Monday, January 31, 2011


Should Sunday's always be Ellipses? Might do to have some structure to this thing... WOuld you drop everything to help a friend run for office? It's an interesting concept... Today was day 8 for those that count. I try not to... They're considering a kind of ban on the teaching of Evolution in highschools again. Be nice to see that kind of dedication go to something we could all agree about... The internet has said I shouldn't use two spaces after periods anymore. I can't seem to make the change... Today I remembered I hate crawling around in dark theatres. Consultants, please, lots and lots of worklight... Seems counter-intuitive to have the NFL Pro Bowl scheduled such that no player from the two most successful teams can compete. Also seems odd to have it the same days as the NHL All Star Game... Occurred to me that if you think about it Facebook is really just this decade's America Online; except without all the disks in the mail... Really one of these days I should just drop everything and read a book... I seem to have slipped into a rut of delivering unfortunate email. I should do something about that... I can't shake the feeling that the next catfood I've downgraded to is the same as going from balanced meals to junk food. They seem awfully excited about the new stuff - like I used to when my grandparents would take me to McDonalds... It's amazing how much we've grown to depend on the internet and international sources for news coverage... I'm considering a blog post on "going down swinging." It's been bugging me since McNabb said it at his last post game press conference... Setting things up for the buttoning up of my spare house. Be real nice to get that off my list... I have no children, but today I saw their possible utility as help for shoveling a driveway, although it wasn't as quick as it could have been... Watching the end of Dollhouse. Didn't expect that from Boyd... I love my boots, but I'd really like to not wear my boots so much. Managed to pull off sneaks today... My students have a really startling capacity for contrary judgment in the face of evidence as well as to contradict themselves within consecutive thoughts... Still don't know what all those batteries in my toolbag were for... Trying once again to engage with the NBA. I know I like Basketball, but I haven't been able to care for a long time... It's nice when people like what they have. It seems odd when people allow that like to overshadow obvious advantages to other things... Big snow predicted, but not so much for here. I hope they're right about that...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Worth a Look

Here are some posts from the past week on the green page you might find worth a look:

'Dracula' team nearly yanks clothes, props from flop show "The final performances of 'Dracula' last weekend played less like a Gothic thriller and more like the backstage farce 'Noises Off.'
The antics -- which Tony-win ning costume designer Willa Kim calls 'the most bizarre experience of my career' -- began Friday, the day The Post reported that the artistic team was owed $100,000 in fees and expenses by the show's producers.

Federal officials criticize state safety agency's inaction in fatal fall "Federal safety officials are accusing Nevada's workplace safety agency of failing to combat reluctance, evasion and falsehoods from two local employers when the state investigated the fatal fall of a 20-year-old part-time stagehand at the MGM Grand hotel in 2009 .

Depression On The Rise In College Students

NPR: "Researchers say severe mental illness is more common among college students than it was a decade ago, with most young people seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. A study presented at the American Psychological Association found that the number of students on psychiatric medicines increased more than 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.

To the Waterbury Board of Education

American Theatre Wing: "To the members of the Waterbury Board of Education:
Stephen Sondheim, a singular voice in the American theatre, famously wrote the lyric, “Art isn’t easy.” I am reminded of this as I read of the current debate within the Waterbury school system over the Arts Magnet School’s proposed production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson, another singular voice in theatre.

Belarus troupe to open at Goodman Theatre

Chicago Sun-Times: "Plans are now in place for the Belarus Free Theater Group to make its Chicago debut on the stage of the Goodman Theatre later this month. Although it was announced Monday that the politically engaged company, which is at risk in its homeland of Belarus, would have an unprecedented residency in Chicago for most of February (under the auspices of the Goodman, Northwestern University and the League of Chicago Theaters), the heavily booked Goodman seemed unable to be the first venue to present the company. But the Goodman is now hosting the initial performances of the troupe’s acclaimed show, “Being Harold Pinter.” The members of the company, who recently performed at New York’s Public Theatre, are in peril because in December they actively protested what has widely been determined to be the fraudulent re-election of Aleksandr Lukashenko as president of the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

Syyn Labs's League of Extraordinary Nerds

Fast Company: "We're a sensationalism service," says Brent Bushnell.
Ask cofounder Adam Sadowsky and he says, "We're a one-stop production company: We make physical art that moves people."
"We want to be the 'engineering is cool' group," Bushnell adds.
Another cofounder, Eric Gradman, sums it up this way: "We're a glorified drinking club with an art problem."

