Thursday, January 31, 2013


Thirty one posts in thirty one days!!!  Sometimes at work I wonder if we've ever done any of this stuff before, because the alternate is that we're not very good...  Congressional hearings appear to be more about forcing witnesses into embarrassing soundbites than about discovering or disseminating anything...  I could have swore it was like 60 degrees here just yesterday...  Probably nobody is all that interested in the complete history of my toolbox...  Going to New York for the weekend.  Got to meet new students to teach to make the donuts...  I spent the afternoon prepping a lecture for class because I was sure I didn't have enough content for the day - and then I never got to it...  Don't you think once you have contributed to NPR during a pledge drive you should be able to listen without the soliciting?  That would be killer...  I printed two boarding passes today.  For some reason that required six sheets of paper...  After nearly two years it looks like the SOD schedule gridlock project is winding up.  All that is left is room assignments and crying...  When they say that people with a history of mental illness won't be able to purchase guns, just who do they mean?  Somehow I'm not sure that would have helped in the prior cases...  DVR'd "The Americans" last night.  I wonder if it will be any good...  I have some friends that still chat over Twitter.  it may be time to unfollow them...  Mostly I think if your power tool system is designed to replace 7 tools, that it probably doesn't replace any of them very well...  I was asked to review an outside candidate for their RTP process.  Seems like it is going to be very difficult for me not to use here as a measure...  But thirty one posts in thirty one days!  I bet there will be a substantial drop off now...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So Here's What Happened

Last night I got derailed early in the morning while trying to post - even though I had once again missed the 12:00am deadline. In case you are keeping track, here's what happened.

The problem is attributable to technology mostly. It's been longer than I can remember since I turned on my desktop on a regular basis. My power PC has basically been relegated to deep storage for photos and music and the place I sync my iOS devices. Evenings in our home usually see computing happening on laptops or even more often on tablets.

Tablets are the best. One of the coolest things about them is that they power up like phones. No waiting for the thing to boot. You slide off the cover and there it is. Even the laptops take a couple of minutes to cycle through their startup sequence. So if I have a small task to do online, rather than boot up the tower or even the laptop I normally just grab the tablet.

There was an original problem with the tablet when it came to blogging. The touchscreen keyboard wasn't the greatest option for typing out anything more than a couple of lines. But somewhere along the way I solved that with an external bluetooth keyboard.

So then I had a quick booting device with a good way to type longer items.

Interestingly, as it turns out, when using the site there were some small conflicts when using the iOS device. So even with a keyboard, blogging was not really possible. Eventually I found the Blogsy app, and then the Blogger iOS app some time later.

This brings us to last night. Having missed the deadline I didn't want to wait for a device to boot. I had actually planned what the post was going to be writing. It had several photos which I had taken earlier in the day. I was actually a little stoked because through various cloud application setups I was going to be able to blog on the tablet using photos I took with my phone earlier without ever having to download the phone. Seamless things like that are really cool.

I may not know how to use the thing, but it appears to me that making a post with a photo (or multiple photos) using the Blogger app only allows the photo to appear at the end of the post. That wasn't going to work for what I was writing.

Conveniently the Blogsy app does allow for images to be placed any place within the post. I guess my preference has been to use the Blogger app because it is somewhat more spartan. The very lack of bells and whistles that would keep me from doing what I wanted to do in this case is the thing that takes me to that app in general. And so I wrote the post using the Blogsy app.

I wrote the whole post and embedded the images where they went and everything was swell. Then, I went to publish and... nothing. The app would say it was prepping to post and then it would just stop. I tried over and over and got no place.

It turns out I was doing something wrong and the app did a lousy job of telling me I was doing it wrong.

Posting images to a blog is a fairly simple but specific purpose. None of the authoring tools I have used do it totally seamlessly. Were it not for the placement of the image I guess the blogger app is actually the most transparent. In the other cases, you have to identify and upload the image as a slightly separate process than uploading the post.

On Blogsy, for local photos - which is what I was using - you have to identify on online photo hosting site and then pre-load the image to that site as a prep step for writing the post. I had seen something on one of the dialog boxes that had me under the impression that they had automated that process in the last app update. So this time I just drag and dropped my photos where I wanted them and kept on writing.

I guess I read the notice wrong, because when I went to post it didn't. Eventually I deleted all the photos. Went back a step and uploaded them to Picasa and then re-inserted them into the post, went to publish and EUREKA! There it was.

So all is well that ends well and now the world can learn all about the history of tool storage in my life. Sometimes the #21stCenturyProblems make my head hurt.

A Complete History of David's Toolbox

I found myself today spending some time talking about tools and toolboxes. For me it all started with the belt above. When I went to work for Chicago Scenic one summer I had to buy a list of handtools and something to carry them with. I bought this pouch then and still have it today. It's a little more broken in now than it was then.

When I returned to school in the fall I needed an actual tool box and so I got something solid and modest:

Again I am not sure how or why but I still have the thing, it's empty now just sitting in the garage waiting for some kind of task. This box was pretty basic. Hard to find anything. But it did the job.

Once I left school and started work I needed something a little more... more:

This was my box through my stint as a LORT carpenter and all the way through stock and grad school. I beat the hell out of this thing. It was rode hard and put away wet. That right latch no longer functions and didn't for some time even when I was using it. This box was great, really easy to keep organized - simple to find things. If anything it was just too heavy. Ok to leave at a worksite. Not so great for packing in and out. Thankfully I didn't do much of that.

The Rally Box and the Original box were joined by a Rubbermaid thing and a box Sears called the SST for my summer stock years:

This was a pretty good lineup. My regular tools went in the Rally box and then I had a lot of space for overflow and safety gear and hardware. That SST box was (ok, is - yes, these are ALL still sitting in the garage) a beast. Way WAY to heavy to be practical. Eventually they reissued the thing with wheels and a handle for dragging. Much more practical that way. But still, I was starting to travel with power tools and while most of them had their own boxes I still needed the volume.

