CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

11th Hour is at Hand; WGA Talks Go On

Backstage: "The first day of mediated talks between the WGA and studio reps seemed less acrimonious than some past sessions, but strike prognosticators were still working overtime in Hollywood on Tuesday."

Book set mostly does justice to Wilson's grand cycle

Post Gazette: "Theatre Communications Group has just published the uniform edition of what it calls 'The August Wilson Century Cycle,' a boxed set of the 10 individual plays that each takes place in a different decade of the 20th century. Often called the Pittsburgh Cycle because every play but one is set in Wilson's native Hill District, it has earned him a position alongside Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams as the great theatrical chroniclers of the comedy and tragedy of our national life."

Child’s play

Times Online: "How things can change. The hottest play in London this month is War Horse, designed for audiences of 12 and above. Ingeniously adapted from the novel by the former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, it tells the story of a beloved horse roped into military service in the First World War, and the boy who signs up to the army to find him again. Garlanding more critical wows than anything else the National Theatre has done since The History Boys, it’s sure to pack out the 1,100-seat Olivier auditorium from now till the new year. “Children’s theatre is helping the National to grow up,” The Observer raved. “This is a show for all ages and all time,” agreed the Sunday Express. But actually War Horse, and the National, are just the tip of the iceberg."

Extended Intermission "Citing a severe 'cash-flow crunch,' African Continuum Theatre Company's board has decided to postpone its fall and winter shows and present a shortened season in the spring. Previously announced plays, including 'Blue Door' by Tanya Barfield, 'Intimate Apparel' by Lynn Nottage and 'The Soul Collector,' a new work by David Emerson Toney, may not be part of that short season."

Maybe, Baby: Dirty Dancing Makes North American Premiere Oct. 31

Playbill News: "The North American premiere of Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story On Stage, the British-made stage show of the popular Hollywood picture, invites audiences to have the time of their lives beginning Oct. 31 in Toronto."

The America Play

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh:

"If you witnessed Suzan-Lori Parks' compelling and fascinating Topdog/Underdog, as brilliantly directed and played at City Theatre in 2004, you'll recall that a major element was Abraham Lincoln's assassination."

Theatre Festival in Black and White

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "The Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company's Theatre Festival in Black and White matches four one-acts by black playwrights with white directors, and four plays by white playwrights with black directors. The festival consists of two programs, staged in rotation."

Good Black Don't Crack

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "First, the good news: Kenneth M. Ellis has built a beautiful set for Kuntu Repertory Theatre Co.'s Good Black Don't Crack. Stage right, we see a prim living room, tastefully painted and decorated. Stage left, an intimate studio apartment. Towering above, a fully functional café, with a bar, tables, stools and the restaurant's name stenciled on the front window."

Aristocratic Folk

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh:

"Costumed like a gathering of extras from Fiddler on the Roof, the Georgian State Dance Company is known for its traditional and very rousing folk-dance extravaganzas, complete with high-kicking acrobatics, swordplay and even some playful cross-dressing. The 80-member troupe (with musicians) will present its program of some 20 Georgian folk dances on Thu., Nov. 1, at the Byham Theater."

A play a day gets Roe in play

Los Angeles Times: "Galeen Roe admits there are times when rushing from her job as a downtown law librarian to stick-shift her 1999 Chevy Prizm through traffic to make an 8 p.m. theater curtain leaves her feeling grumpy.

But Roe also confesses to a certain compulsion when it comes to not missing any concert, play or performance art piece she can possibly get to. 'That's what I do, I go to see bands in Tijuana, or to see a play wherever,' says the effervescent 35-year-old, who lives with two cats in Los Feliz. 'My parents are like: 'I think there's a show in Boston -- if you leave now, you'll make it.' '

So it comes as no surprise that, after a chance introduction to playwright Suzan-Lori Parks' yearlong, nationwide theater festival '365 Plays/365 Days,' Roe would decide she had to attend every single play."

Actors' Equity Names Thomas J. Miller As Director of Outreach and Career Development "Actors' Equity has appointed Thomas J. Miller as its new Director of Outreach and Career Development. Miller, who has served on Council since 1997, joined the Equity Staff on Monday, Oct 22, 2007 at National Headquarters in New York City."

Assistance for AEA Members in San Diego "The Fund, through its Entertainment Assistance Program, is available to help our colleagues in the entertainment community by providing emergency financial assistance for shelter, food, clothing, health insurance premiums, and initial resettlement support. In addition, staff can help in a variety of other ways"

David Westphal Named Equity National Chorus Rep "David Westphal, an Equity member since 1970, a Chorus performer for 25 years, an Equity Councillor for 20 years, and a longtime champion of Chorus, is the new-and first-Equity National Chorus Business Representative."

What Has Your Union Done For You Lately? "Elections 2008: How often have you asked what is my union, Actors' Equity, doing for me? I don't make enough money; I am not allowed to work where I want to; health care is out of my reach, or I only need one more week, why can't I just pay it myself?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NYC Unveils New Film Permit Proposal

Backstage: "The New York Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting announced its redrafted production permit and insurance rule proposal, four months after an outcry of protest over their original proposal led them back to the drawing board."

Stage Preview: The making of a musical

Post Gazette: "It starts with one person, maybe two, but it also takes a village. It can take years, but there's never enough time. It seems impossible, but sometimes it works out. It's one of the most improbable achievements in the arts, creating a new musical."

Brian Cox Calls Out American Theater: ‘Great Television Drama’

New York Magazine: "When you spend an hour chatting with the extremely voluble — and opinionated — Brian Cox at Café Reggio, you're likely to hear some pretty interesting stuff. In this week's issue of New York, Boris Kachka interviews Cox, currently starring on Broadway in Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll. But there's a lot more we couldn't include in the magazine, like Cox's thoughts on Ian McKellan's nude scene, actors who claim the theater is sacred, and the state of American playwrighting. (Hint: He's not impressed.)"

Broadway talks resume on Nov. 7

Variety: "There have also been complications on both sides, with the union plagued by rumors of a rift between international and local leadership and producers working to present a united front despite the fact that not all theater owners are members of the League of American Theaters and Producers, the trade association currently negotiating with Local One."

'August' sweeps Jefferson Awards

Variety: "'August: Osage County,' the family drama by Tracy Letts currently previewing on Broadway, surprised no one by dominating Chicago's legit kudos, racking up six Joseph Jefferson Awards Monday night."

Blue Man Group turned the amps up at Mellon Arena

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'How to Be a Megastar 2.1' delivered rock bombast along with some phantasmagoric visuals. At one point, the lights went down, showing the trio of Blue Men outlined in multicolored horizontal bars of light. 'Wow!' said a pre-school-age boy in the ninth row."

Broadway at a Discount, and an Epiphany

New York Times: "Dirk Bouma, an accountant from the Netherlands, stood in a light rain outside the TKTS booth at the South Street Seaport on Thursday and, with a forlorn stare, read the list of Broadway and Off Broadway shows hanging in the window. It was his first trip to New York City, and he wanted to see a play. The problem was that he didn’t know which one, nor had he seen any ads or read any reviews."

Frankenstein - Theater

New York Times: "One is a green-skinned giant capable only of inarticulate grunting (and dancing), and the other has the eloquence of a poet, though his suffering has made him a murderer. Which of these creatures — both formed in laboratories and both currently appearing onstage in New York — is the real Frankenstein? Actually, neither, though for almost two centuries playwrights and filmmakers have helped us to forget that the name belongs to the creator and not his progeny."

Theatre Producers and Union Will Resume Talks in November

Playbill News: "The upcoming discussion will also include Tom Short — the head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (Local One's parent union) — and will mark the first the time the two sides have met since talks hit an impasse Oct. 9."

Colorado's only black, Chicano theaters moving up

The Denver Post: "When you are an 'only,' Denver Councilwoman Deborah Ortega said, 'You are as essential as a heartbeat.' More than 95 Colorado theater companies have performed at least one play in the past 12 months. But we have only one black theater company. Only one Chicano troupe. In a state where 28 percent of the population is non-Anglo. With a capital city where, as of August, minority groups make up the majority of the population for the first time."

U.S. ignores SAG’s plea to investigate unfair trade practices

Show Business Weekly: "United States trade officials have a message for the Canadian government: Go ahead and take as many of our film and television productions as you want. A challenge over Canada’s famously sweet production incentives was rejected last week by U.S. trade reps who said there were simply no grounds for an investigation."

Stagehand Union and Broadway Producers To Resume Talks "Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees will resume labor negotiations with The League of American Theatres and Producers on November 7, according to published reports. The union has been working without a contract since July 31, and negotiations between the two camps over the terms of a new contract stalled October 9. Each side has presented a so-called 'final offer' which has been rejected by the other."

Making Documents Look Much Better in MS Word

Web Worker Daily: "Do you spend a lot of time formatting documents in Microsoft Word? If so, there are a number of under-the-hood features that can make you more efficient at it, and make your documents look better. In a previous post I compiled time-saving shortcuts for Word, and readers chimed in with a slew of tips of their own. In this post, I’ll round up some of the best tips for making your documents look better."