I Wonder If I Got It

Today in Basic PTM class we went over the estimating process. I used the Ellipse Wall from last semester's production of Midsummer.

Here's the Description section:

and then the materials:

and finally the labor:

I was wondering after we went through the exercise if I'd gotten anywhere close. It doesn't really matter for class because the lesson is more about the process and what to do with the numbers than it is about the accuracy of the numbers. But that doesn't mean I can't wonder.

Later on I grabbed the Project Manager and the lead from the show and we looked back at the orders. It looks like I was maybe $100 shy on the materials, and maybe we're a little fat on the hours - although the hours ought to be fat because we figured manual layout and cutting and the show actually did CAD layouts and CNC.

Not too bad for on the fly, six months later and in front of a class.

BTW, here's the piece in the show:

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Steelers win, giving Pittsburgh residents license to wear their football jerseys to work for the next two weeks; as if they needed permission... State of the Union Tuesday night. Not sure I am going to watch. Government has been, as a rule of thumb, lately disturbing to me... The buyer on my spare house thinks I should throw in a flat screen TV, not sure how I feel about that... The people that share our basement, and consequently a utility sink, filled said sink with what appears to be stew; no disposal on that drain, unfortunate... It really makes me wonder that applicants will come to a college interview without knowing their test scores, GPA, and class rank. I can tell you mine and the information is from 1985... Work saw the return of the Weekly Newspage Reader. I wonder if anyone actually reads it??? I downgraded the wet cat food selection. The cats don't appear to care... It sucks to be so out of gas all the time... My wife invented a hashtag for me on Twitter. She's going to try to get it to trend. I predict it will be less than... February is shaping up to be pretty eventful, and probably March, and maybe April. Hopefully things can slow down a little after that (you know, during finals, crits, commencement)... Must, must, must pay bills. Tomorrow, hell or high water... I'd upgraded my Blogger account to the new authoring interface, but I wound up downgrading it. Something wasn't working properly in the image posting... Really, really liked the 4 minute commute today. In the end it will be a fairly expensive luxury, but what's an hour of life a day really worth? A lot... If the righties in the Senate attach their health care repeal to "everything that moves" this could be the year that civility officially retires... I'm thinking of turning off anonymous commenting. It never used to bother me, but lately it's been getting my attention... Bears lost, letting me off the hook for a home town personality schism (like there's any question which way I would lean)...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Could It Work?

Our new house has a staircase we're thinking of replacing with something more... dramatic.

I'm wondering if these treads are too small. Guess maybe we'll need to tape it out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

David Boevers Day Off

I took a mental health day today.

When Ferris Bueller took his day off he scammed a too cool sports car, had a four star lunch at a fancy restaurant, went to the art museum, attended a Cubs game, and was in a parade.  I think also he went swimming.

David's day off consisted of answering email, posting to my work website, scraping snow off my truck, lunch by myself at a sub shop, and then shopping at the pharmacy for some ointment.  There was no swimming.

I think maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Worth a look

Here are posts from last week's green page you might find worth a  look:

A Fire in MoMA's Belly: The Modern Buys David Wojnarowicz's Censored Video

Yahoo! News: "The censorship of the late artist David Wojnarowicz's 'A Fire in My Belly' at the National Portrait Gallery has touched off a wide-ranging solidarity campaign from museums and other institutions, screening the video to protest its repression. Now the furor has provoked a still stronger statement: Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, announced this morning that the institution has acquired both the 13-minute version of 'A Fire in My Belly' and a 7-minute edit made by Wojnarowicz. According to a press rep, MoMA acquired the work through New York gallery PPOW, which represents the artist's estate, and the museum claims to be the first institution to collect the video. It goes on view immediately.

