Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vote For Comment of the Week

This week's comment contenders.  Vote in the comments for this post...

Comment #1: on your post "High Schools Across the Country Vie to 'Make a Mus...":

What I think other people who have commented on this article thus far have missed (or at least, not talked about) the fact that the focus of this program is to build long-lasting theatre programs in schools which otherwise couldn't or wouldn't have them! The reason the kids are getting involved is not actually as important as the fact that they want to get involved and are getting the opportunity to do so. I admire that the "Make a Musical" project is founded on the ideas of education and long-term sustainability of educational programs. NBC and its co-sponsors are really paying it forward here. All kids should be given the opportunity to learn about and participate in the arts in elementary, junior high, and high school, not just kids who live in wealthier areas or who can afford to go to a private school or transport themselves to an arts magnet high school. I was also pleased that there is beginning to be some focus within the program on the technical aspects, so that kids who want to be a part of theatre but don't feel comfortable or aren't ready to be onstage can still be involved and find out if there is a career in the industry that would be right for them. I think this is a fantastic idea and that NBC and others involve seem to really have their hearts in the right place here.
Comment #2: on your post "Richard Dare: Paradise Lost: Can We Keep Nonprofit...":
What a fascinating read that was. And as sad as it is to say, I completely agree with what mr. Dare is saying. Art has become way too focused on begging for money, the fuel it needs to keep producing results. Grants and donations are certainly important, but they have crossed a dangerousness and become crucial, as the article says. There are few things worse than having to rely on something inconsistent such as donations; even in the case of theatres with a subscriber base and annual donors, those checks are no guarantee (as seen when the pittsburgh public quickly changed their season a few years back after the announcement of their originally planned shows almost lost them half their subscribers). Not-for-profit means that any extra money earned on top of operational costs (including salaries) gets pooled back into the company and goes towards keeping it afloat. The model itself isn't broken, just its sources. No one is coming close to even breaking even anymore, and the art is going to suffer. So what do we do? No one seems to know exactly, but it's clear that knocking on more doors and sending more postcards and emails won't save us in the long run. We have to find another way.
Comment #3: on your post "Neil Young Trademarks New Audio Format":
I watched the All Things D video and enjoyed Bob Lefsetz's commentary on it, but I think that some of Mr. Young's reasoning is flawed.

His 100% right now is ludicrously too high for the consumer. It makes sense to record at 192/24 if you're going to edit that content with plugins that alter audio on a per-sample basis and gain something from the increased resolution, but there's plenty of evidence that after a song is mastered, most consumers can't hear any improvement above 44.1/16 (CD quality), and nobody can hear the difference between 96k and 192k. Yes, we can all hear the difference between a 128mbps MP3 and a 44.1/16 WAV file under proper conditions, and, as it turns out, the current hardware (iPods included) can play 48/16.

The problem lies in distribution, not hardware. Apple is getting better at this with iTunes plus and a transition to Apple lossless (another format that makes format no longer the weakest link). As for "some rich guy" and Mr. Young's personal goal, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, and the labels are the people who need to drive this, and they'll only do that if the consumer demands it... but Spotify already does this with improved audio quality with the paid service, and iTunes is getting there.

So Mr. Young probably won't be successful, but if his efforts raise consumer awareness, then they're worthwhile.
Comment #4: on your post "Supermodel Sara Ziff Forms Model Alliance to Save ...":
I really liked this article for many reasons, one of them being that I recognized the name Sara Ziff from her documentary "Picture Me". The issues that she brings up in that movie and the issues that are being brought up in this article are really important to discuss and the treatment of models really does range.
Sara is definitely luckier than most models in that she can make money and support herself (although at this point she is probably doing better than merely supporting herself). Nowadays, models have difficulty coming by the right jobs or being exposed to the right opportunities. Being a model means doing other sorts of labor on the side and scrambling to find a job and to make the right connections. Models are also frequent on the runways but I feel that they are becoming less frequent in magazines like Vogue or Elle, which have decided to use actors or comedians for their models. This is done so that the public can connect with these people and the actors are more recognizable because of films or TV. It was stated before that girls that aspire to be models are caught in this place where they don't know the model and make assumptions for how they should look on a daily basis. I think that with the actors or musicians etc... the public understands that it is ok to be other shapes, sizes, and colors.
Sara Ziff, as well as the other models didn't even know about the protection that they have access to through their union. I feel that sometimes, the disunity in this line of business is the reason. In theater, we rely on the connections that we get and the relationships that we have. Through this type of work, models have the relationships with the designers, with agents, etc... just not with each other.
Comment #5: on your post "The Price of Cool: Berlin's Struggling Artists Dem...":
What surprised me some here is not so much AndrĂ© Schmitz's accusations against the authors of "Der Kulturinfarkt: Von allem zu viel und Ă¼berall das Gleiche" but that he claimed arts budgets should be INCREASED when public funds run low. ... Preach on, Brother Schmitz. Maybe someone over here will listen...

Luke has a point. As soon as you're paid for it, are you still an avante garde artist?

It's fine to want these things, but to demand government funding because you believe you deserve it seems inconsistent with a previous artistic view many of these arts organizations tout. As the article points out, now Berlin wants its cake and to eat it, too.

What this article doesn't seem to attempt is to identify who these groups are and what they do. Their names aren't particularly helpful, whether they're in German or English. This article could have helped its international readers by perhaps explaining more about these groups for those who're unfamiliar.  

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