Drove my car for the first time in three days today. It was like that old Die-Hard commercial - We've enclosed this car in solid ice... I didn't watch the news today, did we fix the whole fiscal cliff thing? I sure hope so... I would like to now officially request that windows apps include the same kind of intuitive spell checking I have on my iOS devices... A little bit I don't understand why any of the Steeler starters played today... Mrs. TANBI spent today getting loaded in for First Night Pittsburgh. It's the first time she's had to do so with snow on the ground. I hope people still come out even if it is cold... If Leverage is supposed to be the US version of Hustle, Hustle is better... I've got one course laid out for the spring, only four to go - well six really... Is it possible that non-lethal ammunition has a part to play in the current gun discussion? Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people... Is doing a home office with kitchen cabinets a stupid idea? Probably won't matter, nobody stocks 30" high base cabinets anyway... I keep getting emails from OBAMACARE. Somehow I don't think there's a company actually called Obamacare... One of my cats I think is having too good a time with my winter vacation. Maybe a little too friendly... Somehow I wound up making three trips to Office Depot in three days. I imagine that signifies either bad planning or extreme boredom... I went to buy a new hat today. Couldn't get myself to pay a 100% premium for UnderArmor - although I did like it a lot... I'm powering through Fringe episodes lately. I can't remember when or why the Observers changes into invaders, but the storyline this season is pretty cool...
Friday, December 28, 2012
Brenda Segal put a review of her 2012 movie going on her Facebook the other day and it got me thinking. First it got me thinking about what movies I actually saw. That got me thinking if there was an app or site that could help determine that list.
I didn't find one.
It does turn out that IMDB and Wikipedia both have pages for 2012 releases. So I slogged through the whole list and pulled out the films I could remember. Here's the 2012 David film list:
- The Avengers
- The Campaign
- Cloud Atlas
- The Dark Knight Rises
- The Hunger Games
- The Lorax
- Madagascar 3
- Men In Black 3
- The Secret World of Arrietty
- Silver Linings Playbook
Truth be told I thought there would be more. I am pretty amazed at some of the films that are,'t on the list. There was a Spiderman, and Looper, and The Master and those are just the ones I can think of sitting without the full list in front of me.
The Down Side
Looking back at the list if I think there are any of the fims that I could (in retrospect) have missed, or been just as satisfied catching on cable I think the Lorax, The Campaign, and Madagascar all meet that description. I have to think real hard to remember any details from any of those films. Truly I have to think hard to remember anything about Brave too, but as a Pixar film I am sure the theatre experience was worth it. We only just saw Silver Linings, so it is fairly fresh in my mind. I imagine that after a few months that might not be the case.
The Up Side
I am not sure why, but it has become real difficult to impress me at the movies. In some cases we've elevated the experience ourselves, giving films even more of a chance by seeing them on a large format IMAX when they are filmed in that format. Even with that very high standard I think these films stepped up:
Avengers, Cloud Atlas, Dark Knight Rises, and Prometheus.
In some ways I think all four of those films had no hope of actually delivering on the hype that preceded them, and in all four cases I thought (IMHO) that they did incredibly well. Of the four I guess the biggest disappointment would be Prometheus. Not because what was on the screen wasn't good, but because of all of what I thought it could have been. After the second film I think Dark Knight had an impossibly high bar to reach, and even with all the Pittsburgh connections playing in its favor... I just keep seeing that semi trailer flipping over in my head. The whole Avengers franchise has been handled very well, and the Avengers film would have been worth it just for those few seconds with the Hulk slamming Loki like a rag doll (I have since heard that working out the physics so that CGI came off looking as good as it did was a significant hurdle).
Since I'd not read the Cloud Atlas book, my only expectations were through the filmmakers and I think they delivered hugely. Sure I left the theatre with tons of questions about the significance of the casting decisions, and yes, some of the makeup was conspicuous, but overall I really think the film was outstanding. If I had to pick one of the four to be the overall best I almost certainly would pick Cloud Atlas.
