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 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? 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 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 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.


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.


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Let's Play Two

It was two weeks, here are some bonus articles...

Shane Smith: TV and Film Production Costs Don’t Make Sense in the Digital Era

Variety: I think the biggest issue for legacy media — both TV and film — is that it just costs too much money to develop a TV series or movie. And most of them don’t work. Then the one that works has to pay for the rest.

If you look at film, distribution is pre-bought. If you’ve paid for the distribution, you say, “I have to make sure it’s a film that gets enough butts in the seats.” I think that’s the problem: It becomes prohibitively expensive, and you can’t develop films for a smaller amount of money.

PAC: Technical director died in fall, OSHA investigating | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports: Officials have confirmed a 54-year-old man working at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center died after a hydraulic lift toppled over Wednesday afternoon.

David Swain, Technical Director for the Performing Arts Center, was found unresponsive on the stage next to the basket of a toppled lift around 4:22 p.m., according to North Charleston police. There were no witnesses that saw the lift fall, officers say.

Drama Behind Reality TV Cameras Puts Producers on the Line Inhumanly long hours, cruelty, frayed nerves. And that’s just behind the cameras at reality shows. “It’s scary and nerve-wracking,” said Sevita Qarshi, a producer walking the line Thursday outside the Realscreen conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.>

4 out of 5 musicals failed their investors

New York Post: Pronounce the word artist, to conjure up the image of a solitary genius. A sacred aura still attaches to the word, a sense of one in contact with the numinous. “He’s an artist,” we’ll say in tones of reverence about an actor or musician or director. “A true artist,” we’ll solemnly proclaim our favorite singer or photographer, meaning someone who appears to dwell upon a higher plane. Vision, inspiration, mysterious gifts as from above: such are some of the associations that continue to adorn the word.

How Broadway Is Losing Its 'Middle Ground'

NPR: Broadway is New York's biggest tourist attraction and brought in $1.3 billion in ticket sales last season. But it's also a high-stakes gamble for producers, since only 1 in 4 Broadway shows turns a profit. This month, two of the fall's most highly anticipated musicals, a revival of Side Show and The Last Ship, with songs by Sting, have thrown in the towel — closing, having lost almost their entire investments.

Worth a Look

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

The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur

The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur - The Atlantic: Pronounce the word artist, to conjure up the image of a solitary genius. A sacred aura still attaches to the word, a sense of one in contact with the numinous. “He’s an artist,” we’ll say in tones of reverence about an actor or musician or director. “A true artist,” we’ll solemnly proclaim our favorite singer or photographer, meaning someone who appears to dwell upon a higher plane. Vision, inspiration, mysterious gifts as from above: such are some of the associations that continue to adorn the word.

Midnight Rider: New ‘Safety for Sarah’ PSA Debuts at Sundance

Variety: The parents of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant killed a year ago on the “Midnight Rider” set, have launched a new effort to push for safety on sets.

Richard and Elizabeth Jones unveiled a new public service announcement Monday at the Sundance Film Festival and spoke at a panel on film set safety.

How to Not Give a Shit: Making Art While Female "I feel very strongly about that: an alternative to the idea of women being a certain way." Janet Weiss, the drummer for Sleater-Kinney, was sitting on a leather green swivel chair three feet in front of me as she responded to a question from Broad City's Ilana Glazer about feminism. "The quiet, demure, soft-spoken sort of stereotype. The three of us get on stage and we really try to break that down and give people who feel differently than that a place to go and a place to express themselves."

Eve Ensler Responds to Concerns Over the Vagina Monologues‘ Inclusivity

The Mary Sue: Last week women’s college Mount Holyoke was the subject of intense scrutiny over a campus theater group’s decision to effectively “retire” the Vagina Monologues in favor of creating an original and more inclusive play in a similar style. An email from a Project Theatre representative to the rest of the student body addressed concerns over the landmark text’s portrayal of race, gender, and class, explaining that the play offers a problematic and “extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman.” So what does Eve Ensler think?

Why hasn’t anyone written an opera about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement?

The Well-Tempered Ear: Today is a federal holiday in the US: Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

And The Ear has just one question: Why hasn’t anyone yet composed an opera about MLK?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Worth a Look

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

How Artists Can Fight Back Against Cities That Are Taking Advantage of Them by Jen Graves

The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper: If aliens from outer space landed in Belltown right now, they would probably see the huge banner on the high-rise that says "ARTHOUSE" and expect the building to be a house of art. Silly aliens. Arthouse is one of downtown Seattle's new luxury apartment towers. Arthouse calls itself "Your canvas for a creative lifestyle," "A Palette of Everything Plus," and "A Masterpiece of Form and Function" where "murals by local artists mirror the soul of the neighborhood."

Can artists Procreate Without Going Bankrupt?

Jennifer Rivera: I'm a member of two different Facebook groups that have frequent postings; one of them is a group for moms, many of whom also happen to be artists. The other one is a forum for classical singers, a few of whom happen to be parents. There isn't a lot of crossover topics between the two groups -- but this week, unrelated to one another, I read a post on my classical singer group asking whether people who had kids felt that it affected their careers as singers, and another post on my mom's page asking whether any artists that were also parents were managing to keep their artistic careers going while still staying afloat financially.

10 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Intellectual Property Law How well do you understand copyright and trademark law? When you travel about the Internet or make art, do you know what you are and aren't allowed to do, or do you have intellectual property myths stuck in your brain. We take a few claims we've seen time and again, and compare them to the law.

