Sunday, October 25, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Jam Productions vs. stagehands Local concert promoters Jam Productions, one of the few remaining major independent music bookers in the U.S., are in the midst of what’s shaping up to be a nasty fight with stagehands who are seeking to unionize.

A photo of a flier outlining the stagehands’ gripes has gone viral on the local music scene via social media. “When Jam Productions owner Jerry Mickelson heard his stagehands wanted an election so they could vote on whether to be represented by Stagehands Local 2, he fired each and every one of us at the Riviera,” it reads. “It’s not his choice—it’s ours! You have a choice, too—don’t patronize the Riviera, Vic, or Park West until Jam hires us back!”

Members of Actors’ Equity file lawsuit against their Union

Footlights: Actors and other members of the Los Angeles theatrical community (Ed Asner, Tom Bower, Gregg Daniel, John Flynn, Maria Gobetti, Gary Grossman, Ed Harris, Salome Jens, Veralyn Jones, Karen Kondazian, Simon Levy, Amy Madigan, Tom Ormeny, Lawrence Pressman, Michael Shepperd, Joseph Stern, French Stewart, and Vanessa Stewart) filed a lawsuit today against Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers and Mary McColl, AEA Executive Director. The lawsuit challenges the Union’s decision to eliminate its 25-year-old waiver of jurisdiction over small 99-seat theaters, a program popularly known as Equity Waiver. Plaintiffs claim that the Union’s decision to end Equity Waiver will unfairly destroy small theater in Los Angeles and deprive thousands of actors of opportunities to collaborate on creative theatrical projects.

Actors' Equity Association Statement on the Minimum Wage Lawsuit After dedicating months of staff time, conducting surveys and membership meetings--and considering the results of the advisory referendum, which prompted AEA's Council to carve out even more exemptions to its original proposals--the governing body created a system that would allow for some members to be paid minimum wage for rehearsals and performances, while those who chose to would still be able to volunteer their time to a) self-produce, b) perform with membership companies under the new internal membership rules, and c) appear in 50-seat showcases.

Ali Stroker Is Checking Off Her List, One Dream at a Time

AMERICAN THEATRE: Ali Stroker doesn’t let anything get in the way of her dreams. She has used a wheelchair since an accident left her paralyzed from the chest down when she was two years old. Her vibrant personality and singing voice led her to the stage, where she has been performing professionally since she was 11. Ali is a graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in drama. After attending an open casting call, Stroker became a finalist on the second season of “The Glee Project” and landed a role on the show. Now she is making her Broadway debut in Spring Awakening as the first person on record who uses a wheelchair to be cast on the Great White.

The Carnegies get ready to rumble in a cultural clash

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Do you have a favorite item or exhibit in the Carnegie Museums? Dippy the dinosaur, perhaps? Or the Miniature Railroad & Village train exhibit?

Beginning Monday, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh will be celebrating its 120th anniversary with Clash of the Carnegies. This bloodless bout will pit the four Carnegie Museums — The Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art — against each other.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Worth a Look

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

This is supposed to be a Golden Age in Boston, but not for the theater business

The Boston Globe: As I sat in Emerson College’s Colonial Theatre on Sunday, it was hard for me to enjoy the hysterically funny musical “The Book of Mormon” without wondering whether this is the end of the Colonial as we know it.

Appeals Court: No You Can't Copyright Yoga

Techdirt: We first wrote about this issue more than a decade ago, but there's been a ridiculous attempt by some yoga instructors to use intellectual property to lock up certain yoga poses. While most of the focus has been on copyright, other attempts have used other forms of intellectual property as well. But the most watched legal dispute was the one brought by Bikram Yoga and Bikram Choudhury against Evolution Yoga... and the 9th Circuit appeals court has now made it abundantly clear: you can't copyright yoga.