Spider-Man and Equity: By Nick Wyman, AEA President

Actors' "I have been very disturbed and distraught by the serious injuries sustained by our member Chris Tierney at the December 20th performance of SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK. My thoughts and prayers have been with him for the past ten days, and I have been in touch with him by phone and e-mail. Chris is a study in toughness and grace. Hemingway defined guts as 'grace under pressure.' Guts is what Chris Tierney has consistently displayed both before and after his accident.

Dangling by a thread – SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK in Theory and in Practice

THE RYAN DIXON LINE: "“The Ancient Greeks reserved a special word for the sort of arrogance that makes you forget your own humanity. That word was Hubris.” — From an introductory essay included in the Playbill of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Note to Julie Taymor, Bono and The Edge: When creating a $65 million dollar musical beset by more accidents than those found in the diapers of my nine-month old niece, it’s not a good idea to feature an essay in your show’s program about Hubris.

Peter Gabriel enjoys Yellowtail on Vimeo

Vimeo: "This is an excerpt from Peter Gabriel's March 2010 'Full Moon Club' video, in which he discusses how he enjoys using my 'Yellowtail' software as one of the graphics systems of his Spring 2010 tour.

A Change of Scene

Theatre Communications Group: "Several years ago I attended one of those weekend exhibitions affectionately known to stage designers as the Clambake—produced and organized by Ming Cho Lee and his wife Betsy, and now unfortunately defunct—devoted to showcasing the portfolios of graduating Master of Fine Arts designers from certain selected programs in an effort to introduce them to the professional world. The overall finish of their work, I noticed, was extraordinarily high—much higher than portfolios of my generation—and with few exceptions almost all of the design work in these portfolios was for theatre or opera.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keep Up Momentum

I think this:

Looks like an alien from Star Wars.

Maybe it's just from that angle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another Reminder I am Getting Older

I'm not 100% certain, but I think this Kresge model box was built while I was a CMU Student.

Now it's hanging on for dear life trying not to wind up in the compactor.  I guess now that Music has the Kresge we don't have much of a need for it anymore, but it is a shame.  I can remember thinking how cool it was the first time I saw it.

Bummer to see it in this shape.  I hope I look better.


One week down, 15 to go...  That "I wanna new computer" feeling is creeping up again: i7, SSD, huge display, soon...  The computer in a Toyota Camry that knows you are skidding?  Makes it really hard to finesse your way up a frozen hill, and beeps at you the whole while to boot...  There are people in a room thinking "how can we make people talk about Sarah Palin today?"  They are really good at what they do...  We have like 30 shows set to record any new episode on our DVR, but there's like nothing recorded, curious...  Today I briefly thought, again, that I'd screwed something up in my Dad's affairs, but it looks like I didn't.  Maybe...  All things being equal I just wouldn't choose to build scenery in that way, or in that order, or with those materials...  My wife and I used to go to the movies a lot...  These days it's rough keeping the Greenpage from being all Spiderman all the time...  When we got our new furnace we wound up keeping our old furnace.  It wouldn't fit through the door...  I think Richard and Marcel got a pass this week.  Better start bringing their A-Game...  Today I was asked what I would buy for our shop if I could have anything and I couldn't come up with something...  The snow?  Yeah I'm through with it, they can take it away...  I was out a whole day this week and I still put in more than 40...  This is stupid, right?  But I liked the preview in the old Blogger interface better - it was faster...  My old iPod won't take a charge anymore.  So much for that...  I found someone aside from me to do taxes in my Senior class this year, and liability too.  Still looking for someone to cover starting a business...  That woman from Comcast, she said she would call but I bet she won't...  The Frosh came back to CAD from break a little rusty, but I think we got them back up to speed...  I hope the Steelers get it done tomorrow.  Somehow games against the Ravens are always nerve wracking...  This page really needs a makeover.  I'll have to put that on my list...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's It All About

