Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday at noon.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors Or Artists?":

So, I'm not going to get into a discussion of work ethic vs. career path, but this makes sense. Typically, art type lessons (dance, painting, music etc.) are expensive and largely unnecessary, though enriching, childhood expenses.

I guess my question is, what do we as a society want to do with this information? As budget cuts are limiting or eliminating arts programs, arts education will become an even bigger determiner of income and social status. If we don't want that (and as artists and frankly, Americans we shouldn't), then what kind of pragmatic solutions can we think of? Crowd-sourced, tax deductible arts funding? Cutting some other element of education? The solution isn't as simple as posting things on Facebook about how arts education helps students' grades and well-being, because things like free-lunch programs and phys. ed do that too... Obviously, it's a complex issue and thousands or millions of people are dedicating their lives to helping solve it, but at what point does pointing out how a system is broken hinder the process of fixing it? 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Drama Matters: The Rise of the Abstract Set":
I liked the thought from Chloe Lamford where she says that she finds the "Golden Idea" of a play and then uses that to create her set. I feel like in other design practices so many people just think that set designers decorate things in order to create the scenery. In contrast, designing a set is just that, DESIGNING! Scenic designers use the characters, settings, time period, and place to create a well pictured and imaginative realization of the play. A lot of work goes into reading a play and then designing a world from that text. I really like this idea of Abstract scenery because it gives more room to explore the big ideas of a play. I definitely think that there is more room to study and incorporate this kind of set design into live theater. I feel that CMU trains us for traditional theater as well as breaking into new and exciting forms of entertainment. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Most Popular To-Do List Manager: Any.Do":
The app that caught my attention is HabitRPG. I find that my main problem regarding to-do lists isn't really getting organized. I always have one main list that I update every few days with detailed milestones for each project, and all my school assignments are in a calendar that I refer to and update all the time. My main problem isn't knowing what the work is, but actually doing it. I definitely procrastinate much less than I used to, but I sometimes still leave some projects to the last minute. I think that the basic premise behind HabitRPG is a neat idea, because creating a reward for finishing a project beyond that of simply being done is exactly the kind of incentive that could get me to get my work done. I like that rather than simply crossing something off a to-do list, you're giving yourself points for doing it. The positive game aspect of this really appeals to me and I actually just downloaded it onto my phone to see if it really can motivate me to get my work done earlier. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "‘Phantom of the Opera’ Welcomes First Black Lead o...":
Regardless of skin color, I am far more interested in seeing Phantom on Broadway now that Norm Lewis is the lead, as the time I saw it a few months ago, the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway had a stale, touristy sort of feel. I think Norm Lewis is a great way to revitalize such a show, and it is a great moment for the move towards casting equality because the Phantom in particular is such an iconic role in the musical theatre canon, so there is no telling how many theatres worldwide will take Norm Lewis' casting as a cue to start taking more strides to avoid the whitewash of the performance industry. I foresee only positive results from the casting decision, both in the general move away from racial discrimination in casting and simply, I think Norm Lewis will be a very talented, fresh addition to the cast that has been heavily in need of some tune-ups. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Yet Another Law School Lectures Women on How to No...":
Just today I was working in class when one of my teachers suggested I button up my shirt so the boy i was working with would not have to worry about touching my breasts. First of all, he was not touching my breasts; he was touching my sternum which in close proximity made her uncomfortable. He was fine. He's someone I trust. I was struck my this and her judgmental attitude. I find it usually comes from women. People need to get over it. Stiletto heels, if anything, are just unpractical to run around in, but the cleavage thing gets me. WOMEN HAVE BREASTS. It's not a secret. I don't see how there is a problem. If people find them distracting then they should work on that. I'm not going to compromise my own form of personal expression thinking about what others will think of it. Women should dress for themselves. No one else. Also, I wore pants to my college auditions unlike most girls and I did just fine. If a school cared about something that superficial why would I want to go there?   

