CMU School of Drama

Monday, November 30, 2015

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

Here are the top five comment generating posts of the past week:

These People Stuck Their Arm In A Hole To Get A Surprise Tattoo

fashionablygeek.com: Scott Campbell is a famous tattoo artist, and his work adorns celebrities ranging from Penélope Cruz to Marc Jacobs. Recently he embarked upon a tattooing project called Whole Glory that’s not for the faint of heart. He offered his tattooing services free of charge to absolute strangers. The catch? Participants would stick their arm into a hole and Campbell would tattoo whatever he wanted—and they wouldn’t be able to view the tattoo until it was done.

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You

www.childrensmusicworkshop.com: If your parents ever submitted you to regular music lessons as a kid, you probably got in a fight with them once or twice about it. Maybe you didn’t want to go; maybe you didn’t like practicing. But we have some bad news: They were right. It turns out that all those endless major scale exercises and repetitions of “Chopsticks” had some incredible effects on our minds.Psychological studies continue to uncover more and more benefits that music lessons provide to developing minds.

Why do people in old movies talk weird?

Boing Boing: How Stuff Works explains the "Transatlantic Accent," a cultivated accent that people in the United States affected in an attempt to trick others that they were in some way affiliated with the British upper crust.

The Real Moms of Cirque Du Soleil

Broadly: For over a decade, Canadian clown Shannan Calcutt has performed topless in Cirque Du Soleil's Zumanity. The sex-themed circus (tag line: "18 +: Rated Cirque") plays nearly every night at the New York, New York hotel in Las Vegas. Calcutt regularly rehearses to remember cues and freshen up her scenes, but after she gave birth to one of her children, her body interrupted her performance. One night, Calcutt remembers, another performer chased her down the hall: "Shannan, you forgot your milk!" she screamed.

The most stunning theaters in the world

Business Insider: For some, a night at the theater sounds about as fun as sticking your hand in a ceiling fan. But even Andrew Lloyd Webber haters would willingly spend a few hours in these beautiful venues. Whether it's the neobaroque state theater in Wiesbaden or the ultra-modern Guangzhou Opera House, these theaters are incredible examples of both art and architecture.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Goodspeed Musicals Announces Writers for 2016 Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony

Stage Directions: A total of 36 writers, representing 19 new musicals, will head to the 2016 Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals in January. The Colony is a four-week sanctuary for composers, lyricists, and librettists to embark on new musical theatre work or to devote a substantial amount of time to a work-in-progress in an environment rich with creative energy.

Abby Binder on Attracting More Women to Remodeling

Remodeling: In this edition of Big50 Bites—our weekly series on the biggest issues facing remodelers today—we talk to Abby Binder of Abby Windows, a 100% women-owned company based in Milwaukee. She shares what it was like when she first began working in the industry, the importance of having woman-owned companies, encouraging more women to enter the field, and what can be done to do so.

Gender Swapping Shakespeare Is Far More than a Reaction

Flavorwire: A lot of the discussion surrounding gender-swapped Shakespeare productions hinges on an idea of theatrical reparation. The idea isn’t just that these casting decisions make up for the Elizabethan refusal to let women play any part, but also that they address the dearth of substantial female roles in Shakespeare’s works (at least outside the comedies). People talk about revival/reboot culture in TV and film — but theater has functioned as a revival culture for centuries, and has proven both the innovations and the potential paralyses therein. In an art form predicated primarily on endless reconstitutions of the past, that not only cherishes its classics, but necessitates their constant rebirth, such changes have to be made if the theater wishes to explore and critique male-dominated pasts without perpetuating a male-dominated present.

The Practical Effects of James Bond Films

Tested: The James Bond movies comprise the longest continually-running film series ever, beginning with the release of Dr. No in 1962 and continuing all the way up to the present day… and beyond. While the Bond films aren't exactly effects-driven, they still require the services of a crack team of illusion-wielding agents both on-set and in post. The output of these SFX and VFX mission specialists typically includes spectacular chase sequences, a big reveal of the evil mastermind's hidden lair and, almost certainly, lots of inordinately large explosions.

