Friday, December 30, 2011


Finally signed up for Skype: david.boevers if you want to be the one to have the awkward first conversation...  The news people should be doing a story on how much time they are spending covering candidates they clearly think are ridiculous...  Ran by the office for an hour today.  Very sleepy in Purnell.  Calm before the storm...  Just can't get excited about the Iowa caucus.  Fairly certain most of these folks can't get the nomination...  If you have Twitter and you do like 5 tweets or more in a couple of minutes or less you are a) certainly being scrolled right over in my world & b) probably really annoying people with push notifications or audible alerts.  Just sayin...  A little bit things are coming apart in the Middle East, aren't they?  Heard more about Russell Brand on the news today though...  The county just mailed out property reassessments.  Apparently our house is up 50% in 14 months.  Think I could get someone to buy at that price?  Me either...   Really sad to hear how badly things are going for Sears.  I hope they pull it together...  The Local and The Trust are sniping at each other again and it is going to spill over into our New Years.  At least it's not too cold this year so far...  I think my end of semester cold is finally vacating my person...  Today I turned around and drove home to get a club card that when I got to the store they told me I didn't need because it was on file...  I'm trying REALLY hard not to gum up the new laptop and have it bog down.  I don't think I'll be able to keep that up for long...  On that note, does anyone know what MS OneNote is?  It came with my new MS Office...  Looking for the right things to follow on Pinterest.  Not really doing that well (or trying that hard)...  17th Precinct looks good.  Too bad NBC passed on it.  Like a BSG holodeck episode...  I figured out why my Satellite box and my Slingbox weren't playing nice.  Now I just have to figure out a way to fix it...  There's a mic somewhere on this laptop, but I don't know where...  Remember all that consternation over the debt ceiling last time?  Curiously absent this time.  Makes you wonder why it was such a big deal last time (oh wait, he thought better of it - consternation in January)...  Mrs. TANBI is out doing the dancing numbers again.  Even bigger and better this year...  If I were Samoa I would have skipped a Monday rather than a Friday...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BTW, PIPA not much better than SOPA

Dear Senator Casey:


I just happened across your name on a list of supporters for PIPA today.  I wanted to drop you a note to let you know that although I believe some kind of remedy is necessary for online pirating, I believe (like many others, especially those with a working knowledge of the technology) that the legislation as written is too heavy a regulatory hand.  The processes laid out in PIPA are too likely to be abused to the detriment of free speech and open networks.  The US should not be following behind such regimes as China and Syria for our network policy - that's just embarrassing.

Please work with the other members of the Congress to come up with a better bill.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Semester Reviews Day Four

I fell behind a day here.  My twice annual "the stress is off you can get sick now" cold has settled in nicely and so last night I was for bed.

Here's the folks from Semester Reviews fourth day.

The early session kicks off with Senior PM/SM Liz...

Next up is Senior TD/PM/SM Katherine...

Apparently the dinosaur has gotten a little chilly.

Moving along we have newly declared Sophomore TD Meg...

Rounding out the morning session we have newly minted PM/SM Shannon...

Starting off the afternoon session is Junior BXA PM/SM Brian...

Next up, Senior PM/SM Hannah...

Then we move on to newly declared PM/SM/Sound Designer Becca...

Rounding out the Fall we have Junior TD/Lighting Technologist Robert...

And that's all there is this time around.  I hope everyone has a great break.

Monday, December 19, 2011

And We're Back (Semseter Reviews Day 3)

Monday Monday.  Two more semester review sessions.

We start off with Junior PM/SM Devrie and a return to the crit board camouflage...

Second up, newly minted Sophomore PM/SM/Scene Designer Sophia...

Rounding out the morning session, Senior TD Charlie...

Starting off the afternoon session is Junior TD Sonia...


Next up, newly declared Sophomore PM/SM Zoe...


Capping the afternoon session, Senior TD Ethan...

One more session to go!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fall 2011 Semester Reviews (Day 2)

Clearly I need some oversite in the composition of the Semester Reviews schedule as this morning we had 7 PTM type folks and then in the afternoon there were 2.  Makes for a sort of unbalanced day.

Starting us off this morning was Junior TD Tiffany...

Next up was Senior PM/SM Brooke...

Then we had Junior PM/SM Brian...