Worth a Look

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

Teller Wins Lawsuit Over Copied Magic Trick Performance

Hollywood Reporter: Technically speaking, magic tricks aren't copyrightable. In a ruling by a Nevada federal court on Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Mahan states that explicitly.
What is protectable under copyright law is pantomimes, the art of conveying emotions, actions and feelings by gestures. The theatrical medium where magicians work has some of the flavor of pantomimes, and Teller has used it to his advantage.

Drama Matters: The Rise of the Abstract Set

Litro: When I interviewed designer Chloe Lamford a few months ago, she suggested that the dream for her when creating the world of a play is to find a “golden idea” which encapsulates the central premise of the text whilst creating a space which is theatrically interesting. Referencing her design for the Schaub├╝hne’s production of Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, which saw the actors peddling stationary bikes to create the show’s power in order to comment on the play’s themes of global warming, Lamford told me that once an idea like that is found, it’s a no-brainer. In two of its recent shows by American playwrights, the Gate Theatre has found a way of achieving this on a small scale, creating designs which act as a space within which the play can occur whilst simultaneously commenting on its ideas, demonstrating the importance of non-naturalistic design in theatre.

They Cast Whom?! Actor Choices To Offend Every Racial Sensibility

Code Switch : NPR: No matter how you feel about ethnicity and casting — and how ethnicity or race should relate to casting — there's probably something in the news lately that's going to make you upset. Folks have strong opinions about how the race of actors should or shouldn't relate to the characters they play, but regardless of the position you take on this front, let us count the various ways that certain actors getting cast in certain roles might make you squirm

The Importance of Studying Theater History | Top Schools & Training Lessons for Actors, Singer, Dancers

Career Tips | Backstage | Backstage: David Lodge’s book “Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses,” he has academics playing a game called Humiliation, in which each must admit the classic piece of literature he or she has never read. One player wins the game by citing “Hamlet”—and promptly loses his job.
The classics are not going away, and their reach is long. There are numerous popular adaptations of canonical work, and chances are that you will have opportunities to work on classics and their adaptations. Knowing the work and its context beforehand will make you a better collaborator and a better artist, and will also make you more alert to the nature of opportunities as they arise.

Fluke Issues Statement Regarding Sparkfun’s Impounded Multimeters Fluke just issued a response to the impounding of multimeters headed for market in the United States. Yesterday SparkFun posted their story about US Customs officials seizing a shipment of 2000 multimeters because of trademark issues. The gist of the response is that this situation sucks and they want to do what they can to lessen the pain for those involved. Fluke is providing SparkFun with a shipment of genuine Fluke DMMs which they can sell to recoup their losses, or to donate. Of course SparkFun is planning to donate the meters to the maker community.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I am a Bad Blogger lately

I also think I look like I need a nap.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Worth a Look

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

Museum of Endangered Sounds preserves obsolete tech noises

(Wired UK): Do you miss the pleading bleeps of the Tamagotchi? Or the sound of a telephone rotary dial? You can now listen to these and other vintage tech noises at the Museum of Endangered Sounds.
A character called Brendan Chilcutt has created the online "museum" in early 2012 to preserve the sounds made famous by his favourite old devices, such as the "textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR" (ah, yes). As new products come to market, these nostalgia-inducing noises become as obsolete as the devices that make them.

Sam Mendes’s 25 Rules for Directors

Vanity Fair: After reviewing his career highlights, in depth, the British Academy Award winner said, “One of the things I love about Americans is you do massive ego trips incredibly well. Blimey. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many photographs of myself. I didn’t even know they existed.” Mendes also noted that while tributes are wonderful, they are backward looking, and then decided to share what he’s learned along the way. “If there are any directors out there in the audience, or anyone who’s interested in directing, I’ve written 25 steps towards becoming a happier director.


"What is drawing?" And other questions raised at DRAW2014 symposium in Pittsburgh Opening the DRAW2014 symposium back in February, John Carson, head of the Carnegie Mellon School of Art, asserted that “over this weekend we will see how far we can expand the definition of drawing”.
This comment became more weighted throughout the weekend last month as a number of lecturers and panelists admitted that they “didn’t draw” but instead saw themselves as painters or printmakers. This observation caused me to question, “If we expand the definition of drawing to include painting, dancing, printmaking, etc., when do we realize that we are no longer discussing drawing and ignoring those that still practice and identify with the process and product of drawing and illustrating? Does illustration and caricature have a place in fine art when contemporary critics and academics favor and shift focus towards concept and process based art?”

