, Journalism and Art

Flavorwire: Today is Equal Pay Day, and you don’t have to approve of Patricia Arquette’s poorly considered Oscar-night comments to get behind her push for gender pay equity, which is far from a realized goal in America. The pay gap directly or indirectly affects most workers and their families: women in the US working full-time make only 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, while it gets worse when compounded with racial inequality: a Latina woman earns only 56 cents to that dollar.


The Future Of Museums Is Reaching Way Beyond Their Walls

Co.Exist | ideas + impact: The American Museum of Natural History has always been one of the most popular destinations in New York City. With about 5 million visitors a year, an increase from 3 million in the 1990s, it—along with the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art—is among the top 10 most-visited museums in the world. According to its president, Ellen Futter, the museum (AMNH) is only behind Disney World and Disneyland as the top destination for families in the country.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Worth a Look

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


When the Gods Choose a Different Play Each Night: Designing for Interactive Theatre

HowlRound: When Liz Fisher and Robert Matney of Whirligig Productions approached me about designing lights for their new and innovative version of the House of Atreus story, I jumped at the chance, knowing that I was taking on a rather large project and having no idea how I was going to tackle its challenges. Deus Ex Machina is an interactive retelling of the Oresteia—interactive in that, at key points in the play, characters go to an oracle to seek guidance, and the audience gets to select the prophecy that pushes the characters into their next course of action.




Between Martyrdom and Sacrifice

The Clyde Fitch Report: “How do people get away with that?” was the question hurled at me during a recent over-caffeinated rant about the storefront theatre in Chicago. My response, in the moment, was, “That’s just what theatre people do.”

It’s a sentiment I often hear echoed by my Chicago non-Equity theatre world – by actors, designers, and directors alike: “People who work in the arts … are going to be people who are passionately committed – given that they could earn so much more in another field.” Yes, we are the ones who don’t just accept, but embrace the sacrifice of high expectations and little pay to prove our passion for the cause.

From Henry VIII’s Codpiece to Anne Boleyn’s Corset: Inside Wolf Hall’s Period Perfect Costumes

Vanity Fair: Those living in Tudor period England may not have benefited from such modern inventions as photographs and Photoshop but they did, as Wolf Hall costume designer Joanna Eatwell points out, have portraits and eager-to-please painters commissioned to create them. “We manipulate images and I think that happened very much in paintings,” Eatwell told us during a phone call last week about Wolf Hall, the six-part series adapted from Hilary Mantel’s 2009 novel about Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in Henry VIII’s court that premiered on PBS on April 5. “We know that Henry VIII sent [German artist] Holbein to paint Anne of Cleves, who was to be his future wife. And when she arrived he did not recognize her [because of the portrait’s inaccuracy] and the marriage was never consummated.”

Rigging Safety Day - #RigSafe

www.yourperformancepartners.com: How will you celebrate Arbor Day on April 24? We’re joining with USITT in celebrating Rigging Safety Day, a day to promote safer stages by posting and tweeting with the hashtag #RigSafe.








Behind The Redesign Of The THX Deep Note, The World's Most Iconic Audio Logo

Co.Design | business + design: So famous that it has been sampled by Dre and parodied on The Simpsons, the THX Deep Note is one of the most recognizable pieces of computer-generated music in the world. Although it contains only one note spread across a variety of pitches and modulations, this 30-channel glissando of discordant sounds builds upon itself to go from loud, to louder, to extremely loud and incredibly close. Now, the iconic audio logo is getting its first redesign ever by the same man who gave the world the Deep Note in the first place. And it's even more dramatic than before.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Worth a Look

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

How the Tax Code Hurts Artists

NYTimes.com: WITH tax day looming, you can practically hear the cries of creative professionals across the country. That’s because the tax code hits many right where it hurts, by penalizing them for the distinctive way they make money.

The biggest offender is still the alternative minimum tax, despite the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which brought long-overdue reform. Two provisions of the A.M.T. hit a disproportionate number of actors, screenwriters and directors: In calculating it, taxpayers can’t deduct employee business expenses, nor can they deduct state, local and property taxes.

