Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Worth a Look

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

At North Shore Music Theatre, An Absence of Race, Ethnicity and Understanding Prevails

Arts Integrity Initiative: It’s a bit hard to follow the thinking of Bill Hanney, the owner and producer at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts. Initially, it was hard because Hanney was silent, not responding to complaints – initiated by Lauren Villegas of Project Am I Right? – over the lack of Latinx casting in the company’s production Evita, which has no Latinx performers in principal roles and seemingly few in the entire cast.


Philadelphia stagehands union to strike against Walnut Street Theatre

Philadelphia Business Journal: The Philadelphia Stagehands Union Local 8 will go on strike against the Walnut Street Theatre, which stagehand officials allege discriminated against two of its now-terminated members.

The 750-member Local 8 at 5 p.m. on Wednesday will go on strike after the theater company allegedly terminated two stagehand members over the Labor Day weekend, according to a release issued Wednesday by the union.


Women on Broadcast TV: Little Progress for Diversity (Study)

Variety: The progress of women in the television industry continues to be incremental when it hasn’t stalled out, according to the annual Boxed In study conducted by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.


Lawyers Overcome First Challenge In Showing 'We Shall Overcome' Is In The Public Domain

Techdirt: A year and a half ago, we wrote about how the same team of lawyers who successfully got "Happy Birthday" recognized as being in the public domain (despite decades of Warner Chappell claiming otherwise, and making boatloads of money) had set their sites on a similar fight over the copyright status of the song "We Shall Overcome." There were a lot of details in the original lawsuit that we wrote about -- all suggesting very strongly that the song "We Shall Overcome" was way older than the copyright holder claimed, and it was almost certainly in the public domain.


How does Burning Man affect Pyramid Lake Paiute community?

RecordCourier.com: Over the years, Burning Man has grown from a small group of friends on Baker Beach in San Francisco in 1986 to one of the largest art festivals to date in the world.

The event moved in the 1990s to Black Rock City, Nevada — located about 3 hours northeast of Reno — and these days it attacts nearly 70,000 people annually from across the world to participate in the week-long festival to witness various forms of artistic self-expression.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Houston Opera, Symphony, Ballet, Theaters Devastated

www.musicalamerica.com: For the second time in less than two decades, the 17-block Houston theater district, the second largest in the country, has been severely damaged by flooding. Hurricane Harvey defied an elaborate system of flood gates designed to protect the underground facilities, and the Houston Grand Opera, Symphony, Ballet, and other, smaller organizations have been flooded.


Keeping ‘Insecure’ lit: HBO cinematographer Ava Berkofsky on properly lighting black faces

\mic.com: The actors on HBO’s Insecure are hotter than you. They’re hotter than your friends, they’re hotter than me and they’re even hotter than the ex the show won’t let you forget about. Co-created by writer and star Issa Rae (along with Larry Wilmore), the series gives viewers a window into black life as a late 20-/early 30-something in Los Angeles — the hookups and personal hang-ups, the office politics and friendship dynamics. But whether you’re #TeamIssa or #TeamLawrence, you have to admit the people who portray the show’s female and male leads — Rae and actor Jay Ellis — pop on screen, as do everyone else. This isn’t an accident.


CMU Drama Students Take A Stand Against Hate

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama: “Taking A Stand Against Hate,” an inclusivity forum in response to the events that occurred in Charlottesville in August, took place Sept. 1, in the lobby of the Purnell Center for the Arts.


The Top 10 BFA Theatre Design & Tech Programs in the Country for 2017-18

OnStage Blog: The end of August is usually a time where college seems to be on everyone's mind. Whether it's incoming freshmen getting ready to move into their residence halls or high school seniors preparing their applications, college is a constant discussion.

For theatre students, where you attend can certainly have an impact on your career with the type of training you receive. It's also important to note that while each school listed here is excellent, a college degree doesn't guarantee success nor is one required to become successful in this industry.


Immersive entertainment has a naming problem

The Verge: Last week, news broke that Disney was surveying customers about a new name for its Florida-based Hollywood Studios. The change would come alongside a fundamental reimagining of the park itself, moving away from the ride-centric home to attractions like Star Tours and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and towards a more interactive, immersive land in line with the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. “Enter this newly named Disney Theme Park and completely immerse yourself in the realm of some of your favorite stories,” the survey read, promising guests the chance to “step into imagined worlds made real, and take the lead in an adventure that surrounds you at every turn.”

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Equity Members Set to Vote on Dues Raise

Backstage: Actors’ Equity Association, the country’s union for professional actors and stage managers, is hoping to increase its annual membership dues for the first time since 2002. But before the fees are raised, the members whom it would affect must approve the motion.