Next was newly minted Sophomore TD/Sound Designer Daniel...

and then we had Junior PM/SM Ariel...

Skipping around to newly minted Sophomore PM/SM AJ...

Rounding out the morning session was Senior PM/SM David...

After that we took a break and returned for the afternoon session.  This was the first session this year with Frosh - although none of them will show up here as all from are DP's for a few semesters.

Afternoon session PTM 1 of 2, Senior PM/SM Chris...

... Chris mentioned his infographic resume.  Super.

Finishing up the late session was PTM 2 of 2 newly declared Sophomore TD Jennifer...

That's all for Friday.  We're off for the weekend and back with two more days of reviews on Monday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fall 2011 Semester Reviews (Day One)

Day one of Fall Semester Reviews was a "Grad Day".  Overall it went really well with good work and decent crits from all.  No tears, although I think one of the students almost lost it.  My single biggest observation?  Many of the students were wearing black against a black background.  It made them look like they were floating.

First up, Grad 3 PM/SM Devorah...


Next is Grad 3 PM/SM Calvin...


Than we have Grad2 TD Dale...


...Dale had a crit that really pout things into perspective.

Next up, Grad3 TD Tom...


That finshed up the morning session.  It was a three session day.

This blur is Grad3 PM/SM Brian...

... I'll have to see if I can find a better picture online.  Brian will get his own post at the end of crits for a three year retrospective.  He's made a point of doing excellent crit boards.

Speaking of finding a picture online.  Jake apparently got away without my shooting a photo, so I'll have to use the shot I got with my iPad while live tweeting.  If you want to follow tomorrow, the hashtag in #ptmcrits.

So this is Grad2TD Jake...

Next is Grad1 PM/SM Jamila...


And then Grad1 TD Luke...

Next is Grad2 TD Matt...

That rounds out the mid-day session.  After that, faculty ran off to the President's Holiday Party.  I got stuck at the Tartan Pavilion waiting for the rain to stop.

The evening session kicks off with Grad1 PM/SM Cat...

And then Grad1 PM/SM Jess...

Next is Grad2 PM/SM Taylor...

... one day after class this semester, Taylor came by my office to say "what we did in class today was exactly what I needed."  That doesn't happen often.

Rounding out day one was Grad1 TD Wyatt...

The end of a very long day.  At least at the end of the day we have the knowledge that the other days will all be shorter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


So they're still standing.  Really considering a failure pool...  These end of semester grading binges always make me feel so good about myself...  After 5 emails, a phone call, and 2 extra shipments Dell sorted out my laptop order (and I wound up with an extra copy of Office)...  My truck sorta sounds like I feel.  I really ought to get it into the shop soon...  Looking at a bunch of trips and possible trips: Florida, New York, Chicago, Virginia...  The alumni magazine did an article about the shows in Vegas and left out a slew of the people that worked on the show in Vegas, including me...  Really I'd rather not hear about Sandusky again until the verdict...  I read today that Sears isn't expected to make it through next year.  I really like Sears...  Trying to decide what I can and cannot install on this new machine.  Don't want it to get all bogged down like the last one (although the absence of Widows Vista ought to help that on its own)...  Just after I got all worried about the article I read exposing students abusing Adderal I saw an article saying they could take all they wanted.  I wish the media would all get on the same page on what we're supposed to be worried about...  I don't think they should have suspended Harrison, but I am a homer...  Is it possible we really have seen the Republican nominee for President?  They have to be able to better...  The gift buying thing is getting the better of me this time around...  I am staring a list of things I would do if I took a sabbatical.  The odds of my getting a sabbatical are pretty long...  Was nice to see the President on 60 Minutes.  All that Republican TV time with no answer was getting to me...  The ads on the TV for UPMC that don't overtly say they expect Highmark customers to get new insurance seem a little disingenuous...  Not so happy to hear about Lowes decision on those TV ads...  Really, really digging where Homeland is going...  One of my grad school profs is retiring.  I wish them good luck finding someone that teaches what he's been teaching.  It's not a common skill set...  The kids wanted to schedule 24 hours of strike.  It took them less than eight...  The House republicans really want that pipeline...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

And Another Dino Install

So my Tech Direction 3 class is at it again.  We picked up a third installation for the Dinosaur pieces we built earlier in the semester.  First stop was the Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire.  Next up was about a month in our lobby at the Purnell Center (someday I'll get some photos of that up).  While the large Steg was in the lobby my boss suggested he thought they'd look good on the green roof of the adjacent building.  So I send an email to someone else who sends an email and lickedy-split we're loading in onto the roof of a building.