With Steubenville case as basis, CMU play aims to examine 'rape culture'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: During her first trip to the United States, New Zealander Eleanor Bishop read an article about the 2012 rape case involving high school students in Steubenville, Ohio.

She was “horrified and moved and fascinated,” and it wasn’t long before she was channeling her feelings toward a theatrical work.

“I was filled with a kind of curious, furious anger about it — I wanted to find out what had happened and why,” said Ms. Bishop, 28, a self-described “feminist artist who creates documentary theater.”

How "Shahs Of Sunset" Is Changing Hollywood

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: One morning in September, the 16 editors working on the reality show Shahs of Sunset picked up their belongings and left their office in downtown Los Angeles. They were going on strike.

Hollywood remains a stronghold of private sector unions but for much of its short history, reality television has been an exception. Initially, many reality show crew members were young and came from the documentary world, said Vanessa Holtgrewe of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I was doing better there for a while, and then, less so...  We're back to class.  This semester features MW back to backs.  3 Hours of talking is a long time...  Apparently the battery in my car hates the cold more than I do.  On the upside I now own a portable jump-starter...  The attic project came to an abrupt pause.  I should have spanked that out in October.  Oops...  I'm not sure how but the summer of 2015 appears to be filling up...  I really need to cull my RSS feeds.  There's so much there I probably see the equivalent of nothing at all...  60 Minutes really seemed to softball the CEO of UPMC from my perspective, and pretty well softballed their whole business model too...  Softballed is apparently not a word...  I wonder if there's any reasoning to why the cat becomes so much more friendly immediately after grooming...  Since the normal way structures and physics are typically taught in theatre schools involved no calculus would a book showing how you would do it with calculus have any function?  Surely it must...  Saw Into the Woods this weekend.  Liked it less than seeing it on stage.  Having to me recollection only done it twice in my career I certainly have a good deal of it committed to memory...  I am wondering what a co-written musical from Stephen Sondheim and Aaron Sorkin would sound like...  It's going to be a while until we're cord cutters, but I think I see it on the horizon more than ever before...  Seeing the nominees for the Golden Globes just drove home how little TV or Film I've seen in the past year...  Today when describing lauan I compared it to Dolphin Fish, like you do... 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Coulda Done Better

Coulda done worse...

7 out of 11 with one more day to go.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Classes This Spring

The new semester starts Monday.  I've got until then to get four courses configured.  This coming semester I am teaching (again):

  • Basic PTM
  • Scenic Fabrication & Installation
  • Entertainment Rigging
  • Studiocraft AutoCAD
I think that this is maybe the 8th time through the first two classes, something like the 6th for the rigging class, and a whopping 14th time through the CAD class.

By Monday I need completed syllabi for the first two classes.  I have until Friday for the second two.  I think the Scenofab syllabus will be complete but I am dubious about the BPTM edition.  Basic PTM has something on the order of 14 guest spots and over the years it has become more and more difficult to pin those dates down before the semester actually begins; so for that class I think the written part of the syllabus will be done, but the schedule will be a mass of TBDs.  This is compounded this semester because for at least 7 of the sessions I not only need to find a date but I actually need to find someone to appear.

The Entertainment Rigging syllabus will also probably come with a bunch of TDBs on the schedule.  In this case it is built that way.  The class content is composed of student presentations.  The students pick a pool of topics which are then assigned to them randomly (although after the assignments are made they are allowed to trade) and then once the students have their topics they pick the presentation dates they want (theoretically based on the demands of their schedules).  Usually it works out that I do the early sessions and they sort of fill in from the end of the semester forward.

I could probably do a CAD syllabus with one hand tied behind my back while blindfolded.  There's good and bad parts to that.  Biggest issue there is not being stale.  Lately the class has been more difficult for me than the kids.  Every time AutoDesk revises the program and the interface they seem to make it more intuitive - so easier for the kids to pick up (since they don't know the legacy interface) and more difficult for me to learn - old dog new tricks.  I have a grad assistant that wants to teach this class this round.  That's not hard to say yes to.

Be nice if I could crank through this paperwork tomorrow.  Watch this space to find if I managed it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

TANBI Florida Tour 2014

It was time for the boy to do a Florida swing. First off he helped us pack - that's usually Freya's job. This also hatched a Shark Tank idea: "Suitcase/Pack & Play."

He did ok on the flight down.  Passed out on the tray tables.  We lucked out and the middle seat between me and Mrs. TANBI was empty, so we had a little more room to operate.

First stop was to see his Great-Grandmother.  I never got to meet a great grandparent, so I though this was really cool.  I'm not sure the boy understood the significance.  Did you know that babies under 3 aren't allowed in public pools in Palm Beach County?  So, no swimming here, just enjoying the atmosphere.

Since there was no swimming at the pool we made a side trip to the beach.  Once we got there we decided that there was a lot of potential for swallowing sea water and/or sand, so it was a good time, but we'll have to take him back when he's older to get the whole experience.

Sandwiching the beach trip the boy got to meet his Great Aunt.  Shouldn't that really be "Grand Aunt?"  It's my mother's sister or the boy's grandmother's sister.  That sounds like Grand Aunt to me rather than Great Aunt.  Whatever the true name of the relationship she is both Great and Grand.

The logistics of taking these photos clearly preoccupied my posing for it.  Also, the odds of snapping the shutter when the baby is looking at the camera... unlikely.  Clearly I have quite a bit to work on as family photographer.

And then it was time for the trip home.  We scored an empty middle seat again and the boy was the hit of the plane.

Now he's already looking forward to his next adventure.