Arts festival says site is in doubt

Post Gazette: "The Three Rivers Arts Festival, one of the city's most popular events, could be driven out of Point State Park, which is undergoing a major face-lift and due to reopen next summer. New guidelines are being developed for the use of the state-owned park and unless those guidelines are revised, the festival 'will most likely not be able to operate in Point State Park,' said Elizabeth Reiss, the arts festival's executive director."

City's ballet, symphony, museums on firmer fiscal footing

Post Gazette: "It took a strong dose of tough love, but after six years of operating in the red, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre yesterday unveiled a financial surplus for the 2006-07 season, capping a good year for three of the region's major cultural institutions. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also said it balanced its budget for the first time in three years, while the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, which regularly covers an operating deficit through multiple dips into its endowment, said it expects to end that practice starting next year."

How to Multitask Without Losing Your Mind

WebMD: "Research shows that we consistently perform better and faster when tasks are done successively, rather than all at once. A new study is shedding light on why. 'We've identified a kind of bottleneck in the prefrontal cortex of the brain that forces people to address problems one after the other, even if they're doing it so fast it feels simultaneous,' says René Marois, PhD, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Vanderbilt University and coauthor of the study. 'This explains why previous data shows brain activity going down instead of up with each new challenge; it's like a mental traffic jam.' Unfortunately, life isn't slowing down."

Featured Download: GIMP 2.4 Offers New Features, Improved Interface

Lifehacker: "Windows/Mac/Linux: Open source image editing suite GIMP version 2.4 is now available and features a host of new goodies and long-awaited improvements. Chief among the new features are scaling for all kinds of brushes, intuitive selection and crop tools, a new object alignment guide and advanced tools like perspective cloning and lens distortion filters, but there are many more. GIMP is free, available already in some Linux repositories and for download for Windows and Mac users."

16 Tips to Survive Brutal Criticism (and Ask for More) "“You suck.”

Everyone encounters criticism, whether it is a boss pointing out falling performance, a bad review for your book, or even self-criticism after an embarrassing slip-up. Your ability to digest that criticism and make use of it says a lot about your character. Even better is to be the kind of person who can take a sharp, verbal critique, stand up and ask for more."

Final paper time

The Microsoft Office Word Team's Blog: "With mid-terms, exams, and most importantly, final papers coming up, I wanted to drill into some of the capabilities that might help student readers with their workloads. Citations, equations, and the like saw some pretty cool changes in 2007."

Exclusive Interviews: Pear Cable Chickens Out of $1,000,000 Challenge, We Search For Answers

Gizmodo: "When we first criticized the $7,250 Pear Anjou speaker cables, little did we know it would stir up such a hornet's nest of controversy. James Randi, former magician and professional debunker, responded to our post by offering $1 million from his James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to anyone who could scientifically prove in double-blind testing that those exotic cables sound any better than run-of-the-mill Monster cables. Next, Pear Cable CEO Adam Blake stepped up, calling Randi's offer a hoax. Later, he announced that audiophile journalist Michael Fremer, senior contributing editor of Stereophile Magazine, was willing to undergo the double-blind testing in an attempt to prove there is difference between Pear Anjou cables and those Monster cables that cost about $7,100 less. Then, things got complicated. We interviewed James Randi, Michael Fremer and Pear CEO Adam Blake, trying to understand why this test may not even take place at all."

College Chronicles #10: Welton Establishes a Student Work Week and Reserves Extra Time for Low-Stress Test Prep

Study Hacks: "Welton, the Harvard Linguistics major, wrote me recently asking for help. He was unhappy with his test preparation habits. Too often, he was leaving studying until the night before. He wanted to get it done earlier and with less stress. As we learned last time — when I helped Leena inject some rationality into her chaotic MIT experience — my study philosophy dictates that the first step to improving academic performance is to add some structure to your schedule."

Another huge grant comes CMU's way; $22 million from Heinz Endowments

Post Gazette: "Three days after Carnegie Mellon University announced a $25 million gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, it has won another large grant -- more than $22 million from The Heinz Endowments."

CMU getting plaudits for getting greener

Post Gazette: "On everything from building construction to energy conservation to cage-free eggs and organic granola in the dining halls, area universities are turning 'green.' The growing environmental bent of area schools was recognized in the November/December issue of Sierra magazine, out yesterday, which named Carnegie Mellon University and Penn State University two of its '10 Coolest Schools' for their efforts to address global warming."

Take Action: How to Make Quick Decisions

Web Worker Daily: "Piles of paper on your desk, a full email inbox, clutter in your home, anything that’s piled up really, are all results of a lack of decisions. While indecision can have many costs, from lost revenue to a suffering reputation to hindering your career, one of the surest symptoms of indecision are piles of any kind."

The original 43 folders.

43 Folders: "I was recently skimming through my beloved old 1934 edition of Progressive Indexing and Filing, which I inherited at a young age from my grandmother—probably my first piece of productivity porn (the book, not my grandmother.) On page 85, I stumbled across a delightful little gem. Apparently, not only did the David not invent the tickler file (news to me), but it’s been around since at least 1934."

Eliminate Common Writing Mistakes "Let me just say, spell-check is not your friend. While it is ostensibly a useful service intended to help improve the quality of your written work, it is in actuality the product of a plot between Bill Gates, Richard Stallman, and Kim Jong Il, who are working together to undermine America’s public image in preparation for a non-violent overthrow of our country and our way of life. Really! It’s the only possible explanation for why spell-checking a document allows so many embarrassing and often hilarious mistakes to remain in the final document – mistakes that generally make the writer look more stupid than s/he would if there had been an uncorrected typo or two."

"What Happens Next," Marc Norman, screenwriting

Salon Books: "'A screenwriter is not really a writer; his words do not appear on the screen. What he does is to draft out blueprints that are executed by a team.' So wrote Paul Schrader, writer of 'Taxi Driver' and co-writer of 'Raging Bull,' two of the greatest films of the late 1970s -- though chances are you were only dimly aware of that, and think of them both as Martin Scorsese pictures. That the writer on any film project is regarded as a second-class talent, negligible at best and a nuisance at worst, is one of the hoariest chestnuts of the movie industry, and even the writers themselves can't seem to help polishing it every now and then. So Marc Norman -- a screenwriter himself, winner of an Academy Award for 'Shakespeare in Love' -- abundantly documents in his new book, 'What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting.'"

5 Reasons Why You Should Simplify What You Say, and How to Do It

Positivity Blog: "“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere”. Lee Iacocca One of the trickier things about social skills is to get your message across."

What to Do When It’s All Too Much "Things have been pretty hectic around here. We lifehackistes talk about and write about productivity as a way of dealing with the everyday distractions and time-sinks that prevent us from getting our important work done — whether that’s career-related tasks or following our personal goals. But what happens when everything falls apart? When disaster strikes and it takes everything you have to deal with it?"

Mercedes museum hosts most powerful artificial tornado


"How better to get visitors to your museum than to create a massive man-made tornado in the middle of the building? Clearly, our cynical suggestion is not the motivation behind the creation of Mercedes-Benz's artificial tornado in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart"

Trapped student rescued in Oakland

Post Gazette: "An 18-year-old college student took a rooftop stroll through Oakland in the early hours of yesterday morning and became trapped for hours after he fell 20 feet into a gap between two buildings along Forbes Avenue."

100 years on, another renewal for Carnegie's museums

Post Gazette: "Andrew Carnegie's museums in Oakland went through their first major expansion in 1907, adding a dinosaur hall, a grand central staircase and the marble-columned foyer for his music hall. A hundred years later, the crown jewels of Pittsburgh's arts and cultural scene are going through another major renewal phase."

The Art of the Finish: How to Go From Busy to Accomplished

Scott H Young: "Last August, I published an essay on my blog, Study Hacks, that was titled: Productivity is Overrated. The basic idea: productivity systems, like Getting Things Done, reduce stress and help you keep track of your obligations, they do not, however, make you accomplished. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the act of becoming accomplished is almost entirely unrelated to being productive."

Film director and crew rekindle Pittsburgh ties on Kennywood set

Post Gazette: "The timing and story worked for Kennywood, and Mottola decided to set the movie in Pittsburgh. It's Pittsburgh playing Pittsburgh, not cheating for Long Island, complete with Zambelli International fireworks."

LED-C turns Lite-Brite green with envy

Engadget: "It's getting hard to distinguish all the different LED technologies out there from one another, but Light Beam Industries' so-called LED-C system looks like it may have a shot at standing out from the crowd, with it promising to let you create any color LED you like. Light Beam managed that feat by creating a 'monolithic component' that combines a standard monochromatic or white LED with a 'solid state lighting source' that re-emits the light in the color of your choice."