Today we had three goals.

1. Don't kill anyone.
2. Don't wreck someone else's building.
3. Set up a nice display.

On the one side the drop was only about 12 feet.  On the other side...

... just a little bit more.

We brought our Stegosaurus.  For this piece its the third exhibition.

We also used the Parasaurolophus.  This piece has been sitting out back of our building since Maker Faire waiting for another showing.

All in all the call went very well; maybe a trip or two more back to the shop than I would prefer, but on the plus side it wasn't raining.

This is the first extended exterior showing for the large pieces.  I've had smaller ones outside for a long time, but not the big ones.  Also, these are different from the ones I've had in my yard because they aren't from the exterior plywood.  Before we took these out we put on a coat of deck seal, but a little bit I'm not overly confident that they will hold up in the weather.  Just going to have to see.  Also the wind is a little bit freaking me out, so we ran a safety cable through every piece on each model.  Plus we tied the units down to the roof with additional cables.

If you'd like in on the Dino Failure Pool, shoot me an email.

The most surprising part of the whole thing for me was how small these things look in this setting.  They could be double their size and still compose.  As is they almost disappear.  Who knew?

They still do look pretty cool though.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Worth a Look

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

Andy Serkis Makes the Case for An Expanded Definition of Acting

ThinkProgress: We’ve talked about this a bit before, but Andy Serkis makes the case for why he should be eligible for acting awards — which I agree with, I just don’t know that we can nominate him alone

Chinese cancel L.A. Theatre Works' post-play discussion A theatrical play about the struggle between a free press and government is one thing. A discussion about that same play is yet another order of magnitude, as the producers of L.A. Theatre Works' "Top Secret: Battle for the Pentagon Papers" discovered Friday night in Beijing.
Midway through a performance at the prestigious Peking University, producer Alison Friedman received a text message on her cellphone informing her that a talk after the performance would be canceled for fear of "unforeseen consequences."

Infographic Of The Day: 13 Rules For Realizing Your Creative Vision

Co. Design: Bre Pettis knows a thing or two about getting things done rather than getting them perfect: He's the founder of Makerbot, a company that turns out cheap rapid prototyping machines. No one would say they've been perfectly realized, but a key to Makerbot's success is that it has evolved in the real world, rather than foundering as just another great idea.
With that in mind, Pettis and collaborator Kio Stark gave themselves exactly 20 minutes to create a manifesto encapsulating everything they knew about bring a creative vision to life. They called it The Done Manifesto.

Who says there's no money in theatre? In the UK, we tell young people going into theatre that they will not – cannot – make money. It's a mantra that makes them begin to feel that they should not; poverty and authenticity become synonymous. There will be a few stars, of course, but most people should expect to graft (as Steven Berkoff puts it) and be rewarded with praise and the knowledge of work well done – but rarely with a living wage. (While union rates exist for directors, actors and everyone else in theatre, the reality is that people frequently work for less, and often for nothing.) Maybe struggling against adversity strengthens determination. But what does it do to aspiration?

How Millennials Can Survive And Thrive In The New Economy

Forbes: “People entering the labor market now not only will face a harder time finding jobs, but they also may have difficulty finding the careers they might be hoping for,’’ warns MIT professor James Poterba, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Same goes for income. Entering the labor market during a recession means an average of $100,000 in lost lifetime wages, estimates Yale economist Lisa Kahn. (That’s in present discounted dollars, for you finance majors.)
All this is a rude shock to Millennials, also known as Gen Y and, less kindly, Generation Me. They grew up believing they’d be flying high so long as they followed a well-defined path: Notch a high score on the SAT or ACT, go to a good college, earn a respectable GPA and get a decent job. Work a few years, then go to grad school for further seasoning and come out with a job lucrative enough to pay off those hefty loans.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

But Wait, There's More

I just happened to think the convergence of these four articles in one week was of particular interest...