Somewhere in here there is a missing toolbox. When I worked in the NYC shop I had to pack tools in and out but had too many for the pouch. The rally box was too heavy so I bought a soft side bag. It was a blue synthetic thing and somewhere along the way I must have totally trashed it, because it is not hanging out in my garage.

After that things may have come off the rails a little. When I went out West I ditched pretty much all of the individual boxes in favor of one big box:

The idea was that I would have secure storage for all of my tools in one place. So all of the power tools tht had their own cases got pulled out, the cases hung out in the rafters of my parents garage and the individual tools lived in here. Boxes just took up space. So because of that, the four box summer stock line up got reduced to a milk crate that lived in the JobBox and then these:

With the missing soft side bag that would make three. While I was working in Vegas the bag on the right did the heavy duty, in and out of the site every day. I wrecked the d-rings holding the shoulder strap because I would try to carry too much stuff.

I never really liked these softside bags though. They had the same problem as the first toolbox - can't ever find anything. Plus with these there are hidden nooks and I often got poked and cut by bits and blades hiding within. So the whole time I was using them I was looking for a replacement. Eventually I found one.

So here we have the bag of choice. Its a soft-sider, but there is also a place for everything with everything in its place. Of all the solutions this one has had the longest staying power. I've been using it continuously for more than a decade now. For a while I couldn't find it for purchase anyplace, but today when poking around I saw that CLC now deals direct from their website and this bag is still there. So maybe I will retire this one and get an identical replacement (except without the broken plastic buckle that succumbed after I'd had the thing maybe 5 months).

The future? I'm glad you asked...

I think between my backpack and this guy I ought to be set for a while.

Done In By Technology

I had a perfectly good post for tonight. It had a bunch of photos and this app doesn't seem to have a graceful way to post photos amongst text - just puts them at the end. There's no fun there. So I used the other app I have for publishing to the blog and for reasons beyond me it just won't publish.

Maybe I'll have more luck tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vote for Comment of the Week

Here are this week's contenders:

Student #1: has left a new comment on your post "Utah School Stops Musical Because of 'Sexually Sug...":

This reminds me of my experience with my parents when doing my first High School Musical; "RENT". Unfamiliar with story and the true meaning of the play, and reason for its importance they were unhappy with the content and that we were allowed to do it as high school students. It containing drugs, aids, homosexuality, sex, etc...the main focus was LOVE, and how important it is to give and receive love no matter what you have and what your going through because ultimately, to love is why we've been put on this earth.
With all of that being said, I think the best way to measure a show, is to recognize its message, and to look at the good of the show and how it can impact lives, rather than the little worldly things that are in the mix of the true message. The arts are only reflections of our people not look at themselves in the mirror everyday before leaving the house for work, school, outings, etc.?
Student #2: has left a new comment on your post "Aubrey Ireland, College Student, Wins Restraining ...":
I think helicopter parents are the worst thing that has happened to this generation of young adults. By the age of 18 (and for many of us, before then) we've learned how to do our laundry, cook our own food, make our own friends, make decisions about our body, earn our own money and choose how to spend it, choose how we work and what we like to work on. I'm very grateful that my mother took a hands-off approach in raising me, because I learned to be independent early on, making my life as a young adult much easier. I cannot even imagine what my life would be like if my mother had decided to be a hovering sort of parent. I'm very glad that this student was able to escape from under her parents. Being the major funder of a college education doesn't make someone your master. If a debt institution had set in place monitoring systems on her cell phone and computer, it would be a breach of civil rights and there would be no debate as to how wrong this is. In this case, her parents were using the fact that they were paying for her education as handcuffs, and they choose to monitor her life. They were in essence a sort of debt service, and it doesn't matter who or what does monitoring of this sort, if an adult doesn't want to be watched, he or she shouldn't be. 
Student #3: has left a new comment on your post "The Evolution of Asian Eyebrows: A (Dia)critical C...":
wow, do some things go unnoticed. I remember when Les Miserable came out, many of my costume design friends were complaining that Anne Hathaway's eyebrows were far to perfect to fit the time period, but none of them have eve mentioned the false stereotype in asian yellow face eyebrows. I'll admit I didn't even think twice about the eyebrows in "Cloud Atlas" I just took what I saw as reality. Because this style eyebrow has been around for so long, I think society has just stopped second guessing it. but now that I think about it more it really is a problem. Why do we have to exaggerate someones eyebrows just to be across a point. Also, why does to shape of the eyebros have to be such an "evil" one. It all seems quite racist. 
Student #4: has left a new comment on your post "TV episodes dropped after US shootings":
I long for the day when people will admit that PARENTING is the main issue here! You are in control of shaping your child until they go to school and then they are influenced by their peers and even then, good parenting still reigns over ALL! Regulate what your children watch, regulate what they do. Form good relationships with them, talk to them, educate them.

I watched many violent films and played many violent games as a child, but am I out there shooting up people? NO! Why? Because I understand the difference between fiction and reality. I also have a great value and respect for life. This was instilled in me from a very early age and still is now. Even when there was no television/media people (Greeks, Romans) were still fighting and killing over land, power and for pure greed. This sad aspect is the unfortunate element of human nature. However now it is seen as a cool thing to have a gun/weapon and use it. Killing innocents because you are angry or simply because you want to. Some people have no value for life and I think that this is the bigger issue!! 
Student #5: has left a new comment on your post "It’s All About “Process”":

It's interesting to me that the new play competitions and festivals featured here all have an element of brevity - from the ten-minute play festival to the theatre that asks for only the first ten pages (because "if you've got it, it should be obvious"). It's less of an encouragement and fostering and more of an audition for the playwright's tone and style when put before an audience. Are those the merits of a playwright, being able to tell their story in ten minutes? Or is it enough (reasonable?) to expect that someone who can weave an intriguing nugget can then sufficiently stretch a story to 90 or 120 minutes? Over two acts? I take issue with these abbreviated play festivals, not because of commercial success (the descriptions of avid attendance dismiss that notion), but because it's not necessarily representative of the real situation for a play in full production at most any theatre in the country. It may play amazingly on rehearsal cubes for 10 minutes, but remember, "If I don’t like what I’m seeing now, there will be something else in 10 minutes.".
Put your votes in the comments here.