Arts Education Won't Save Us from Boring, Inaccessible Theater

Mike Lew - Playwright: I’ve been avidly following coverage of The Summit and there’s a lot of FANTASTIC discussion coming out of that, but one thing that caught my attention that hasn’t been really dissected yet is the false notion that arts education will save the theater.
When confronted with the stark reality that “the youth” won’t buy theater tickets, theaters oftentimes place the blame on the school system. The argument goes that decreased arts funding in schools begets students who aren’t accustomed to coming to theater, and that by not being exposed to theater at a young age we’re losing all our potential patrons. It’s a chestnut that found its way into The Summit, and it’s a position that Isherwood floated in an article about Rocco Landesman’s tenure at the NEA.
It’s also a myth.

Stage Managing Humans

Stage Directions: The rehearsal space. At times it’s a repurposed classroom, a basement or a living room, but in a production process it must become an incubator for the play, a place for the team to feel comfortable creating their work. As one of the first people in the room, the stage manager has an opportunity to make it nurturing and productive. The space needs to be safe for the company both practically and interpersonally, and inspire everyone—cast, director, designers and everyone else—toward their best inventive work. To provide that, a stage manager not only has to provide practical support, but they also have to demonstrate a deft touch with people.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Worth a Look

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

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Balder and Dash | Roger Ebert: Able-bodied actors should not play disabled characters. That they so often do should be a scandal. But it is not a scandal because we do not grant people with disabilities the same right to self-representation onscreen that we demand for members of other groups who struggle for social equality.

Speech from Lupita Nyong'o you didn’t hear

MSNBC: Accepting an award from Essence Magazine, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o discussed “Black beauty” and how “you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.”

Some Chefs Still Insisting That Photographing Meals Steals Some Of Their Intellectual Property

Techdirt: A few years ago we noted how there appeared to be a growing belief among some chefs that taking photographs of their dishes when you're in their restaurants is somehow "taking away their intellectual property." We've discussed a few times about how restaurants are just one of many industries where a lack of copyright protection has actually helped innovation flourish (read: an industry that shows that there can be great creativity without saddling the entire apparatus down with copyright, such as magic or stand up comedy).

London fashion show harnesses technology to deliver virtual experience

InAVate: This February's London Fashion Week saw UK retailer Topshop turn to telepresence to transport shoppers in its central London flagship store across the city and immerse them in a fashion show taking place in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. Topshop partnered with 3D design agency Inition to live stream events from the London art gallery and deliver a "virtual front-row" experience to participants at the Oxford Street, London shop.

4 Ways That New York Has Become More Like L.A.

Expert Acting Advices | Actors Reels, Resume Building & Insider Tips | Backstage | Backstage: Virtually all of the points outlined below are derived from one central feature that was once a primary difference between New York and Los Angeles—the explosion of film and prime-time television production that is now coming out of New York. Most of the points below have been in a state of escalation for some time, but have now reached critical mass for the New York actor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Worth a Look

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

Lupita Nyong'o Beauty Standards

The Mary Sue: This week, actress Lupita Nyong’o was given the Best Breakthrough Performance award at Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon. At the beginning of her acceptance speech, she described a letter she received from a young fan, who’d been considering buying skin-lightening cream before Nyong’o rose to fame. For Nyong’o, the sentiment was all too familiar.

‘Midnight Rider’ homicide proble focusing on instructions to crew

Variety: The homicide investigation into the death of Sarah Jones on the set of “Midnight Rider” is focusing on who decided to put the crew on the railroad bridge where the accident occurred and how the crew got access to the property, a source familiar with the investigation told Variety on Thursday.
The answer to the second question appears to be easier to answer. A spokesman for Rayonier, the paper company that owns the land surrounding the rail line at the site of the accident, confirmed to Variety that Rayonier had given permission for the film shoot to be on its property, but it cannot give permission for the crew to be on the tracks, which are owned by CSX. A gate in a fence on the property bears a sign saying access is controlled by Rayonier guards.