Women’s Voices To Be Heard at More Than 50 D.C.-Area Theatres

AMERICAN THEATRE: The Women’s Voices Theater Festival has announced preliminary details of the programming for the two-month-long festival, which will unite more than 50 professional theatre companies in the D.C. metro area this coming fall. Each theatre will produce a world-premiere play from a female playwright. Highlights include new plays from Sheila Callaghan, Karin Coonrod, Jen Silverman, Jessica Dikcey, Martyna Majok and Caleen Sinnette Jennings.


The Most Successful Theater Kickstarter Ever

Vulture: NBC’s musical series Smash was widely panned and only lasted two seasons, but two years after its final episode, its small but devoted contingent of fans are just as invested in its future. Earlier this month, the Actors Fund announced it would put on a Broadway benefit concert performance of Bombshell, the Marilyn Monroe musical workshopped over the course of Smash’s season that gave stars Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee space to catfight and belt to the rafters

Is small theater in Los Angeles getting the curtain call?

www.dailynews.com: When you hear “Hollywood,” you think movies, right? Or maybe TV.

What nobody thinks is theater. Theater is New York or some other place people moved here to escape.

When folks come west, they leave behind their snow shovels, mittens and “Regards to Broadway.” Yet every week in Los Angeles, thousands flock to world-class venues like the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, Pantages and a handful of others for the live theater experience.

What isn’t so well known is many thousands more find that same joy in the less glamorous parts of town — the seedy stretches of Santa Monica and Melrose, the dark patches of Highland and even the nether regions of Lankershim.

Are Theatre Critics Critical? An Update

HowlRound: It wasn't exactly an ambush, but the first question actor Bernardo Cubria posed to me as a guest on his theatre podcast was about a complaint that actors have about critics. I was his sixtieth guest, and his first theatre critic.

Why do so many reviews, he asked, just summarize the plot and not give an opinion? Later he complained that a critic’s opinion in a review upset a friend of his who had spent “three months of her life” dedicated to her show.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Worth A Look

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

The Lies We Tell About Audience Engagement

TCG Circle: Over the past several years, the theatre community has become more and more anxious about “audience engagement” and less and less certain what that actually means. Some people think it means audience participation theatre, which can run from happening-style performance events to walkthrough shows like Fefu and Her Friends and Sleep No More to hauling unwilling audience members into the spotlight for 90 seconds of uncomfortable awkwardness. Some people think it means enabling the audience to participate in the show’s creation in some way. Some people think it means doing shows that engage your local audience by reflecting them in some way—usually season planning and/or casting—and creating events attached to the show, like talkbacks, community outreach events, or a lobby display audience members can add to or interact with.
 

Equity E-mails Its Members, Explains What a Union Is

Parabasis: AEA took the rhetorical gloves off today, explaining why it was offensive to use civil rights era imagery as part of a protest against the union and giving people a refresher course on what a union is for. My guess is this only serves to further antagonize people who don't support the union's position (there is some public calls for the union to apologize for the letter, but I see nothing in here necessitating an apology), but part of me is just happy to see them stand up for themselves in the face of millionaire movie stars tacitly advocating for their most vulnerable employees to turn scab.

Caisse seeks minority stake in Cirque du Soleil

www.cirquefascination.com: The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is vying for a minority stake in the Cirque du Soleil as political opposition mounts over the prospect of a foreign takeover of the famed Montreal circus company.

According to people familiar with negotiations, the Caisse has made overtures to potential suitors that it would like to join the winning bid for the Cirque du Soleil by acquiring a minority stake of about 10 per cent. These sources said the Caisse, Canada’s second-largest pension fund managers by assets, is reluctant to buy a bigger stake because the production company is in need of significant capital to revitalize some of its struggling shows and expand into new foreign markets. A Caisse spokesman declined to comment.

