Sunday, September 14, 2014

Worth a Look

Here's hoping I make better choices this week...

Ferguson Moments: Artists Respond

HowlRound: The Ferguson Moment is not an organization. It is not an event, a play, a poem, an article, an idea. It has no shared agenda, just a shared community, and a shared desire to respond.

On Saturday August 9, 2014, Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Artists from all over the United States quickly began connecting by phone, email, and social media over the ensuing militarized police action, protests, violence, and reconciliation taking place. Over the weekend of August 22-24, two weeks after Michael Brown was killed, five theater artists traveled from Ashland, Oregon; Boston, Mass; and New York City to St. Louis and Ferguson where they volunteered, created and saw work, and met with members of the community.

Showbiz, Music Industry Jobs Drop 19% in Two Years

Variety: The U.S. economy has seen a steady erosion of jobs in the motion picture and sound industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Preliminary statistics from the BLS show that employment in those two industries has dropped to 298,000 in August — marking the first time in the past decade that the number has dropped below 300,000, and representing an 8% decline from 324,600 jobs in August 2013, and a 19% slide from 366,300 jobs in August 2012.

California’s efforts to curb runaway production won’t work without changing studios’ mind-set

Variety: On a trip to Vancouver a few years ago, one TV producer surveyed the myriad projects being shot there and labeled the town Hollywood Sleep-Away Camp. Those visitors were drawn less by British Columbia’s natural beauty than by the siren song of its tax credits, along with Canada’s favorable monetary exchange rate.

Robo-readers, robo-graders: Why students prefer to learn from a machine. In April 2012, Mark D. Shermis, then the dean of the College of Education at the University of Akron, made a striking claim: “Automated essay scoring systems” were capable of evaluating student writing just as well as human readers. Shermis’ research, presented at a meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, created a sensation in the world of education—among those who see such “robo-graders” as the future of assessment, and those who believe robo-graders are worse than useless.

Who Needs Art? There’s Plumbing It tickles Alexander Melamid, a 69-year-old conceptual artist and provocateur, that his Chelsea landlord has printed his name on the building’s tenant listing board as “Melamid’s Healing Shrine.” But so much amuses Mr. Melamid, a Russian-born painter with a ready cackle and a fondness for bear hugs, whose past provocations have included deep-frying photographs of artists like Andy Warhol, Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

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