Sunday, April 13, 2014

Worth a Look

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

At 81, Playwright Athol Fugard Looks Back On Aging And Apartheid

NPR: Under apartheid, trying to make an artistic political statement was difficult — artists were subject to scrutiny and even arrest. On the other hand, making a political statement was easy: All one had to do was put black and white actors on a stage together.

The LRLR Raise Funds For Behind The Scenes With USITT Raffle

Briefing Room content from Live Design Magazine: The Long Reach Long Riders celebrated their 11th ride with a raffle and live auction to benefit Behind the Scenes during the USITT Conference in Fort Worth last week. Sales of raffle tickets, some key donations, and BTS and LRLR-branded swag raised just over $12,000 for the charity.

Can Women Drive Studio Movie Decision Making?

Women and Hollywood: Yesterday, Amanda Hess at Slate's XX Factor blog published a piece titled "Women Buy Half of All Movie Tickets. That Won't Mean More Female Characters." She responds to a couple of Women and Hollywood's recent posts regarding women and the box office, most specifically the recent data released by the MPAA that shows that, while women are the majority of ticket buyers, there are still very few movies made with female leads.

Ordinary Machines: Ghost Riding

Features | Pitchfork: “God created Ol’ Dirty Bastard,” the man himself declares in his signature warble. “His walk, his talk, his movement, his step, his feet, his everything.” This soliloquy is one of the most memorable moments in Rock the Bells, a documentary chronicling the hip-hop festival’s first show in 2004. It’s also Dirty’s only triumphant moment in the film; elsewhere he’s seen in a state of depressingly severe decline. The concert is billed as the first official Wu-Tang Clan reunion in almost a decade, but it almost doesn’t happen because Dirty is too high to make it out of his hotel room. He finally shows up at the last minute, only to spend most of the performance sitting down, uncharacteristically silent and nearly out-of-view. It would be the last time all core members of Wu-Tang performed together. Four months later, on November 13, 2004, ODB was dead.

Top 20 Overused Movie Lines

ShortList Magazine: Making films can't be easy. Lucky for script writers, there's always a cliché on hand if they ever get stuck...
"Bond. James Bond." "I'll be back." "Show me the money!" "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." "You talkin' to me?"
Done right, a well-crafted one-liner can outgrow its film and enter the annals of cinema, not to mention the vocabulary any well-versed film buff. But, if you're here hoping to find the next "Life is like a box of chocolates", we strongly advise you look elsewhere. This list's not about quality, it's all quantity.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday noon...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Why Are Native Roles Going to White Actors?":

One point that struck me in this article was the attribution of Warner Bros. lack of a comment to the fact that this sort of outrage is usually short lived. People rarely demand more from their entertainment providers and when they do, their voices usually die down when the topic is no longer popular. If the public was truly committed to making movies more racially diverse and making sure that traditionally minority character kept their race in reboots, they would boycott the studios, but past behavior proves that the public is not inclined to do that. As long as studios are comfortable with the knowledge that the only repercussions they are going to face are a few harsh articles and a number of protesters that doesn't rival their guaranteed customer base, they will continue to hire whomever they want.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "'House of Cards' crew could have equipment seized ...":
This just seems silly. If the state doesn't want the show to leave, they should use incentives to get them to stay, not childishly punish them. I'm not sure if this would be even legal under the rules of eminent domain- I don't know much about the legality of this stuff but I'm pretty sure that eminent domain only applies if the state is taking the property for civic/public use, such as taking land to build a highway that would benefit the citizens of the state in general. It shouldn't be used to take revenge on a company that is moving for economic reasons. Not only will this technique probably not work, it'll almost definitely drive away anyone who was planning to film in the state in the future. These politicians should grow up and address this problem in a constructive way.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Lucas Verweij on the problem with design education...":
The challenge of trying to teach a field that is constantly innovating is definitely a tough one. It's exciting to see an article that addresses this, because it is something I have given a lot of thought to over the last year. I think that the key point in this article may be the idea that design is more of a mentality than a skill. You may not be able to teach people to be designers but you can train them to think like designers. If they can obtain this mindset, it won't matter what they actual object being designed is. Earlier this year, I did not understand much of the reasoning behind the curriculum of our Basic Design class, but I have since developed an understanding that its been helping us to think in a way that will allow us to become designers. This type of education seems like the right direction. An understanding of design technologies also seems valuable however, maybe like our new IDeATe program. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "The Power of Partnerships in Placemaking":
As I have noted in a couple of my PTM comments from previous weeks, I am passionate about democratization of the arts; and I believe collaboration across organizations and communities plays a large part in reaching wider audiences/participants. In this article, The Power of Partnerships in Placemaking, Eric Rogers does a good job of giving the theoretical overview of his organization, Arts Place, of which he is Executive Director. While Rogers does give examples of partnerships/collaborations, these illustrate broad strokes, not the nitty gritty. For instance, when Rogers addresses the wide range of economic environments, he states, “differences in and of themselves require ironing out consistent policies that are both fair and appropriate to each community’s circumstance.” I would be very interested to learn a breakdown of exactly what “fair and appropriate” entailed in two or three specific examples. All in all, I applaud the work. I just want to know more!  
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "What Does “Get ‘Em When They’re Young” Mean for Li...":
I'm really surprised that Disney wasn't further up on this list! I really, truly love this article. What I really connected with was making things for kids that weren't complete crap. I remember reading my first Harry Potter book. What really attracted me to them was their length, and later, how well they were written. JK Rowling could have created shallow characters and shorter books and kids still would have read them. But she didn't; she created a complex world with multi-dimensional characters at great volumes. This is the greatest example of "get them while they're young." At 5, I picked up my first Harry Potter book, and now, almost fifteen years later, I'm still obsessed with that magical wizarding world. I could go on and on on nostalgia and how Harry and his friends shaped my life, but it's not important right now. What is crucial to this discussion is that something great was made for the younger generation and hooked me on reading early, setting me up for a lifetime of literature. So, just because you're doing Dora the Explorer Live, doesn't mean you can skimp on quality. That show may inspire a 6 year old to start singing and foster a great growth in the arts.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Worth a Look

