Monday, September 28, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Business Lessons From ‘The Wrecking Crew’ Documentary

Pro Sound Web: “Obscurity is the realm of error.” — Attributed to Luc De Clapiers.

The Wrecking Crew is a documentary about an elite collection of musicians. These troubadours were studio musicians who helped add to the sound of rock n’ roll from the mid 1950s to the present day.

Despite their incredible influence, their names and body of work were known only by a small set of music industry insiders. Their names do not appear on any albums nor do they have a hallowed space in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

SAG-AFTRA Video Game Voice Actors Strike: Actors Taking Strike Vote

Variety: Negotiators for SAG-AFTRA are seeking a strike authorization from video game voice actors after failed negotiations for a successor deal.

The performers union sent out postcards for the strike vote on Sept. 16 to “affected members” — meaning those who have worked on the Interactive Media Agreement — with a deadline of Oct. 5. The SAG-AFTRA constitution mandates that a strike authorization goes into effect only if backed by at least 75% of those voting.

“After a successful strike authorization vote, we will reach out to the employers and ask them to return to negotiations,” the union said.

The Tangled History And Mysterious Legality Of "Happy Birthday"

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: The headlines on Tuesday and Wednesday blared, "Happy Birthday found to be in the public domain." Unfortunately and confusingly, they were incorrect. A judge's ruling in a suit filed two years against the ostensible current rights holders for the lyrics to that song, Warner-Chappell Music, didn't decide that. Instead, the judge found that Warner-Chappell lacked valid rights to the lyrics, whether or not they remained under copyright protection, even as it collected fees to the tune of $2 million a year.

A New Website Tells You Where To Buy and Sell Salvaged Wood

Architect Magazine | Products, Technology, Wood, Engineered Wood: Lumber and engineered wood is everywhere on the jobsite—both when a building is going up, and when it’s coming down. In a 2008 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited a 1998 figure by the Environmental Protection Agency that the equivalent of roughly 250,000 single-family homes were being demolished annually in the U.S., resulting in more than one billion board feet of usable, structural lumber that could be reclaimed from those projects.

Monkey Business: PETA Sues On Behalf Of The Monkey Selfie; Claims Copyright Belongs To The Monkey

Techdirt: Remember the monkey selfie? That is the photo that was taken by a macaque monkey in Indonesia, using a camera left on the ground by photographer David Slater. It first became a story back in 2011 when the photographs of the monkey became a bit of an amusing filler piece for some newspapers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Spring Awakening's Deaf Actors Dance to Music They Can't Hear

Theatre Development Fund – TDF: It's a moment that would be complicated in any musical: In the current Broadway revival of Spring Awakening, at the start of a song in the second act, a group of actors faces upstage, backs to the audience. They represent a forest of trees, and eventually they begin to sway in unison as the show transitions into a searing number about loss. For their choreography to have its intended impact, everyone needs to move at the same time, as though the woods have suddenly sprung to life.

Why Pianos Can't Be Perfectly Tuned Technically speaking, pianos tuned to coventional 12-tone equal temperament aren’t actually in perfect tune. A new video from MinutePhysics explains the math behind this musical oddity, and why in the case of pianos, close enough is good enough.

Students Claim Provocative Art Project Is a ‘Hate Crime, an Act of Terrorism’

Hit & Run : Students at the University at Buffalo were outraged about the sudden appearance of “White Only” and “Black Only” signs above certain bathroom doors in the College of Arts and Sciences building. But outrage was largely the point, since the signs were part of a black student’s visual arts project.

Theatre in a Fly-over State: The Racial Divide

HowlRound: The Slant Culture Theatre Festival (now defunct) is a Louisville festival whose third year coincided with my decision to be an arts writer in Louisville. I reviewed several of the festival’s plays and saw all but one of the sixteen productions. I had a great time watching and celebrating the Louisville theatre scene come together.

Company One Has A Social Network All Its Own

ARTery: Social events are de rigueur for arts organizations today as the search for new audiences becomes a matter of survival. These days, everyone’s doing under-35 nights, date nights and all kinds of other experiments aimed at broadening the base.

At Company One Theatre, these social events are built into the mission.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Twitter Plays: When Theatre Connects with Reality

HowlRound: During my first year in Philadelphia, I was working from home. While some might consider this an enviable task, I had no connections, and no resources to test out my playwriting. I had left behind a theatre in California—a small, dirty space that served as an essential theatrical training in my impressionable younger years. Suddenly, I found myself approaching thirty with little to do. So I did what a stranger in a strange land would naturally do: I spent a lot of time on social media. And during this time, I found myself particularly drawn to Twitter.

Kimberly Peirce's Remake of Carrie Struggled With Vagina-Phobic Execs Who Couldn't Say "Vagina" When Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce remade Carrie in 2013, everyone dismissed her version of the film as an unnecessary do-over. But Peirce had some ideas for how to make her version stand apart—including an awesomely weird ending, which freaked out studio executives who couldn’t even say the word “vagina.”