This proposal is part of a union campaign known as “Equity 2020,” which as the union stated in an email to membership, “was launched...to create a more aggressive, inclusive and responsive union over the next three years.”


IATSE Donates Funds to Assist Members Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Stage Directions: Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the IATSE will donate $10,000 to the Walsh/DiTolla/Spivak Foundation to provide financial assistance to affected IATSE members and their families. Local unions and members of the IATSE are asked to contribute what they can to the Foundation, enabling affected members and their families more flexibility to cope with the challenges created by Harvey.


“Gone With the Wind” dropped from Memphis theater over racial concerns

Salon.com: According to a report published on Deadline, the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee has pulled the classic 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” from its schedule after determining that it was “insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”

Statements from the management of the Orpheum note that there had been a broad and often negative local response to the August 11 screening of the Academy-Award winning tale of the Civil War Era South starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.


'Born in China' filmmakers wore these silly panda suits to get up close

www.usatoday.com/story/life: DisneyNature filmmakers are known for doing whatever it takes to get stunning footage of wildlife up close — even wearing goofy-looking panda suits required to shoot real pandas for Born in China.

Yes, director Lu Chuan's ground crew really wore panda outfits, complete with panda poop smell, to shoot the hit nature film, released around Earth Day and set for a Blu-ray release Aug. 29.


Oak Brook theater defends same-sex couple, interracial casting in Shakespeare play

www.dailyherald.com: First Folio Theatre executive director David Rice did something this week he hasn't had to do in 35 years as a theater professional: He defended his company's casting and his director's vision.

In an email statement to First Folio supporters and the press, Rice addressed complaints from some theatergoers objecting to the Oak Brook theater's casting of William Shakespeare's "As You Like It." The production features a same-sex couple and three interracial couples.

Monday, September 04, 2017

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

This usually goes on the other page, but I wasn't paying attention and forgot to post it.  So now it's here.

Here are the top five comment generating posts from last week's Greenpage:

Three Reasons Why Your Theatre Degree Isn’t Useless

OnStage Blog: People with theatre degrees and those pursuing them have heard countless comments suggesting they haven’t made the right choice.

“You know you’re not going to make a lot of money, right?”

“Why don’t you get a more practical degree?”

“So you want to wait tables for the rest of your life?”

Some of these comments have come from theatre folks themselves, such as:

“Yeah, I’m going to be an actor, which means I’m going to live in a cardboard box forever.”

These perceptions towards theatre degrees are disappointing for a variety of reasons. Obviously, these sorts of comments are far from uplifting.


Billy Porter: Why I am committed to disturbing the peace

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: So it looks like I caused a kerfuffle this past Sunday at my concert at the amphitheater at Hartwood Acres. It appears that some folks were offended by the colorful language I used in my “political rant,” dissenting from President Donald Trump and his cronies. Here’s what I’ll say:

First and foremost, I apologize for dropping F-bombs in the presence of children.


Race, Money and Broadway: How ‘Great Comet’ Burned Out

The New York Times: The young, flamboyant and unusually diverse collective of actors and musicians who brought “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” to Broadway enjoyed the giddy highs of theater’s most glamorous perch — a run at the grand Imperial Theater, a season-topping 12 Tony nominations, a spotlight shared with the pop star Josh Groban.

For most of the performers, it was their first time on a Broadway stage. Costumed as punkified peasants and aristocrats in a bold musical adaptation of Tolstoy, they danced down the aisles, handing out pierogies and creating an unusually immersive musical experience.


Backstage at 'Aladdin': The magic of design, costume makes everything sparkle

Chicago Tribune: Wishes have been granted by a genie and a magic carpet has flown for months at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, where the national touring production of Disney’s “Aladdin” has brought the animated film’s Agrabah to life on the proscenium since April. Show after show, the journey of a street rat-with-dreams, from penniless urchin to prince, all comes together like magic.


17 Important Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer

business.tutsplus.com: To some applicants, the lure of receiving a monthly salary after months of job hunting is so irresistible they sign the first offer they get.

Maybe they already know the offered compensation package, maybe knowing their basic salary is going to be bigger than what they received previously was enough.

But money isn’t the only item you’re agreeing to when you accept a job offer.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Worth a Look

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

New CAA study says diverse casting increases box office potential across all budgets

LA Times: There’s been little debate over the moral arguments behind increasing diversity on- and off-screen in Hollywood, but the economic arguments haven’t always been so clear.