Worth a Look

First off I should say that when I went to do the "worth a look" stories this week I came up with a list of 15, so you may want to check out the Greenpage proper.  Failing that:

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

Reality shows may put crews too close to cutting edge Monica Martino had filmed tornadoes in the Midwest, ship collisions in the Antarctic and crab fishermen in Alaska's Bering Sea. But those experiences didn't prepare her for a terrifying nighttime boat ride in the Amazon jungle. In February, the 41-year-old co-executive producer was thrown into a murky river after getting footage for "Bamazon," a series for the History cable channel about out-of-work Alabama construction workers mining for gold in the rain forest of Guyana.

Utah School Stops Musical Because of 'Sexually Suggestive' Elvis Songs A parent who was "All Shook Up" about Elvis Presley songs in a high-school drama prompted educators to cancel the musical, deeming it too sexual. But the decision was reversed Thursday by administrators at the high school south of Salt Lake City. The administrators at Herriman High School received permission from the copyright owners of "All Shook Up" to edit some of Presley's songs and make scene changes in the American jukebox musical that borrows from William Shakespeare.

Aubrey Ireland, College Student, Wins Restraining Order Against Helicopter Parents Sometimes parents just don't know when to let go, but it's rare when a judge needs to intervene. That was the case for Aubrey Ireland, a 21-year-old music theater major at College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She convinced a judge to grant her a restraining order against her parents, David and Julie Ireland.

We are in the middle of an arts reformation!

The Pink Line Project: A call to action from arts advocate and revolutionary Ben Cameron, who says we are in the middle of an arts reformation not unlike the religious reformation. Both fueled by technological advances, both redistribute culture, both take away the intermediary between man and the divine experience. Pay attention!

Why we’re not done talking about diversity. I don’t want to be the annoying non-white woman who goes on about the need for more interrogation around the diversity of (and in) our arts practices and structures. I’m uncomfortable enough with culturally specific labels as it is, and worse with impatient stereotypes driven by some kind of fear-induced backlash against political correctness. Especially in an industry (or series of industries that sit alongside each other) that is/are supposed to be liberal, open-minded, progressive.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

NFTRW Weekly Podcast

This week's effort:

This week's stories:

  • Drexel Introduces Kiosk that Dispenses MacBooks
  • Table Saw Safety: Why the British Think We're Crazy
  • 6 Ways to Focus Without Taking Adderall
  • This Mind-Boggling Installation Breaks The Laws Of Physics--Or Does It?
  • 5 Things I Learned About Australian Theater
  • The Staging of Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible Man'
  • Why most "work made for hire" agreements in theatre don't work.
  • Les Mis Film Used DPA 4071 Lavalier Mics to Capture Audio
  • Opera About Walt Disney Refused Permission To Use Disney Images
  • A Way Without Words: Mummenschanz Mimes Celebrate 40
But probably not in that order.

This week's participants are: Taylor, Chris, Cat, Dale, Margo, and Lauren.

I Don't Believe You

I should probably do two posts at some point to get a day ahead, and then when I miss the deadline it will be less of a technicality.

Today I had interviews for the School of Drama. I can't remember how many times I've done this. There are probably as many as a dozen opportunities per year, maybe I do half of them, so in the neighborhood of 60 times? 4-5 candidates an outing, sometimes more, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 candidates? Must have been more than that actually. I used to be at the interviews more in my early years.

We have this form people have to fill out before they get their session. It has a place where we attach a picture, and we will append their resume, if they remember to bring it.


So there's a picture and maybe their resume and the bottom half is for our notes: who was there, anything of particular interest, and out rating of the candidate against a bunch of standards we've come up with over the years. I don't have one in front of me, but the list sounds something like: resume, portfolio, presence, presentation, academics, ideas, expression, maturity, and tenacity. They all mean roughly what you think they would.

The top half of the form is to be filled out by the candidate and includes address and other contact information, a space where you can write anything you like, and then prompts for GPA, Class Rank, and SAT/ACT scores, along with any AP scores.

I interviewed for college in... 1985 maybe, that's like 150 years ago, right? If someone today walked up to me totally out of context and asked me what my SAT score was I could tell them. In point of fact I could come up with SAT, ACT, and class rank. I don't off the top of my head remember my GPA, but lets be fair, it was 150 years ago and I am not currently applying for colleges.

Which is all a very long winded way of saying that if when you fill out the form and decide to leave the test score blank, and then when we follow up in the meeting and ask "Did you take this test? What was your score?" and you decide to answer: "I don't remember." Well, you just sound foolish, and pretty much everyone in the room assumes you are lying.

Based on the impact that exchange has on the interview process I'd have to say that your score would have to be PRETTY BAD for this to be a net positive effect. Truth be told, the folks at your interview weigh the test score lower than the people not at your interview. You HAD to tell those other folks, so it's already hurting your chances as much as it can, you can actually only HELP yourself by giving us the score at the interview, regardless of how bad it is.