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

'House of Cards' crew could have equipment seized if the show stops filming in Maryland

The Verge: As House of Cards threatens to leave Maryland over tax credits, the state is fighting back — or at least one delegate is. Del. C. William "Bill" Frick (D-Montgomery) proposed an amendment that would allow state officials to use eminent domain to seize the show's sets, equipment, and other assets if they take production elsewhere.

First Time Nationwide: Portland Presents All Of Shakespeare’s Works In Two Years

Arts & Life » OPB: If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you’re in for a treat.
Over the next two years, local arts, theater and academic groups are banding together to stage all of Shakespeare’s plays, sonnets and poems. It’s the first endeavor of its kind nationwide, say organizers of the Complete Works Project.

Why Are Native Roles Going to White Actors?

Backstage: Despite recent blockbusters featuring Native American characters, many of the roles have gone to white performers. In 2013, for instance, Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” generated an outcry after Johnny Depp (who claims Native American ancestry) was cast as Tonto. That decision was defended as the role going to the best available actor, and a similar argument is being used in Mara’s case, too.

The Most Important Lessons in Woodworking

Popular Woodworking Magazine: Learning woodworking isn’t just about “how to” do something. A good example of this comes from my days as an apprentice in a commercial cabinet shop. I entered the experience with a misguided, romantic notion of working beside an experienced craftsman and being tutored in the fine points of cabinetmaking. I figured I would be coached and guided as my skills developed. That type of experience may exist in old books or in woodworking schools, but the real world is quite a bit different.

How the Jim Henson Company Is Turbocharging Puppetry With Technology

Underwire | WIRED: For decades Jim Henson was able to use television to bring the art of puppetry to massive audiences in a very intimate way on programs like Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Because of his work, beautiful and masterfully crafted creatures were beamed into homes for years and ensured the popularity of puppets for generations.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday at noon.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors Or Artists?":

So, I'm not going to get into a discussion of work ethic vs. career path, but this makes sense. Typically, art type lessons (dance, painting, music etc.) are expensive and largely unnecessary, though enriching, childhood expenses.