The Week in Tools: Toolmonger’s Top 5

Toolmonger: "Last week was a busy week here at Toolmonger with all the breaking s#!$ and what-have-you. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select"

How to Use Gmail to Reduce Your Study Time by 50%

Study Hacks: "One of the most overlooked time sinks in the study process is filling in gaps in your understanding. Think back to the last time you prepared for a test. It is likely that around 50% of your time was spent trying to figure out stuff that you missed the first time it was presented in lecture or reading assignments. This holds for both technical and non-technical courses. In the former, the gap might take the form of a technique that went by too fast on the board during lecture. In the latter, it might be a reading assignment that baffled your ability to pull out a clean conclusion."

What is most likely to help you reach the top? "When it comes to success in today’s world, being the kind of person others like outranks all of the fashionable traits like competitiveness, willingness to work harder then anyone else, piling up qualifications, or blind obedience to the demands of the people at the top. Pleasant, likable people have the best chances of being hired, promoted, and rewarded. Customers are more willing to buy from those they feel good around—even if they aren’t offering the best deal. Bosses who are well-liked get better performance from their staff and face fewer people problems. Subordinates who get on well with everyone are trusted more and given better assignments."

What Are Your Talking Points? "When I started doing my own research after completing my graduate coursework, I was advised by a mentor to have three descriptions of my work ready to recite at a moment’s notice: a three-minute overview, a 12-minute presentation, and a half-hour discussion. The three-minute version is what you tell someone when you’re sharing an elevator at an academic conference; the 12-minute version is suitable for giving a conference presentation; and the half-hour version is what you pull out when you’re sitting down for an interview with a potential funder or getting permission from a local community to do research there."

64 Interview answers you need to know


It’s You! Able to Leap Tall Projects in a Single Bound

Web Worker Daily: "If you keep a projects list (and I recommend it), you probably have a few projects that have been lingering there for a little while, nagging you to either finish them or banish them from the list. I hate those kinds of projects. How great do you feel when you knock one of these projects out? When you finish a project like that, that’s been dragging on your mind, it’s like a huge burden off your shoulders. You breath a sigh of relief, and your day is that much better."

Obesity: We're Too Big For Disneyland's "It's A Small World"


"Back in 1963, when the boats that carry customers through Disneyland's 'It's a Small World' ride were designed, the average male weighed 175lbs and the average female 135lbs.

Not anymore."

Umbrella Bat Costume Update: Now more anatomically correct!

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories:

"This updated bat costume puts wing spreading at your fingertips where it belongs. It also boasts a more impressive and slightly more dangerous wingspan. Watch where you point your wingtips!"

Captain Blood's B00ty: what if magic could be torrented?

Boing Boing: "the issue also features a story that should be of particular interest to Boing Boing readers: 'Captain Blood's B00ty,' a story in which magic is real but every spell has been copyrighted by an RIAA-like organization."

Keyword Optimize Your Resume

Web Worker Daily: "Applying for a job without knowing somebody at the company first often feels like a quixotic mission. You throw your resume into the faceless online job site grinder and hope a human being somewhere along the way recognizes your obvious talents and relevant life and work experience. Good luck with that, Don!"

Getting Rid of Yesterday: How to Start Your Day Fresh "Sometimes we start a day with the previous day still in mind. We think about the mistakes we made in the previous day, how things went wrong, and how we felt bad about it. No wonder it becomes difficult to focus on the current day. And since we cannot fully focus on the day, our performance may drop and things may once again go wrong. This pattern could repeat again and again, where the burden from the previous day is taken to the current day and make it bad, which will then be a burden for the following day. The chain may be hard to break and your overall performance may drop, not to mention the difficulty to have a peaceful mind."

Monday, October 29, 2007

SAG Board Votes to Support WGA

Backstage: "SAG's board, which has been split over a recent showdown with AFTRA, met in plenary session this weekend but publicly acknowledged only the passage of a statement of support for the WGA in that guild's contract talks with the studios."

Feds to Join Writer-Producer Talks

Backstage: "A federal mediator will join negotiations Tue., Oct. 30, between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, one day before their TV and film contract is set to expire, according to The Hollywood Reporter."

When Wikipedia Is the Assignment

Inside Higher Ed: "If there’s one place where scholars should be able to question assumptions about the use of technology in the classroom (and outside of it), it’s the annual Educause conference, which wrapped up on Friday in Seattle. At a morning session featuring a professor and a specialist in learning technology from the University of Washington at Bothell, presenters showed how Wikipedia — often viewed warily by educators who worry that students too readily accept unverifiable information they find online — can be marshaled as a central component of a course’s syllabus rather than viewed as a resource to be banned or reluctantly tolerated."

'Don Quixote' opens Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre season

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre stepped up to the fantastic opportunities of 'Don Quixote' to open its season in superb form with a delightful production of a classic ballet."

Opera director to leave Pittsburgh on high note

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh Opera general director Mark Weinstein, who led the company from financial turbulence to extended stability and growth in the past 10 years, will leave to become executive director of Washington National Opera in the nation's capital."

Broadway Les Miz Revival Will Close Jan. 6, 2008

Playbill News: "Producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that his current Broadway production of Boublil and Schonberg's Les Miserables will end its run Jan. 6, 2008."

Quantum Leaps

Pop City:

"There are other ways to spend a Friday night besides sitting in an empty swimming pool. But on this particular Friday night and in this big indoor pool, I can’t think of many other places I’d rather be."


LiveDesign: "Today, October 26, is the deadline for pre-registration for LDI2007! Don't miss this fabulous opportunity to sign up for a multitude of exceptional educational offers"

From theater's closet to theirs "The Goodman Theatre held a costume sale -- just in time for Halloween. Shoppers looking for something dramatic chose from the wardrobes that appeared in such recent shows as 'Galileo Galilei,' ' Mirror of the Invisible World' and 'Bounce.' Some of the buyers agreed to pose for the Tribune -- wearing their new purchases, of course -- and tell us why they bought them."

When it comes to theater in this country, we're No. 2

Star Tribune: "We did pretty darn good here in Our Town when it came to cultural amenities, but the rating for theater has us blushing. We're No. 2, behind only New York -- which is like being No. 1 because New York is in a class by itself. In 2001, I wrote a story about how the Twin Cities sold more theater tickets per capita than any city outside Gotham. That was a quantitative look; without the questions that Travel + Leisure asked, it's tough to pinpoint what has people jazzed about Twin Cities theater. There is, after all, a city called Chicago."

Canned opener: Atlanta Ballet will use recorded music for 'Peter Pan'

AccessAtlanta: With no orchestra in the pit, the Atlanta Ballet's season opener tonight, 'Peter Pan' at the Fox Theatre, will be danced to a recording."

Who knows what lurks "The ghost light — a single bulb, shrouded by perforated metal atop a spindly iron stand — spreads tentacles of light into the darkened Hanna Theatre, dimly illuminating the plaster faces and figures on the historic walls in eerie, chiaroscuro shadow."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Conservatory Hour

Monday, Oct. 29

“Antigone” presented by the Movement IV Class with mask by the Design for the Stage class.

5:00pm in the Chosky Theatre

Guys & Dolls In Context


Don't forget GUYS AND DOLLS IN CONTEXT! A class on the show! All are welcome! You don't have to register to come to one or two or three lectures!
Particularly recommended for the cast of the show or anyone who wants to learn all the amazing stuff connected with this play's development as one of the iconic pieces of musical theatre in American history!

Here's the full monty:

Location: Breed Hall (Margaret Morrison Bldg rm 103)
Meeting Times: Thursdays 10/25-11/29, 6:30-7:20 pm
Units: 1 Hour: Pass/Fail


This is a single-hour credit open seminar and discussion forum connected to the School of Drama's production of Guys and Dolls as part of its 2007-08 season. This course focuses on the life and work of Damon Runyon, the socio-political contexts for the emergence of Guys and Dolls as an iconic piece of American cultural history, and the challenges a revival of such a piece presents to a living company.


In order to receive credit for the course, students must attend every class session including the preview (see below). There is no need to be registered for the course to attend any particular lecture. Bring your friends!
However, if you are not registered for the course, a ticket will not be reserved for you at the preview.


OCTOBER 25 Introduction to course; Biography and Criticism of Runyon - MichaelChemers, Carnegie Mellon School of Drama
NOVEMBER 1 Guys and Dolls in Musical Theatre history - Lynne Conner, University of Pittsburgh Dept. of Theatre
8 Gender and Popular Culture - Mark Best, University of Pittsburgh Dept. of English
15 Runyon and Urban Speech: the invention of Hollywood - David Shumway, Carnegie Mellon Dept. of English
29 Meet in Chosky Theatre: preview of Guys and Dolls.*

*Following the show, stay for a special talkback with director Steve Cosson and the Guys and Dolls cast and crew.

Off the Wall theater will open Thursday with four-character play

Post Gazette: "With Virginia Wall Gruenert's interest in drama, she'd probably be involved in theater, no matter where she lived. Starting this Thursday evening, the New York-born and -raised actress and playwright will bring her extensive background in the dramatic arts to town with the opening of a new community theater in the heart of Washington."