If you have a lousy interview and a lousy score - you had a lousy interview anyway so it didn't really come into play. If you had a good interview and a lousy score, we can ask what you think happened with the score and possibly weigh your response in how we lobby our own and the university admissions discussions. If you have a lousy interview and hide a bad score, the hiding will only amplify our other judgements. And if you have an otherwise good interview and hide a bad score we'll be wondering what it was you were hiding and how hiding that fact reflects on our assessment of your maturity. Also, when it comes back from admissions that you had a bad score, and it will, we will be caught unaware, unable to place the piece of information in context, and unready to form a case in your favor.

So please, if you are going to college interviews anytime soon, be conversant about your GPA, Class Rank, SAT/ACT, and AP scores. If you think you'll be nervous and will blank on the spot, take a moment and jot the relevant information down on an index card or a copy of your resume (you know, the resume you will remember to bring) so that you have it right in front of you when you need it. That way, even if the score isn't what you would hope it to be you will come off as prepared and organized rather than as being evasive.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tu Bishvat

Tonight we had dinner with friends. A shabbat dinner, Friday night and all, with people pretty well more observant than I am (a post for another day). The part that was interesting to me was that part of the celebration tonight was in recognition of Tu Bishvat.

The holiday is sort of the spring harvest festival; a difficult thing to be in the correct mindset for after breaking in the new snowblower on 6" of freshly accumulated snow on the driveway (that could also be a post for another day). There was lots of fruit and an interesting twist on wine drinking where everyone starts with a glass of white - representing winter - and then as you drink the white wine you top it off with red - representing the life of the spring - until eventually you wind up with a glass of red wine.

(there's another another post here about an interesting dinner with food pairings for dynamically changing wine color. That post might be beyond my skill-set though).

I've never to my recollection taken part in any celebration of this holiday to date in my life, and yet it played a significant part in my growing up. All through dinner tonight I was thinking of my Mother.

I guess Mom really didn't know anything about the holiday either, particularly when it was. So one of her standard responses to when we were going to do something or see someone would be "next Tu Bushvat." I guess it was her way of saying "5th of never." So along with all the bits and pieces I learned tonight about the holiday, and along with the humor I tried to find by crossing this holiday with Passover (yes, another another another post) and by asking when we would celebrate Trombonisvat... with all of those things I got to think a lot about my mom.

It's too bad I think. From what know about the holiday I think mom would have enjoyed Tu Bishvat had it been something to her more than an expression.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Never Ending Project

I've been working on the schedule of classes, again.  It's the project that keeps on giving.  I think I'm almost home though.  Take a look:

Yes, that says 8:00am.  I hate it too.  I thought that 8:30 was bad.

There are two mistakes I know of on the thing.  Can you find any more?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


It is really, really cold...  That house on Fifth looks a lot nicer than the last time I was there...  Posting every day is harder than it should be...  I thought Hilary Clinton did pretty well with the committee.  I bet the committee thinks otherwise...  We're into interview season at work.  It's like Sam used to say on West Wing "I live here in January"...  My brother in law is moving to New York.  That might complicate the holiday planning...  Keep expecting to sit down for the next Steelers game.  It's going to be a while...  It's hard to give critical notes to people that are essentially volunteering.  Don't want to scare them off...  Here's my teaching week: teach, guest, teach, film, guest, film.  That'd make my father proud...  The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama will be 100 years old later this year.  I haven't been there the whole time...  The President looks more than four years older - not like Mondale did after losing - but older.  Lots of interesting TD jobs open.  Maybe I should freshen up my resume...  Did I mention that it's cold?  I had to move up a coat.  I don't remember it like this in Pittsburgh for a while...  I decided to follow a whole lot more people on Twitter this week.  Picked up a bunch of followers too, but I'm now upside down...  Did you watch the BBC series "Survivors?"  It's pretty good, and the premise is all too possible...  They're lifting the ban on women in combat.  It's taking too long, but we move a little bit all the time...  I still have to write a state of the option thing for work.  The list of things I still have to do for work is pretty long...  Looks like Apple took a bit of a hit today.  I wish that really meant something to me...  There are actors reading the Greenpage officially this semester.  Never thought I would see that happen...  Hockey is shorter this season.  Should I follow the Penguins regular season or just be a playoff fan?  I feel like I should be more of a fan...  Legislators in Texas are trying to make strippers get licenses and have them on their person at all times.  Sounds like an opportunity for tattoo artist to get into the license business...  Nice to have Justified back.  I miss Raylan while he's gone...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vote for Comment of the Week

Here are this week's contenders:

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "The Pros and Cons For Actors Moving With a Show":

So, lovely. You created a pretty little show off Broadway and the man with the money wants to move you uptown for a lot more money. Great, huh? I'm surprised this article didn't mention anything about the actors who, building a show in a Steppenwolf or OB venue, have to change their mindset to work in an exponentially bigger house. Mannerisms must get bigger, not to mention strengthening the voice to support a larger sound. Add to it the fact that some of these productions were extremely limited runs (even as little as 3 weeks or so) and now you're going to a permanent 8-shows-a-week gig. That takes some warming up. Sometimes you live in Chicago and don't want to move to New York; or maybe starting a long-term occupancy in New York represents a significant need for assistance in transportation and moving costs. There are serious considerations for both the actor and the producer, mentally/spiritually/physically and financially, that go beyond what the increase from LORT to Broadway salary scale is. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "What Molly Did Next":
I loved reading this article and following Louise Brealey's path to overcoming her fear and growing as a woman and actress. Nudity on stage is always a very sensitive topic, and should be handled as so. Brealey's realization that she was able to turn her fear of being naked in public into a strength, placing her in a position of power, is an interesting exploration of what nudity means to oneself and in society. Brealey declares she wants to appear natural, not like some kind of unreal goddess; yet eventually, because she plays Helen of Troy who has to be the most beautiful woman there ever was, she somewhat fits her appearance to what a woman should ideally be according to today's societal standards. Now, is this simply part of her role, and therefore her duty as a performer, or does this show another facet of the issue? Beyond the idea of the taboo and the embarrassment of nudity, I think this article also makes a strong statement about society's expectation of women's beauty, a controversial topic that has often been examined, discussed and re-examined. All in all, I am simply glad I got to read such an personal and insightful article on one of the most sensitive issues in theater. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Texas Lawmaker Wants Strippers To Wear Licenses Di...":
I think this idea has potential, but it seems to have been taken too far. While requiring strippers to take courses about how to remain safe is a good idea, I think pushing the cost onto the employees is questionable. If the employers are the ones making a lot of money off of their businesses, they should be the ones who offer safety training and incur the expense. Most other companies that have employees that are required to have safety training sessions are required to supply that training at their own cost. Why should this be any different?