12 Touring Theater Companies That Make a Difference

Backstage: Touring is a rite of passage for many young performers, and an amazing way to see the country and impact communities far and wide. From full-fledged Shakespeare to “Berenstain Bears,” here are 12 touring theater companies that make a difference across the United States.


Multi-Ethnic Coalition Denounces Controversial Deadline Article

Variety: A coalition of several organizations issued a statement on Wednesday condemning a Deadline Hollywood article that sparked controversy for its characterization of the TV industry’s casting practices regarding minority actors.

The coalition, comprised of American Indians in Film and Television, Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, NAACP Hollywood Bureau and National Hispanic Media Coalition, condemned Deadline for publishing “inaccuracies and misconceptions.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Worth a Look

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

‘Midnight Rider’ First AD Hillary Schwartz Guilty; Gets 10 Years Probation

Deadline: Midnight Rider’s first assistant director Hillary Schwartz was found guilty of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter today and will receive 10 years probation and no prison time. Under terms of the deal, she cannot be a director or assistant director, but she can be a producer in a capacity other than overseeing the safety of others. She also was slapped with a $5,000 fine.
 

Essential Pittsburgh: An August Wilson Protégé on How He Learned What He Learned

90.5 WESA: August Wilson is well known for his 20th century cycle of works about the black experience in America. But now an additional play written shortly before Wilson’s death is debuting in Pittsburgh. Actor Eugene Lee and Director Todd Kreidler, Wilson’s friend and protégé, explain what “How I Learned What I Learned” reveals about the playwright’s life as a poet in the Hill District.

A Call For R/evolution

FROM THE GREEN ROOM: Dance/USA's e-Journal: Sarah Austin’s recent controversial piece, “Is American Modern Dance a Pyramid Scheme?” is a symptom of a larger cultural, socio-economic shift that continues to affect both the arts and education. This is a shift in the perceived and broadcasted value of learning, experience, and critical thinking. Austin’s article arrived on the heals of related pieces about writing and theater programs. Clearly there is work to be done inside of arts programs, on the parts of students, administrators, and faculty, but there are larger issues at play. I may not agree with all of Austin’s points, but I applaud her bravery in stepping on a hornets’ nest and stirring us all to swarm. A lively dialogue happened on Facebook here, here, and I’m sure on many other “walls” as well.
 

Equity Fires Back at L.A. Theater Critics

Backstage: The Actors’ Equity Association is engaged in an increasingly heated debate with critics of its minimum-wage proposal. The union has used its Twitter handle to promote its 99-seat reform plan and push back against what it calls falsehoods, including one rumor that Executive Director Mary McColl was “approaching grantors requesting that they not make grants to 99 seat companies.”

The Reality of Six-Figure Debt on an Actor’s Salary

MagnifyMoney: Freddy Arsenault is a Broadway actor with six figures of student loan debt, thanks to the MFA acting program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Among actors, Arsenault is one of the “lucky ones”. According to Actors Equity Association, the professional theatre actors union, fewer than 15 percent of due paying members are able to secure work in any given week and only 17,000 of 40,000 members work in a given year. Of those jobs, only a select few carry the prestige and paycheck of a Broadway show.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” clusterf***: A very brief history

Salon.com: 2013’s catchy song of summer “Blurred Lines” has been at the center of a fraught legal battle in recent months, with Marvin Gaye’s children alleging that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plagiarized the song from Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up.” The trial finally kicked off yesterday, with Thicke and Williams arriving in an L.A. federal courtroom to defend their creation. Here’s a look at some of the major developments that brought us to where we are today

Equity Vs. L.A. 99-Seat Theatre, the Final Showdown

AMERICAN THEATRE: I feel like I’m witnessing a divorce between two old friends—one of whom I know all too well, as I’ve spent many days and especially late nights in his company, the other of whom I respect and am glad to know, even at arm’s length. Oh, sure, I’ve heard the first party complain about his persnickety partner over the years—about how she just doesn’t get what he does and resents his perennially empty pockets. And much as I love him, I’ve always had the sense that she has her reasons for discontent, too; my homeboy has his share of flaws, as even he would admit in his clearer-headed moments.

