Monday, February 19, 2018

Worth a Look

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

Mass Shootings on Stage: Healing or Titillating?

New York Theater: The mass shooting on Valentine’s Day at a Florida high school is the latest in a long line of school shootings, some of which are instantly identifiable: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook.

Each of these has been the subject of plays, as have some of the other most notorious mass shootings in the United States.

Conscious Casting and Letting Playwrights Lead

HowlRound: Can a Japanese family be Mexican? That question was at the heart of an email exchange with a theatre doing one of my plays. It wasn’t really a debate; the roles had already been cast. But the director wasn’t trying to pull a fast one—in writing my play’s character notes, I had sent mixed messages about what I valued and expected. And I know I’m not alone in still learning how to navigate this terrain.

National Endowment of the Arts Chairman Responds to Trump's Proposal to Eliminate the NEA Earlier today, the National Endowment of the Arts Chairman Jane Chu released the following statement regarding President Trump's budget plan for 2019.

Today we learned that the President's FY 2019 budget proposes elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals in thousands of communities and in every Congressional District in the nation.

Cutting Federal Funding for the Arts Wouldn't Kill Them; Might Make Them Better

Hit & Run : Give the president credit, though. He's diverted attention from his overall increase in spending and gigantic increases in deficits by driving critics crazy with proposed cuts to programs and agencies they love, such as the EPA, the Small Business Administration, food stamps (SNAP), and, of course, the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and the Humanities (NEH).

Taylor Swift Decision: Copiers Gonna Copy, Copy, Copy The only obvious similarities between [plaintiff Sean Hall's Playas Gon' Play and defendant Taylor Swift's Shake It Off] is that Playas Gon' Play contains the lyrics "Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate," and Shake it Off contains the lyrics "'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate." The lynchpin of this entire case is thus whether or not the lyrics "Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate" are eligible for protection under the Copyright Act.

Worth a Look - Time's Up

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Live Nation, CAA, UTA, & WME Join Los Angeles Mayor's Fund to Promote Diversity in Entertainment

Amplify: Live Nation has signed on as a partner for Evolve Entertainment Fund, a public-private partnership aimed at creating new opportunities for communities that have been historically excluded from the entertainment industry. The concert industry giant joins agencies CAA, UTA, WME, and 50 other entertainment companies.

SAG-AFTRA Releases Sexual Harassment Code of Conduct

AFL-CIO: SAG-AFTRA recently released a code of conduct on sexual harassment as part of a broader program to protect its members, confront harassment and advance equity in the workplace.

UK Construction Week bans "inappropriate" outfits after showgirl backlash UK Construction Week is introducing new equality guidelines following the outcry against the use of promotional models wearing Vegas showgirl outfits at last year's event.

Media 10, a publisher and the organiser of the annual trade show, has released a code of conduct for exhibitors "setting the standard" for equality and diversity in the industry.

Viola Davis Talks MeToo, Inequality for Women of Color With Tina Brown

Variety: Is the #MeToo movement a true tipping point? Or will this moment pass with no real impact on our culture?

That was the main question posed at the Women in the World salon, held Tuesday at NeueHouse in Hollywood.

Reprising a powerful quote from her speech at the Women’s March in Los Angeles last month, Viola Davis said, “Nothing can be great unless it costs you something.”

SAG-AFTRA Releases Official Code of Conduct for a Post-Weinstein World

Backstage: With Hollywood still reeling from the onslaught of sexual harassment revelations, the nation’s union of screen actors, SAG-AFTRA, has released a code of conduct for sexual harassment, revealing a “Four Pillars of Change” initiative.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Worth a Look

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

Chez Stock: The Girl With The Audio Tattoo(s)

ProSoundWeb: I remember meeting Chez Stock for the first time. The first thing I noticed were the tattoos across her fingers spelling out “COMP” and “GATE.” I made a comment along the lines of “nice digital inserts” (I pun involuntarily) and, in spite of that, we had a nice conversation.

$25 Million in Grants Support Art Projects Nationwide

NEA: Each year, more than 4,500 communities large and small throughout the United States benefit from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants to nonprofits. For the NEA’s first of two major grant announcements of fiscal year 2018, more than $25 million in grants across all artistic disciplines will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These grants are for specific projects and range from performances and exhibitions, to healing arts and arts education programs, to festivals and artist residencies.

