Sunday, January 26, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday noon...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Your Employees Want the Negative Feedback You Hate...":

I think that, more than positive or negative, when I'm doing a job I want honest feedback. While I think these studies are useful in determining what people need, I disagree fundamentally with the notion that "Constructive" feedback is negative. No one can do a job perfectly, but presumably we all try our (mostly) best, so why are we making criticism such a bad or "negative" thing? I feel like the danger of studies like these is that the take home message for managers etc. will be "these are the ratios of positive/negative feedback we should be giving" instead of "How can we reinvent the giving and receiving of feedback so that value judgments aren't as easily applied?" 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "7 Things You Need To Do To Avoid Mental Burnout":
Overall, a good article in that it reminds us to be aware of the signs/symptoms of mental burnout, and thereby take actions to mitigate stress. However, the meditation suggestion in number three is glaringly over-simplified. A lot of people – myself included – have tried meditation numerous times without success. Also, taking one full hour out of every day for meditation alone is a lot when it already seems like there are frequently not enough hours in the day of a life of a student at CMU for adequate sleep. If I have to choose between exercise or meditation, I believe exercise is more effective, especially since you can simulate a type of meditative state while doing something simple like stretching or taking advantage of the trails in Schenley Park. My biggest hurdle is shutting off my brain from all of the tasks I need to complete for the week/month/semester before attempting sleep. Something that has recently helped me came from the book, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. In order to cultivate lucidity in dreams (something I have only infrequently been able to achieve), the book suggests experiencing waking life as a dream. The concept is that once in dream state, you may then be able to focus concentration by simulating the concentration necessary to function in the waking world, and thereby achieve lucidity. The other side of this is that before bed, it can help to view the aspects/situations of the day that are still troubling as the transitory elements of a dream. Believe it or not, this little trick has helped me quiet my mind before sleep. And a restful sleep can be one of the most important factors to regenerate our bodies and brains from burnout. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Housing for Artists in Arts District Set to Break ...":
I love the concept of having 39 artists living together under one roof. Typically in art districts housing is somewhat limited and if its available it is often over priced. The Floora Street lofts with provide housing to people of the same mindset and common interests. The environment of this building would be incredible for all these creative minds coming together could create some amazing art. I would love to live in this kind of housing at some point in my life. This idea is so unique and I just love the concept overall. I wonder if the demand is going to be great enough to get 39 "artists." It sounds like its hard to define what they consider to be an artist. Super creative concept and I would love to live there. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Equity National Tours Explained ":
I was unaware of the way touring contracts work in juxtaposition to Broadway contracts. 10 different types of touring contracts? It does seem like the money is in touring because your earnings are more easily put towards living which is what it should be. It doesn't make sense to me that Newsies and Kinky Boots National Tour Company Members are making significantly less than Book of Mormon members. Kinky Boots is a Tony Award winning musical and Newsies is a Disney musical. Tier C and D? Those company members are working extremely hard and deserve more. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "8 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Just Rely On SpellChec...":
It is funny how many people don't care to learn how to spell correctly nowadays, especially now that iPhones will guess the word that you are trying to write for you as soon as you start typing a few letters. SpellCheck does catch when you have sentence fragments or the wrong tense verb. I know I only use it as a quick flag while I'm writing to let me know if there is a word spelled wrong and then I make myself retype the whole word all over again without the aide of anything to make sure that I know how to spell it. When I finish the whole paper, I then go through and proof read for the extra words and fragments and such. SpellCheck is the doom of our written language I'm a afraid. Same with ChatSpeak. ChatSpeak ruins the English language for everyone by leaving out letters and abbreviating words into things that don't make sense. I know it is useful because it is faster to type, but that doesn't mean you should use it anywhere outside of texting or online chatting. I write out full words and sentences with correct punctuation whenever I type or text just so that I don't get thrown into the illiterate pile of people. There are elementary school kids that write in ChatSpeak because they are use to texting and such. My mom is constantly asking me to translate from ChatSpeak into normal English for her so that she can write out the real word for them. It is getting ridiculous.

Worth a Look

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

Guthrie Theater furloughs most of its full-time employees for a week

Star Tribune: The Guthrie Theater is furloughing most of its full-time staff for a week during January, a theater official confirmed Tuesday. The Guthrie has about 120 full-time employees, a figure that swells when productions are up on its three stages.
The theater’s employees have had forced time off “a couple of times” since the Guthrie moved into its new riverfront complex in June 2006, said Trish Santini, director of external relations.

“How I Met Your Mother” Puts White Characters In Asian “Yellowface” Last night’s episode of CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” is under fire for the racist decision to depict three of its white characters in “yellowface” — that is, dressing up like they are Asian, in this case Japanese in this case Chinese. Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders both dressed in kimonos Chinese gowns, their hair pinned up geisha-style, and ate using chopsticks; Radnor wore a silk jacket and a long Fu Manchu mustache. There were fans, references to Shanghai and jokes about noodles.