While women, people of color, LGBTQ folk and other historically marginalized communities in Hollywood continue to insist “diversity pays,” the box office success of films with diverse casts such as “Hidden Figures” ($230.1 million worldwide) and “Get Out” ($251.2 million worldwide) is inevitably deemed a “surprise.”

Theaters that perform Shakespeare are getting death threats

The Boston Globe: The messages started pouring in earlier this week.

“Your play depicting the murder of our President is nothing but pure hatred,” read one of the tamer ones.

“[H]ope you all who did this play about Trump are the first do [sic] die when ISIS COMES TO YOU [expletive] sumbags [sic],” read another.

The senders were outraged over the Public Theater’s controversial staging of “Julius Caesar,” a production in New York’s Central Park that has become a national flashpoint for its depiction of the stabbing assassination of its Trump-like title character.

Should There Be All-White Productions of "Hairspray"?

OnStage Blog: Imagine that Hairspray is being produced in a local theatre near you. And after the auditions were completed, you notice that the show has an all-white cast. How would you react? Would you be angered? Insulted? Confused?

While it might be questionable that Hairspray would be cast this way, it's something that happens fairly regularly and the reason is that in large part, it's actually endorsed by the creators of the show.

Home Depot, Menards Customers Cry False Advertising When They Learn “4x4s” Aren’t Actually 4×4

Consumerist: Talk to any contractor or carpenter — or most people who are reasonably familiar with home construction and repair — and they’ll tell you that a “4×4” piece of lumber is not actually four inches by four inches, and that it hasn’t been that way in any of our lifetimes. Yet some Home Depot and Menards customers are — literally — making a federal case out of this discrepancy, accusing the retailers of false advertising.

In its defense of a theater critic, the Tribune sidesteps the real issues

Chicago Tribune: I am disappointed by your misleading, glib editorial on the Chicago theater community's response to Hedy Weiss' pattern of, at best, racially tone-deaf criticism.

You cite the length of Weiss' tenure at the Sun-Times and describe the critic-artist relationship in lieu of offering a substantive defense of the specific critique of racial animus that the community has raised.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Worth a Look

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

‘Bachelor In Paradise’: Lisa Bloom On Sexual Consent, Lawsuits

Variety: Prominent attorney Lisa Bloom is calling on TV-dating shows to change the rules of consent for casts engaging in sexual behavior on camera in the wake of the “Bachelor in Paradise” controversy. “I think it would be very helpful on these shows to have a course of conduct like a lot of these colleges have, which is there has to be an explicit verbal ‘yes’ to each sexual act,” said Bloom, who is currently working with other stars in the midst of high-profile cases, including Kathy Griffin.

Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones Responds to Online Petition Against Critic Hedy Weiss

www.broadwayworld.com: The reviews are in and some in the theater community are non-too-pleased with Chicago Sun-Times theater and dance critic Hedy Weiss.
A petition urging Chicago theater companies to stop inviting Weiss to productions was posted on Change.org on June 13th by the Chicago Theater Accountability Coalition. As of this writing, the petition has received more than 2,000 signatures.
In the petition, the group specifically charges Weiss with having consistently made inflammatory remarks in her reviews.
"[She] has proven that she is not willing to work with us to create a positive environment," the petition states. "She has proven this repeatedly
Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones responded to BroadwayWorld's request for comment on the story.

Scholars See Bad Omens in Pulled Sponsorship of ‘Julius Caesar’

The Chronicle of Higher Education: This year’s free Public Theater performance sets Shakespeare’s drama in modern dress, and presents Julius Caesar as a figure resembling President Trump ­— complete with blond hair, blue suit, and gold bathtub, according to a review in The New York Times.
While the production faces conservative and corporate backlash for depicting the assassination of a Trumplike title character, scholars critical of the backlash said it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the play. But more important they said, it portends ill for public faith in the arts during the Trump era.

10 major milestones for women directors in Hollywood

www.usatoday.com: For all the progress Hollywood depicts in its films, behind the scenes, gender and racial equality has barely inched forward in the last several decades. In fact, just 7% of 2016's top-grossing films were directed by women, a two percentage point drop from 2015, according to research by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University.

Equity & LORT Reach a New Five-Year Agreement

Stage Directions: Actors’ Equity Association announced that it has reached a tentative agreement for a historic new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) for actors and stage managers. Key provisions of the agreement include substantial salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 81.7 percent over the life of the contract. Upon ratification, members will also receive raises retroactive to Feb. 13, 2017, when the original LORT agreement expired.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Worth a Look

Just because the students are off shouldn't mean I have to stop these posts.  Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Why is the Seat Moving?: Seeing “Wonder Woman” in 4DX

Balder and Dash | Roger Ebert: On a Tuesday night in June, I drove an hour north of my home in the Chicago suburbs to the only 4DX theater in the Midwest, and one of only nine in the entire country, to experience the latest adventure in heightening the moviegoing experience. My son came with me to see his first superhero movie in the theater, Patty Jenkins’ already-beloved “Wonder Woman.” Posters outside the theater advertise the 4DX experience not unlike the nearby Six Flags Great America advertises a new roller coaster with an excited patron holding on to his armrests for dear life as he doesn’t just watch the movie, he becomes an active participant in the experience.