So let’s talk about representation of bodies… richard iii redux spate of high profile all-female productions of Shakespeare the past few years – Maxine Peake playing Hamlet in Manchester and Phillyda Lloyd’s trilogy of Julius Caesar, Henry IV and last year’s The Tempest, to name just a few. As a woman working in theatre, I applaud any attempt to provide more visible platforms for women practitioners, and believe there is still much to be mined from the classics with cross-gender casting (and I mean male actors playing female roles here, too…). Yet in the midst of all this welcome talk about diversity and parity, I believe there is still one area hugely overlooked – and that is atypical embodiment.

Hastened by Technology, Hindered by Public Attitudes

HowlRound: Katie Sweeney tells the story of her son Dustin, a theatre-lover with perfect pitch who is autistic. He has a huge vocabulary, he’s memorized whole shows, but he doesn’t engage in conversation and never answers a question that begins with “Why?” Sweeney took her son to a Broadway show, choosing box seats off to the side, away from most of the audience. Dusty sang along with the songs. Ten minutes into the second act, an usher asked mother and son to leave, because he was disturbing the actors. As they left, Dusty, upset, kept on screaming: "Stay. Stay. Stay."

The (Mostly) Deep Meanings Behind Blue Man Group’s On-Stage Food

Chicago magazine | Dining & Drinking January 2018: Over 527 shows last year, the Blue Man Group went through roughly 18,500 marshmallows, 2,100 Twinkies, 2,000 pounds of Cap’n Crunch cereal, 26,300 pounds of Jell-O, 500 bars of Toblerone, and 67,300 bunches of bananas.

Worth a Look - Time's Up

And five more...

Performers And Staffers At “Sleep No More” Say Audience Members Have Sexually Assaulted Them Audience members wander through dozens of elaborately decorated rooms as dancers perform a blood-and-sex filled adaptation of Macbeth at the immersive theater production Sleep No More. The lighting ranges from dim to very dark; guests are intentionally separated from the people they arrived with. Before the performance, an actor usually declares that “fortune favors the bold,” and the 400 or so audience members are instructed to wear — and not remove — ghoulish white masks, fueling a sense of anonymity amid the production’s fantasy setting. And sometimes, former staffers said, audience members just reached out and groped them.

Guest Column: Actors’ Equity’s Mary McColl on Leadership, Misconduct

Variety: A number of major regional theaters are changing artistic leaders at the moment. Over the last few months, that number has only grown as charges of sexual harassment and misconduct roil the industry. The two trends are linked — and make a call to action ever more critical.

How much longer will 'auteur' filmmakers torment women for art? Hollywood, as we have been learning, is a mean place to work. To obscene pay inequities and outrageous sexual misconduct, now we can add abusive on-set treatment of female actors to extract the most realistic performance for the screen.

Thanks to Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino for this latest conversation about the uglier aspects of Tinseltown, where a mania for onscreen "authenticity" comes dangerously close to abuse — or even death — on set.

Is the jig finally up? One can only hope.

He helped Halle Berry and Taraji Henson to stardom. Now 9 minority women are accusing him of sexual harassment.

The Washington Post: Tamika Lamison was a 27-year-old stage actress living in New York City in June 1996 when she stepped into Hollywood manager Vincent Cirrincione's hotel suite, excited by the unexpected opportunity to audition for the man behind Halle Berry's rising stardom.

Lamison said she had been introduced to Cirrincione the previous night by one of his clients at the Tony Awards dinner. Soon after her arrival at the hotel, Cirrincione's phone rang. It was Berry. He put the famous actress on speaker as Lamison listened in silently, in awe — thinking that perhaps Cirrincione could steer her own acting career to Hollywood success in an industry with few leading roles for African American actresses like her.

When the call ended, Lamison began reciting a poem she had written. Midway through her performance, she said, Cirrincione grabbed her and started kissing her, sticking his tongue in her mouth.

Ava DuVernay Clip From 'Half the Picture' Documentary

The Mary Sue: It’s a special time in Hollywood right now. Women in the entertainment industry have never been so visible, or so vocal. While there’s still work to do, people are more conscious of how widespread and pervasive gender bias is in the industry. In her documentary, Half the Picture, director Amy Adrion tells the stories of other female filmmakers, like herself, who’ve had to navigate sexism at every turn in order to make any of their projects happen.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Worth a Look - Time's Up

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Guthrie scene shop was hostile place, say departed workers

Minnesota Public Radio News: A formal investigation is underway at the Guthrie Theater in the wake of two staff resignations earlier this month.
The employees both worked as carpenters in the theater's scene shop. They say the shop was a hostile work environment, particularly for women, and that the Guthrie did not move quickly enough or effectively enough to deal with the situation.