“Too Street”: Hypocrisy in Policing the Speech of our Actors

Bitter Gertrude: I just had an interesting conversation with someone whose white teens are using the slang words “finna,” “aight,” “brah,” etc. She characterized it as “shortening words to sound hip.” I’m almost certain she just didn’t know where the terms came from; I don’t think she was trying to be erasive. But it brought to mind how poorly we’re handling political issues around language, especially in the theatre.

Fair Wages? Are Actor Unions Fairly Serving All Actors?

OnStage: There's been an alarming shift towards lower actor wages within the unions. And too many members of AEA and SAG have been complacent in letting their union reps negotiate less compensation in return for a producer's promise of expanded employment opportunities.

The Best Tools and Toolbox

The Sweethome: After more than 300 hours of research and testing of more than 180 tools, we’ve put together the best tool kit for your home (and found the best toolbox to hold them all). To come up with these 22 recommendations, we consulted three carpenters with a combined experience of 36 years, got input from six leading tool experts, and had many, many conversations with tool manufacturers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vote for Comment of the Week

Put your vote in the comments.  Voting ends noon on Friday.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Shaw Fest Examines Women's Struggles":

After reading this article the only question I have is: why, for the love of God, did the commission a MALE PLAYWRIGHT to write a play about a WOMAN’S story. After reading this article the only question I have is: why, for the love of God, did the commission a MALE PLAYWRIGHT to write a play about a WOMAN’S story. After reading this article the only question I have is: why, for the love of God, did the commission a MALE PLAYWRIGHT to write a play about a WOMAN’S story. After reading this article the only question I have is: why, for the love of God, did the commission a MALE PLAYWRIGHT to write a play about a WOMAN’S story. After reading this article the only question I have is: why, for the love of God, did the commission a MALE PLAYWRIGHT to write a play about a WOMAN’S story. And he made the play about two men. :(
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Behind the Met's Custom Headdresses for 'Through t...":
I saw this show in person and it was jaw-dropping, head turning, ethereal. Each piece was exhilarating and almost had a vibration of its own. One of my favorites from the show was a dress created from broken Chinese porcelain shards made by designer Li Xiaofeng. It utilized one of Chinese culture's most prized possessions (and a really unforgiving material to work with, for that matter) and transformed it into a piece of clothing. However, I must say that with the China: Through The Looking Glass exhibition, there was a TON of room for stereotypes, error and misconception in dress when it came to the Met Gala this year. There was a ton of cultural appropriation (ie. Emma Roberts wearing chopsticks in her hair, Lady Gaga wearing sushi shoes or a kimono WHICH ARE ACTUALLY BOTH JAPANESE or the reoccurring theme of dragons) and little room for cultural sensitivity. The fact that not many celebrities who went even cared to seek out Chinese designers for their clothing also irks me. While it's awesome that Chinese culture is making its way into the media and more Chinese actors/actresses are breaking into the industry, there is still a lot of racial discrimination against East Asians in the United States film/tv/theatre industry. The whole trope of "innocence" and "exotic" and "china doll" makes me bored and sick to my stomach. I can't roll my eyes back far enough to show you how I feel about this topic.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "We’re All Artists Now":
I can't count the number of times that I, upon telling someone I'm going to school to major in theater, receive a response along the lines of "How fun!" Rarely has anybody expressed awe at the amount of work I'll be taking on, or how much effort it will take me to earn my degree, remarks my friends in STEM or Humanities fields often hear. Instead, my university experience is to be considered almost a pastime, where I'll glue pieces of paper together while on psychedelic drugs, and receive grades from men and women who wear berets and use phrases like "abstract post-expressionistic heroin chic." Rarely, if ever, is it acknowledged that my creativity, and its products, takes work, and lots of it. However, I think that Lia's earlier point about how everybody being able to pursue their dreams, coupled with Amy Koultouski ( “It is O.K. to be creative and not be a child.”) show promise. I am optimistic that sometime, hopefully within my lifetime, I can speak of my time here at art school without someone bringing up wildly incorrect stereotypes or misconceptions about creativity based career paths. I can only hope that the realization of my theater-related dreams will be seen as equally valid and deserving of respect as those of my friends in other fields. This article is certainly a heartening reminder that my hope is not entirely misplaced. 

Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Nothing Sacred: Satire Comes to Salt Lake City":
This was an extremely enlightening read, mostly because of the supposed tolerance of the American Theatre. While satire and theatre have always gone hand in hand, theatrical communities typically hold themselves above the slander and discrimination the rest of the world doles out. Theatre is a home for the misfits, a place for the rejected to find support. The wild success of the Book of Mormon feels like the antithesis of that belief. Mormons have been a cultural punching bag for a while now, and I can't claim that I haven't taken part in sniggering -- or in some cases laughing uproariously -- at the weird and wacky elements at the Mormon faith. Mormons are a minority group that is still socially acceptable to ridicule. Culturally, this makes no sense. We have gotten to the point that outsiders mocking some minority races and religions (racism again African Americans and Asian Americans, Judaism, Islam) is considered taboo, or at least taboo. Yet, we continually see some groups (Mormon, Mexicans) continue to be profiled and harmfully slandered. Where do we draw the line? Could you imagine a Christian writing a Book of Mormon style show about Judaism? It would be (rightfully) called anti-Semitic and protested. But here we are-- derisive religious mockery called "the funniest show ever" and winning the Tony for best musical.

Something feels wrong here.
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Overall Design & Production Management Of A Corpor...":
The thing I find fascinating about corporate event management is that it isn't just management, per se. In this video, Andrea talks about how she took the company's original idea for a theme (Americana, academy awards feeling, etc.) and was able to put it into her own style and create something new that isn't too "theme-y". Over the summer, I worked for an extreme pogo company that is in the process of rebranding their work. When we staged the company's two events, the US Open and the World Finals of Pogopalooza, we were constantly keeping in mind how the company needed to come across, how the audience would be best involved, what the most ideal setup would be to draw an audience, and the general question of whether our appearance matched our mission. The most effective change we made was in purchasing a large screen (not quite a megatron) to display the athlete's scores in relation to each other after each event. It was a small technological upgrade, but it made a huge impact on the way the audience perceived the event and how they interacted with it. The screen was a small but much needed change to improve the legitimacy of the sport. I think events, like theatre, are really also centered around design choice, and it's really interesting to see how one small thing can completely alter the look and feel of an event.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Vote for Comment of the Week

Put your votes in the comments.  Voting closes Friday at lunchtime...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Hollywood Diversity Report Reveals a Grim, Obvious...":

Reading this is extremely sad, and reinforces how deeply ingrained the patriarchy is in our interconnected systems of government, media, and business, among surely other places. The information that makes it all the more difficult is that, even those few females artists who have the opportunity to be employed in Hollywood are backed and controlled by production companies also run by primarily white males, many of whom may actively seek to continue the interests of white, capitalist, imperialist control.

The question that I consider as I think about this, is how to make this type of news more widespread. How can our work light a fire underneath its audiences in order for someone who has the ability to, to actively seek to break down the institutions of the patriarchy and move us into a greater world of equality. While I recognize that that seems idealistic and without planning, the fact of the matter is that without considering these things in an idealistic way, we will simply continue to read articles such as this and continue to bemoan the state of our world as a patriarchal society that is out of our control.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Focuses on Diversi...":
Theatre is about life, and as such, should be accessible to everyone who experiences life. The sad truth of the matter is that commercial theatre plays largely to a white, upper-class audience, and is an industry run by white, upper-class men. I applaud the efforts The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, because it can be very difficult to diversify an art so steeped in its backwards traditions. The fact that soon the majority of the actors will be people of color is incredible, and having a company that is so well known taking these steps sends a big signal to the rest of the theatrical world. I’m also very glad that The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is promoting women playwrights, as it is one of the other major flaws theatre has presented. The other point I found very interesting, and hadn’t really thought of before, was the lack of diversity in the audience. I’m glad that the festival has recognized this issue and taken steps to remedy it. The whole point of diversifying theatre is to make is more accessible to minorities, and if they aren’t even attending, then there’s no point. It also serves to mention that the lack of diversity in theatre is probably what turned the minority crowd away from it in the first place. I hope that simply by making the diverse casting choices, the festival will draw a more diverse crowd. Theatre is by far one of the most enjoyable, and should be one of the most accessible art forms available. The fact that a large part of the population is being underrepresented and turned away is horrifying. The work that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is doing to combat this should set an example for other theatres across the country.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Part of Your World: On the Arts and Wellbeing":
I found the inner debate of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and GNH (Gross National Happiness) to be quite intriguing. The aim of both of these indicators is to quantify how well a society is doing, GDP in terms of economic success and GNH in terms of the overall well-being of a country. We are slowly approaching the dawn of a new era, a time when computers and machinery are doing the vast majority of the jobs once held by the middle class. With these jobs being taken by inanimate objects, what jobs are left for these people? The human race continues to grow in terms of population; every day there are more humans on this planet than there ever were before. So what do these people do to survive and sustain themselves, especially when there are fewer jobs to be had? If you’re good at reading between the lines you can sense the undertone of this question in the article, yet the article just kind of mumbles over the handful of GNH indicators that have been formulated instead of actually addressing the issue. Then at the end, the article wraps up with it’s “arts are good for happiness” argument. Personally, I believe there is an untapped answer lying between the success of the arts and the downfall of jobs which produce goods/services on an economically minded scale. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "David Bowie, Aerosmith, Flaming Lips Pen Songs for...":

Nobody on Earth knows how excited I am for this. I feel like after this, we all may as well quit theatre, there will be literally nothing left to do that could ever top this. This musical will probably end up beating out Phantom of the Opera for the longest running musical in America. I'm surprised this show isn't a CMU grad's thesis, because of how influential and classic it will become.