Hollywood Accused of “White-Washing” Roles Meant for Asian-Americans

Deadline: Hollywood again is being accused of “white-washing” roles originally written as Asian characters. The latest incident is on Ridley Scott’s The Martian, in which white actress Mackenzie Davis stars as Mindy Park, who’s identified as a Korean-American scientist in the book the film was based on.

Working Behind-the-Scenes to Support Behind The Scenes

Rosco Spectrum: We were thrilled to present Behind The Scenes UK with our annual royalty check representing the year’s proceeds from sales of Rosco 313 Light Relief Yellow at the PLASA trade show in London this year. Behind the Scenes, formerly known as Light Relief, provides financial support to entertainment technology professionals who experience hardship when they become ill or injured, or to their surviving family members.

Oregon Ballet Theatre partners with Pabst Blue Ribbon (yep, PBR) to draw more millennials Oregon Ballet Theatre's latest marketing campaign features a bare-chested, on-pointe ballet dancer sharing the stage with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in full efface derriere.

The sales pitch: "Come watch ballet. We'll give you a beer."

Too obvious?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Worth a Look

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

“It’s like if ‘When Harry Met Sally’ ended with everybody getting hit by a truck”: Inside the “Year of Lear” and the terrorist plot that changed Shakespeare Terrorist attacks are not unique to our age. Near the end of 1605, a group of radical, disenchanted Catholics plotted to overthrow the British government by blowing up the House of Lords, killing King James I, and wiping out the nation’s religious leadership, which had in recent generations become Protestant.

The Unsung Gender-Parity Warriors

AMERICAN THEATRE: In 2002, a New York State Council on the Arts study by Susan Jonas and Suzanne Bennett showed that 17 percent of all works produced on the city’s stages were written by women. There were no more reliable statistics until this August, when the Lilly Awards and the Dramatists Guild released “The Count,” a report on the gender of playwrights programmed in major nonprofits across the country over the past three seasons, which showed that the number of works by women was 22 percent. Our own American Theatre tally, culled from upcoming seasons at Theatre Communications Group member theatres, puts the figure at 21 percent, meaning we’re at least holding steady for the next year.

This Ain’t No Quick Change

Breaking Character: Theatre is always in flux because our world is always in flux and theatre is just an expression of the culture—or reflection, if you want to go cliché about theatre holding up a mirror to society, but then I get fixated on why doesn’t theatre spell all words backwards and show the sun setting in the East like when you take a selfie with an iPhone. But while theatre is always fluidly changing, albeit is slowly, much about it stays the same and some of our most traditional forms of theatre are still enjoyed the world over. If this wasn’t true, we would have tossed Shakespeare to the curb next to Pseudodilotitus many centuries ago.

Argentina Proposes a 100-Year-Plus Copyright Extension on Photography

Electronic Frontier Foundation: A new front has opened in publishers' global war on the public domain. Lawmakers of Argentina's ruling party are proposing a vast extension of copyright terms on photography—from 20 years after publication to 70 years after the photographer's death. That means that the term of restriction of photographic works would be extended by an average 120 years.

The Other Canon: 10 Centuries of Plays by Women

AMERICAN THEATRE: In 2002, I was working as an arts analyst in the theatre program at the New York State Council on the Arts, where, in partnership with Suzanne Bennett, I had recently completed a three-year study on the status of women in theatre which generated a widely read report. Encouraged by my interest in the subject, two visionary directors, Gwynn MacDonald and Mallory Catlett, approached me to fund “The First Hundred Years: The Professional Female Playwright,” a remarkable yearlong citywide staged readings series directed by an eclectic group of directors, complemented by symposia involving a slate of distinguished scholars. I heard for the first time the names Elizabeth Cary, Margaret Cavendish, Joanna Baillie, Elizabeth Inchbald, Hannah Cowley, and many others. This was the beginning of my education about the Other Canon: some good, some great, some successful in their time, some way ahead of their time, all almost erased from history and the repertory.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Vote for Comment of the Week