Medieval Times Goes Modern, Replacing Its Kings With Queens

The New York Times: It had been a pretty laid-back Sunday before Monet Lerner’s afternoon shift at Medieval Times. She poured a cup from her Mr. Coffee and watched a little “Beyond Stranger Things” on Netflix. She thought a lot about acting, and did some vocal warm-ups. Then she pulled on her shiny black rain boots, said goodbye to Hoppy Joe, her rescue bunny, and headed out.

Met Opera Fires Stage Director, Citing ‘Inappropriate Behavior’

The New York Times: The Metropolitan Opera fired the veteran British stage director John Copley this week after receiving a complaint about what the company described as “inappropriate behavior in the rehearsal room.”

Directors Guild Unveils Procedures for Handling Sexual Harassment

Variety: The Directors Guild of America has issued procedures for dealing with sexual harassment in a notice sent to its 17,000 members on Thursday.
The move comes three months after the the DGA announced that it had launched disciplinary proceedings to expel Harvey Weinstein as a member, two weeks after the extensive revelations of alleged sexual abuse leveled against the disgraced mogul. The DGA has a long-standing practice of not commenting on internal union matters, but decided to make an exception in this case. Weinstein resigned a month later.
The DGA said Thursday that the recent public focus on sexual harassment is long overdue.

#GrammysSoMale, #MeToo, and What Happens to Women Who 'Step Up' in Music

The Atlantic: Dealing with sexual harassment by Russell Simmons “was a full-time job,” Drew Dixon, a former executive at the record company Def Jam, told The New York Times recently. Simmons, the label boss, would so frequently expose himself to Dixon, she alleged, that she gave a spare key to her office to another coworker so that they could intervene whenever Simmons entered her workspace and unzipped. “It was exhausting,” she said. “It was like making a record while swimming in rough seas.” Still, she scored a huge hit by co-producing the 1995 soundtrack for The Show. Shortly afterwards, she said, Simmons raped her.

Worth a Look

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

Get Out now has its own online class about black horror

The Verge: Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated film Get Out now has its own webinar. It’s called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror Aesthetic,” based on the UCLA course on black horror put together by Professor and author Tananarive Due and her husband, science fiction writer and lecturer Steven Barnes last year.


How do you ruin 'Joseph'? Try setting it in Vegas

Chicago Tribune: There’s a Broadway story about “The Lion King.” Julie Taymor, the conceptualist genuis, first wanted, in Act 2, to take Simba and his crew to Las Vegas. After they picked their chins up off the floor, the Disney brass set about keeping the action in Africa, rather than on the Strip. It wasn’t that hard, they just said “No.”


High School Production of HUNCHBACK Cancelled Following Outcry Over Casting Diversity The Ithaca High School production of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME has been cancelled following an outcry over the lack of diversity in casting.
The Ithaca Journal reports that students complained when a white actress was cast in the role of Esmerelda, a part intended to be portrayed as a Romani person living in 15th century Paris.


Bojack Horseman Creator Finally Addresses Diversity Problem

The Mary Sue: Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the creator of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, knows that there’s a big problem on his show. Namely, that the character of Diane, who is supposed to be Vietnamese, is voiced by Alison Brie, who is white. This issue has been brought up in fan circles plenty of times before, not only in relation to this show, but throughout animation. Yet, according to Bob-Waksberg, no one’s brought the conversation directly to him, until now.


How Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance Will Come Together & Launch Him Into The Stratosphere Whether Justin Timberlake manages to bring divided football fans together with his Super Bowl LII Halftime Show performance remains to be seen, but the man calling the production shots says JT is precisely the superstar to play Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium Feb. 4.
“Justin’s the perfect act for this because we honestly could just put the camera on him for 12 minutes and no one would care,” Ricky Kirshner, who has executive produced the halftime show since 2007, told Pollstar. “But you know, it’s the Super Bowl so we feel like we have to make it a little bigger.”
Of course, Kirshner and his wildly talented team will do a lot more than a close-up of JT, being responsible for everything from scenery to lighting to audio to screens.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Worth a Look

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

What We Learned While Trying To Find A New Bechdel Test

FiveThirtyEight: In our recent project looking for the next Bechdel Test, we tried to find new ways to evaluate whether Hollywood was doing a good job of representing all kinds of people equitably on screen and behind the scenes. To put the new tests through their paces, nine FiveThirtyEight staffers watched the 50 top-grossing movies of 2016 and ran them through 12 new tests aimed at measuring gender inequality in Hollywood films.