Posted by David at 4:11 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Two ellipses in a row. Not a blog high point... It is snowing in Pittsburgh, well all over. I could do without snow I think... Yesterday I went to the movies and ordered in Chinese food. I feel like such a cliche... Mrs. TANBI and I kinda fumbled the December holiday thing this year. Next year will take better planning. I did manage to hit the target for her birthday though... Only today did I see that the debt ceiling is also tied up in the fiscal cliff thing. Swell... At some point months ago I bought three cabinets for the garage. They came needing assembly. This week I assembled the first one. I wonder what the over/under on assembling the next one will be... Really, Silver Linings Playbook isn't so much a romantic comedy - even if the previews play it that way... If I could remember what movies I saw this year I would do a top 10. Pretty sure Cloud Atlas would be on the top. There ought to be some kind of app or web page where you could check off everything you saw and rank them... I looked up the price of the rifle I have been coveting since it appeared on Top Shot. It runs about $3000... No office at all this week so far. I think I will try for the whole thing, even though I returned to work virtually today... We were supposed to go to Las Vegas for the holiday, but we didn't. At least our flight can't get munged up that way... I'm working on a home office design for one of our rooms and I am thinking maybe the actual answer is IKEA kitchen cabinets and a counter top... Looks like I came in third in the fantasy football league this year. That's my best performance to date. Still doesn't make up for the Steelers end of season swoon... Apparently we need a TV and a cable box in our guest room. Off the top of my head that seems like $100 for a TV that'll get watched on less than 10 days/year. The cable companies ought to have a more cost effective solution for that... The other day I saw a pickup truck with an articulated retracting running board. I wish my truck had an articulated retracting running board... Should have bought that snowblower...CMU got a 1 Billion Dollar patent lawsuit award today. I wonder what that works out to per employee? I bet that won't come up... Tonight I looked at last year's blog posts to try to figure out what I was did for the holiday in 2011. There was nothing useful there (or on Facebook FWIW). So if I am reading next year it should be clear we were home...
Friday, December 21, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Session 9 out of 9. Really I cannot fathom how we used to do this the other way. I mean I guess it was less sessions, but so much longer and so monotonous.
AJ is a Junior PM/SM...
... he wished he'd participated as much in other classes as he did in mine.
Ariel is a senior PM/SM...
... her summer internship fell through and she got something better!
David is a newly minted sophomore TD...
... I think my high school used that font on t-shirts a thousand years ago.
Sopie is a PM/SM/Scene Designer...
... who although was in my class as a manager pretty much attended as a designer.
And then they were done. Well done everyone. Have a good holiday.
Congrats to everyone for making it to day four.
Becca is a Junior PM/SM/Sound Designer...
... we talked about double degrees, double majors, and custom majors.
Cathy is a BXA TD and Physics major...
... she announced that radioactive decay has little to do with scenic construction.
Devrie is a senior PM/SM...
... I really need to add a note about wearing black to my pre-crit email.
Meg is a Junior TD...
... somehow she captured both non-Purnell productions this semester.
Robert is a senior TD/Lighting Technologist...
... he had so much crew this semester, new folks thought he was staff.
Sean is a newly minted Sophomore TD...
... can't wait to put him to work in the shop.
Today I am getting lunch, I swear I am.
Turns out I didn't get any lunch. This made me sad and then ruined my dinner and the next nights sleep. eating turns out to be important.
The afternoon's reviews:
Brian is a senior PM/SM...
... He's hoping his career is as cool as Disneyworld.
Sonia is a Junior TD...
... I freaked her out with a hypothetical.
Yeh, I really didn't look too carefully at the option balance did I?
The Steelers couldn't pull it together, so the weekend wasn't all it could be. But at least we got to come back to even more semester reviews.
Monday morning session:
Zoe is a Junior PM/SM...
... apparently i really didn't look too hard at the balance between sessions.
Off to lunch.