Chazz Palminteri brings 'A Bronx Tale' to Broadway

NY Daily News: "Chazz Palminteri's love letter to his home turf and his youth has been seen Off-Broadway and as a Robert De Niro film. Now 'A Bronx Tale' has been delivered to Broadway, where it opened last night at the Walter Kerr Theatre."

Screenwriters move closer to strike

MarketWatch: "Hollywood screenwriters and the producers who employ them have suspended their labor negotiations until Tuesday, leaving only two days of talks before a key contract deadline, the writers' union said."

Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner's provocative new play to bow on Guthrie stage in 2009 "Tony Kushner - the provocative, political, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer - has signed on to write a play that will make its world premiere at the Guthrie Theater. 'The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures' - the working title of the yet-to-be-completed script - is scheduled to open on the Guthrie's McGuire Proscenium Stage in spring 2009."

Broadway's bounty goes bye-bye "Once upon a time, Minneapolis and St. Paul were trendy spots to road-test new musicals before they hit the Great White Way. Nowadays, those tryouts are going to other cities - taking prestige, money and jobs with them."

What Stockpiling? L.A. Production Lulls

Backstage: "FilmL.A.'s latest report on location activity draws a surprising conclusion: The studios' rush to accelerate film and TV production because of strike fears was largely over by the third quarter."

Wildfires Prompt Opening of Arts Fund

Backstage: "A major non-profit organization for advancing the arts in America has activated an arts emergency relief fund in response to the wildfires ripping through Southern California."

Hamlet - Wooster Group - Scott Shepherd

New York Times: "In one of the long pauses between scenes during a recent rehearsal at the Public Theater, Scott Shepherd, who stars as the prince in the Wooster Group’s spin on Shakespeare’s tragedy, cracked a few jokes, practiced some dance moves and rocked out to REO Speedwagon. For an actor about to perform perhaps the most difficult role in the theatrical canon, he appeared disconcertingly at ease — maybe a little bored?"

A Priest, a Nun, a Scandal: TACT Revives Runner Stumbles in NYC Oct. 28

Playbill News: "The Actors Company Theatre (TACT) reconsiders Milan Stitt's church scandal drama, The Runner Stumbles, which hasn't been produced in New York City since its Broadway debut in 1976, beginning Oct. 28."

Theaters singing YouTube's praises

Variety: "Seen the 'In the Heights' takeoff of 'High School Musical 2'? What about the latest episode of 'The [title of show] Show'? No? Check YouTube."

'Donnie' goes darkly to stage

Variety: "Can an enigmatic cult film about a troubled teen, a six-foot rabbit named Frank and the end of the world find new life -- and maybe new auds -- on stage?"

Women scribes boost play cache

Variety: "America is gearing up for a presidential race in which for the first time, a woman has a very real chance at taking the White House. But have distaff playwrights made similar inroads in the legit world?"

Best seat in the house

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It's a great feeling to have tickets for a special show. You look forward to the night, spiff yourself up ... and end up straining your neck to see the stage from an obstructed view."

Three hurt after Emory stage collapses "The workers, part of the crew putting up the outdoor stage at Emory's Clairmont Campus off Clairmont Road, were injured when a canopy collapsed about 5:15 p.m., said school spokeswoman Nancy Seideman."

Anti-union Kravis Center hard on local theater pros

Palm Beach Post: "The stagehand local union won yet another National Labor Relations Board decision in its labor dispute with the Kravis Center. Once again, the NLRB ruled that the Kravis Center illegally locked the stagehands out, and ordered the center to reinstate them and return to them back pay. Once again, the Kravis Center says it will appeal."

What the Producers are "Implementing"

The Playgoer: "Kudos to Playbill's Adam Hetrick for digging up the details on exactly which changes unacceptable to the stagehands union are being 'implemented' this week by shows in Shubert and Jujamcyn theatres."

Dying CMU Professor Could Live Longer Than Expected

Yahoo! News: "Dying Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch might have more time to live than he and his doctors originally thought."

Stage Seminars Announces Lighting Workshop

Stage-directions: "Sonny Sonnenfeld and Scott C. Parker have announced the third annual Stage Lighting Super Saturday. This intensive all-day seminar will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008 in New York City."

BMI Supply Acquires Theatrical Hardware

Stage-directions: "BMI Supply, theater supply house and contractor, has recently acquired Theatrical Hardware's Web site, inventory and the rights to manufacture Theatrical Hardware’s products."

London Mayor Announces Campaign to Green Theatres

Stage-directions: "With the notion of environmental-friendly or “green” activism garnering international attention, London Mayor Ken Livingstone has announced a campaign to increase energy efficiency in theatres."

"Best of the Best" Lineup For 39th Annual Jeff Awards

Live Design: "The 39th Annual Jeff Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, October 29, 2007 at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Jeff Awards Committee's website."

Electronic Theatre Controls Offers $50,000 Challenge Grant

Live Design: "In announcing the Electronic Theatre Controls $50,000 Challenge Grant, CEO Fred Foster says, “Our industry runs on the flexibility, skills, and artistry of people who dedicate themselves to creating the magic of the theatre. Sadly, this means that many times an illness or crisis can catch one of us without the support of full benefits and insurance. The ESTA Foundation’sBehind the Scenes program provides a perfect way for us, as an industry, to provide a much-needed backstop to this shortfall."

Danielle Lloyd launched Ski Republic, alost caught herself on fire

Gossip Girls: "According to a witness, she walked right into a strong light, setting her blonde coif ablaze. And thanks to the help of a quick-acting stagehand, she will live to tell about it."

Anticipated Akon Show Axed Following Stage Collapse

Celebrity News: "Plenty found out yesterday at Emory University as a stage that was to be used by R&B star Akon collapsed, injuring 3, and canceling the school's highly anticipated Fall Band Party."

Friday, October 26, 2007

British farce offers laughs with an accent

Post Gazette: "Wanting to challenge his student cast with a British farce, Eddie Powers, associate professor of theater at Waynesburg University, mulled over seven scripts last summer until he settled on one he thought his actors and audience would have fun with."

Stage Review: Festival showcases student playwrights

Post Gazette: "Of Pittsburgh's annual one-act play fests, City Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival is the most professionally run. It's also the most gratifying, because no matter the quality, who can fail to be impressed, since it's the work of middle and high school students?"

Getting JPEG printouts

Daily Autocad: "Today, I will try to explain about one of the most frequently asked questions. All together, we will take print-out from AutoCAD to JPEG."

Flatwoods cast readies suspenseful 'Murder Game'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Flatwoods Productions hopes to scare the daylights out of its audiences at three performances this weekend of 'Murder Game,' a classic whodunit that invites patrons to solve one or more murder mysteries and maybe even win a prize."

La Jolla Playhouse Moves 2007 Anniversary Gala to Dec. 8 Due to Wildfires

Playbill News: "La Jolla Playhouse has rescheduled its 'Diamonds are Forever!' 2007 Gala — which was to occur Oct. 27 — due to the recent wildfires in San Diego County."

Carpenters Needed

Craigslist: "Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre is looking for 2 or 3 motivated and skilled carpenters to build the set for their upcoming production of Pride and Prejudice."

John Lewis Unanimously Elected IATSE International Vice President

-||- IATSE National -||: "IATSE Director of Canadian Affairs John M. Lewis has been elected International Vice President of the Alliance. By unanimous vote of the IA General Executive Board on Oct. 21, Lewis fills the vacancy created by the resignation of International VP Mimi Wolch."

Milwaukee Goes Small With Two New Lithium-Ion Tools

Tools of the Trade: "Compact, lightweight, and powerful enough to handle many jobsite demands–that's how Milwaukee Electric Tool describes its newest compact and subcompact cordless drill/drivers."

AFTRA-IATSE strategic meeting.pdf (application/pdf Object)

AFTRA-IATSE strategic meeting.pdf (application/pdf Object): The special Strategic Alliance Committees
of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, which included elected and staff leaders of the two unions, held two days of discussions as part of its inaugural meeting that concluded Tuesday.

Play Connects Pakistan's Past and Present

NPR: "On Thursday, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan following an eight-year, self-imposed exile. The night before, The Leopard and the Fox opened in New York. The play tells the story of Bhutto's father, Pakistan's first democratically-elected leader. He was overthrown in 1977 by his trusted military aide, Gen. Zia ul-Haq."

Broadway Faces Strike by Stage Hands

NPR: "The union representing Broadway's stage hands calls for a strike vote after working without a contract since July. Producers say that starting Monday they will enforce portions of a final contract offer rejected by the union. Theaters could soon go dark."