I also question why these employees should be required to keep their license on their person at all times while working. There are not many industries that require this, so why would strippers need to? It would make sense that their employers must have a copy of the license on record and would need to provide proof of licensing in order to put an employee on payroll, but it seems extreme to require the employee to display that license at all times.

I am also curious as to what rmarkowi meant by "forcing people from legitimate jobs and opening them to harassment." How is requiring someone to obtain a license forcing someone from a legitimate job? Isn't that making their job more legitimate? 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Table Saw Safety: Why the British Think We're Craz...":
Yeah, sure they get some things right, just don't ask them to plan an invasion of occupied France. Dunkirk aside, both British and American commentators posting below this article hit on the truth about the table saw: there is no substitute for common sense and no safe-guard against carelessness. The table saw is a dangerous tool, yes, but so is a sharp chisel. The closest I've ever come to losing a finger was using the latter. Why? Inattentiveness and lack of experience. The immitigable fact is the cost of acquiring experience with the table saw, or any tool, can be high. Government doucuments and regulations are what they are, and hearing different approaches to and set ups for a tool use is helpful and instructive, as long as we remember that the buck, or maybe in this case it would be more appropriate to say the kickback, stops with you. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "'Adventure Hour' Is A New Take On Old-Time Radio":
This article reminds me why I love theatre so much. There are always people finding new ways of making theatre that incorporate other art and story telling forms. Old-Time radio shows have been a favorite story telling style of mine since I was about 10. I am very inspired by the work that the two Ben's are doing. I would love to see one of these shows or even better be part of putting on a "fake radio" show myself. To me one of the most important elements of radio shows is that everyone needs to be listening in at the same time. This connects the audience even though they are in different homes or cars. This sort of connection between the audience members is lost today because of the "any time" qualities of the internet and recorded shows. The one place that live still remains strong is in theatre. So this connection speaks strongly to me. This weekend I'm going to listen to the podcast online.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Worth a Look

Here are some articles from last week's greenpage that might be worth your time:

The Staging of Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’ THE estate of Ralph Ellison had never allowed his classic 1952 novel “Invisible Man” to be adapted for another medium, until Oren Jacoby came along. And even after Mr. Jacoby turned the 439-page book into a play — with not a word of new dialogue, as part of the agreement — many theaters passed on staging it, calling it unwieldy or wrong for their audiences.

Why most “work made for hire” agreements in theatre don’t work.

Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark - Top Los Angeles Theatre & Film Entertainment Lawyer: Writers and Producers familiar with the way things are done in Hollywood have surely seen the ubiquitous term “Work Made For Hire” in their contracts. It's often a surprise, however, when they learn that in the theatre, Work Made For Hire is the rare exception, rather than the rule.

Les Mis Film Used DPA 4071 Lavalier Mics to Capture Audio

Stage Directions: The film version of the musical Les Misérables was one of the most exciting musicals in decades both because it’s such a well-loved musical with an all-star cast—and also because of the radical new way the film was recorded. Rather than filming actors merely lip-syncing to tracks they had recorded in the studio, the production recorded vocals live on set, with live piano accompaniment playing to them via in-ear monitors. To capture the raw emotion of this live performance the director, Tom Hooper, wanted to film with multiple cameras from multiple angles, which precluded the use of boom mics. In order to make that happen, and still capture quality audio, production sound mixer Simon Hayes used 50 DPA 4071 lavalier microphones. More details about his choice—and why he was so enthused about the sound.

Opera About Walt Disney Refused Permission To Use Disney Images

Techdirt: Techdirt has noted before the hypocrisy of Disney in refusing to allow others to draw on its creativity in the same way that it has drawn on the art and ideas of the past. Here's another example, but this time it's an opera that's had difficulties

A Way Without Words: Mummenschanz Mimes Celebrate 40

NPR: Mummenschanz isn't your white-faced, Marcel Marceau mime. The bizarre masks, costumes and choreography cloak the human form to tell stories that convey messages about our lives.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

USITT Cosplay?

One of my students tweeted the other day how he had completed his USITT conference registration and that now he was investigating the cosplay possibilities.  People don't do cosplay for the USITT conference, but that doesn't mean it is automatically a no go.

I thought about it some and in my mind there's some fun to be had here.  I posed the question "What would be appropriate USITT cosplay?" to my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, the Stagecraft mailing list, and - and now my blog.

Right off the top I had the thought that people could dress up as some of the more colorful USITT characters.

Maybe Loren Schreiber:

or Bill Sapsis:

or Randy Davidson:

I did think it might be really cool for someone to do something riffing on the IATSE bug:

That it has five spokes has just always seemed like arms, legs, and a head.  Might be a cool costume.

I started to get responses online.  One of them was "famous playwrights."  Ok, how about William Shakespeare?

Can't wait to see what else comes in from the hive mind.

Then I started thinking there could be something to do off of regular USITT exhibitors.  How about TOM CAT or ROSE BRAND, or CROSBY?  Those could be cool.