Monday, December 17, 2012
So now we're into the fifth session of the fall and we finally get to the undergrads - no frosh though. 14 people out of an available 15 and David does the driving. I don't know why but for some reason with me watching the clock everyone just seems to go a little faster.
The Friday afternoon session:
Brian is a Senior BXA PM/SM...
... he appears to be headed toward a career in math.
Kassondra is a newly minted Sophomore PM/SM...
...I couldn't decide if that was yellow fever or just tights.
Rachel is a Sophomore BXA PM/SM...
... She's trying to blend in Public Policy.
Rachel is a newly minted Sophomore PM/SM...
... does this photo make it look like she has no feet?
Shannon is a Junior PM/SM...
... she continued the tradition of exceptional TD1 performance from a non TD.
Tiffany is a Senior TD...
... she had a great semester in spite of a whole bunch of random aggravations.
Tim is a Junior PM/SM...
... I should get a shirt that color.
14 people and at least 30 minutes to spare. Off to the weekend.
In a Semester Review first the grad crits run into a second day.
Jake is a Grad3 TD...
... his board is supposed to be a graphical representation of his desk.
Matt is a Grad3 TD...
... This is his superhero pose.
Tyler is a Grad1 PM/SM...
... popular wisdom is that he was really good on the podcast, but we'll never know because the camera wasn't actually recording.
It is a really good group of grad students. I am privileged to get to work with all of them
When the individual sessions aren't full, the long day isn't as bad as it could be, although even with the short rosters the sessions are still filling up their blocks.
The late afternoon session:
Adam is a Grad1 TD...
... I have been pronouncing his name incorrectly for quite some time.
Cat is a Grad2 PM/SM...
... she's made some excellent posts on the Greenpage.
There was in fact one more PTM student in this session, but I was advised they did not want to be photographed.
Since we have so many grads these day we have three crit sessions on the first day. I think if we get about 6-8 more we're going to have to do away with the "Grad Day" concept and go to full jumble crits. Here's the middle session:
Andrew is a Grad1 TD...
... I meant to say something to him about my teaching goals and his learning goals, but I got caught up in other things.
Christina is a Grad1 PM/SM...
... interestingly I have had little or no interaction with her to date. Have to fix that.
JT is also a Grad1 PM/SM...
... she brought a festive bubble gift wrap theme to her review.
Joe is a Grad1 TD...
... I tried to remind him that gas welding, while cool, might not be what grad school is about.
Another good group. Moving right along...
Sunday, December 16, 2012
And the fall 2012 semester reviews have arrived. The first four sessions were grads this time - spread over two days for the first time.
Here's the first group:
Dale is a Grad3 TD...
... I really liked his infographic resume. We discussed clinical detatachment.
Jamila is a Grad2 PM/SM...
... it is possible she learned more in my class than she thought she would.
Jess is a Grad2 PM/SM....
... as the SM of Angels, sometimes she just had to forget what clicking the switch meant.
Luke is a Grad2 TD...
... he spun a winch he happened to dig up in the warehouse using an Arduino. Well done.
Taylor is a Grad3 PM/SM...
... his crit board was a mini Angels set, complete with the final moment.
This was a really good group. One of the best "grad day" sessions I can remember. Good start to a long first day.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Here are a few posts from last week's greenpage that might be worth your time:
Bwog: It’s no big secret that arts in France are much more publicly supported than in the US. Rocco Landesman, speaking freely in light of his resignation, made this immediately clear when asked about government funding for the arts, saying, “one more time before I leave: it’s pathetic.” The budget for the NEA is $150 million, he explained, while in France the arts budget is $9 billion–which would be merely significant…if the countries were the same size.Posted by David at 12/07/2012 06:25:00 PM
The Independent: Last year, I attended a performance of Handel's opera Rodelinda. With fewer than 200 seats in the venue there was no lengthy climb up to the balcony, no seat without a perfect view. And with no formal etiquette we dressed as we liked, and came and went as we pleased. Which was lucky, because about an hour into the performance I did something I've never done before: I walked out and didn't come back. I doubt the performers took offence; they were 3,000 miles away in New York, and I was in acoustic exile in an art-house cinema in East London.Posted by David at 12/05/2012 06:29:00 PM
limelightproductions.com: We've put together this gift giving guide to help parents, family and friends find that little something different for the stagehand or designer in their life.Posted by David at 12/07/2012 05:18:00 PM .
