Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday lunchtime...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "artist empowers people with disabilities through m...":

I love this concept of finding a means through which those handicapped can transcend their disability. Sure, the abstract art created by the balloon detention is not a direct representation of anything the artist was intentionally thinking, in fact the artist had little to no impact at all on the piece besides the choice of colors, but there is something beautiful in the simple idea that it was the handicapped individuals choice to think intently that sparked the work's creation. This concept helps us consider whether or not its fair to judge and validate art based on the originality and intrigue of its intention or is it better to only examine a piece only on the definition of the skills involved in its formation. 

Obviously the artists in the video had no capability to create the work we see due to physical constrictions, and even more evident is the fact that the abstractions probably had no resemblance to the thoughts the artists were thinking at the works' conception, but its interesting to consider: what is more essential to a work, its craft and form or the idea that ignites its creation? Before seeing this video if you ever asked me this question I'd say the craft is more important without a doubt, and that the artists ability to translate that work as a means of connection is essential as I've often seen that as the fundamental basis of art. After watching this I can more easily see why some might consider the intention the most significant part of a piece, as ones lack of ability to translate their ideas through skill doesn't at all mean that they have less beautiful thoughts, it only means that its more challenging for them to let them be known.

This transcendence of skill to create art through thought, is truly admirable, touching and beautiful. I think this Mind Generated Art is a grounding point for a stimulating conversation that is essential to the realm of art and design, but even if it never reaches that full potential, at the very least I think its a great way to create inspiring images and bring joy to those involved. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "The Adventures of a Male-Bodied Transwoman in Dram...":
Firstly, I'd like to point out that there are so many issues simply with the title of this article. Calling someone "male-bodied" is problematic. "Assigned male at birth" is a better descriptive word. Saying that someone is male-bodied would mean intrinsically state that someone's body defines their gender and not their actual gender. Also, "transwoman" is no the proper terminology. Either put a hyphen between the two, or say that she is a transgender woman. Additionally, Zara, this is not a man, she is a woman (and referring to her as "he" is kind of completely missing the point of the article). It's frustrating that people can be "easily" accepted as gay (more easily than people of other orientations and gender identities), but as soon as someone wants to be called a different name or use different pronouns from what people would assume, they are attacked and people out-right refuse to acknowledge them as such. I'm so very glad that Bianca has found somewhere where she is happy and accepted and I hope more transgender and non-binary people are able to overcome the difficulties they face every day. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "BFAMFAPhD":
I saw that at least one person wondered in the above comments about the 2% that ended up in medicine. As someone who switched from Biology to Design and Production, I can perhaps shed some light on that. With hindsight, I can now say that studying biology was actually a lot like creating a feasible, functioning project (be it shoe, or set). In my experience, biology at its most essential level is the study of how a variety of systems works together to produce an successful outcome, that is, a living organism. Biology and the creation of a successful production actually share very similar thought and analysis processes. Furthermore, the human element is a very unique thread that binds the two. Both theater and medicine create unique opportunities for human interaction, unlike many other occupations. Simultaneously personal and (hopefully) edifying, both career fields offer piercing insights into the human condition, be it physical or mental.

To put it succinctly, both medical professionals and those in theater arts are in the business of telling stories. Doctors tell the statistical, observable story of an individual, while those in the arts more often examine people in terms of each other and their emotional states. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Don’t Call it “AV Networking,” Call it Networking":
I disagree with almost everything this article has to say.

Let’s start with “Don’t call it AV Networking, Call it Networking.” Let’s talk about how an AV network is much more complex than a standard network. I have a degree in networking, but I don’t think I’d be qualified to set up an AV network. Let’s not short our talents. Being an expert at setting up an AV network is a much different skillset than being an expert at setting up a network at a financial institution. 