Also, I think some of the coolest cosplay projects are where a group does a whole team like the JLA or the Avengers.  Then I thought that even some of the things I had already come up with could be part of a league.  Maybe a group would do...

... The Long Reach Long Riders.  That would include many of the more colorful individuals.  Or maybe a group could be...

...Team PLASA, made up of a bunch of the regular exhibitors.

Now all we need are people that can come up with the outfits - and people willing to wear them.  Watch this space for other ideas as they come in.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rubber Bullets?

The other day the President made a speech about guns and talked about four groups of people: hunters, target shooters, collectors, and people looking for protection in their homes.  That got me wondering if maybe non-lethal ammunition should have a significant part of the conversation about gun control.

See, it seems to me that only one of those groups really needs lethal ammo.

Think about it.  Collectors don't really need ammo at all, but if part of collecting is popping off a few rounds now and then, there's no reason those rounds have to be lethal.  Target shooters by definition are not trying to kill something, so non-lethal ammo would seem to be absolutely appropriate in that case.  People trying to defend their homes really only need something that will turn an assailant away or put them down long enough to subdue.  Rubber bullets ought to be able to fill that bill.

Hunters.  Hunters do need lethal ammunition.

Although, thinking about it, maybe non-lethal ammunition would be a boon to hunting.  Maybe using that type of ammo would enable a "catch and release" mentality for much of hunting like we often have for fishing.

But that would be a conversation for another day.

So lets say hunters do need lethal ammunition.  Isn't it likely that we could put a reasonable cap on the number of rounds per day.  I haven't been hunting, but let's say for argument that a responsible hunter can get by on 10 rounds/day and that a typical hunter is a weekend hunter needing two days of ammo between trips to refit.  Would it be unreasonable to require purchasers to present a hunting license at the point of purchase for ammunition and limit ammo purchases to 20 rounds at a time?  The next time you came to buy ammo you would have to sign off on a statement saying when and where you had fired the ammo you previously purchased.

Hard to kill dozens of people with hundreds of rounds if you can only possess 20 rounds at a time.

There are of course dozens of possible objections to this sort of thing, but I also think there would be dozens of corresponding adjustments.  Target shooters will say that the ballistic characteristics of rubber bullets are too different from standard ammunition.  So maybe Shooting Ranges would have to have a different type of access, and maybe you could have as much ammo as you wanted at a range, but you could only leave a range with the same 20 round cap and license requirement.  Hunters will say that there are people that go on longer excursions between refits and that there are actually subsistence hunters both of whom need more than 20 rounds available.  So there would need to be classes of permit for outfitters and subsistence hunters.

We keep hearing about types of guns and about the number of rounds that can go into a single clip, but there hasn't been much discussion about ammunition.  I wonder why.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's Next?

So I've been watching Lance Armstrong on Oprah, listening to him talk about how all those times he said he didn't cheat that he was cheating and I'm thinking about how this makes me feel. I mean I am not the person hurt by his actions, but I did get caught up in the Tour excitement. I did invest my time and my attention in following and cheering for Lance Armstrong.

I feel bad. I won't say I feel betrayed. I don't feel it personally. I don't think Lance Armstrong did anything to me. But I do feel bad, and I do feel bad for myself. I guess I should feel bad for the people he hurt directly and substantively, people he badmouthed and belittled and sued and, well, beat while racing clean.

And I am thinking culturally what is the other shoe? Next week will Bill Clinton be on Oprah saying "well, actually, I did have sexual relations with that woman"? WIll the guys that ran Enron go on Oprah and explain that they did rig electricity markets? Are Kobe Bryant and Ben Rothlesberger coming up on her schedule?

Is there anything to be gained from any of those people do any of that? Is there really anything to be gained by Armstrong? I don't really think so.

Maybe there are people out there that are really floored by this admission. I think the only person I would be actually floored by would be if something were to come out about Michael Jordan.

Please, please Michael don't shatter my faith.

The first half of the Armstrong/Oprah interview - there wasn't much there that was shattering. It does seem like even in the midst of coming clean Lance still feels like he won those races. I guess there is kind of a level of "everyone was doing it" although he specifically wouldn't say that.

If you look back a few days to the earlier post, he doesn't take the tack I thought was available. He doesn't say they were just really good at coming right up to the edge. He says they cheated. He doesn't say that it's a "no harm no foul" thing where if you don't get caught you didn't really cheat. I think a little bit he might believe that though. He does say they knew they weren't going to get caught so why not cheat.

There is something depressingly American about that impulse.

And this week we get to see why it is depressing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I got this email today. One of the students working on an upcoming show wanted to set up a meeting with me to evaluate the work done to date. I do these meetings for all of the shows, and timing the review is typically difficult. We don't want to have the meet when the work is so complete that if there is a problem they have to go backwards, but we also can't have the meeting so early that the work isn't formative enough to gauge.

Because of this difficulty, the student had lit me up a little early and was suggesting that he wanted to set the meeting even though he knew he had a little more work to do before he'd be ready. To indicate this he said:

"I still have some details to flush out."

Being a college professor has too many of these moments, times when you look at the screen and say "just how jerky do I feel today?" Today I felt pretty jerky, and so I sent back:

"Flesh out, not flush out." Maybe you saw the tweet.

Anyway, since my knee-jerk douchey response I have been considering what he wrote and how I answered. I think I might have been to quick to respond. See I know that I have heard Design Professors say "Good design is taking away." So maybe "flush" is the right word. Maybe one would "flesh" out a concept but then "flush" out a design - wash away all the unneeded elements.

I'm glad I had this opportunity to flush out this thought.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moving On

I finished up the bulk of my planning for the spring semester. Syllabi complete for Basic PTM, Scenic Fabrication & Installation, Entertainment Rigging, and Studiocraft CAD - plus the schedule for Frosh Stagecraft. Pretty much all that's left is pinging on people about thesis. I have to remember not to let that go too long this semester before starting.