Battle Tested

Stage Directions: In June of 2013, during the climatic battle scene of KÁ at the MGM Grand Resort in Las Vegas—where performers are suspended on wires far above the ground in front of a vertical wall representing a bird’s eye view of the battle—Cirque acrobat/aerialist Sarah Guillot-Guyard suddenly plunged 94 feet to the ground. She died from injuries sustained in the fall.

In December of 2014, Calum Pearson, vice president of the resident shows division of Cirque du Soleil, held a press conference giving a full accounting of what happened technically to lead to the incident, and announced that the show would be re-integrating the battle sequence. Shortly after that conference he sat down with SD to discuss what happened, emotionally and technically, to lead to that decision.
 

Building the Future with Gaming and Participatory Theater

Extended Play: Ian Daniel, Editor of Extended Play, recently attended César Alvarez’s new participatory musical set in outer space, “The Universe is a Small Hat,” at Babycastles Gallery in NYC. The show is set in the year 2114, when artificial intelligence, humanoid robots and Martian colonies are all real things. In this futuristic world, a group of humans leaves Earth to establish an entirely new society in space. The audience plays the colonists, and their choices shape the development of the new world.

Unidentified: Lingering mysteries in the Theater Collection

mcnyblog: Since fall of 2013, the City Museum has been involved in a large scale digitization project to digitally capture and describe over 30,000 images of theatrical production. It gives me great pleasure and supreme pride to announce we now have over 15,000 images freely available to view on the Museum’s Collections Portal. Cue streamers, balloons, fireworks, and all other celebratory ephemera.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Stagehands Protesting Mistreatment at Live Nation Concert in Atlanta

Digital Music NewsDigital Music News: This Thursday’s performance onstage at the Maroon 5 concert in Atlanta will be great, but backstage it’s a different story. Stagehands work in poor conditions, are paid poverty-level wages, with no benefits – for a job that is often dangerous. On Thursday evening, outside Philips Arena, stagehands and their supporters will hold banners and approach concertgoers with information on this and other “poor performances.”

Music in the Hill was a way of life until 'progress' silenced venues

TribLIVE: From the window of his Hill District home on Epiphany Street in the early 1950s, 7-year-old Sala Udin would bask in the warm summer breeze as he watched ladies adorned with gloves and hats and smartly dressed men in crisp suits and ties make their way down Fullerton Avenue and into the swanky Loendi Club.

Outside, shiny vehicles parked in tight rows lined the street as trolleys rattled their way down the tracks. As the club's double doors swung open, an irresistible melody would fill the air.

Ask The Experts: Should I Disclose My Mental Illness In An Interview?

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: The interview process is always fraught with trying to present the best version of yourself in hopes of impressing your potential future employer while still staying true to yourself. That balancing act becomes a lot more complicated when you have a complicated history of mental illness that has negatively impacted your career path.


I recreated Michael Jordan's 'last shot' in a room made of 10 million LEDs

The Verge: The NBA made some noise during its All-Star festivities this past weekend when it became the first major sport to embrace virtual reality. But across the street from the main event happening at Madison Square Garden, there was an ancillary event that offered fans a whole different type of immersion: a playable life-size half court made of LED screens created by Nike's Jordan brand for its 30th anniversary.

It was an NBA holodeck, and I had to try it.

Saturday Night Live's Wig Secrets

allure.com: A dead-on impression or an amazing character creation is lost if the actor doesn't look the part. That's why the wigs on Saturday Night Live, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this season, have always gone a long way to making the sketches work. Back in 2012, I talked to head hairstylist Bettie Rogers, who had been with the show for ten years, about how the best looks come together.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Does Commercial Broadway Need a Tax Break?

The Clyde Fitch Report: This is a short post but an important one. On Thurs., Feb. 5, a press release was issued by the Broadway League, which is the national trade organization for Broadway, touting proposed legislation by Sen. Chuck Schumer to incentivize investments in live performance, including Broadway shows.