Lynn Nottage Is 50 Percent of All the Female Playwrights on Broadway Right Now, "And In 2017, That's an Abomination"

www.elle.com: The New Yorker deemed it "the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era," but Lynn Nottage takes care to explain that she wrote (and set) Sweat, the show that is now on Broadway and won her a second Pulitzer Prize several months ago, before Donald Trump was elected.

Charges Finally Brought in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire Investigation: Two Men Face 39 Years in Jail

Flavorwire: Six months after the ghastly fire at Oakland DIY venue/living space Ghost Ship, charges have been brought against those in charge of the building. As per a report in the New York Times, both the building’s “master tenant,” David Almena, and Max Harris, who “assisted [Almena] in a supervisory role in the building,” have been charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

NYC's 'Freelance Isn't Free' Act Goes Into Effect Today

Gothamist: The country's first freelancer protections against nonpayment go into effect in New York City today, so now's a good time to brush up on a law intended to help a full third of the city's workforce get paid on time.

To recap, the law mandates that freelancers be paid in full for work worth $800 or more, either by a date set forward in writing or within 30 days of completing an assigned task. The Freelance Isn't Free Act also aims to protect freelancers from employer retaliation, and can increase monetary consequences for employers who refuse to pay.

Video gaming’s voice actor strike is ending in slow, small drips

Ars Technica: The video game voice actors in the SAG-AFTRA union have been holding a solid line since they started striking last October, demanding limitations to vocally stressful work sessions and bonus payments for work on top-selling games. But as the strike extends into its eighth month, plenty of games are still getting made with unionized vocal talent. That's because even as the strike as a whole continues, the union has been able to peel off a growing number of developers and publishers willing to agree to new contracts that meet their demands.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Worth a Look

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

Protest Theatre. Schenkkan pushes back on a Donald Trump promise with Building the Wall

DC Theatre Scene: It’s in the air – an urgency to use theatre to get people into the conversation about what many see as our national crisis: the Trump presidency. Now Forum Theatre gets into the act presenting a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Building the Wall.
I’m not sure it’s even a play. But I’m not sure that matters. The work and the conversations that it can ignite matter terribly.

Parody Protection For Fair Use Is Important: Taiwanese Man Faces Jail Time Over Parody Videos Of Movies

Techdirt: Because we talk so much about fair use here, we often likewise find ourselves talking about parody. Parody is one of the forms of content protected under fair use, and that protection is responsible for the availability of a great deal of great content. Parody tends to be equal parts humor and commentary and enjoys a long history of important speech here in America.

Nevada entertainment safety training bill draws support

Las Vegas Review-Journal: The entertainment capital of the world may soon require health and safety training for workers in the entertainment industry.

The Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee on Monday heard Assembly Bill 190, which would require health and safety training for supervisors and those who work with stage props, rigging, pyrotechnics and high-voltage wiring.

How Sports Illustrated Made The First Live-Action VR Film On Everest

www.fastcompany.com: It’s famously “there,” so a whole lot of people want to climb Mt. Everest. But the vast majority of them will never get anywhere near the peak in the Himalayas. Now virtual reality can take anyone to the top of the world’s tallest mountain.

For some time, it’s been possible to “climb” a computer-generated Everest, thanks to “Everest VR,” which lets users of high-end VR systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive ascend to 29,035 feet in an entertaining, albeit facile, facsimile of the experience of summiting. Save for a scene or two in which you disappear in a fog of wind and snow, though, you don’t get much of a sense of how incredibly dangerous climbing Everest is.

Fyre Festival Disaster: Industry Vets Weigh in

Rolling Stone: Like everybody else who watched the wreckage of Fyre Festival, the "luxury" event last weekend in the Bahamas marred by shoddy housing, questionable meals and overall substandard conditions, veteran managers, agents and others in the concert business tell Rolling Stone they couldn't believe organizers neglected to supply attendees with basic food, water and lodging. Billy McFarland, who created the event with rapper Ja Rule, lamented to Rolling Stone last week that "we tried building a city out of nothing" — but those who put on Bonnaroo, Coachella and other music festivals do such a thing every year.