The Lookout - Yahoo! News: We've all been there. Max Wiseltier, a sophomore at New York University, was simply trying to forward an email from the Bursar's Office to his mother on Monday. Instead, Wiseltier accidentally hit "reply to all," cc'ing 39,979 of his fellow NYU students in the process.Posted by David at 12/08/2012 05:37:00 PM
Briefingroom on LiveDesignOnline: Works from a US national exhibit of edgy theatrical designs assembled for the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space will be shown at La MaMa’s La Galleria in New York from December 6 through 16. From the Edge, a collection of works from 36 politically compelling productions across America, was commissioned and sponsored by USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.Posted by David at 12/09/2012 05:08:00 PM
Actors' Equity Association News: Each year, merchandise (clothing, CDs, candy, toiletries, books and more) donated by corporations and individuals is gathered, packed into more than 3,500 colorful bags and delivered to more than 20 hospitals, AIDS hospices, pediatric AIDS centers and HIV community services in the New York area for the holidays. All this is accomplished by volunteers for Equity's Stephen J. Falat Holiday Basket Project, which began in 1985.Posted by David at 12/07/2012 06:14:00 PM
huffingtonpost.com: The New York-bound musical "Kinky Boots" enjoyed a pre-Broadway run at a downtown Chicago theater this fall, but only after the state of Illinois lured producers with something that's scarce these days – money. The Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein production that's based on a 2005 movie, along with a second musical, "Big Fish," were the first to apply for a certificate making them eligible for a state theater tax credit. Lawmakers slipped it into a package of tax breaks approved late last year for corporate heavyweights Sears Holding Corp. and the CME Group Inc.Posted by David at 12/09/2012 05:43:00 PM
Stage Directions: Reading our annual High School Theatre Honors Program articles, in some ways it seems it’s “easy” to have one of the best theatre programs in the country. “All” you need is a dedicated administration, a community with over-the-top unwavering support and someone leading the program who has a fiery passion for the arts that is infectious. Hundreds of good to great programs have most of those elements, but according to our readers, here are five that have it all. (And “all” doesn’t mean cutting-edge facilities—some are creating great theatre in modest spaces.) They all have something else in common, too: their selection of work for the students is offbeat and bold.Posted by David at 12/10/2012 06:17:00 PM
GTD Times: David Allen’s recent TEDx Talk has generated quite a buzz. “The art of stress-free productivity is a martial art.”Posted by David at 12/10/2012 05:54:00 PM
soundforums.net: This clip just got posted at controlbooth.com, by 3 different people, I thought some of you might enjoy it.Posted by David at 12/09/2012 06:27:00 PM
Monday, December 10, 2012
The Latest and greatest...
This Week's Articles:
- Should Universities Let College Athletes Major In Sports?