Your Employees Want the Negative Feedback You Hate to Give

Jack Zenger , and Joseph Folkman - Harvard Business Review: Would you rather hear positive feedback about your performance or suggestions for improvement?
For the last two weeks, we’ve been compiling data on this question, and on people’s general attitudes toward feedback, both positive and corrective. So far we’ve collected it from 899 individuals, 49% from the U.S. and the remainder from abroad. Before we tell you what we found, we suggest you take the same assessement here so you can put our findings within your own personal context.

Equity National Tours Explained

Backstage: The acting community is in an uproar since the audition postings for the upcoming “Kinky Boots” and “Newsies” national tours at the end of December. Many assumed that these tours would employ actors on Production Contracts, with pay equivalent to Broadway plus per diem. Instead, “Newsies” was posted as a Tier C contract and “Kinky Boots” as Tier D.

Housing for Artists in Arts District Set to Break Ground in May

FrontRow: It has been six months since the Flora Street Lofts, the privately-backed housing development slated to plop subsidized artist housing at the doorstep of pricey Museum Tower in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, received approval for $5 million in state housing credits. Today, project developers met with the Dallas City Council’s economic development committee to talk about tapping into the Downtown Connection/City Center TIF to obtain an additional $2 million in city funding which would go towards building out the development’s parking garage. It’s all part of the finishing touches on the funding plan (laid out here) that push Flora Street Lofts towards its May construction date. Nearby venues, museums, and event organizers will also be happy with the news that garage may add some additional reduced rate public use parking spaces to the district.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Comment of the Week

Vote for comment of the week - open through Friday noon.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Operation Smile’s 15-Hour Job Interview: Unpaid Ca...":

I understand how this interview process would yield more results when looking for specific traits for a position. At the same time, however, I would hate interviewing for this company. I like to be extremely prepared for an interview. I research what the job duties entail and prepare myself accordingly to put my best foot forward with those details in mind. A certain level of adaptability is most likely expected and definitely a trait that is sought after when looking at an entry level candidate but to spring something this massive on a person with out any prior knowledge seems unfair. Maybe don't tell them exactly what they will be doing but at least give them an idea by saying you will be working in a team and will be utilizing these sets of skills. This interview method does show a lot of merit and i can see how this would give potential employer a much better overview on the candidate just maybe give them a bit more information upfront. 

Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Stuff To Ponder: What Is The Definition of Emergen...":
When the polar vortex hit the midwest and the east coast, I did not even think about the repercussions it would have on the theatre industry. It is interesting, because you would think that bad weather would constitute more people wanting to attend the theatre, since there is not much to do in the winter months. However, when the weather is so bad that people cannot leave their houses without getting frost bite, it is a whole different story. This article brings up two points which I think are important to discuss: emergency disaster plans and refunds on tickets. First and foremost, it is definitely important for theatre companies to develop solid and well-known disaster plans. Often, I can imagine theatre companies may become preoccupied with other issues, such as ticket refunds, and forget that they have a building and people to protect in the event of a disaster. With that said, dealing with refunds in the event of extreme weather can also be tricky. No matter what a company decides on their refund policy, they should definitely be making it known to their customers upon purchase of tickets in the first place. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "'Spider-Man' Not a Flop, Broadway Restaurateur Dec...":
I would not call Spider-Man a flop. What I would call it is a show that was unable to reach its full potential that was eaten alive by the press. Having seen the show twice there I can truthfully say that there is something very fascinating about the production. This would be the innovative design of the show. From the costumes to scenery to even the effects the way each departmental element worked together with the cast to create the world of the play was amazing. Even the interactions between the actors and scenery during a scene change was beautiful. However, the direction, choreography, book, music, and lyrics could use some more work. With some more time and the press not down the production's throats I think many more people would not consider it a flop. It also bothers me that the majority of people who refer to it as one have not seen the show, and have only heard of it from accidents on the news. To this I say that you cannot truly critique a work unless you have seen that work. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Create A Fake Artist's Portfolio In Seconds":
I really like the ideas Sures Kumar is bringing up with this project. The idea that we can teach computers to make our lives easier is nothing new. The ideas that "A man is only as good as his word" and that we can be defined as people by what we have done in the past, have also been around for a very long time. Pro-folio is a logical next step. I really like pro-folio as an art piece because it talks about something that is weird and removed from our daily lives, and yet by it's existence becomes something very very important to our daily lives. The article says "there's nothing any of us can do about it[machines generate artificial identities]". I'm not sure I agree with that. I think that although we may not know how yet, this is a problem that humanity will both create and solve at the same time. In some ways there are already ways to protect ones work. A simple signature has been used for a very long time. A self portrait is something that no one can every really claim as their own. I have faith that humanity will be able to find ways of protecting the truth behind who did what somehow. In all likelihoods it will be with the help of the very same technologies that are causing this problem in the first place. 
Student #5  has left a new comment on your post "9 Things Every Musician Needs To Know About The So...":
I couldn't agree with this article more. As a young sound guy I can say that i have only had to deal with this few times but when I have it gave me a pretty good understanding to what this author is saying. To start off I have to say that I agree with Philip that this can be applied for any "house" person. In the few times that I have had this problem I would have to say that 4 out of every 5 times the problem hasn't even been with musicians. I think however that it is often the worst when you see some young band acting like they're the Led Zeppelin of the 2000s. They walk in thinking that you know nothing about what you're getting paid to do and treat you like so. One group of people that may be even worse than a bigheaded musician is the friends and family of the talent. One memory of this was when I was mixing a Battle of the Bands event. For this particular show we only had one day to rehearse 20+ bands. With a rehearsal schedule like this i was left doing a lot of fine tuning for the show and I can honestly say that within the first 30 seconds of every set I would get some mother, father, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. come up and ask if I could turn up their respective friend. Its times like those that really make me angry. can't these people just wait 1 damn minute before making uneducated requests on how I should mix the show.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Headed back into the Polar Vortex.  Can't wait...  We are down to two cats - from five.  It's different...  Mrs. TANBI had her baby shower.  Fun was had by all...  I owe like a TON of blog posts: Scottsdale, First Night, Home Improvements, Cats, FCEs.  After all these years you'd think I would be better at this...  The new ER at Magee is pretty slick...  We had a closet clean out last week.  Maybe too early for spring cleaning, but just as effective...  Turns out the recycling guys will take broken down bundled cardboard.  Learn something new every day...  The schedule I wound up with for the Spring semester is the oddest one I have had yet...  The truck is making a sound like "I'm old."  That can't be good...  Last week NPR said the way to deal with back pain is: get over it.  Sounds like a tough sell to me...  Dear Amazon, if as a Prime member I have a registry shouldn't people buying my gifts get the free two day shipping?  Just a thought...  Been binge watching DS9 on Netflix.  They really hit their stride there in the middle...  Watched Jack Reacher the other night.  Nice for watching the Pittsburgh locations...  Who would have thought that itsPeg would know the folks from Cope, Inc?  Worlds collide...  Next week is Playground, or as we in Technical Direction know it "Navigator Training"...  I think the Newspage comments this week were better than most of last semester.  Maybe poking people does make a difference...  Not that anyone is asking, but in my opinion Jos A Bank and Men's Warehouse shouldn't be allowed to merge...  Do you watch Morning Joe on MSNBC?  I discovered it though the MSNBC Roku app.  Pretty good show and even better with minimal commercials...  Today I talked fairly randomly for more than an hour about excel.  I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing...  Got quoted in an online article today and now I feel like I need to email some apologies.  Be careful what you tweet.  There might actually be people listening...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Worth a Look