Michael Kaiser: The Death of Criticism or Everyone Is a Critic

Huffington Post: One of the substantial changes in the arts environment that has happened with astonishing speed is that arts criticism has become a participatory activity rather than a spectator sport.
Every artist, producer or arts organization used to wait for a handful of reviews to determine the critical response to a particular project. And while very few critics for a small set of news outlets still wield great power to make or break a project (usually a for-profit theater project which runs longer and therefore needs to sell far more tickets than any other arts project), a larger portion of arts projects have become somewhat immune to the opinions of any one journalist.

On Michael Kaiser and Citizen Critics

Createquity.: Responses are all over the original post and the blogosphere; Andy Horwitz has one of the best over at Culturebot. You don’t need to think too hard to guess at my reaction; after all, I’m on record as saying that I think citizen critics (though I prefer the term “curators”) are the potential saviors of the artistic marketplace. However, that’s not to say that everyone’s opinion matters equally in every context. I believe in experts, I just think that newspaper editors shouldn’t be the only ones who get to decide who the experts are.

There's No Such Thing as Constructive Criticism

The Energy Project: Here's a question guaranteed to make your stomach lurch: "Would you mind if I gave you some feedback?"
What that actually means is "Would you mind if I gave you some negative feedback, wrapped in the guise of constructive criticism, whether you want it or not?"
The problem with criticism is that it challenges our sense of value. Criticism implies judgment and we all recoil from feeling judged. As Daniel Goleman has noted, threats to our esteem in the eyes of others are so potent they can literally feel like threats to our very survival.

Stephen Sondheim: who needs critics?

The Guardian: After a rotten review, you don't remember the good ones. The only pleasure you have is to reiterate, both to yourself and to anyone who'll listen, the bad ones, which you can quote in exquisite detail. Moreover, you have to come to terms with the truth that no matter how doggedly you try to deceive yourself to the contrary, if you're going to believe your good reviews, you're going to have to believe the less good ones as well, unless you're deeply self-delusional.

Occupy Lincoln Center

One of the many blogs I cull stories from is one called "Theatre Ideas."  The author there has some fairly pronounced thought about how then theatre industry is doing it wrong.  Last week he ran a series of articles that is definitely worth a look comparing the 99% movement and rural arts...

Occupy Lincoln Center (part 1)

Theatre Ideas: If there were 100 nonprofit arts organizations dividing a million dollars, it would look like this:
2 organizations would split $550,000 ($275,000 each)
The remaining 98 organizations would each get $4591
The ratio is a about 60:1
In other words, the income disparity between nonprofit arts institutions is nearly twice as bad as the income disparity in the economy as a whole. If the arts are supposed to hold the mirror up to nature, it is a magnifying glass.

Occupy Lincoln Center (part 2)

Theatre Ideas: Yesterday, in the first part of this series, I compared the income and wealth disparities in the American economy to that of the philanthropic support of the nonprofit arts economy. It didn't come out too well. The income gap between the top 2% of arts organizations (those with annual budgets of over $5M) and the remaining 98% was twice a great as the income gap in the economy as a whole. I think that should make us all stop an consider a wee bit, because the situation in the economy as a whole is really, really bad.

Occupy Lincoln Center (part 3)

Theatre Ideas: On October 26th, one of the great pioneers of the regional theatre movement, Zelda Fichlander, addressed the assembled Stage Directors and Choreographers Society in celebration of the 3rd annual award named in her honor. The invaluable on-line journal HowlRound posted the text of her speech, in which Fichlander spoke passionately about the early history of the regional theatre movement and the values that formed its foundation. I take a back seat to no one in my admiration for Fichlander, who has provided strong leadership and a vital moral voice in the regional theatre and theatre education for decades. That said, there is a portion of the speech that is, frankly, inaccurate and one that propagates a myth about the development of the regional theatre movement that supports the lack of diversity that is revealed in the Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change report that has been discussed in the first two parts of this series.

Grover Who?

I have to admit to being struck today by a political story.  Usually I notice things like this before I see them in the press, but I missed this wrinkle.

With the Bush tax cuts set to expire not so long ago Righties were all over the media saying how they couldn't let it happen because letting the cuts expire was a tax increase.  They all have this pledge that they've signed with Righty Operator Grover Norquist which basically says that if they ever raise taxes ever they will find themselves without support (read a loss of PAC money and a likely primary challenge).