Votes in the comments.  Voting closes Friday lunchish.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Is Theater Too Ideologically Exclusive?":

This article really struck home with me. I am an extremely liberal person who came from a very conservative upbringing. Whenever my family, parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, come to see my shows they're always confused and have a lot of questions after. There's also always a lot of comments such as "of course you're a little more liberal than we're in theatre." And it's hard to invite them to my shows, especially the ones who are going to bring up hard topics to bring up at the dinner table over Thanksgiving because I know the show is going to make them uncomfortable. This is what really bothers me about Broadway. Nobody ever wants to go to New York and see the really and truly great work because they can just go see fun and happy Mama Mia and nobody will have to see anything that makes them uncomfortable. I think that we as artists who strive to understand all humans on this planet and give something that will mean something should aim to make ourselves as uncomfortable as possible as often as possible and if that means doing plays that oppose our own beliefs, that could be alright. I think it's also worth noting that often conservative theater-goers or theatre artists hide their conservative nature while in the theatre world because they know that their opinion will not be popular.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Is Theater Too Ideologically Exclusive?":
This article was difficult for me to read, because I had to re-evaluate my own feelings and positions. Like many theatre people, I tend to lean more liberal (ok, very liberal, but I try and keep an open mind) and I also feel strongly about the diversity of the theatrical experience. Yet, if I saw a show which went against one of my core moral beliefs, I’m not sure I could be objective enough to appreciate it. Sure, right now I could tell you that inciting anger is another way of causing emotional change, and that is a valuable theatrical tool. But I’m not sure that in the moment I could condone the performance. And I don’t know for sure what I would think in that moment because I’ve not really had that experience yet. Sure, there have been a few shows where I’ve disagreed with the way things are portrayed, but I’ve never found myself in extreme moral opposition to what’s happening. I think this trend of morally complicit theatre is also very interesting, because while the majority of those who work in theatre are liberal, those who watch theatre are heavily divided. The majority of theatrical audiences are either other theatre people (typically liberal) or the Broadway stereotype of an old white couple (where there is a higher chance of non-liberal viewpoints). So then the question is, did theatre become liberal because at some point it’s audience wasn’t? Or has it been liberal all along, it’s just that the idea of liberal has changed. It’s a question I can’t answer, since I’m not well versed enough in historical social conventions, but it is an interesting point. This article has really made me evaluate my views, and I actually hope I can see a play where I’m morally offended at some point in my lifetime, if only for the personal experience. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Is Theater Too Ideologically Exclusive?":
I haven’t ever really thought about theater in a conservative vs. liberal view like this before, but now that I am, as the writer states, I can’t really think of a well- known show that outwardly shows and supports politically conservative viewpoints. However, I can’t help but think that this might just be because theater isn’t necessarily the first place people look to when they are trying to incite political change. Most of the plays I can think of don’t have some kind of end game of convincing the audience to choose one side on some kind of political issue, but rather, are trying to convey a kind of more personal, heartfelt message about how we live our lives and how we relate to one another. While there are definitely plays that are vehemently liberal in their subject matter, I feel like that’s different from promoting a liberally- minded perspective. For example, I wouldn’t say that RENT was trying to convince people of the viability of the New York City bohemian lifestyle, but rather, to appreciate the value of friendships and relationships and to appreciate one another’s differences and see others complexly, an idea which I don’t feel is explicitly on one side of the political spectrum. On the same note, I don’t think that the orgy scene in Pippin promotes promiscuity. but, rather, is used as a plot point to show Pippin’s ascent into adulthood. Also, I feel like this article could be misleading in that it makes it seem that nothing is problematic in theatrical productions. Of course, there are definitely still plays being produced and written which, for one example, don’t feature women or people of color in a good light; should this be okay if the end game of the show is considered to be liberal? And to be honest, I’m okay with theater being, for the most part, a liberally minded and accepting place, because it’s an art form that is so inherently vulnerable and personal. If extreme conservatives complain that they feel as if they don’t have their place in theater, there are plenty of other places they could go to that would be more “accepting” of their perspectives.
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Is Theater Too Ideologically Exclusive?":
This is something that I’ve thought a lot about, not necessarily as a perspective practitioner of theatre, but just as someone in society. At what point are we actually open to values other than our own, not just dismissing them as the thought of another person. When do we actually watch something that we strongly disagree with and break down why we disagree with it? And what impact do we have by being creative forces in the world?