Here are some of last week's Greenpage articles that might be worth your time...

Stuff To Ponder: What Is The Definition of Emergency?

Butts In the Seats: This last week I have gotten some real lessons in the importance of disaster planning.
During the quiet of the holidays I started a conversation with some colleagues about how we would handle inclement weather on performance days. Everyone keeps telling me how they try to shy away from scheduling shows in January because the weather is so bad. With that in mind, I wanted to have a plan for how we would proceed before the need arose.
Since we present a number of touring shows, we would be in a position of needing to pay artists per our contract unless the weather is so bad a state of emergency is declared. In that case, we would issue refunds to the ticket buyers.

Meryl Streep's Feminist Tribute to Emma Thompson

The New Yorker: Forget the Oscars. We already have a winner for best award-show speech of the season, and it’s a tie: Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson. On Tuesday night, at the National Board of Review gala, Streep, whose speeches are perfect, delivered a humdinger of a tribute to Emma Thompson, who was receiving the best-actress honor, for “Saving Mr. Banks.” (The ceremony was untelevised, but Bennett Marcus, at Vanity Fair, provided a transcript.) With her customary self-satirizing loopiness, Streep took the stage wearing a “Prize Winner” hat (swag from the producers of “Nebraska”) and remarked, “What? Oh, I’m not the prize winner. That’s so weird.” By the end, she was lionizing Thompson in verse—because Meryl Streep writes poetry—in “an ode to Emma”

Actors Jam Meeting to Seek Higher Pay for Tours More than 350 Actors’ Equity members packed a union hall and overflow room on Friday to demonstrate visibly their concern about lower salaries for musical theater performers on national tours, a source of intensifying frustration that has led Equity leaders to schedule a town hall meeting with members on Jan. 27.

Helen Kelly: The Hobbit Dispute

Scoop News: Hostility to unions in the film industry is not new and although SAG have made major strides with Warner Bros since that time, the same hostility has been evident many years later and closer to home. We say this occurred last year when Peter Jackson would refer, contemptuously, to the members of Actors Equity seeking to negotiate terms and conditions for performers working on the making of the film The Hobbit as the “Equity 200”.

Create A Fake Artist's Portfolio In Seconds

Co.Design | business + design: Just type your name, and Pro-Folio will create your own website full of stolen art. But it’s not just a great prank; it’s the future of identity.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014