Now that's just total horse hockey to begin with but that's a different post.

This post is about how now the same Righties are all over the media saying they can't not let the current payroll tax rollbacks expire.  Caught up in the goofiness of the regular news coverage I failed to notice that by their own rules this would mean they are supporting a tax increase on the American people.

Where oh where is Grover Norquist?  Why aren't these congresscritters afeared of losing their funding or of the impending primary challenges?  After all they were so clear that letting a tax cut sunset was in fact a vote for a tax increase.

So clearly it really has nothing to do with an absolute ban on tax increases, just lefty tax increases.  Righties can go ahead and tax the 99% all they want.  The threat clearly only applies to lefty taxes aimed at the 1%.

Sometimes this country makes my head hurt.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Worth a Look

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

The Legend of Zelda

2AMt: I was a lucky audience member for the Oct 26th SDC Zelda Fichandler Award presentation at Arena Stage (which was given, this year, to Blanka Zizka of Wilma Theater). I wanted to attend, in part, because I had just joined the stage directors and choreographers union a few weeks prior and, in part, to support Howard Shalwitz who was being recognized as the Distinguished Finalist. What I didn’t expect was an education in the significance of the early regional theatre movement and how its principals can guide the theatre of today in becoming a true force in our cultural landscape, once again.

Study: On-Screen Gender Inequality Persists in Hollywood

Backstage: A survey of the top 100 grossing movies of 2009 showed that male speaking roles continued to clearly outweigh female roles and that females showed more skin on-screen, the "LA Times" reported.

From Petipa to Balanchine, Borrowing Is Part of Dance The “Nutcracker” season is almost upon us — but can you be sure who choreographed all of the versions you might see? Last year, as I toured the United States in a “Nutcracker” marathon, I observed how more than 12 American productions featured the Sugar Plum pas de deux that Lev Ivanov choreographed for the 1892 original in St. Petersburg. But in only one case was the pas de deux — whose adagio, early on, features a beautifully spectacular phrase unlike anything else in 19th-century ballet, with the ballerina seeming to peel herself open in her partner’s arms — actually credited to Ivanov.

Good theater is good for the economy, to tune of $1.9 billion

The Denver Post: It will come as no surprise to artists that, for the second straight year, nonprofit theaters contributed $1.9 billion to the national economy in 2010, according to the latest annual survey by Theatre Communications Group.
But it might come as a surprise that no one seems to care. Or at least that figure doesn't hold much sway when it comes to supporting arts-funding measures at the ballot box.

NY Times Discovers The Coming Legal Battle Over 3D Printing

Techdirt: We've been discussing 3D printing for over a decade, including warning that some of the disrupted companies/industries are likely to go ballistic and talk about how they're being "robbed" by this form of competition. Hopefully, enough people realize this is crazy, but it seems doubtful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Little Help Here


   Tenure-track Associate Professor -- Sound Design
   Carnegie Mellon University
   School of Drama
   Pittsburgh, PA
   Date Posted: Sep. 8, 2011


   Tenure-track Associate Professor -- Lighting Design
   Carnegie Mellon University
   School of Drama
   Pittsburgh, PA
   Date Posted: Sep. 8, 2011


   Assistant or Associate Professor -- Stage Management
   Carnegie Mellon University
   School of Drama
   Pittsburgh, PA
   Date Posted: Sep. 8, 2011


Saturday, November 26, 2011


While we were driving off to Thanksgiving this #theatreturducken hashtag appeared on Twitter - three plays strung together.  What else are you going to do while driving all the way across Ohio?

Here are mine and some of the others I saw and liked:


murder by death of a sales menopause the musical

In My Life is a Dreamgirls

Oedipus the King and Aida

70, Girls 1776 Characters in Search of an Author
David J. Loehr

The Pillowman Who Came to Dinner With Friends
Retweeted by

guys and dolls house of blue leaves
Patricia Milton

Kiss of the Spider Woman of No Importance of Being Earnest
Retweeted by

Man of La Cage aux Follies

The Sound of Music Man of LaMancha

west side by sideshow
If you click the hashtag you may be able to see the whole enchilada on Twitter.