- TechShop to Open Pittsburgh Location in Bakery Square in February
- Kirk Douglas and 6 Blacklisted Actors and Writers Who Defied Hollywood
- Columbia University MFA Students to Get Equity Status
- From Denzel Washington's 'Flight' to 'Parenthood': Inside the Fight Over Trademarks
- Happy Teens Grow Up to Be Wealthier Too
- Shredded police documents found in Macy's parade confetti
- How That Football Field Was Blown Up in The Dark Knight Rises
- No students move following CU dorm segregation for gun owners
- In Midtown, Disney Offers a 'Pop-up' Look at 'The Lion King'
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Here are this week's contenders:
Comment #1: a new comment on your post "Columbia University MFA Students to Get Equity Sta...":
I'm really gonna come down on the "Giving Union Membership to Graduates is a bad idea" side of the fence. While giving students the opportunity to gain downtown Manhattan exposure and giving them a fast-track into the union, there are several issues. (1) As Shannon put it, being in the union too quickly may limit both actors and stage managers to only taking union jobs. They may get better training and possibly more steady employment from non-union, which would be off-limits. (2) Joining Equity is expensive - a $1200 investment. This production is not paying the students, so that's an extra chunk of change to drop simply to be in the show. What are they going to do if they refuse, drop out of the show? This seems like a ploy for Equity to gain more new members on a steady stream. (3) Equity is a mark of being ready to compete as a theatre professional. As an Equity SM, for example, you're going to submit to the same jobs as 40-50 year old stage managers with a LOT more experience than you have, and are expected to be the same caliber if you want to work. Some students may not be ready for that, and would value the non-union experiences to get their feet wet.Comment #2: a new comment on your post "Should Universities Let College Athletes Major In ...":
For students who do wish to join Equity, I would encourage them to audition for jobs that either will immediately bring them into the union or to join the Equity Membership Candidate program and build up apprenticeship weeks to get the experience they need to compete in the union space.
The real kicker about this article is the reference to art conservatory programs (like ours here at CMU). I grew up in an area that loved sports and didn't understand the arts, so I personally have a distaste for single minded sports oriented people. But, personal feelings aside, people should be allowed to have a "sports" major. It really is only fair that both art/theatre and sport majors concentrate so heavily on what we'd like to do (even if the top positions are unfeasible for all of us to achieve). And, the fantastic thing about college and most liberal arts programs is that with an undergraduate degree, a job can be found that isn't in your major. Even though we're all attending a theatre conservatory, it's feasible for us to find jobs in music, event companies, business, marketing, and a number of other fields. A sports major could also find jobs in such a manner. Majoring in something so specific can be a bit of a risk, but we take that risk everyday, and I think that risk is a reasonable one. I can't imagine not doing theatre, and there are plenty of people out there who can't imagine not playing their favorite sport.Comment #3: a new comment on your post "New Hobbit Video Diary Shows The Strain Of Post-Pr...":
This video was amazing!! I was just blown away by how they broke everything down sooo small. Example like the sound there were like 5 different sounds departments to make sure the "sound was correct". Also the Beard guys were crazy. Focusing on beard hairs to make sure everything flows just right with the environment in the film, WOW!!! I do not know what to say besides I AM BLOWN AWAY!!! I will have to watch the other videos in that series!!! Also the music recording the artist are sight reading!!!! SIGHT READING!!!! THAT IS AMAZING!! I AM BREATHLESS!!Comment #4: a new comment on your post "Where the Girls Aren’t: Geena Davis Aims to Smash ...":
What a powerful video, and an incredibly thought-provoking article. I never really considered how much TV impacts the young girls of today, because I was much more of a go-play-outside kid than a sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-TV kid. But there are so many little girls out there whose parents place them in front of the television so that they will be entertained and keep out of the way, that it truly is important to consider what exactly is being put in front of them, and what they are getting from the characters that they are bound to identify with. And perusing kids' shows and movies, I completely agree with Geena Davis. It's weird to see women in positions of power and confidence in the workforce; they are just included to look good and move the plot along as one or more of them men in the show have something to do with her. If girls are really spending seven hours a day in front of the TV (which should also be fixed), the shows should be used to educate them and empower them, which is definitely not happening right now.Comment #5: a new comment on your post "No students move following CU dorm segregation for...":
Why would you want to move into dorms for only people who have gun permits? If you are living on campus you just should not be allowed to own a gun. I think that this is ridiculous. Even if you have a valid permit to have a concealed gun, you should not be allowed to have them on the school compounds. Yes, people will defy the rules and have guns either way in the dorms where guns are banned, however doing this could also eventually cause more damage than good. Everyone who owns a gun does't naturally become a killer and not every one who owns a gun will start shooting up the school. However maybe the issue here is having greater physical and technological security. What if someone who has a valid gun and a certificate of good character loses it and goes on a killing rampage? There is no need for guns on campus. If you already have a permit, them keep your guns in your house where you reside and not in your dorm/on your person. You are at school to learn and that does not include having a gun. I think that all who desire having guns should have to live off campus.Put your votes in this post's comments.
Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time:
ThinkProgress: Amid the fog of scandal and shame at some of our biggest institutions, the role academics play in the big business of college athletics has come under more scrutiny. With players taking made up courses in made up schools, and with schools fudging grades to keep players eligible, the NCAA has taken steps in recent years to bolster academic standards. But it continues to ignore the most important fact that is staring top-level college sports in the face: many of the athletes are in school because the model we have created makes going to college the most logical step toward becoming a professional athlete. Many “student-athletes” are students simply because they are athletes, and the education they truly care about is the one that occurs on the field, not the one that happens off of it.Posted by David at 11/28/2012 05:24:00 PM
techburgher.com: TechShop, a membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio, announced construction has begun on a new location in Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square to open in February, 2013. “Pittsburgh has been at the heart of American ingenuity, making and manufacturing since it was founded. We are excited to open this location in an area with a deep ecosystem of great technology-related companies and institutions,” said Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop. “Our newest location will offer programs that support the growing community of makers and innovators by providing tools, equipment, software and instruction in a large, open workshop space.”Posted by David at 12/02/2012 05:28:00 PM
Hollywood Reporter: People who were blacklisted fled the country, worked under pseudonyms, or didn't work at all until Kirk Douglas took a stand and helped break the Blacklist with "Spartacus."Posted by David at 12/02/2012 05:59:00 PM
backstage.com: Staying financially solvent while studying acting can be a challenge for many, but students of the Theatre Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and the Classic Stage Company (CSC) will benefit from a new agreement recently struck between the school and the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA). According to the deal, third-year MFA acting students will be eligible to join the AEA. Additionally, each year two MFA students in stage management will also be able to join.Posted by David at 11/28/2012 05:12:00 PM
Hollywood Reporter: When the Mayans foretold of a 2012 disaster, were they referring to a Hollywood "trademarklawpocalypse"? Consider these recent legal fights: The owner of William Faulkner's intellectual property rights sued Sony Pictures Classics on Oct. 25 over two lines used in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser, objected on legal grounds to Denzel Washington's overconsumption of its beer in Paramount's Flight. And publishing house Rizzoli demanded in October that NBC stop using "Rizzoli" as Ray Romano's character name on Parenthood.Posted by David at 11/30/2012 05:57:00 PM
The Tartan Online: Carnegie Mellon’s Ultimate team Mr. Yuk hosted the Steel City Showdown and won two out of three games on Nov. 19.
“The home tournament was a great atmosphere. We had a nice turnout,” senior Benjamin McGrath said. “The other teams were great guests, and it was a nice final tune-up before the regular season begins in the spring semester.”
In the first game, Carnegie Mellon battled neighbor University of Pittsburgh and won in a closely contested game. The team began with a rough start, but became more disciplined soon after and tied the game at 6–6. Mr. Yuk dominated the game, defeating the University of Pittsburgh Panthers 13–9.
Posted by David at 6:26 PM
Monday, December 03, 2012
The experiment continues...
Articles discussed this week are:
• Carnegie Mellon program helps children communicate
• Who’s Afraid of the Dark?
• Ice Age Live is Painted with Light
• Circus Roboticus, Or: This Actor Is A Serious Heavyweight : Monkey See
• How 'Angels in America' changed the national conversation
• Live Sound: Hooked: Confessions Of A Gearaholic
• Hollywood Reporter apologises for role in McCarthy-era blacklist
• The Leonard Lopate Show: "The Old Man and the Old Moon"
• How “Right” is Right?: Conservative Voices in Theater
• What are professional reviews for?
Give it a listen, let me know what you think!