Let’s move on to the financial institution examply. The article says that financial institutions use networks to handle many billions of dollars of transactions per second, so getting a powerpoint to a screen should be no issue. Wrong. Getting a powerpoint to a screen, maybe, is easy enough. Getting multiple projects to reliably sync together, project on a screen, and sync up with the audio content of the production, all while remaining responsive to input is much more difficult that handling many billions of dollars of transactions a second. Maybe I’m putting too fine a point on this, but financial transactions are number. They are a double integer piece of data, immersive multimedia content is much more complex. Financial institutions also have server rooms that are likely the size of an entire theatre footprint, an AV system likely has a converted broom closet, so let’s not try to make the comparison between a banks transactions and a performances AV content.

The last line says that now is the time to start to absorb IT expertise into our industry. Sure IT expertise is important to the AV networking niche, but lets be careful to say imply that standard commercial IT experts can do the job that a specialized AV professional can do.
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Pricing Discrimination: Should Your Performing Art...":
This is an interesting analysis of a concept that i've thought about quite a bit in the past but never had the specific categories to pin each pricing strategy to.

I think, generally, that pricing discrimination is a really good thing. Obviously you wouldn't want to be paying the same price for every single seat in an arena for a huge concert. Those in the front row, who will mostly likely have a more pleasurable experience simply on the basis of the energy that the front row will have, should have pay more for that heightened experience. Theres also something interesting about this, because the price you pay for that front row ticket may also correlate to the drive you're going to have to keep up that high energy and get "pumped" for the concert/experience you're attending.

While I do think price discrimination is a good thing, there are certain tactics that Beussman explains that I definitely think would not be a good plan for any event to be enacting in their selling procedure. I would have to agree with the media's reaction to the Coca Cola vending machine scandal, and I think it points out something important about these selling tactics: they can be compared to symbiotic relationships in nature. For instance, the Coca Cola vending machine adjusted pricing only benefits Coca Cola, it doesn't really benefit the customer except for the fact that it provides the product that the customer expected in the first place. It could be described as having a commensalistic relationship with the customer. The other forms of pricing described by Beussman, however, describe a more mutualistic relationship. The customer pays for the experience that they would like to receive on the basis of how they want to experience it, and the company benefits from the increased number of people that will be more likely to purchase that experience because of the fact that they can pay for as much or as little as they want, which provides a far more customizable experience for the customer.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Worth a Look

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

I Went to a Hatsune Miku Concert and It Was Fucking Amazing

jezebel.com​: On Saturday, I watched a not-particularly-realistic 2D projection of a teenaged girl in teal pigtails singing in a computer-generated voice mesmerize a concert hall packed with teens. For two hours. And it was actually pretty fucking amazing.


BFAMFAPhD Census Report: Of all arts graduates in the U.S., 18% work in sales and other office occupations, 17% are educators, 14% have not worked in the last five years, 11% work in various professional fields, 9% are managers, 8% make a living as artists, 8% work in service jobs, 5% work in various blue collar occupations, 4% are working in business and finance, 4% now work in science, technology or engineering, and 2% now work in medicine.

The Adventures of a Male-Bodied Transwoman in Drama School

HowlRound: I was six years old when the entire student body of Miss Murray’s Dance Academy was recruited for a local production of Gypsy. I wasn’t allowed to take ballet, but tap was okay for a boy—this was one of many compromises my parents would make over the years in their efforts to both foster my artistic growth and curb my effeminacy. I identified as female, but the world saw me differently.