Building The Perfect Stage

Pollstar: Quite often when fans leave a venue after a concert they find themselves praising the incredible stage allmost as as much as the act that appeared on it. Not only can great stage design provide an artist with a perfect environment for presenting music, but it often serves as a setting, a glimpse into the performer’s world from which he or she attempts to give you a show like none you’ve ever seen previously.

Creative Placemaking by Pillsbury House + Theatre, Minneapolis

HowlRound: We completed our ArtPlace funded Arts on Chicago initiative in June of 2013. Arts on Chicago engaged forty artists in twenty placemaking projects to turn a ten-block stretch of Chicago Avenue into an arts district. It was a massive effort that taught us a lot about what Creative Placemaking means in the context of our South Minneapolis community.

How California's film flight has affected Angelenos

89.3 KPCC: As a father of three, Pasadena resident and assistant camera operator Eric Dyson isn't thrilled to be constantly traveling out of town for work.
"In 2013, I worked in Louisiana three times. In the past six months, I've had to turn down work calls out of state," he said.
Yes, California is a global leader in film, TV and video production jobs, generating approximately 60 percent of the labor income in this sector nationwide, according to Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. But these so-called Hollywood jobs have become a battleground with states like New York, Louisiana, New Mexico and Georgia offering enticing tax incentives.
The trend has undoubtedly affected Southern Californians.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Leo Solomon Boevers

So he's no longer Gib5on.  Meet Leo.  Born 3/5/2014.  8lbs, 7oz. 21"

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Vote For Comment of the Week

As usual, voting closes Friday at noon.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Broadway Bots: Robots Take Lead Roles in Drama, St...":

I have mixed feelings about the concept of robots on stage.
On one hand, I attend a world class drama school where we train actors to use their whole self to embody a character. How can we expect a robot to ever come close to this level of technique? We can't, and it's sad to think that people are trying. Robotic technology is not advanced enough to type in the numbers for the Captcha below this blog's post window, let alone emotionally embody a character.
On the other hand, I attend a university with the best robotics program on the planet. If anybody could do this, it would be here.
So where does this leave actors in the equation? I'm not sure.
Perhaps this could open a up a whole new field in the performing arts. Trained performers who also possess programming knowledge could be valuable in programming robots to be performers. Using the skills and techniques learned though performance classes, they pass that knowledge along to there performance robots to help them become amazing performers.
Where does this leave performer though? Automobile factories, warehouses, and even banks are cutting jobs in favor of robotic alternatives now. When robots can sing and dance, where does this leave actors?
Luckily, it doesn't hurt actors at all. There is a special quality that only a live performer has. It's a special ability that can't be programmed into even the most complex robots. And luckily, most patrons of the performing arts attend performances just to experience that quality. That quality is emotion, and emotion (at least until the Cylons rise) is something that only a live human performer can ever have.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Reviewing Student Theater is an Invisible Taboo: C...":
I come from a suburb of Boston, MA, and found this article to be exceptionally true. Where I'm from, criticism is taken harshly, although we are encouraged to be constructive and help others. Student theatre was a realm untouched, however, and because I was so a part of my high school's theatre program, I quickly began to recognize it. I demanded real critique for my work. And no one would give it. Of course, it made me feel worse than it was intended to. I believed that no one had the heart to tell me I was horrible, even if I truly wasn't.
That being said, there is a time and there is a place. If someone asks me what I thought of their work, I will tell them. If they do not ask, there's no point in me criticizing them because 1.) That's rude and 2.) They'll immediately tune out and blacklist me from their advice list.
Student theatre is a tricky subject, but what's important to remember is that these are students. They are there to learn. And if they ask, sincerely ask, help them to continue their learning and enhance their craft.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "10 Lessons for Theater, from TEDxBroadway 2014":
Based on the other comments, it looks like the piece about cell phones really stuck out; it did for me too. While I think new ways of engaging the audience are interesting, I have mixed feelings about what the article presented. A show doesn't need audiences up on stage or a web chat with the director to engage the audience. But for some shows, I can see how this can have a place. But like my class mates, I see no use for cell phone use by the audience in a show. Inside a theatre is one of the only places one can hope to see cell phones put away. I used to think restaurants were like that too, but now cell phone use during meals feels like it's been completely integrated into the practice. My former high school now allows cell phone use in the classrooms. I know it may be unprogressive to not embrace technology head first, but I think keeping theatre clear of the distractions of cell phones will keep audiences more engaged.
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "We’re Just Making Movies":
This article brings up many important yet possibly taboo discussions about the structure of entertainment production. First, the idea that someone else should have said something is tricky. In theatre and film there are many many moving parts that all have to fall together at the right time in the right place. This orchestration happens in meetings and in private moments and the idea is that this analysis and discussion will prevent issues from arising too late. But what happens when something falls through the cracks or isn't actually communicated clearly until it has been realized.
With regards to hierarchy and not feeling able to speak-up: fortunately the crew heads and designers here are usually very eager to discuss aspects of their work or take suggestions which is great. I do however believe that in the real world this line of communication is not as open and speaking up may be discouraged. I think theatre artists may be more apt at collaborating and accepting ideas from all levels of positions but I would assume the same may not be as true with film. From our PTM lecture, the idea of "exploiting everyone's talents" but utilizing people who know more than you and listening to what they have to say is an amazing philosophy it may just be harder to organize. Potentially, tearing down the inhibition of people of less authority to contribute could prevent things like this that people that are in the moment and may not have as much to steal their attention could notice beforehand.
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Ensembles: Making and Paying for the Art":
Theater, and art in general, is such a tricky business. It's difficult to walk the line between creative integrity and staying true to the art, and making enough money to make art in the first place. After school, we will all have to choose what sort of theater we want to work for, that is if we choose to stay with theater. This article drew a pretty clear distinction between traditional and non-traditional theaters. Personally, it seems more exciting to be a part of a non-traditional theater company, as the concepts and goals are always growing and developing. However, the job stability and lack of variability of a traditional theater is probably very nice too. It makes me even more interested and excited to see where all of our careers will take us!