TV writers are sharing their salaries in a Google spreadsheet to combat pay disparity

The Verge: TV writers, producers, executives, and assistants have been anonymously sharing their salaries in a widely circulated Google spreadsheet this week as part of an effort to help people working in the entertainment industry achieve pay parity, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

When Pop Culture Sells Dangerous Myths About Consent

The Atlantic: Edward Cullen. Chuck Bass. Lloyd Dobler. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That guy from Love Actually with the sign. The lead singers of emo bands with their brooding lyrics. Many of the romantic heroes that made me swoon in my youth followed a pattern and, like a Magic Eye picture, only with a little distance did the shape of it pop out to me. All of these characters in some way crossed, or at least blurred, the lines of consent, aggressively pursuing women with little or no regard for their desires. But these characters’ actions, and those of countless other leading men across the pop-culture landscape, were more likely to be portrayed as charming than scary.

Read 'Em And Weep: Celebrating 35 Years Of Opera Supertitles

NPR: In 1983, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto tried a grand experiment. While the singers performed Elektra in German onstage, simultaneous translations in English were projected above the stage. These "supertitles," as they've come to be known, were quickly adopted at opera houses and are now an expected part of the opera-going experience.

When People are the Product: Why Reliance on Young Artist Programs May Lead to Financial Ruin for Opera There’s no question that many regional opera houses in the US are struggling. Corporate giving to the arts has never really recovered since the dotcom crash, private philanthropy is shifting increasingly towards education, healthcare, and religious organizations, and a lack of standardized musical education means that every new operagoer has to be taught and then converted.

Worth a Look - Time's Up

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Theater Where Kevin Spacey Was Artistic Director Creates New Initiative to Report Harassment London’s Old Vic theatre has established a new channel for employees to report harassment as an alternative to human resources and management.

Alyssa Milano, Halsey, more stars speak at the 2018 Women's March From New York to Los Angeles, women are gathering for the Women's March 2018 — and celebrities are joining in.

Stars are speaking up across the nation Saturday to advocate for change, bring awareness to the #MeToo movement and more.

Sexual Harassment is Pervasive Among Self-Employed Creatives

Rising Tide: Our recent research revealed that sexual harassment is pervasive in the creative economy — 54% of self-employed and freelance women reported they have been harassed at least once. This is higher than the numbers already reported in the traditional 9-to-5 workforce, where 48% of currently employed women in the United States say they have been sexually harassed. The problem is far too commonplace, but victims are speaking up, empowered by movements like #MeToo, which elevate their collective voice to share unfortunate realities.

Long Wharf Theater Leader Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The New York Times: Ms. Rubinstein is one of four women who spoke on the record, describing unwanted sexual contact by Mr. Edelstein since his arrival in 2002 at Long Wharf, a respected nonprofit theater in New Haven that has had several productions mounted on Broadway. Six other former employees, women and men, described frequent sexually explicit remarks in the workplace by Mr. Edelstein, a prominent figure in American theater circles.

Producers Guild of America Sets Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines

Variety: The Producers Guild of America has issued its “Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines” to its 8,200 members in the wake of expelling Harvey Weinstein from its ranks.

The guidelines, issued Friday on the day before the PGA’s awards show, are the initial recommendations from the PGA’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force, which was created last October after the start of the massive sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Hollywood. The PGA’s board of directors ratified the guidelines unanimously this week.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Worth a Look

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

‘Roseanne’ in the Trump Era I’m not great at tweeting about politics because it takes me too long to emotionally process news before I can come up with a witty, quippy, retweetable tweet. By last summer though, I was finally able to accept the election results and get my brain functioning enough to get back to tweeting in a timely fashion. After a couple of months of unanimously positive feedback, I had a chilling realization: There was a lack of negative comments when I posted anything critical of our current administration. Trolls are abundant online, so why wasn’t anyone lashing out against me, calling me a “libtard,” a “snowflake,” or “lacking common sense”?