Breathing New Life into 600-Year-Old Opera

TIME: "Kunqu, China's oldest known operatic form, enjoyed its peak of popularity in the 18th century, when the best performers were adored by hundreds of thousands of fans. But by the 1940s there were virtually no dedicated Kunqu theaters left. With its archaic lyrics, sluggish melodies and tedious narratives, the 600-year-old genre — a precursor to the better known Peking opera — was all but dead and understandably so. The Peony Pavilion, one of the most famous Kunqu works, consists of 55 scenes, and a performance can last more than 20 hours. Witnesses to such a grandiose relic should worry less about falling asleep and more about slipping into a coma. When, in 2001, UNESCO declared Kunqu a 'masterpiece' of the world's 'intangible heritage' it seemed less like an honor and more like an epitaph."


NY Post: "IS there a musical out there the critics and Tony voters can rally around this season? Everybody's asking that question now that it's blazingly clear the new crop of musicals is iffy."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

j-o-b Technical Designer

Job Title: Technical Designer

Job Description: Technical Designer for Commercial scene shop specializing in theatrical scenery, retail and exhibit design and fabrication.

Job Responsibilities:
• Provide technical design services & drawings
• Archive design documents
• Research new materials, methods and techniques
• Travel for company business as required.

• Proficient in AutoCAD
• Able to work in a team environment
• Able to work within compressed schedules and meet tight deadlines
• Experience as a fabricator preferred but not required

Interested? Contact Ken Crosby [] at Adirondack Studios.

Grandmothers' tales go from story to stage

Post Gazette: "Mary Stokes has lived a hard life. As one of 16 children in the small town of Evergreen, Ala., her family's home was burned to the ground by the Ku Klux Klan. As an adult, she was left a single mother of six when her husband abandoned the family. Today at 61, she is caring for one of her 16 grandchildren, who came to live with her in Crafton after her daughter died in 2001."

Young playwrights learn how plays go from page to stage

Post Gazette: "Two winners and one semifinalist in City Theatre's 2007 Young Playwrights Contest are from the northern suburbs. Margaret Saunders, an eighth-grader at Christ the Divine Teacher Academy in Aspinwall, won one of the three awards in the middle school division for her play, 'Art Smarts.' Olivia O'Conner, a junior at Knoch High School, won one of the three high school awards for her play, 'To Catch a Fish.' This is the second year in a row that Olivia has won the award, and she was a semifinalist in 2005. Emma Neely, who also attends Knoch High School, was a semifinalist this year for her play, 'An Illusion,' which received a staged reading at City Theatre."

PG East preview: Nothing's as it seems in 'Deathtrap'

Post Gazette: "'Deathtrap,' which opens tomorrow at the Theatre Factory, has been considered an exceptional play since it debuted in 1978. It holds the record for longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway, and the playwright, Ira Levin, was called 'the Swiss watchmaker of suspense' by Stephen King, a man who knows a bit about suspense himself."

PG West preview: "Blithe Spirit" takes to stage at OLSH

Post Gazette: "The second production of Echo Theatre, a new theater company in the airport corridor and Sewickley Valley area, opens tomorrow with Noel Coward's ghostly comedy 'Blithe Spirit' at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School's theater in Moon."

PG East preview: 'Rocky Horror Show' is a Halloween treat

Post Gazette: "Tomorrow night and Saturday only, Stage Right theater company continues a Halloween tradition with 'The Rocky Horror Show,' the musical-slash-cult phenomenon that introduced the world to the 'Time Warp,' the planet Transexual and the pleasures of throwing toast."

B&W Fest still a work in progress

Post Gazette: "Mark Southers' fine idea, a one-act play festival designed to get black and white playwrights and directors to collaborate, is in its fifth year. You might expect it to show more accomplishment, but it's still somewhat thrown together -- if it seems to have slipped, that's only because expectations have risen."

In the Wings: New Theater Companies

Post Gazette: "The generous and fertile theatrical eco-system continues to give birth"

Review: 'Twelve Angry Men' powerful, relevant and well-acted drama

Post Gazette: "How good is this tour of 'Twelve Angry Men'? This good: for the final 15 minutes, you really could have heard a pin or a program drop in Heinz Hall, if anyone had been inattentive enough to drop one. The play is that mesmerizing as it builds cumulatively to its satisfying conclusion."

Well, if They're Already Using It ...

Inside Higher Ed: "That statement, or something like it, lurked in the background on Wednesday as educators and campus technology officers at the annual Educause conference here in Seattle discussed, engaged and sometimes struggled with the dilemmas posed by the e-mail and social networking habits that students routinely bring with them as incoming freshmen. Again and again, officials suggested a version of that statement, upending notions about accommodating students’ preferred methods of communicating and searching for information."

Pittsburgh Ballet turns first profit in 6 years

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Appearing to regain its financial footing, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre said Wednesday it ended the year with its first surplus in six years and with a 26 percent jump in ticket sales, reversing an 11-year slide."

'Rocky Horror' connects with its fans

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For those who missed the original stage version in the '70s, the movie it inspired or the hundreds of reprised performances that followed, 'The Rocky Horror Show' is unconventional theater fare where even the audience has lines and props -- and both are an integral part of the show's success."

Twists bring thrills to 'Deathtrap'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Heading into the opening weekend of The Theatre Factory's production of 'Deathtrap,' director Michael E. Moats has a warning for theatergoers: 'This show is not for the squeamish or young kids. There's a lot of killing.'"

Slapstick 'Rumors' weaves web of tales

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "At a traditional 10th wedding anniversary celebration, guests typically arrive with gifts of tin or aluminum in hand, looking forward to recalling stories about the happy couple's marriage."

'Annie's' optimism, perseverance inspire all ages

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The redheaded, spunky, lovable orphan named Annie will bring her orphanage friends, Daddy Warbucks and the rest of the classic show's cast members -- most of whom are children -- to the Byham Theater this weekend."

Martin Will Succeed Rees as Williamstown Artistic Director

Playbill News: "Nicholas Martin, who is currently the artistic director for Boston's Huntington Theatre Company, will succeed award-winning actor/director Roger Rees as the artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival."

Soldiers and sex

The Tartan Online: "Some people make fun of the military in movies, witty jokes, or editorial cartoons. Holly Thuma chose an 18th-century play; she directed George Farquhar’s satire The Recruiting Officer for the University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre. The play mocks Britain’s military recruiters, notorious for tricking people to sign up to fight, and takes place during the War of the Spanish Succession."

Culture clash

The Tartan Online: "City Theatre’s Mother Teresa is Dead presents opposing world views of the East and West, of collectivism and individualism, and asks if it is possible to reconcile the two perspectives."

Not just a stage "Theatre matters to the extent that all art matters, and history proves that is an absolute of human existence. But this art form in particular, when it connects, is unparalleled. I rarely feel like leaping to my feet and cheering a film or a CD, a painting or a poem, no matter how much I love them. In the live experience, when that primal switch is flicked and we satisfy the social need to gather with members of our tribe, around a metaphorical campfire, to sing songs and tell stories to each other - when that ignites, it can be transcendent."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stage Review: 'Macbeth' fails to capitalize on setting

Post Gazette: "Sometimes it's less important that something be done well as that it be done at all. That's my take on Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks' 'The Tragedy of Macbeth,' which I caught up with on the third of four weekends, this at Kennard Park in the Hill."

Kuntu banks on Penny legacy

Post Gazette: "Kuntu Repertory Theatre opens its 33rd season with a production of Rob Penny's 'Good Black Don't Crack.' Consider it a preview of next season, which will feature Penny's plays exclusively. Penny, who co-founded the Kuntu Writers Workshop with August Wilson, was Kuntu's longtime playwright-in-residence until his death in 2003."

Stage Review: Parks offers a unique view of American history, race

Post Gazette: "Suzan-Lori Parks is an audacious playwright -- playful, with an inventive sense of structure, and dauntingly smart. An African-American, her plays are nothing like the 'mama on the couch' family dramas memorably parodied by George C. Wolfe."

Why do accents so often let shows down?

Guardian Unlimited: "Maybe directors' priorities are being placed elsewhere, or else there's a general belief that everyone in America sounds as if they've stepped off the set of Goodfellas. But in a city that boasts no shortage of bracing American plays - or shows that have American characters in them - I've been hearing some mighty odd accents of late. Indeed, not since I first came to London nearly a quarter-century ago have I heard such a clumsy, generalised wash of so-called American sounds as in recent weeks. For a long time, things improved, and some performers (Clare Higgins, Ben Daniels, Julia McKenzie, Lloyd Owen) are unerringly spot on. But based on what I've seen of late, it's back to the dialect coach in some cases - unless, that is, the industry's finest are all elsewhere coaching the likes of Meryl Streep on their accent du jour."

'Frankenstein' scares up audiences

Variety: "'Young Frankenstein' played seven previews last week, and although there's no telling exactly how much money it made -- producers have bucked Broadway tradition by declining to report sales figures -- estimates put 'Frank' B.O. somewhere in the area of $1.5 million."

Irish & Classical Theatre gets award for 'Happy Prince'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Pittsburgh International Children's Theater has chosen the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre as the recipient of its 2008 Stanier Arts Award."