There's an anonymous commenter that wants to know exactly what the Masonite cleat was all about.  It's about this:

Crumpled Paper Backdrop
Carnegie Mellon School of Drama

The 2009 production of Grapes of Wrath Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama provided a unique challenge for the production team revolving around the curved paper backdrop designed by Meg Cunningham. The goal was to create a curved backdrop that was completely covered in crumpled brown paper in a specified pattern outlined in the model (fig 1).   Depending on the lighting this drop would represent mountains, clouds, or water.

The project provided 2 major challenges.  The first challenge was to come up with a way creating the paper shape in such a way that it would look correct and also able to be manipulated without tearing.  The second was to find a way to get the large irregular piece to hang properly in the space without an unreasonable amount of install labor.

Many fabrication techniques were discussed: chicken wire, hardcover backing, carved foam, laminated paper layers, starch combinations, aluminum backed molding cloth and even a metal pencil rod topographical system.  There was much concern over the crumples “hanging out” over time, leaving a flat drop.  Because of this, the team decided if we were to use actual craft paper some kind of rigid backing or armature would be required.  Eventually a solution of laminated layers of craft paper and a Tyvek backing won out.  The Tyvek selection centered on the large available size of the raw material, its being very light weight, and its resistance to tearing.

The final drop construction had a back layer of overlapping Tyvek sheets adhered to each other with 30NF Contact Adhesive.  The overlapping pieces were required due to the overall size required exceeding the height of a roll.  The backing was married to a middle layer of standard brown craft paper, again using the 30NF.  The middle layer insured that what we would see would be paper if the front layer gapped.  At this point the perimeter shape was cut out.

Scenic artists worked with the piece applying a crumpled layer a little bit at a time.  This layer was adhered with Rosco Flex Bond so the adhesive wouldn’t crack when the drop was handled.  The long tack time of this adhesive also allowed for some adjustments to be made as the overall shape started to manifest.  Occasionally the top layer was stapled down to the floor or held down with weights while waiting for the glue to set.  At the conclusion of this step the drop was treated with a liberal amount of spray flame retardant.

Once everything was dry and set the carpentry crew grommeted the top edge of the piece through the backing and mid layer on two foot centers.

The design of the drop called for a curved footprint in plan and as little visible support as possible (fig. 2).  Since the top of the piece was irregular it was not practical to create a batten on the drop.  The shape was created by a custom curved batten made from 1”X1” square metal tube that bridged two house pipes above the vertical sightline.  Since there were so many lines required, and the overall weight was insignificant, the connection from the batten to the drop was made by over thirty 1/16” Dacron ® lines.  The abundant number of picks helped maintain the curve and enabled precise trim heights for the multi-dimensional object.  The 1/16” line turned out to be nearly invisible in this application.

Due to the irregular shape, keeping the curve flat and the top from lolling over between picks required very precise and fairly repetitive trim adjustments to every support line.  The original plan was to terminate the line with a knot and then untie and retie to adjust the length.  In practice the 1/16” line proved fairly inconvenient to make and break.  To streamline the process the team employed a cleat fabricated from 1/4” Masonite (fig. 3).  A square piece of wood had small band saw kerfs cut in from each side.  The support line went through the drop’s grommet from front to back and then laced through each of the kerfs on the cleat.  The lacing provided sufficient friction to keep the line from pulling out, and the cleat kept the assembly from pulling through the grommet thereby supporting the drop.  Adjusting the trim by unlacing and re-lacing the cleat turned out to be simple.