I don’t know if there are any universal answers to these questions, in fact I believe there likely aren’t any, but that doesn’t mean an attempt isn’t worth while. In fact, the pursuit of these answers is a motivating force in my life, as I believe it is in many artists’ lives. To me, just the process of trying to keep an open mind, to try and view things in a different light, that is enough to justify holding an opinion and advocating for it. I’ve found that if you actively try to prove yourself wrong, than the only two paths that can play out are that you reinforce your values, or you drop values that were flawed. Because of this, I try and surround my self with a diverse group of people, with diverse opinions, and I have conversations.

I guess all art is is an attempt at a larger conversation. Yeah, it is true that the majority of the people who attend/create theatre are likely to have some biased to liberal values, but that doesn’t mean that their contribution to the conversation is invalid. If anything, it validates their contribution through the fact that they hold beliefs that are different than others, which means that someone who disagrees with their beliefs can state why, creating a new conversation.
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Is Theater Too Ideologically Exclusive?":
Although I always knew theater was heavily skewed towards the liberal side of politics I never knew how far that extent went. To find out there are virtual no conservative playwrights writing today is crazy to me . As someone who was raised by fairly conservative parents, my politics have often fallen on the slightly more conservative end of the spectrum, although I agree with many socially liberal ideas. Perhaps I'm similar to the conservatives mentioned at the bottom of the article, ones who are able to understand liberal perspectives well, but don't necessarily embody them. While I'm definitely not as conservative as my parents, and pretty much only agree with them on fiscal issues, I've often felt that I should never get involved in politics while at work in the theater. In fact when I first started pursuing theater I remember my dad explicitly telling me to never talk politics in fear that I'd be boxed out for having a more conservative perspective. While I think that assumption was a bit extreme I can't say I always feel open about sharing my politics even here at school. I personally enjoy the ideologies present in modern theater and think they stimulate important conversations, but I do see a lack of diversity when it comes to more conservative ideas being presented, which is a shortcoming to the community as only half of a conversation is ever often being adequately represented. I personally have no problem existing in a predominantly liberal field, because the liberal focused principles of fairness, and protection from harm are crucial to creating a safe environment for new work to shape and take form, but I'd love to see a more conservative perspective enter theater as well to not only help stimulate an enriching conversation across political philosophies, but also help other more reserved conservatives in the field not feel like they have to hide part of their political agenda as they go to work everyday. 


Ruth Pace has left a new comment on your post "Papal equipment takedown could take days, Stagehan...":
The pope once came to Philly
The city went rather silly.
With massive reverent crowds
Prayers most loud,
at least the weather wasn't too chilly.
But wait! Local 8 cries,
"We put on quite the show for you guys!"
With stages and equipment abounding,
Our tech's cries are resounding,
work lasts longer than you imply.
For you see, strike will take a bit.
On our asses, we do not sit.
For this task we have multiple crews,
(such good planning surely is not news)
We'll go with the night oil lit.
Now the workers of dear local 8,
they will be working 3-5 days straight.
And when they finish with the city,
All will praise IATSE,
For the wonders they work are great.
So great it was as "seen on TV."
(Said Michael Barnes, not me)
The pope I'm sure, is most glad.
If he weren't, t'would be bad,
Such a wonderful guy, you see.
Now this concludes my epic,
a tale of tech most poetic.
I hope to god that this counts,
if not, a war cry I'll sound,
and the rest of my comments will be linguistically eclectic.