I guess my question is, what do we as a society want to do with this information? As budget cuts are limiting or eliminating arts programs, arts education will become an even bigger determiner of income and social status. If we don't want that (and as artists and frankly, Americans we shouldn't), then what kind of pragmatic solutions can we think of? Crowd-sourced, tax deductible arts funding? Cutting some other element of education? The solution isn't as simple as posting things on Facebook about how arts education helps students' grades and well-being, because things like free-lunch programs and phys. ed do that too... Obviously, it's a complex issue and thousands or millions of people are dedicating their lives to helping solve it, but at what point does pointing out how a system is broken hinder the process of fixing it? 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Drama Matters: The Rise of the Abstract Set":
I liked the thought from Chloe Lamford where she says that she finds the "Golden Idea" of a play and then uses that to create her set. I feel like in other design practices so many people just think that set designers decorate things in order to create the scenery. In contrast, designing a set is just that, DESIGNING! Scenic designers use the characters, settings, time period, and place to create a well pictured and imaginative realization of the play. A lot of work goes into reading a play and then designing a world from that text. I really like this idea of Abstract scenery because it gives more room to explore the big ideas of a play. I definitely think that there is more room to study and incorporate this kind of set design into live theater. I feel that CMU trains us for traditional theater as well as breaking into new and exciting forms of entertainment. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Most Popular To-Do List Manager: Any.Do":
The app that caught my attention is HabitRPG. I find that my main problem regarding to-do lists isn't really getting organized. I always have one main list that I update every few days with detailed milestones for each project, and all my school assignments are in a calendar that I refer to and update all the time. My main problem isn't knowing what the work is, but actually doing it. I definitely procrastinate much less than I used to, but I sometimes still leave some projects to the last minute. I think that the basic premise behind HabitRPG is a neat idea, because creating a reward for finishing a project beyond that of simply being done is exactly the kind of incentive that could get me to get my work done. I like that rather than simply crossing something off a to-do list, you're giving yourself points for doing it. The positive game aspect of this really appeals to me and I actually just downloaded it onto my phone to see if it really can motivate me to get my work done earlier. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "‘Phantom of the Opera’ Welcomes First Black Lead o...":
Regardless of skin color, I am far more interested in seeing Phantom on Broadway now that Norm Lewis is the lead, as the time I saw it a few months ago, the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway had a stale, touristy sort of feel. I think Norm Lewis is a great way to revitalize such a show, and it is a great moment for the move towards casting equality because the Phantom in particular is such an iconic role in the musical theatre canon, so there is no telling how many theatres worldwide will take Norm Lewis' casting as a cue to start taking more strides to avoid the whitewash of the performance industry. I foresee only positive results from the casting decision, both in the general move away from racial discrimination in casting and simply, I think Norm Lewis will be a very talented, fresh addition to the cast that has been heavily in need of some tune-ups. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Yet Another Law School Lectures Women on How to No...":
Just today I was working in class when one of my teachers suggested I button up my shirt so the boy i was working with would not have to worry about touching my breasts. First of all, he was not touching my breasts; he was touching my sternum which in close proximity made her uncomfortable. He was fine. He's someone I trust. I was struck my this and her judgmental attitude. I find it usually comes from women. People need to get over it. Stiletto heels, if anything, are just unpractical to run around in, but the cleavage thing gets me. WOMEN HAVE BREASTS. It's not a secret. I don't see how there is a problem. If people find them distracting then they should work on that. I'm not going to compromise my own form of personal expression thinking about what others will think of it. Women should dress for themselves. No one else. Also, I wore pants to my college auditions unlike most girls and I did just fine. If a school cared about something that superficial why would I want to go there?   

Worth a Look

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

Teller Wins Lawsuit Over Copied Magic Trick Performance

Hollywood Reporter: Technically speaking, magic tricks aren't copyrightable. In a ruling by a Nevada federal court on Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Mahan states that explicitly.
What is protectable under copyright law is pantomimes, the art of conveying emotions, actions and feelings by gestures. The theatrical medium where magicians work has some of the flavor of pantomimes, and Teller has used it to his advantage.

Drama Matters: The Rise of the Abstract Set

Litro: When I interviewed designer Chloe Lamford a few months ago, she suggested that the dream for her when creating the world of a play is to find a “golden idea” which encapsulates the central premise of the text whilst creating a space which is theatrically interesting. Referencing her design for the Schaubühne’s production of Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, which saw the actors peddling stationary bikes to create the show’s power in order to comment on the play’s themes of global warming, Lamford told me that once an idea like that is found, it’s a no-brainer. In two of its recent shows by American playwrights, the Gate Theatre has found a way of achieving this on a small scale, creating designs which act as a space within which the play can occur whilst simultaneously commenting on its ideas, demonstrating the importance of non-naturalistic design in theatre.

They Cast Whom?! Actor Choices To Offend Every Racial Sensibility

Code Switch : NPR: No matter how you feel about ethnicity and casting — and how ethnicity or race should relate to casting — there's probably something in the news lately that's going to make you upset. Folks have strong opinions about how the race of actors should or shouldn't relate to the characters they play, but regardless of the position you take on this front, let us count the various ways that certain actors getting cast in certain roles might make you squirm

The Importance of Studying Theater History | Top Schools & Training Lessons for Actors, Singer, Dancers

Career Tips | Backstage | Backstage: David Lodge’s book “Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses,” he has academics playing a game called Humiliation, in which each must admit the classic piece of literature he or she has never read. One player wins the game by citing “Hamlet”—and promptly loses his job.
The classics are not going away, and their reach is long. There are numerous popular adaptations of canonical work, and chances are that you will have opportunities to work on classics and their adaptations. Knowing the work and its context beforehand will make you a better collaborator and a better artist, and will also make you more alert to the nature of opportunities as they arise.