Female Lighting Designers: Past, Present, and Future

THE INTERVAL: Women lighting designers started in the spotlight. In the last century, women were at the forefront of lighting design’s major changes, both technological and conceptual, and yet men have dominated its ranks. One would think that a profession created by women would remain in the hands of women, but for theatrical lighting design that has not been the case, and questions persist in the minds of many of today’s lighting designers: Can women hold on to their legacy? Are they disappearing from the profession?

Dear NBC: Straightwashing is Not OK

The Mary Sue: There are so many important, interesting, inspiring stories within the LGBTQIA community. If only the producers and television executives telling those stories actually acknowledged where they came from. In the case of the upcoming NBC drama Rise, its protagonist, based on a real person, will be missing a key element of his identity. The person is gay, but the character will be straight.

Republicans’ tax attack on actors

NY Daily News: You can call me a multitasker; I’m a working actress, an accountant and also a tax attorney. My resume may sound a little unusual, but when April 15 hits, I will fit in with tens of millions of working Americans who have been hurt by sweeping changes in the tax code.

The Public Domain Starts Growing Again Next Year, and It’s About Time

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Have you ever wondered how it’s possible for there to be two Jungle Book movies to be in development at the same time? Why everything seems to be based on a work by Shakespeare? Or why it always seems like someone is telling a version of The Wizard of Oz? The answer is that these works are in the public domain, meaning that copyright law no longer prevents other artists from adapting them to create new works.

Worth a Look - Time's Up

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The Larger Lessons of Mark Wahlberg's $1.5 Million Salary on 'All the Money in the World'

The Atlantic: When All the Money in the World was fast-tracked into reshoots to replace scenes featuring Kevin Spacey (who has been accused of sexual assault), Michelle Williams saw it as a powerful sign that Hollywood was changing. At the director Ridley Scott’s insistence, the studio was spending upwards of $10 million to recast Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the role of the oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. As the film’s lead actress, Williams immediately signed off on the decision. “They could have my salary, they could have my holiday, whatever they wanted,” she said at the time. “Because I appreciated so much that they were making this massive effort.” To Williams, the reshoots were a statement, but to her co-star Mark Wahlberg, they were an opportunity.

Women jazz musicians are using #metoo and taking a stand against sexism Every year since 1986, the Les Victoires du Jazz Awards selects France’s best jazz musicians. In 2017 all the nominees in all categories were men. Two decades ago this would not have been a story, but today it stands out and shows that there is something off and obsolete about this old boys’ club. It may have also been the case that, 20 years ago, female jazz musicians may have been reluctant to kick up a fuss. Fortunately, not anymore.

Guthrie vows to investigate harassment claims

Minnesota Public Radio News: The Guthrie Theater is launching an investigation after allegations of sexual harassment by a former employee.

The female carpenter resigned earlier this week after working on the Guthrie staff for three and a half years, a position she described as a "dream job."

It’s time to seriously address harassment and abuse

Protocol: DURING A RECENT City Arts and Lectures program, Tom Hanks was asked by interviewer Dave Eggers to comment on the sexual harassment and abuse cases coming to light in Hollywood. He launched into a well thought out and poignant observation about the current rash of accusations in Hollywood and elsewhere.

He pointed out that, in the workplace, those in charge assume (incorrectly) a certain privilege because of their status that they believe allows them to make the rules and to demand and expect that their requests, demands, and desires be obeyed. He admitted that this was not a new phenomena, but, while it may actually stem from some primordial male trait, it is inexcusable, not only in the workplace, but in civilization.

I have yet to meet a woman who can tell me that she has not experienced at least harassment, if not worse, at work. They get it not only from their bosses and others in positions of power, but from men they work with and strangers on the street. It is pervasive.

Robert Brustein Doesn’t Understand Consent: The Dangers of the White Male “Genius”

Bitter Gertrude: As a very young woman, I haunted thrift stores, which, in those days, were chock full of amazing finds. Thrift store book sections filled my library, and I would buy anything related to theatre and devour it to supplement the reading I was doing in my theatre classes. Eventually, a slow, sinking realization started creeping in at the edges as I read book after book by theatrical “geniuses,” all white men. I remember paging through Robert Brustein’s Theatre of Revolt thinking, He does not consider women people.