USITT Working to Define Essential Skills

www.yourperformancepartners.com: Let’s say you’re a technical director at a regional theatre. You’re looking to fill an entry-level electrician position on your staff, and you receive two resumes from recent college graduates. Each of these resumes shows that the applicant has a theatre degree, and they’ve each had some hands-on experience as electricians for campus productions.

artist empowers people with disabilities through mind-generated paintings

www.designboom.com: chinese artist jody xiong has collaborated with 16 handicapped people — recruited via social media — in the artistic and technological realization of the ‘mind art’ installation. the project participants were asked to choose a winsor & newton paint color, which was placed in balloons equipped with tiny detonators. large canvas panels surrounded the balloons on all sides.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vote For Comment of the Week

Voting ends Friday noonish...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "New GaffGun Simplifies Process Of Laying Gaffer’s ...":

May god shed his glory upon those who hath pulled this mighty sword out of the stone of cable management. Armed with this holy weapon, many a technician can tape down even the most wryly cables with ease. Though sold for a steep price on the open market, passing up any such investment should prove folly to those who are of the kind who regularly find themselves on all four hands and knees tasked with the excruciating burden of fastening communication lines to the floor. This excites me, as I know now that there is salvation from the hell of taping down cable. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "‘Ten Commandments’ Sphinx Unearthed":
You know, you could make a movie out of this. It could be a post-apocalyptic comedy about a society of refugees that have found shelter in the wetlands of Central Florida (you know, if it's not an island or totally underwater by this point). 

They stumble upon the gates of of a lost kingdom full of large sanctuaries full of magnificent and fearsome creature frozen in time. In the middle of the kingdom is a castle, with a tall tower from which you can see in to the horizon. In the distance, the roaring of animals is heard, as if a multitude of different species of creatures have all escaped from their prisons and entered into a land of which they are definitely not indigenous to.

What kind of beings built this place? A society of mysterious people who fashioned vehicles in the form of giant drinkware and flying elephants and who appeared to have worshipped a mustachioed gentleman and his sidekick, some kind of mutated giant rodent. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Dear White People: Justin Simien Interview":
This is the movie I have been waiting my entire life for. Growing up I never saw anyone like me on TV. I would always have to try to relate to girls with naturally straight hair and always Caucasian. And if they dared put an African American as the main character they were always embodying some form of a disrespectful stereotype. I am biracial, half black and half white. I specify both because it frustrates me to no end that so often people completely ignore one side of me. And while to some that may not seem like its a big deal, but for me it's like saying half of what make me isn't good enough for you to acknowledge. And because of modern society I am forced to choose which side of me I want to associate with. Problem is there still is the underlying racism on both sides. To speak generally, when someone white looks at me they just seem me as a well behaved and non ghetto black girl. When someone black looks at me they see a black girl who probably has life so much easier because I am naturally lighter skinned than they and appear like I'm trying to act "white".
I'm hear to say I am a person. I am both black and white and I act like how I want to be treated, which is with respect. 
I'd like to think I don't see color, but in reality I make an effort to not let the color of people skin influence how I interact with someone. I strive to treat someone's physical characteristics or outer shell as nothing more than another bullet point on their identity profile in my head.
And that is what make this movie so great because it points out the covert racism that still exists today and we are getting the real views of what it means to be African American and part African American today. So yes I'm still longing for Martin Luther King's dream where people are not being judged by the color of their skin but rather the content of their character to come true because while we may have a black president (who is actually biracial) and no longer have segregated schools we still have a long way to go. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Backing Tracks: Enhancing The Live Sonic Presentat...":
It seems to me that whenever we (the public) find out that an artist uses backing tracks in their live performance we jump all over them criticizing them for not actually performing on stage for us. I was one of these people for a little while until I realized just what it takes to perform for 2 hours in a hot venue for over 10,000 people. After seeing this first hand I will never think negatively about this again. Now that's not to say that all bands and artists use backing tracks to run their whole show however it is necessary for them to be used at some points. On the other end there are backing tracks that my not necessarily be musical but add to the experience of the show. For example, this article mentions Roger Waters tour of The Wall. I had the opportunity to see this show twice when it came to New York (once at Madison Square Garden and once at Yankee Stadium) and noticed the insane surround effects of bombs dropping and troops marching. For this backing tracks are obviously necessary because for some reason I highly doubt that these events are happening through the playing of instruments. Like what most of the other commenters have said, there is no way we can expect to hear what we hear on record live if the use of backing tracks is eliminated. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Mike Rowe Explains Why Following Your Passion May ...":
Mike Rowe makes an important point and can be directly applied to theatre. Theatre and acting, directing etc, most certainly take a great deal of passion and creativity, and usually insanity, to pursue it as a career. Without those characteristics, many peoples acting careers would end after their first audition. 
Without a doubt, I will be turned away from more auditions than those I'd book, but passion for this art form is what keeps me coming back. It is what gets me to goo to the next audition and the next audition after that. 
I find myself agreeing with Rowe. "I don't see a shortage of people who are willing to dream big. I see people struggling because their reach has exceeded their grasp." This could not be more apparent than in the Unified auditions. I found that there were so many kids willing to kill to get into some of the BFA programs, but in reality, its mostly the same 100 or so kids who get into the top programs. Not even 100. The talent pool is small, but the "passion pool" is huge. 
Now, it is not my place to comment on someones talent, but I did find it interesting just how many parents were managing their children, in hopes of gaining access to a top conservatory, when their kid lacked ability, but this was their "Dream". 
In contrast, sometimes I find myself in need for some of those peoples passion. I become a little too comfortable. I start taking too much for granted.

"Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I'm more inclined to say, 'Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.'"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Worth a Look

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

‘Ten Commandments’ Sphinx Unearthed

Variety: Archaeologists have rediscovered a 15-foot-tall, 91-year-old giant sphinx used as a prop in “The Ten Commandments” hidden in the sand dunes of Guadalupe, Calif., Live Science reports.

The plaster sphinx was one of 21 featured prominently in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 epic. The legendary director remade the silent film in 1956, starring Charlton Heston as Moses.

‘Midnight Rider’ Insurer Cites Negligence in Refusal to Pay Claim

Variety: The insurer of the “Midnight Rider” production says that it doesn’t have to pay a claim, in part because of negligence on the part of the film’s producers.

New York Marine on Friday responded to the producers’ lawsuit seeking to recover losses after the film shut down following a Feb. 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured eight others. The movie was to have depicted the life of singer Gregg Allman.

The Subscription Model: Is Agency the New Individuality?

The Clyde Fitch Report: The argument that the subscription model for theatre is dead and the counter argument that it is not dead, and, in fact, healthy and solvent, are well established. Nowhere was this better explored than in a 2012 article in American Theatre by Jonathan Mandell. The faults inherent in the subscription model and some surprising success stories and artful adaptations of it were catalogued and placed into context by Mandell with clarity and an even hand.

architects could become like "game designers or filmmakers"

www.dezeen.com: architecture education is failing to understand how technology is changing our cities says Keiichi Matsuda, who foresees the profession “splitting into two parts” thanks to digital advances (+ movie).

The ubiquity of laptops and smartphones means the old architectural maxim that form follows function “doesn’t exist any more,” Matsuda adds, since building users now carry functionality with them as they move around the city.

The Great Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery

The 412 - October 2014: In a bit of strange local news, hundreds of protractors have been hidden throughout the city, superglued to signposts, curbs, utility boxes and other public spaces. Yet nobody appears to know from where they came or why they’re there in the first place. The protractors come in a variety of colors; each is numbered, presumably starting at one and going up to 456 — though some protractors in between have yet to be found. There’s even still debate as to whether or not these unmarked tools are protractors or just pieces of plastic shaped like protractors resembling the arc of our iconic yellow bridges.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday noonish

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Home: Not Just a Place, But Also a Responsibility":