We made some changes in a couple of places that caused some venerable projects to drop out. I pencilled in a new course "Advanced Shop Fabrication" for the sophomores concurrent with ScenoFab. It's sort of a "stagecraft 3" for Technical Directors. Ben is teaching it and it will include lots of really crafty items as well as instruction on all the CNC equipment. The upshot of which is that the three weeks I had previously carved out for a pilot for that class are now gone - which is good because I had lost a lot of rigging content I now get to replace; and the joinery project which has been part of the ScenoFab class since its inception goes away. No longer will stage managers suffer through mortise and tenon joints.

A little bit I am missing it already.

The other change is that Basic PTM essentially reverted back to the old Production Planning class. When the change went the other way all of the departmental introduction material moved from my freshman class into the Sophomore Technical Management class. For some reason that just never seemed to work well - something that I actually think is a problem with a third class (stagecraft 2, I'll have to remember to try to fix that) - and so this fall we decided to put that content back in the freshman year. All in all I am fine with it because I kinda felt like the course was stronger in its previous incarnation anyway. The interesting thing was that when I put together the syllabus my organizational chart assignment dropped out. That's weird, because that assignment was part of the old Production Planning class. But somehow in the current configuration (and in my current estimation of the proper amount of homework) it just doesn't fit.

I guess that is ok. For the past couple of years I hadn't felt like the students were getting the same oomph out of the thing that they had before. Something about the way I was teaching the content or more likely the positioning of the assignment with respect to what was being taught in the design classes. Or maybe it has something to do with the nature of the Millennial students. In any case, finding a way to graphically depict all the necessary communication to execute a theatre production is no longer a requirement of Basic PTM.

We'll see if it makes any difference.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Kitten Commission

Today I came home to find myself before the Kitten Commission. They didn't look pleased. I couldn't tell you why given an entire house they would choose to sit on those two chairs. Could have been more bizarre I suppose. There could have been four chairs. Full meetings of the Kitten Commission are pretty rare though.

As it turned out they didn't tell me what I had done and they declined to pass any judgement at that time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Worth a Look

It's a jumbo "Worth a Look" post covering all the Greenpage articles since the end of the Fall Semester...

What Molly Did Next

On Yellow Paper: It’s October. It’s dusk. It’s the second week of rehearsals for The Trojan Women, a modern version of Euripides’ tragedy in which I’m greedily playing three different roles: Cassandra, the maddened seer (a teenager in red-and-white striped long-johns); Andromache, trophy widow of the city’s most decorated soldier; and Helen of Troy, “the face that launched a thousand dicks”. I’m standing in a dirty office in the old BBC training building on Marylebone High Street. There are dirty blue carpets on the floor and dirty great fluorescent tubes on the ceiling. There are six other people here. They’re all dressed; I’m in a bath towel that I’m about to let fall to the floor. Nobody knows yet, but I’m not wearing any knickers.

The happy mask: Carnegie Mellon must address stress culture

The Tartan Online: “I can't do this anymore,” my social, popular, and highly capable friend sobbed into my shoulder. It was the second week of the school year, and she'd just officially taken a semester leave of absence from Carnegie Mellon. The stress was piling up. A bad breakup was enough, but to have to manage her course load on top of that was too much to consider. She'd considered suicide before the sudden clarity of deciding to take a semester off. I held her and told her everything would be all right, but frankly, I'd been feeling the gloom myself since arriving on campus two weeks prior. After a fantastic summer, even I had to admit I wasn't looking forward to another year.

Shark Tank Explodes in Shanghai Injuring 15 People

Geekosystem: Fifteen people were injured last week when a 33-ton aquarium exploded in the middle of a Shanghai shopping center. The injuries sustained are reported mainly as cuts from the shattered glass, and not from, as one would suspect, sharks. The aquarium was installed two years ago, and had been a popular attraction at the mall until it exploded, spilling fish, turtles, and sharks into the shopping center. That tends to drive down foot traffic.

Want To Work For An Innovative Company? Be Prepared To Answer These Unusual Interview Questions

Fast Company: The next time you step into a job interview, don't just go in armed with mental bullet points depicting your strengths and weaknesses, or a winding story about your ability to persevere during times of crisis. Employers at some of the most coveted companies have other questions in mind, according to a new Glassdoor list of the top 25 oddball interview questions for 2013

Congressman calls for ban on 3D printed guns

Boing Boing: Well, that was predictable: days after a 3D printed gun fired a few rounds, Rep Steve Israel has called for a ban on of Wiki Weapons. The congressman points out (correctly) that all-plastic 3D printed weapons would not be easy to spot using traditional methods, such as metal detectors.

Why are we still waiting for Godot?

BBC News: So why are we still waiting for Godot? How has Samuel Beckett's play grown from a tiny avant garde performance in Paris to become part of the West End theatre coach party circuit?

It's 60 years since Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot received its premiere in the Theatre de Babylone in Paris.

It Can’t Happen Here: Sexual Harassment in the Theatre “We have a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, and we have never had any complaints.” This is what I heard from the representatives of every Bay Area theatre company I asked (the ones who responded to my query, that is) regarding their histories and policies on sexual harassment. While this consensus paints a rosy picture of our theatre community and its progressive attitudes, I know, and many people who read this will know, that this is not entirely accurate. While we may be past the era of unscrupulous producers installing two-way mirrors in women’s dressing rooms (as was rumored to have been discovered during the Orpheum’s renovation years ago), theatre people are not too different from everybody else, and sexual harassment and assault are still all too prevalent.