Equity Unveils 99-Seat Plan Calling for L.A. Actors’ ‘Minimum Wage’

Backstage: The Actors' Equity Association has put forward a proposal to revamp the 99-Seat Theatre Plan setting the union on what could be a collision course with Los Angeles small theater producers.

Equity wants to create a new agreement that will guarantee actors and stage managers are paid “a salary no less than the legally mandated minimum wage and ensure members are paid for rehearsals as well as performance hours," according to a release. Under the current 99-seat agreement, Equity actors can be paid a stipend of as little as $7 a performance for the first four weeks of a black-box theater run.

L.A. Theater Producers: Minimum Wage ‘Impossible’

Backstage: Equity’s proposed minimum wage requirement for actors is “financially impossible," according to a group of Los Angeles intimate theater producers.

Members of the Review Committee, created from the settlement of the 1988 Equity Waiver Wars, met Monday at the Matrix Theatre on Melrose. Simon Levy, producing director of the Fountain Theatre, said myriad options were being considered, including legal action.
 

How Live Nation exploits low-wage workers to stage its rock concerts

The Washington Post: Thirty-six hours at Bonnaroo, the massive Tennessee music festival, sounds like a great way to spend a June weekend. Unless you’re working backstage without breaks, fighting exhaustion, because one of your colleagues called in sick and there’s nobody else to fill in -- like Katherine Walding did last summer.

“To say that I was potentially a danger to my crew is an understatement,” says Walding, a stagehand with a company called Crew One, which staffs rock concerts and festivals across the South. “That’s what you do if you want to get paid. It’s all you can do.”

Cirque May Walk Tightrope on Ownership?

www.cirquefascination.com: Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté may be ready to sell control of his company as it reaches a crossroads in its 30-year history.

Laliberté mused publicly in December about selling a 20- to 30-per-cent stake in the Montreal-based entertainment giant. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he said he was looking for a partner to help expand the business globally.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Worth a Look

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

‘Midnight Rider’ Accident: Hearing Set on Appeal of OSHA Violations

Variety: A federal commission has scheduled a hearing starting on March 31 on the “Midnight Rider” filmmakers’ appeal of almost $75,000 in fines and safety violations proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigated the Feb. 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured eight others on the film’s set last year.
 

California takes on the NFL: New bill would force teams to pay cheerleaders minimum wage

Salon.com: A California assemblywoman this week introduced a measure that would force NFL teams to pay cheerleaders minimum wage, overtime and workers compensation. State Rep. Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat from San Diego and former Stanford University cheerleader, introduced the legislation after another cheerleader with the Oakland Raiderettes brought a lawsuit alleging the team violated minimum wage laws.

Paris Calls a Halt to Outdoor Filming of Some Action Scenes

NYTimes.com: Authorities have imposed new restrictions on filming movies or television shows in the city of Paris nearly a month after shootings that killed 17 people in and around the French capital. Outdoor scenes of actors in police or military uniforms and the use of fake weapons or explosives have been banned, underlining the heightened level of security after the attacks.
 

The Privilege of Privilege

HowlRound: If I’d realized earlier how privileged I am, I’d have enjoyed it more.

Now that privilege is being challenged, and is no longer unconscious, or taken for granted.

Dang.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to slather myself in liberal guilt and whine about it. That’s a waste of time. The energy required to wallow in guilt is energy that is better spent unpacking my privilege, acknowledging the damage it has done to me and to others, and doing what I can to use it positively or help to dismantle it.

Making Talent: 4 Lessons from the Front Lines Of Digital Education

Co.Create | creativity + culture + commerce: At times, I hear secrets. Recently I met a prominent business leader, a person who manages multi-million dollar global client relationships at an established company. He admitted that he "walks into work naked every single day." In other words, his skills have not evolved to meet the digital-specific demands of his job. It’s likely that his supervisor and colleagues are unaware of the extent of his skill deficiency. His lack of digital expertise, coupled with an inability to admit what he doesn’t know, costs the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost opportunities annually.