This article, although not exactly applicable to me, describes part of my life very well. I have been around more Indian/South Asian people growing up and been to Pakistan plenty of times, but at the same time, I totally relate to the author, like how he probably thought he was white as often as he realized he wasn't. Growing up and going to a tiny school, of what used to be mostly caucasian kids definitely is the primary cause. Additionally the concept of home and of family being very intertwined makes a lot of sense to me, but I guess that's how I was raised. I never feel like a guest at any of my relatives houses, they are home. Which makes me think of my grandmother on my moms side, she always wants to do something and be helpful, and when someone tells her she is a guest and shouldn't work, her response is "What are you saying, I'm at my son/daughter's house, I am not a guest". And I guess anytime I feel like somewhere is "home", I definitely treat it that way, my high school (PreK - 12), especially our Performing Arts Center was home, my dorm I'm in is home, my actual house is home, and I am heavily invested in all of them and how they are doing. I want them operating at their best, to not have issues, etc... It definitely is a responsibility.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Phil Hettema: The basics of storytelling remain th...":
It's really great to hear someone from the themed entertainment industry talk about story before technology. I could see where it would be tempting for a sector more focused on entertainment and enjoyment to tend towards spectacle first. The story vs spectacle, function vs form balance is a big one in any narrative medium. As technology becomes more complex, it is tempting to want to use something new. I would say it is much harder and much more prone to failure to take a cool piece of technology or visual element and create a story that really flows from it than to have a story and then pick something that supports it. When you start with the technology in mind, it will always be your priority.

One issue with contemporary media design is that so many people have and do use media for spectacle or because it's new and cool. This sets up the notion that media is always a frill or decoration and it creates a perceived expectation that media should be flashy and gadget driven. It's certainly a hard balance to achieve when using the latest thing is tempting, but it curtails the respect of the discipline and the success of the storytelling.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwr...":
It's interesting trying to rationalize why cultural plays are generally produced in smaller cultural theaters. Growing up in San Antonio I saw tons of "Latino" productions and never actually stopped to think about different cultural plays until I got here. I too would like to see cultural plays in larger theaters and would like to see color blind casting more, but I think a major obstacle in moving forward is that there are already tons of classic and popular plays that call for an all black cast or an all white cast that color-blind casting would change the whole story. Furthermore, I can understand why larger theaters with probably a predominately white audience would not put on a play like Seven Guitars which focuses on minority and racial issues with an all black cast. It isn't relatable for them. 
I'm not sure how to integrate theatre productions more, but I understand why it can be so difficult to move forward in this art.
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Are young workers brats or brilliant?":
It's not about conforming to us, it's about meeting us halfway and on agreeable terms. We will not work they way you worked when you were our age. As millennials, we are very well aware that we are entering a workplaces that have a wheel that no matter how much we want to reinvent it in 3 seconds, it won't happen. We come in with a sense that the older generation's mentality is "It's our world, and you're just living in it." Of course we want a company that can accommodate flexible hours, because we know we're entering a job market where job opportunities are a level of magnitude more scarce than when older generations started working. I also think that we've grown as a generation to be quick learners since nowadays we have to be adequate or better at a wider range of skills in order to make ourselves more marketable to whatever job opportunities we can find. Yes, the work ethic we have is a little different, and I know that that's sometimes hard to trust as someone who's very dead set in their ways or because you can't always go to the next office over and physically see that they're there working. Ultimately, we need the job that brings a cash flow so we can survive, we know we have to work hard and to our best to feel fulfilled in what we're doing, so we're going to do our best to keep that job. It may not show in our punch cards, but it does show in our contributions to the company.
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "17 Pieces of Advice from ‘Inside the Actors Studio...":
It is so encouraging and warming to see so many great and well known actors talking to students about these timeless and inspirational ways of thinking about what they do. In many ways acting is such a difficult and tiring job to take on because actors have to find comfort-ability in discomfort. They have to transform into somethings sometimes completely opposite of who they are or what they believe in. Not to mention the countless blows against your opinion, ideas, and ultimately who you are as a person that come with countless rejections at countless auditions, as George Clooney so greatly puts. As you can imagine, it is very easy to lose hope that your talent will ever be recognized at all. It is also very easy to lose your passion for what you thought you loved. I know I have, more than once.