Think about the SpongeBob costume. What the HELL is that going to be? Is it going to be like the guys you see at sporting events, in a suit with an unmoving, plastic smile? Dead eyes, grabbing hands reaching out for children? Or will they make it meta, strip a guy down, paint him yellow, and teach him how to do the voice REALLY well? Squidward is a SQUID. He has FOUR LEGS. What is the plan there? I am hoping someone will invent fully independently functioning prosthetic limbs just for SPONGEBOB: THE MUSICAL. The whole thing takes place under the sea. Possibly the first ever fully aquatic Broadway performance? What about the character Pearl, who is 1) a whale, 2) a high school cheerleader, and 3) 30x the size of her own father?

Also, addressing the more obvious point, where else is this musical line up going? I am hoping they throw in several Nicki Minaj dance numbers.

I know this is just a sad grab for cash riding off the success of the movie, but SpongeBob has always been a show that made NO SENSE, and that' why I love it. I can see this musical becoming like every other Disney musical, flashy with nothing new. Or, I can see the creators going, "Why not make this weird? No one takes it seriously anyways, let's have Sandy be played by a REAL SQUIRREL." I am desperately hoping for the latter, and will be following this production closely. 
 Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Bad Singing and Fire Eating: Actors on Their ‘Spec...":
With a bachelor's degree (or higher!) now a fairly standard requirement for many openings in the modern job market, it no longer serves as the same distinguishing marker it did in decades past. With college graduates an ever-increasing population, the successful application of novel ways to distinguish oneself is not just a nice touch, but an unspoken requisite. While these unique talents featured in the article are showcased in an arena more hospitable to such bizarre special skills, their individuality speaks to the new quest for a resume to truly tell a fulsome story or carry an applicant's voice.

As someone mere years away from entering the punishing cycle of job applications and career questing, it feels as though I - and my peers - have been handed the task of making ourselves special in a pool where everyone is special. Toss air quotes around the word "special", and we might as well be back in kindergarten, fighting for the teacher's attention. While it was disheartening to hear about those who caught the attention of potential employers, and still walked away without a job, it was nice to know they weren't quite empty handed, having gleaned valuable feedback and a better sense of what stuck with those in charge of casting.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Worth a Look

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

Broadway show gives away free copies of 'Fun Home' to protest boycott For every group that seeks to boycott a book for bigoted reasons, there's another group happy to step in and encourage others to freely read.

Last week, the Daily Dot reported that some incoming freshmen at Duke University are refusing to read Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home, citing their moral opposition to the book’s frank depiction of lesbian sexuality.

FCC Rules to Protect 600 MHz White Spaces

Stage Directions: For many pro wireless users, the past five years have been a nightmarish roller coaster of uncertainty. It all began with the Federal Communications Commission’s 2008 auction of the 700 MHz band (698 to 806 MHz) from the reallocation of TV channels 52 to 69 and the “white spaces” issue, where available space between frequency bands was made illegal for pro wireless applications after June 12, 2010.

The 10 Most Gut-Punching Moments From BuzzFeed's Exposé on Sexism in Animation

Women and Hollywood: It's not news that the animation industry has always been a boys club, but that doesn't make BuzzFeed's recent longform exposé on the historical, institutional and ongoing sexism within the field any less powerful. Ariane Lange's piece is full of revealing tidbits, like the fact that wearing a pantsuit to the office was a fireable offense for women at Disney until 1958. But the most compelling elements of the article come from the many women -- both retired and still working -- who share their often horrific experiences about what it's like to be a woman in animation.

Hollywood Diversity Report Reveals a Grim, Obvious Reality for Women of Color A Hollywood diversity report just released by USC’s Annenberg School of Media and Journalism notes that, among other things, Latinas and Black women are most likely to star in Hollywood films only when they are dressed in “sexy attire.”

Why I Should Have Paid More Attention in Music Theory Class

The Creativity Post: For much of my life, I thought that being “musical” was a matter of operating by intuition and instinct.

Playing louder or softer because it felt right. Taking more or less time because it seemed to make sense.

That served me pretty well for a while, until one day I had to learn an unfamiliar piece of music for which there existed no recording, and I struggled.

For once, it seemed that simply feeling the music and going with whatever naturally came out wouldn’t get me to where I wanted to go.

I wondered…had I reached the limits of my musical intuition?