Strikes on the mind, new shows on boards

Reuters: "This week, as everyone re-adjusts from Monday's taxi semi-strike and now begins holding a collective breath about the possibility of a Broadway strike, life does march on, at least momentarily."

A puppet adaption of surrealist classic Ubu Roi highlights the ninth annual Black Sheep Puppet Festival.

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh:

"Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi premiered in Paris in 1896. The play, about a would-be king at once cowardly and cutthroat, parodied the nobility of Shakespearean tragedy and commenced with a cry of 'Merde!,' Jarry's native tongue for 'shit.' A riot resulted (sadly, a rare occurrence in contemporary American theater) and Jarry and company were shut down by The Man (or, 'le homme'). Bloody but unbowed, Jarry migrated to a puppet theater. A decade later, the revolutionary succumbed to alcoholism and tuberculosis."


Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "This is the time of year for witches, ghosts and bloody hands in dark shadows. A perfect time for someone clever to make Shakespeare's Macbeth a spooky Halloween experience. Alas, director Lofty Durham has not done that, in what looks like a straightforward version for Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks."

Mother Teresa Is Dead

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "What makes a play 'great'? A few years ago I saw The Fever, by Wallace Shawn, about a wealthy woman who travels to a Third World country, has a nervous breakdown, and, in a long monologue, tells us she finally came to understand that the happiness of the Western world is explicitly tied to the misery in developing nations."

The Recruiting Officer

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "My, my, how little the chicanery of warmongering changes in 300 years. George Farquhar's 1706 comedy The Recruiting Officer portrays the efforts of the title character to trick poor young men into military service with promises of career opportunity, adventure and signing bonuses -- and not a little outlandish deception. Even more incisive is the undisguised glee of the upper classes in turning the less fortunate into cannon fodder, contrasted with their anguish at the thought that one of their own loved ones could end up in the army. Of course, they're not above pulling strings, or even bribery, to prevent that."

The Comedy of Errors

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh:

"Waiting for The Comedy of Errors to commence at the O'Reilly Theater, you may notice something definitely not traditionally Shakespearean: James Noone's set. There's a billboard promoting Desperate Housewives of Windsor. Another advertises the Shylock Loan Company. Everywhere your eye lights there's something like that. The place is plastered with the stuff. What's this? You're laughing before the curtain rises? What curtain? Are you certain there's a curtain?"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Grad One Acts

The Grad One Acts open tomorrow night - don't miss 'em!!!

The Typographer's Dream by Adam Bock
Directed by Kate Pines
Featuring Cobe Gordon, Shelby Lewis and KC Wright


The Dark Lady of the Sonnets by George Bernard Shaw Directed by Max Montel Featuring Shu-Nan Chu, Jon Freeman, Emily Parker and Michaela Watkins.

Lighting Designed by Josh Tkaczuk
Stage Managed by Julie Cross
Production Managed Jennifer Owen

Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8pm
Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8pm
Friday, Oct. 26 at 4pm and 8pm.

How Does Your Experience Compare?

Using the Outlook 2007 To-Do Bar

the How-To Geek: "My favorite feature of Outlook 2007 is the new To-Do Bar, which shows you everything on your plate at a glance. There are a lot of features packed into a tiny space, so we'll go through some of them with you."

Survey says 'never mind the b******s'

UEA Press Releases: "Allowing staff to swear at work can benefit them and their employers, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia."

10 Ways to Find a Lost Word .doc

HackCollege: "Accidentally delete your work? Or save it somewhere and you can’t find it? Or the power went out? Before you start frantically emailing your professor, follow these steps"

David Allen: What Does "Organized" Really Mean?

The Huffington Post: "I'm fascinated by the mystery surrounding 'getting organized.' The billions of dollars spent on a vast array of tools and information for managing ourselves and our stuff would seem to indicate the widespread belief in a get-it-together Holy Grail somewhere. And the Sirens keep beckoning with a continual parade of techno-magic gizmos that will pull it all together. But the ultimate formula remains elusive. I'm still asked by some of the brightest folks around, 'What's the best way to get organized? How do I create the best system for myself? How do I know what to do with all this stuff?' Lo, they seek but have not found."

Preview: The Angle Snap


"C. H. Hanson, manufacturer of the Chalk Hog, now offers something called the Angle Snap — a chalk line jig designed to simplify complex layout on sheet goods like plywood, sheet rock, or OSB. With built in positive stops for fast placement on edges and corners, it works with any standard chalk line to mark angles simply and accurately."

In the nation's capital, a village powered by the sun

CNET "The Solar Decathlon, a competition among 20 universities to build the best solar-powered house, opened last week at the National Mall in Washington."

The Art of Public Art

Pop City: "The term public art might seem like a contradiction. While public is open to all, art is often mysterious and much less accessible. Most genuine artists strive for deeply personal, wildly original expression that questions the status quo and incites the viewer. These concepts are not always embraced with open arms by civic leaders and the general populace."

High Impact: Impact Jackets (a.k.a. Wearable Airbags) Finally Make It to the US, and Are Immediately "Tested"

Gizmodo: "Impact Jackets, originally designed to save Japanese construction workers from long falls by inflating prior to impact, have finally made it to the United States. Only instead of construction workers, it's our motorcyclists that seem to be reaping the benefits. And it didn't take too long to see some results."

Free Services for Mobile Phone Mavens

Web Worker Daily: "Do you tend to concentrate on downloading new applications when you want to expand what you can do with your mobile phone? That’s the norm, but there are actually a lot of calling- and messaging-based ways to immediately start getting more out of your phone. In this post, I’ll compile six very useful tools that won’t cost you anything to start using."

Art Olympic Theater

Pop City: "The Olympic Art Theatre, which took place Saturday, October 6th, at Pittsburgh's New Hazlett Theater, was modeled after the popular Iron Chef cooking show and featured three teams of artists competing to build winning sculptures out of piles of junk. Each team was permitted to carry only one suitcase of extra materials onto the event floor."

Model falls through hole during L.A. Fashion Week

The Superficial:

"A model fell through a hole in the runway during L.A. Fashion Week. A performer created the hole during the opening performance when he did a front flip onto his back and broke the runway (yeah, you read that right)."

Doh! A Sure Way to Lose Fingers


"Holy crap! He’s resawing a board using a table saw blade mounted horizontally on what looks to be a shaper."

Shipping Containers: Your Next Workshop?


"A enormous trade deficit with china has left the United States with a glut of shipping containers stacked up so high that neighborhoods near Long Beach harbor experience sundown an hour earlier than the surrounding area. But the news isn’t all bad: these standardized 40′ X 8′ X 8-1/2′ boxes are being repurposed by people all around the world into low cost housing, internet hubs, and even workshops."

Become a millionaire: Start saving in your youth

The Best Article Every day: "The turbulent 20s, that sometimes pleasurable, often painful transition from carefree adolescence to responsible adulthood, is admittedly a difficult time for anyone to focus on saving for retirement."

Seven Things That Keep Us From Getting Home on Time "Time wasters are often things that we enjoy. They often are the seed of great frustration as well. The frustration manifests at the end of the day when we think, “What did I do today?” or “Why didn’t those things get done?” or “I guess I’ll be here until 8pm so that I’m not late with that project.”"

A Real Erector Set — You Know, For Adults

Toolmonger: "If you’re a Toolmonger, chances are you had an Erector set when you were a kid. 80/20 — yes, that’s the name of the company – now offers a product that they call the “Industrial Erector Set.” It’s a complete system of extruded aluminum T-slot pieces that attach via standardized components to become all sorts of usefull stuff — like a bike rack."

The Engineer’s Black Book


"This pocket book is a great resource for anyone working in a shop. It’s designed for metal workers and machinists, but the information contained within comes in handy in lots of situations. Best of all, it’s durable enough to survive in a shop environment, and every page is coated in a glare-free laminate that resists tearing and won’t get all filthy."

Van Halen: recorded Jump goof at concert

Boing Boing: "BB Gadgets maestro Joel Johnson ruined my morning today by sending this clip of a recent Van Halen concert, featuring a 'Jump' train wreck. Apparently, the pre-recorded synth parts were accidentally played back at a 48k bitrate instead of 44.1k. The result is a dissonant mess."

Meeting Tokens, for creating time scarcity

43 Folders:

"My pal, Mike Monteiro, is making good on his idea to try giving his team Meeting Tokens."

The Week in Tools: Toolmonger Top 5

Toolmonger: "Last week was a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select"

Screenwriters seek to craft online clause

Marketplace: "Members of the Writers Guild of America think they should be paid whenever someone views their work off the Web. But studios say they haven't even figured out how to make money online, let alone share it. A strike looms. Stacey Vanek-Smith reports."

Recipes: Shared And Improved On For Years... Now Targeted By Copyright Cops?

Techdirt: "Earlier this year, we noted that intellectual property issues were moving into the restaurant business, as one restaurant owner accused another of stealing both a restaurant concept and recipes from her restaurant. Last year we also had a story about some chefs trying to get additional copyright protection for their meals, which was a silly request."