The final result (fig. 4) was a successfully scaled up paper drop using cheap effective means for the paper to maintain its crumpled appearance and shape. The micro-adjustment cleat developed for the drop has been utilized several times at Carnegie Mellon University since, and has proven useful for lightweight scenic pieces rigged with several thin lines that require fine tensioning.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Should Post Something

Trying to keep it going.

Closed a house today.  Two year anniversary of my Mom's passing.  It snowed a lot.  Maybe I'll just post a picture.

I think that's a nice picture of Mrs. TANBI.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You Can Go With This... Or You Can Go With That


Or That:

Which do you think is more appropriate for publication?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Now You Can't Go, To the Boat Show

We went to the home show today, well the Remodeling EXPO. There were the exhibits you'd expect although I looked for the guys that did our windows and gutters on the old house and couldn't find them, and the jerky guys weren't there. There always seems to be a table where you can get Elk Jerky at shows at the Pittsburgh Convention Center. Also the Greyhound Rescue was there and a guy selling heating pads and for some reason the Upper Cervical Health Association.

While we were parking in the garage at 9th and Penn, while in the garage it occured to us that this would be a good chance to use the new ParkPGH app I have on the phone. It said the Convention Center Lot was full, which was fine because we weren't trying to park in that lot, but if we had we wouldn't have been able to. Must remember to look at the app before deciding where to park.

Mostly though today I was thinking about how many times The Simpsons wind up going to trade shows. I was wondering if this is something people with kids really do often or if it was more of a plot device to get the family into some jam that wouldn't ordinarily be available. I'm sure I can't remember all the shows but I do recall a car show - that's where Homer buys the truck with the plow. They do go to some kind of green energy show, or maybe it was the home show; they buy a windmill. There's one where they go to a restaurant franchise show. Marge gets left out of some kind of catering truck and I think she buys a pretzel franchise.

The title to the post is a lyric from "Big Big Trouble" off "The Simpsons Sing the Blues." So we can add Boat Show to the list.

There were a bunch of families with kids at the convention center today. I guess if you score free tickets from someplace it winds up being cheaper than the movies, and today it was certainly warmer than going to the park. Still a little bit it seems like an odd choice for family entertainment.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Spring Semester is Long

I know, I know; somewhere during this semester I'll be saying "you may not realize it, but the year is already over." Its usually right before spring break and the sentence goes something like: "there's one week and then there's break and then we're back and there's carnival and final projects and the year is over, so get your shit together." Invariably I will be writing a letter to 3rd Year Grads this week to say "oh by the way, your time for thesis is almost up." But let me tell you, looking at the course timelines today when I was doing syllabi, the spring looked really long indeed.

Of course it isn't true, and it will be May before we realize (and hopefully by then I will have moved again, finished a kitchen renovation and sold a house in Chicago amongst many other achievements). In fact classes this spring actually end in April, which actually sounds pretty early.

What happened? A confluence of scheduling decisions conspired to get us nearly every day of the semester for a change. In the entire spring there are only 4 missed days. In the fall we miss 3 days in Thanksgiving week alone. This spring we miss half a day for MLK day - CMU does a "day on" with MLK activities in the afternoon. I guess the thought is that if people didn't have to come for the half day they wouldn't come in for the activities. We miss one Friday for midsemester break. I think I remember a time when this was a Friday and a Monday and it was a month away from Spring Break but now they are contiguous and it's just the one day. And then we miss a Thursday and a Friday for Carnival. The upshot? MW classes miss one half day for the entire semester and TR classes miss one full day. Even the oft canceled Friday classes don't do too poorly compared to normal.

Oh yeah, "normal" so what isn't happening that does in a normal year? In other years, in what sometimes look like alternating years, but that isn't by design I think, we have a week off for Playground. This year's Playground festival was in the fall. So there's one week on for class that has often been off. But definitely the biggest blow this year was the scheduling of USITT. Drama Design and PTM classes often wind up canceled for as much as a week for the annual theatre technology conference. This year USITT, which is in Charlotte, is also scheduled concurrent with our Spring Break. It's like an academic double whammy: there are class days that are typically not class days and then on top of that there are work days (ok maybe "work" is too strong a word, but they certainly aren't vacation) that are typically off days.