Michigan Film Industry Goes Dark

Studio 360: The new movie Oz: The Great and Powerful — directed by Sam Raimi, starring James Franco, and distributed by Disney — comes out next spring. But like Dorothy said, they're not in Kansas anymore; this Oz was shot in Michigan. Oz was the high-water mark of an ambitious program to convert some of the state's abandoned auto plants to film studios. State taxpayers funded 42% of the filming costs at Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac, outside Detroit, in the hopes that it and other productions would establish a new industry in the state. But the studio has been largely idle. Michigan’s Republican governor Rick Snyder vowed to cut back the state’s film subsidy program, and Hollywood studios began taking their business elsewhere. Now Michigan’s pension fund, which guaranteed bonds to finance the struggling movie studio, is left holding the bag.

Theater Offering 'Tweet Seats' to Folks Who Can't Turn Off Their G-D Phones Actually, that headline might make it sound like I believe this to be whack, when in fact, I believe it to be very fresh. But that's probably because I love Instagram so much. How the hell else am I going to show off my adorable niece and the double-dipped salted caramel and coconut donuts I just ate? Am I supposed to just share these moments with my family? I'm not not a machine!

10 things ‘The Nutcracker’ won’t tell you

MarketWatch: Ah, “The Nutcracker.” That celebration of all things Christmas, that choreographed ode to childhood, that visual spectacle replete with parties, pageants and even candy canes come to life. Oh, and yes: that show that pretty much ensures every ballet company can survive another season. As much as “The Nutcracker” may be an artful expression of holiday cheer, the two-act ballet is also a moneymaker in an industry that’s otherwise heavily dependent on the largesse of deep-pocketed donors.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Could He Possibly Say?

So Lance Armstrong is going to go on Oprah and tell the world that he did something, something that for more than a decade he's been insisting he didn't do.  I'll confess to being an Armstrong fan.  I was a Gren LeMond fan way back when and when Armstrong hooked up with US Postal and put US Cycling on the rise again I was certainly excited.  And when he won year after year I was very excited.  But most importantly when he said "what am I on?  I'm on my bike." I believed him.

When he retired and people started to leak stories I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  I used to think: how could it possibly be true when he has so energetically denied all claims, how could he be dirty and jeopardize all the good he does as a public figure?  I also remember thinking that if he did come up dirty that it would be the biggest betrayal by an athlete of their fans in the history of sports.

I guess I wasn't paying attention to Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds or Marion Jones.  Interestingly all these folks that come up as doping after the fact all have a great impact on public following of the sports in real time, and often although there is talk during the achievements, people don't seem to let it get in the way of enjoying the performances.

So it is going to fall apart this week.  Armstrong wants to compete in triathlons and in marathons and for that he needs to come clean.  And so I am sitting here wondering what he could possibly say that would leave him in a better place than he currently sits.

There's just one way I think it can work.  He has to come up and insist that he didn't actually break the rules.  That in some way what he'd done was really American.  That like paying your taxes, if you don't get caught that you didn't do anything wrong, that he's not responsible for enforcement and that if the regulators had been doing their jobs that maybe they would have caught him and then possibly things would have come out differently.  It's like how in football you can hold as long as the referee doesn't catch you.

He could come out and say that he did do everything he possibly could within the absolute letter of the rules, that he had a team of trainers, doctors, lawyers, and operatives that worked with him and his team to stay just far enough ahead of enforcement that he could win and not get caught.  He could say absolutely he violated the spirit of the rules, but that winners, that Americans find a way, they are not bound by the spirit of the thing but rather that they look for every inch, every edge, every possible way to enhance their chances of winning without being caught.

He could say that when he accused officials of having a vendetta against him that clearly they were acting out of an incredible feeling of impotence over knowing he must have been doing something but at never being able to prove it.  He could say it would have been one thing if they could have proved it at the time, but since it took them years to put together anything resembling a case that his lifetime ban is just unfair - un-American.

I guess he could say that and then he'd just be the most alpha of alpha people and it would explain all of his prior statements on the grounds that he actually believed he was within the letter of the rules.

I guess.


One post per day is a hard thing to live up to. It wasn't a resolution or anything, but it would be nice to continue... This post curtesy of a new app (for me) using native Blogger on the tablet. First time... The weather the last two days has me waiting for the other shoe to drop - or rather a boot (and anyone doubting global climate change is bananas)... No Stillers this weekend, but football still looks great on that giant screen... We babyproofed a little this week, no, not for us. We had friends over with a newly walking toddler. Seemed like a good idea to block off the stairs... It seems like cabinetry is expensive no matter how one goes about it... I heard someone say today that the President is specifically picking people the Senators will have individual problems with baiting them to obstruct so that we can get Senate rules reform. If he's that deep as far as I am concerned he can be President for life... At some point when I really wasn't paying attention the calendar year rolled over... You can really tell who follows your social media and who doesn't by what they ask about your break... after nearly a decade I changed up some of my classroom paperwork (you saw some of the early work). I wish I were better at laying out documents... My sister texted me last night and got me stalking my own digital footprint from four years ago. Hard to believe my mom has been gone that long (actually most days it's difficult to believe she's gone at all)... I have to find a way to cut down the rough housing in our house without being a wet blanket. It's a tough sell... I think tomorrow we might actually start a real ball rolling on some landscaping for this spring. Be great to have an outside more commensurate with our inside... I go back to work Monday. As of today I am almost ready for that to happen. It's nice for at least one day of the semester to be ahead...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Is This Stupid?

I've become bored of the syllabus format I have been using since the turn of the century.  I thought I would try something new from the cover page:

Is this stupid?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where Should We Start the Bidding

The School of Drama's Graduating PTM students have their web page up.

So far as I know they are all still available for gainful employment beginning in June.

How much would you pay for a newly minted, fully trained TD or PM/SM?  If you would like to browse the selection you have to check out their page.