Steelers abandon amphitheater idea, look at alternatives

Post Gazette: "The Steelers no longer are working with a Baltimore developer on a proposed amphitheater and entertainment complex on the North Shore and are now looking to put together a new development plan by the end of the year."

CMU's solar home finishes 14th out of 20 in D.C. competition

Post Gazette: "It was Carnegie Mellon's biggest house party of the year. It just happened to be on the National Mall."

Movie to be filmed in Pittsburgh this winter

Post Gazette: "Movie director Kevin Smith has stated that the film 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno' will be shot in Pittsburgh in January."

German music publisher claims that nothing is public domain until its copyright runs out in every country

Boing Boing: "Last week, Universal Edition AG, a German publisher, used legal threats to shut down International Music Score Library Project, a Canadian nonprofit collaborative effort to collect the scores for old public domain music. Universal Edition claimed that since Canadian copyright on music scores lasts for 20 years less than European copyright, this public domain music was actually in copyright (somewhere), and that made it illegal to reproduce it on the Web."

CMU robotic SUV nearly ready to compete for $2 million prize

Post Gazette:

"Boss finally is ready to roll. Its 18 sensors are focused, and while its driver's seat is empty, its computer bank is loaded with 300,000 lines of newly developed software code."

‘Wood Rugs’ by Arzu Firuz


"These rugs made by Arzu Firuz looks like they were made from wood, but is just an appearance. These rugs are actually made from large sheets of imitation wood vinyl."

Pear Cable Freaks Out: Pear Cable Withdraws from James Randi's $1M Challenge

Gizmodo: "According to the James Randi foundation, Pear Cable's (chickens!) CEO Adam Blake (chicken!) has withdrawn his help to Michael Fremer, the Stereophile Magazine writer who accepted Randi's $1,000,000 challenge, and was ready to prove that he can blindly detect the difference between $7,250 Pear (chickens!) Anjou cables and their Monster Cable equivalent"

Why you need to take risks

CNET "According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4 of the top 10 and 9 of the top 25 in-demand jobs over the next ten years are in technology fields. We're talking software engineers, engineering managers, IT managers, network and systems analysts and administrators, all kinds of technology jobs."

Hollywood writer's strike close? New bits on web work.

Boing Boing: "More than 90% of the Writers Guild of America's voting members have opted to approve a strike. This means that the WGA can, and may, call a strike at any time. Link to a Hollywood Reporter item."

College prices up again this year, while student borrowing rises to keep up

Post Gazette: "Average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 6.6 percent this year, again outstripping increases in financial aid and pushing students into more borrowing. Community colleges once again did the best job keeping the lid on prices."

Making friends with paper (again)

43 Folders: "I really enjoyed this video presentation by Michael Wesch on how we make, find, and share information in a world where we’ve shed the idea of paper as our sole medium for storage and communication — where ideas can munge and mix freely, thanks to digital collaboration."

College Endowments Meet Shaky Markets

Business Week: "To no one's surprise, the College Board reported on Oct. 22 that tuition at public and private colleges for the 2007-08 academic year continued to outpace inflation. But this year adds a new wrinkle—how the recent market turmoil will affect college endowments."

North Side design entries go public

Post Gazette: "The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh will hold a community presentation at 5:30 p.m. today to display the six entries in its Design Competition of Ideas for the redesign of Allegheny Public Square (also known as Diamond Park, Ober Park, Allegheny Center Plaza, etc.). The proposed designs will be on display through Nov. 5 for free public viewing during museum hours. Information and design images may also be viewed at"

Monday, October 22, 2007

When work becomes a game

BBC NEWS: "A whole generation is growing up for whom video games are a key part of how they relax, whether it be fragging friends in a first person shooter or backing up the main tank in a Warcraft raid."

Writers Guild Authorized to Strike

Backstage: "Members of Hollywood's film and television writers union have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike anytime after their contract expires at the end of the month."

B'way Stagehands Give Union Strike Authority

Backstage: "Rank-and-file members of the stagehands' union voted unanimously Sunday to give their leadership the authority to call a strike during negotiations with theatre owners, a move that brings much of Broadway to the brink of a shutdown. Although a strike is not imminent, the League of American Theatres and Producers strongly hinted in a news release that it would not be the one to initiate a work stoppage; combined with its announcement last week that it has declared an impasse and would begin to unilaterally implement portions of its final offer to the union, the league is almost daring Local One to walk off the job."

Stagehands give union authority to strike Broadway productions "Broadway stagehands voted unanimously Sunday to give their union the authority to call a strike against theater producers, increasing tension in their stalled labor negotiations."

Msg to Rude Playgoers: Trn Tht Drnd Thng Off! "It's supposed to be completely dark in the auditorium, but instead all these little light shows are going on. FLICK! The face of the guy across the aisle is bathed in a blue electronic glow. FLICK! Another man two seats down regularly seems to blink on and off -- he's a neon sign in jeans and sports coat. FLICK! FLICK! Two girls sitting several rows away seem to be radiating a slightly purple haze."

Emulating the Guthrie would be wise "Here are 10 things Chicago arts organizations -- and the planners of future new arts facilities here -- could learn from the new Guthrie Theater."

Why artists shouldn’t accept state funding

spiked: "Ceri runs an arts charity in London. For years, she’s applied for government grants to fund her work, but not any more. ‘You can’t do anything interesting or original’, she says. ‘Everything has so many strings and requirements attached about involving the community or helping people stop smoking or whatever, that there’s no room to do anything else.’"

Stagehands vote to strike; Broadway could go dark Dec. 1

NY Daily News: "Cue the scary music. The Great White Way came a giant step closer to becoming the Great Dark Way on Sunday - and Dec. 1 is looming as a do-or-die date."

TV Writers Edging Toward a Strike

New York Times Blog: "“Screenwriters by a sizable majority authorized their leaders to call a strike against Hollywood’s producers as early as Nov. 1, in votes disclosed Friday,” Michael Cieply reported in Saturday’s Times."

Stagehands vote to authorize strike

Variety: "Membership of stagehands' union Local One voted to authorize a strike during a union meeting Sunday at which Local One prexy James J. Claffey Jr. told members they would not work on Broadway in December if a new deal with producers has not been reached by then."

Stagehands’ Union Authorizes a Strike

New York Times: "Members of Local One, the union representing almost all Broadway stagehands, authorized their leaders to call a strike in a unanimous vote yesterday, the union said. While the vote does not mean that a strike is inevitable, it is a necessary step if one is to be called."


New York Times: "That was just one of the problems in bringing “Fuerzabruta,” a highly complex show to install, from Argentina, where it originated. Now in previews, it is scheduled to open on Wednesday, with a set that includes two mobile pools, a 6-foot-high treadmill and a 20-foot flying curtain."

Kuntu revisits Penny’s play

Pittsburgh Courier: "“The shows we are presenting this season embody the ideals that have guided Kuntu Repertory Theatre since the beginning,” said founder and director, Vernell A. Lillie. “They show how spoken word, poetry, music and dance can seamlessly intertwine in telling a story."

Electronic Theatre Controls Offers $50,000 Challenge Grant

Live Design: "In announcing the Electronic Theatre Controls $50,000 Challenge Grant, CEO Fred Foster says, “Our industry runs on the flexibility, skills, and artistry of people who dedicate themselves to creating the magic of the theatre. Sadly, this means that many times an illness or crisis can catch one of us without the support of full benefits and insurance. The ESTA Foundation’sBehind the Scenes program provides a perfect way for us, as an industry, to provide a much-needed backstop to this shortfall."

ESTA Two New Lighting Standards Approved, Available For Purchase

Live Design: "On October 10, 2007 the ANSI Board of Standards Review approved as American National Standards two new documents from ESTA's Technical Standards Program: E1.35, Standard for Lens Quality Measurements for Pattern Projecting Luminaires Intended for Entertainment Use, and E1.36, Model Procedure for Permitting the Use of Tungsten-Halogen Incandescent Lamps and Stage and Studio Luminaires in Vendor Exhibit Booths in Convention and Trade Show Exhibition Halls."


Word of Mouth Reviews: "George Bernard Shaw's timeless play tells the story of Henry Higgins, an uptight professor who takes poor, uneducated Cockney girl Eliza Doolittle under his tutelage. The classic drama has been revived on Broadway multiple times since its 1914 debut and also spurred the musical My Fair Lady. Now it gets its fifth Broadway bow with film star Claire Danes as Eliza, and Tony winners Jefferson Mays and Boyd Gaines as Higgins and Colonel Pickering. We sent three of our panelists to check out the revival. Now, find out what they thought!"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Broadway's stagehands authorize strike but talks continue

Reuters: "Broadway's unionized stagehands voted on Sunday to authorize a strike over proposed new work rules for its members, but for now the shows will go on and negotiations have resumed."