There's also typically a Spring Faculty Meeting that manages to cancel at least half a day of class, but curiously this year there isn't.

You know how sometimes when you're talking about a workday and you say the hours aren't bad but the minutes seem to go on forever? At least looking forward it seems like the semester won't be bad but the weeks seem to be piling up.

But yes, I know I'll be sounding the Critender 2000 in what seems like 5 minutes.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


I've reclaimed the greenpage, at least for a little while... I'd like to say I can't believe the House is wasting their time with a repeal vote they know won't pass, would be vetoed if it did, and couldn't be overridden if it was, but I'm not... Long article on TCG about the terrible awful really bad state of MFA Theatre Design programs, I don't so much agree but can't figure out the proper place to respond - or if... Too bad for Casey on Top Chef, I didn't think she deserved it... I'm not making the progress I would have hoped for on my list; scratch that, I knew better than to hope... Sometimes it just seems like I really can't stand anyone. I think I am beginning to understand the concept around the need for a sabbatical... Got a "maybe" feedback on the Chicago house today. Here's hoping... Tried today to identify what the intellectual property concerns are for PTM type people. Failed a little... Twitter is not a chat program. Sometimes people forget. I think that's the textual equivalent of having a shouting phone conversation in public, except that the other person is there too... One of our school's biggest benefactors passed away. Not sure what that will mean... It snowed a little bit here today and people actually didn't lose their shit. Well done Yinzers... Speaking of Yinzers, research now shows that use of our particular dialect is on the decline, has become fairly class related, and a little bit is supposedly hip... We still have a cat to give away if anyone is in the market... In the old house my desk consisted of three surfaces, in the apartment I have dropped down to two and can now say without reservation that I need three, maybe four... It's really a shame The West Wing isn't on TV anyplace... I'm going to be a lot busier this semester than last, I hope I'm up for it... I have a good idea for the next First Night, I wonder if I'll be able to sell it... That woman from Comcast was supposed to call me back and didn't. Might be time for an EECB... Close on the new house in four days. Surreal...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Brief List

of things I should probably have already done, but are pretty much due Friday...

  1. Studiocraft Syllabus
  2. PTM Business Practice Syllabus
  3. Find guests for PTM Business Practice
  4. Scenic Fabrication & Installation Syllabus
  5. Basic PTM Syllabus
  6. Thesis "Endgame" Timelines
  7. Stagecraft eve/weekend mini 3 calls
  8. Sophomore PTM TD Crew Assignments
  9. Travel arrangement for Bill Sapsis' visit
  10. Fix audition tour coverage
  11. Abstract for USITT Poster session
  12. Three (3) Tech Expo entries
and that's just the work list, and it's only the things I haven't already forgotten about, and it doesn't include keeping my head above the rising tide of email.

But then, it's barely Wednesday. This probably isn't too bad.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Last Night - First Night

So Mrs. Boevers did the Pittsburgh First Night thing again. Lots of new stuff this year including two new positions. Lots of items in Theatre Square and an "Entry Icon" for people coming across the bridge from Heinz Field and the Winter Classic:

Here's the whole shebang:

And here's some of the Midnight show. We were father back this year, at 8th Street. From there you can actually see the ball and the fireworks, although you don't have much of a view of the band. If you listen carefully you might just make out a little Tower of Power and "What is Hip?"

Mrs. Boevers was on the TV too! Look for her at about 1:25 here: First Night Celebrations in Downtown Pittsburgh - Video - WTAE Pittsburgh I tried to find an embed code, but failed so you have to go to their site.

And of course it wouldn't be New Years without drunk people fighting. Here's some for your enjoyment:

Plans are already underway to make next year's show even bigger and better! Congrats to Marisa!