Worth a Look

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

We’re Just Making Movies

We Have Embarked – The Online Home of Filmmaker Zachary Goldberg: There are things more important than getting that shot.
This wasn’t what I was planning on writing about this week. Then again, one can’t exactly plan for tragedy.
A young woman, Sarah Jones, 27, was killed on set of “Midnight Rider,” a Greg Allman biopic that’s been shooting in Georgia, after being struck by a freight train.
God dammit.

Artistic Directors Show the World Their White-Guy Blinders, Twitter Explodes in Their Faces

Slog: Last night, Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks hosted a panel discussion (the first of a three-part series) with artistic directors at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
A few folks, including Strand Theater artistic director Elissa Goetschius, dutifully tweeted the proceedings which began about as drearily as you'd expect: ".@petermarksdrama acknowledges how the relationship between ADs and critics is frequently strained, but expresses his admiration." (Yawn.)
The thread showed a glimmer of feistiness after playwright Steve Spotswood tweeted a photo of the stage

Reviewing Student Theater is an Invisible Taboo: Conspiracy

HowlRound: This report begins a survey of University theater in greater Boston and Cambridge. Higher learning has significant footholds in Massachusetts Bay, and in aiming to treat the local theater scene broadly and accurately, it seems appropriate to make mention of some of these academic productions and their successes.

10 Lessons for Theater, from TEDxBroadway 2014

HowlRound: “How do you make the magic?” students from a middle school in the Bronx asked after seeing their first Broadway show. Their attendance was an outgrowth of a conference begun in 2012 called TEDxBroadway, and highlighted again Monday at TEDxBroadway 2014.

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama celebrates a great 100 years

TribLIVE: As Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama celebrates its centennial, it's a time for looking back and to the future.
Founded in 1914, the school is the oldest conservatory training and the first degree-granting drama institution in the United States.