Reunion and scenes honor August Wilson with strong playwrights, actors

Post Gazette: "I expected a reunion and love-in last night at the New Hazlett, but to my surprise, there was also some real theater in the 'Evening of Playwrights' presented by the August Wilson Center as part of its 'First Voice' festival."

Revisit the major productions of 'Twelve Angry Men'

Post Gazette: "Casts are listed by juror number; second names are replacements. Juror No. 8 is in bold because that's the flashiest role (followed closely in prestige by Juror No. 3)."

One happy man: Thomas relishes strong theater roles

Post Gazette: "Thomas' stage career began at age 7 in 1958 on Broadway, as a replacement in the role of John Roosevelt in 'Sunrise at Campobello.' But as a child he also did a lot of TV. 'I kind of grew up with TV, live, in black and white, but I did theater right along,' including three more Broadway plays in the 1960s."

Horton Foote - Dividing the Estate

New York Times: "ASKED to whip up a list of today’s most politically committed, socially engaged American playwrights, even regular theatergoers might draw a blank."

Medieval Times

New York Times: "THERE was a time long, long ago — or so the tale begins over the loudspeakers — when a wise king and his stalwart knights stood fast, an enemy army broke, a brother fell in battle and someone was bereft of something. The words are difficult to make out back behind the curtain at Medieval Times, amid the sand and wood shavings and hoofbeats."

'High School Musical' destined for stage

'Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Sing out Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay and Ryan. Even before 'High School Musical' became the celluloid Holy Grail of entertainment for adolescent girls everywhere, the idea of a stage version was being contemplated by the folks at Disney."

What Cirque du Soleil show suits you?

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Want to see a show in Las Vegas but don't know where to start? Take our Cirque quiz to find out which show is best for your next Las Vegas vacation."

Performances are all about razzle-dazzle

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Merging circus acrobatics, European theater traditions and comedy, each of the inventive, imaginative and distinctive productions employs the most up-to-date technological wizardry, jaw-dropping feats of derring-do and lavish production values."

'Burgh du Soleil

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh talents are behind at least a part of that lavish excitement. At least one former area resident -- and sometimes more -- can be found working on each of the Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Conservatory Hour

Monday, Oct. 22

“Intents and Insights” for “Guys and Dolls”

Find out what the director has in mind for this production.

In the Checco Studio A 5:00-6:00pm

Strike Watch: After Them, The Deluge "Verrone's fixation on the plight of animation writers has been alluded to in previous post here--also disclosed was my wife's work as a sometime writer of animation, whose next gig could fall prey to Verrone's policy--but picking a fight with the not very retiring Stout brings to mind the apocryphal quote attributed to what that spiritual father of the Revolution, the anti-clerical Voltaire, said when asked on his deathbed whether he'd finally renounce the Devil: 'Is this a time to make enemies?'"

The Business Of Bway

One NYC StageHand: "I’d be more inclined to protect these investors if the investors had a little better sense of theatre. If they knew more of David Merrick and less of Rupert Murdock we wouldn’t be loading in shows the likes of Festen, Lestat, or The Pirate Queen. Never heard of them. It’s because they didn’t last very long, They weren’t very good. As the Broadway expression goes, “people stayed away in droves.”"

Contract Dispute Between Stagehands, Producers Could Darken Broadway

NY1: Manhattan: "The curtain could come down on most Broadway theatres if stagehands and theater producers fail to hammer out a deal within the next few days."

Unclear Whether Broadway Producers Will Stage Lockout This Weekend

NY1: Top Stories: "It still isn't clear whether there will be a Broadway lockout this weekend after contract talks failed to progress Thursday."

Broadway's Standoff Has Union Facing New Economics, Technology Muse: "If I'm producing a musical today, my payroll includes paying a stagehand $40,000 a year to mop the stage. Whether the stage needs mopping or not. This is not skilled labor. I can't afford to keep paying men who don't have anything to do, or men who have too little to do but can't be asked to push a mop."

Possible lockout on Broadway - Opinion

Indiana Statesman: "Being in a Broadway show is the last place I would want to be this week. Many shows are being threatened with the possibility of a stagehand lockout. Stagehands are the folks who do all the dirty work in the theater. These men and women load in the show (bring in all of the sets and place them up), run the fly systems, and do all the backstage work, among many other things."

Writers Strike over Internet Pay Heats up on the Net, B-Word in Play

Hollywood Today: "There is no sign of peace on the horizon in Hollywood. As the threat of a strike by unionized writers against the major movie studios and TV networks rises ominously, the war of words shifted Monday to what would happen if there was a work stoppage. Producer’s spokesman J. Nicholas Counter came out swinging in reaction to rules revealed last week by the Writers Guild of America."

Willie Williams Featured In Live Design Projection Master Classes At LDI 2007

Live Design: "Perhaps the most cutting-edge visualist of our time, Willie Williams works with light and visual media to create installations and performance environments. His combination of high tech media and lo-tech eccentricity first received acclaim through his work with U2, particularly their Zoo TV and PopMart tours. Williams' work with R.E.M., David Bowie, and George Michael has also been highly regarded as being both conceptually and technologically groundbreaking. Williams will be a featured speaker in the Live Design Projection Master Classes at LDI2007, November 14 and 15 in Orlando, FL."

Crisis Near for Broadway

Stage-directions: "After failed attempts to reach agreement last week on a contract between the League of American Theatres and Producers and stagehands’ union IATSE Local One, the league is set to impose its new work rules (they are not calling it a “lockout”) effective Monday, Oct. 22, while the union will meet Sunday, Oct. 21, for a strike authorization vote."

Buying property for college students can make sense

ScrippsNews: "Checklist as your teenager heads off to college: Don't forget to: a) pay the tuition; b) have the safe-sex talk; c) have the drinking-and-driving talk; and d) buy your student a house or condo."

Will Broadway Soon Go Dark?

ticketnews: "Broadway is getting closer to going dark with contract talks at an impasse between stagehands union Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and The League of American Theaters and Producers, which represents Jujamcyn and Shubert theater owners, who account for 22 of the 39 Broadway houses. Even a last ditch attempt by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to mediate talks has been rebuffed; in 2003, the mayor helped end a Broadway musicians strike."

One NYC Stagehand

(Theatreforte): "One NYC Stagehand (who has a blog) posted some great food for thought in the comments to my post about the current stagehand/producer conflict on Broadway. Everyone should read it, so I'm pasting it up right here."

U.K. video game manufacturer could open Pittsburgh office

Pittsburgh Business Times: "Pittsburgh could have an early edge. Jobling said he hopes to tap talent coming out of Pittsburgh's renowned training grounds for video game design, the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh's video game arts program."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tony Awards Honor IATSE’S Gilbert, Mazzella

-||- IATSE National -||: "IATSE members Alyce Gilbert and Neil Mazzella will be among four honorees receiving 2007 Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre. The Tony Honors recognize contributions in the field of theatre by individuals and organizations not eligible in any of the established Tony categories."


NY Post: "FINANCIAL papers for the upcoming Broadway musical 'Billy Elliot' are making the rounds of investors."


NY Post: "NO dance company in living memory has been launched with such a barrage of publicity as Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company - and there's been no more enthusiastic a publicist than its 34-year-old founder."

Did Christian Slater in Sharks Sink or Swim with London Critics? "Christian Slater has returned to the London stage for the first time since appearing here in two seasons of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 2004 and 2005. He is now starring as monstrous movie producer Buddy Ackerman in Michael Lesslie’s stage version of the cult 1994 film Swimming with Sharks, directed by Wilson Milam. Did critics swim with the tide or against it?"

Did Critics Enjoy Visiting the West End's Remixed Rent? "Jonathan Larson’s 1996 musical phenomenon Rent has had two previous West End productions. It has now been “remixed” by pop stylist and creative director William Baker (best known for working with Kylie Minogue) for a new generation. Did critics enjoy visiting the remixed Rent?"


NY Post: "McCollum and Seller's state-of-the-art off-Broadway theater - 37 Arts, which is also home to Baryshnikov's dance studio and foundation - is being foreclosed on by the company that built it, The Post has learned."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The " '40s" brings back yesterday in song

Post Gazette: "In keeping with the Heritage Center's mission to preserve the city's past, the '40s' will cover national news from 1940-49 as well as stories from the Mc Keesport Daily News, along with the decades's popular music and dances. Mr. Renquist will sing a medley of songs that includes 'Chattanooga Choo Choo,' 'You'll Never Know' and 'Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree.'"

PG East review: Rick Dutrow shines as 'The Nerd'

PostGazette: "Near the end of Larry Shue's comedy 'The Nerd' comes a dramatic twist that makes up for everything the embattled protagonist, architect Willum Cubbert, has endured over the course of the play."

PG East preview: Actors say 'Fantasticks' gets better with age

Post Gazette: "The 1960 musical 'The Fantasticks,' which opens tomorrow at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center and is produced by Greensburg Civic Theatre, is the longest running musical in history, playing for 42 years off-Broadway despite a simple story -- young lovers Matt and Luisa unite, part, and reunite -- and a small cast and minimal set."