Fluke Issues Statement Regarding Sparkfun’s Impounded Multimeters Fluke just issued a response to the impounding of multimeters headed for market in the United States. Yesterday SparkFun posted their story about US Customs officials seizing a shipment of 2000 multimeters because of trademark issues. The gist of the response is that this situation sucks and they want to do what they can to lessen the pain for those involved. Fluke is providing SparkFun with a shipment of genuine Fluke DMMs which they can sell to recoup their losses, or to donate. Of course SparkFun is planning to donate the meters to the maker community.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I am a Bad Blogger lately

I also think I look like I need a nap.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Worth a Look

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

Museum of Endangered Sounds preserves obsolete tech noises

(Wired UK): Do you miss the pleading bleeps of the Tamagotchi? Or the sound of a telephone rotary dial? You can now listen to these and other vintage tech noises at the Museum of Endangered Sounds.
A character called Brendan Chilcutt has created the online "museum" in early 2012 to preserve the sounds made famous by his favourite old devices, such as the "textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR" (ah, yes). As new products come to market, these nostalgia-inducing noises become as obsolete as the devices that make them.

Sam Mendes’s 25 Rules for Directors

Vanity Fair: After reviewing his career highlights, in depth, the British Academy Award winner said, “One of the things I love about Americans is you do massive ego trips incredibly well. Blimey. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many photographs of myself. I didn’t even know they existed.” Mendes also noted that while tributes are wonderful, they are backward looking, and then decided to share what he’s learned along the way. “If there are any directors out there in the audience, or anyone who’s interested in directing, I’ve written 25 steps towards becoming a happier director.


"What is drawing?" And other questions raised at DRAW2014 symposium in Pittsburgh Opening the DRAW2014 symposium back in February, John Carson, head of the Carnegie Mellon School of Art, asserted that “over this weekend we will see how far we can expand the definition of drawing”.
This comment became more weighted throughout the weekend last month as a number of lecturers and panelists admitted that they “didn’t draw” but instead saw themselves as painters or printmakers. This observation caused me to question, “If we expand the definition of drawing to include painting, dancing, printmaking, etc., when do we realize that we are no longer discussing drawing and ignoring those that still practice and identify with the process and product of drawing and illustrating? Does illustration and caricature have a place in fine art when contemporary critics and academics favor and shift focus towards concept and process based art?”

Arts Education Won't Save Us from Boring, Inaccessible Theater

Mike Lew - Playwright: I’ve been avidly following coverage of The Summit and there’s a lot of FANTASTIC discussion coming out of that, but one thing that caught my attention that hasn’t been really dissected yet is the false notion that arts education will save the theater.
When confronted with the stark reality that “the youth” won’t buy theater tickets, theaters oftentimes place the blame on the school system. The argument goes that decreased arts funding in schools begets students who aren’t accustomed to coming to theater, and that by not being exposed to theater at a young age we’re losing all our potential patrons. It’s a chestnut that found its way into The Summit, and it’s a position that Isherwood floated in an article about Rocco Landesman’s tenure at the NEA.
It’s also a myth.

Stage Managing Humans

Stage Directions: The rehearsal space. At times it’s a repurposed classroom, a basement or a living room, but in a production process it must become an incubator for the play, a place for the team to feel comfortable creating their work. As one of the first people in the room, the stage manager has an opportunity to make it nurturing and productive. The space needs to be safe for the company both practically and interpersonally, and inspire everyone—cast, director, designers and everyone else—toward their best inventive work. To provide that, a stage manager not only has to provide practical support, but they also have to demonstrate a deft touch with people.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Worth a Look

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

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Balder and Dash | Roger Ebert: Able-bodied actors should not play disabled characters. That they so often do should be a scandal. But it is not a scandal because we do not grant people with disabilities the same right to self-representation onscreen that we demand for members of other groups who struggle for social equality.

Speech from Lupita Nyong'o you didn’t hear

MSNBC: Accepting an award from Essence Magazine, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o discussed “Black beauty” and how “you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.”

Some Chefs Still Insisting That Photographing Meals Steals Some Of Their Intellectual Property

Techdirt: A few years ago we noted how there appeared to be a growing belief among some chefs that taking photographs of their dishes when you're in their restaurants is somehow "taking away their intellectual property." We've discussed a few times about how restaurants are just one of many industries where a lack of copyright protection has actually helped innovation flourish (read: an industry that shows that there can be great creativity without saddling the entire apparatus down with copyright, such as magic or stand up comedy).

London fashion show harnesses technology to deliver virtual experience

InAVate: This February's London Fashion Week saw UK retailer Topshop turn to telepresence to transport shoppers in its central London flagship store across the city and immerse them in a fashion show taking place in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. Topshop partnered with 3D design agency Inition to live stream events from the London art gallery and deliver a "virtual front-row" experience to participants at the Oxford Street, London shop.

4 Ways That New York Has Become More Like L.A.

Expert Acting Advices | Actors Reels, Resume Building & Insider Tips | Backstage | Backstage: Virtually all of the points outlined below are derived from one central feature that was once a primary difference between New York and Los Angeles—the explosion of film and prime-time television production that is now coming out of New York. Most of the points below have been in a state of escalation for some time, but have now reached critical mass for the New York actor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014