There is something that strikes a chord in me though, in the way that Meryl Streep puts why she acts. I always thought I'd act for myself, I'd get myself in the moment and live there truthfully and if anyone wanted to watch, great. When she says she does it to give a voice to those characters that don't have one, it makes me wonder how greatly an actor can influence a culture, a generation, or even a single misunderstood kid. It inspires me to know and understand all types of situations and unheard stories in the world, and let my flesh and blood be a vessel for those stories, clawing and screaming to be heard. To be all that there is in the world and give that knowledge of experience and feeling to an audience.

Maybe I agree, or maybe its hard not to be desperate to cling onto the quotes of great idols as I search for a love of acting. As Dustin Hoffman says, playing it safe is the greatest sin there is, and I couldn't agree more. Why limit yourself when it could be so much more freeing to strip yourself of everyday life superficial behavior and tell someone how you really feel. The stage is so great because that is exactly what you get to do. You get to behave completely and utterly natural with absolutely no judgment and no worry of judging another, because it's all a "play." It's real and in the moment, and that's the best part about it. You get to experience "unacceptable" things, things you'd never feel comfortable doing outside of theatre and broaden who you are as a person so you can be the best, most original, intelligent, most awesome version of you.

Well, I think this comment has helped me find out why I like to act!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Worth a Look

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

Phil Hettema: The basics of storytelling remain the same (as technology evolves)

InPark Magazine: Does storytelling need to evolve for a new generation of audience, or is storytelling a constant around which other elements revolve? As technology causes cultural shifts, the formats that we use for telling stories (such as pacing, length, visual complexity) evolve and respond to the way audiences absorb experiences. While the format may evolve and the tools we use continue to evolve both through specific technologies, and the immersive worlds we’re thereby able to create, the basic aspects of storytelling and communication remain the same.

Artistic inspiration or piracy?

Marketplace.org: Jeff Koons’ retrospective show at the Whitney Museum of Art is a grand testimonial to his work over the decades. It is also “a time capsule for copyright law,” says Andrew Gilden, teaching fellow at Stanford University Law School.

Standing in front of a sculpture of an elderly couple holding eight blue, adorable puppies entitled “String of Puppies,” Gilden points out that Koons was sued in 1992 over this very sculpture. The artist had re-created a photograph taken by photographer Art Rogers and, juxtaposing it with other sculptures in his series, was trying to comment on the banality of the images we are bombarded with in daily life. Rogers sued, alleging that Koons’ sculpture amounted to stealing.

Koons lost.

Protecting Racism in Theatre

Bitter Gertrude: Yes, I am still talking about this, despite some truly delightful comments and emails requesting that I stop draining all the fun out of life. (One woman, who said, and I quote, that she would like to punch me in the face, was relieved that I didn’t cast her local production of The King and I, as I would have unfairly deprived her of her favorite role, Lady Thiang, due to my ridiculous stance against yellowface.) The title of Mike Lew’s brilliant HowlRound article, “I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face,” says it all. Privilege goes down hard, and it goes down swinging, and it goes down all the while claiming the right to do, ahem, whatever the fuck it wants.

All You Can Smile For Just $25!

Butts In the Seats: When the entertainment tax in Spain skyrocketed, attendance at shows fell precipitously. To lure people back, one comedy theater company instituted a program where people would only pay if they laughed. According to an article on Springwise, the seats were outfitted with cameras and facial recognition software.

Every time you laughed, the account associated with your seat is charged 30 euro cents. So that people wouldn’t intentionally restrain themselves as the show progressed, the charge was capped at 80 laughs or 24 Euros.

Award Lauds College ‘Green Theatre’ Efforts

sightlines.usitt.org: The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) has created a new award: the BGA College Green Captain Award for Achievement in Greener Theatre.

The BGA College Green Captain program is modeled on the successful BGA Broadway Green Captain program, in which a cast or crew member of every Broadway production volunteers to serve as a BGA liaison member of the production for all things green or environmentally friendlier.