'City Center Encores! Unscripted': A Talk Show About Musical Theater

The New York Times: City Center Encores!, the program that stages revivals of rarely seen but beloved Broadway shows, is partnering with the Jerome L. Greene Space at WNYC to create a new talk show about musical theater.

Here Are Some Stupendous Hats

pictorial.jezebel.com: In July 1961, an Associated Press photographer stopped by a showcase of autumn and winter fashions in Florence, Italy. Hats were apparently of particular interest. It is not an exaggeration to describe the results as magical.

Seven Standards in Public Review

Stage Directions: PLASA North America isn’t letting the split from PLASA EU get in the way of their standards process. They’ve just posted seven standards for public review on their website. ​

Founding Visions: Art for the Sake of Living

The Clyde Fitch Report: Each day, everywhere we go, there are expectations we impose on others concerning their behavior, and privately, in our minds, we enforce those laws with an iron fist. When someone breaks our rules, we proceed with a imaginary slaughter in which we rob them of breath and permit them an examination of their own intestines (maybe not that extreme, but you see my point).

Kent State Coda: No Black MLK Ever Reached Their “Mountaintop”

Howard Sherman: Even if one gives credence to Oatman’s intellectual basis for attempting to split the role, it evaporated along with the unnamed black actor, regardless of Branch’s talent. At that point, the already unjustifiable production should have been irrevocably abandoned, since the entire conceptual underpinning had come undone. What Oatman did was not a half-measure, as Hall was apparently led to believe, as we were all led to believe, but indeed the complete erasure of a black body as she had feared.

Apple Has Acquired Faceshift, Maker Of Motion Capture Tech Used In Star Wars

TechCrunch: As the market for virtual reality technology continues to grow, Apple has made an interesting acquisition that could further its role in the space. TechCrunch has confirmed that Apple has snapped up Faceshift, a startup based in Zurich that has developed technology to create animated avatars and other figures that capture a person’s facial expressions in real time.

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You

www.childrensmusicworkshop.com: If your parents ever submitted you to regular music lessons as a kid, you probably got in a fight with them once or twice about it. Maybe you didn’t want to go; maybe you didn’t like practicing. But we have some bad news: They were right. It turns out that all those endless major scale exercises and repetitions of “Chopsticks” had some incredible effects on our minds.Psychological studies continue to uncover more and more benefits that music lessons provide to developing minds.

The most stunning theaters in the world

Business Insider: For some, a night at the theater sounds about as fun as sticking your hand in a ceiling fan. But even Andrew Lloyd Webber haters would willingly spend a few hours in these beautiful venues. Whether it's the neobaroque state theater in Wiesbaden or the ultra-modern Guangzhou Opera House, these theaters are incredible examples of both art and architecture.

The Real Moms of Cirque Du Soleil

Broadly: For over a decade, Canadian clown Shannan Calcutt has performed topless in Cirque Du Soleil's Zumanity. The sex-themed circus (tag line: "18 +: Rated Cirque") plays nearly every night at the New York, New York hotel in Las Vegas. Calcutt regularly rehearses to remember cues and freshen up her scenes, but after she gave birth to one of her children, her body interrupted her performance. One night, Calcutt remembers, another performer chased her down the hall: "Shannan, you forgot your milk!" she screamed.

Too Old For Hollywood

Hollywood Therapy: George R. R, Martin is 67 years old. He’s the originator of the Emmy winning Best Drama, Game of Thrones. He seems to be doing quite well in television at his advanced age. It does happen. Of course he was a successful novelist first. However, that is most certainly not the case with most writers over 67, or 57.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Contender - Costume Designer Jenny Eagan, Beasts of No Nation

Below the Line: Director Cary Joji Fukunaga‘s Beasts of No Nation takes a look at Agu’s life as a child solider fighting in a civil war of an African country that is never named. The film, which was shot in Africa, tells a powerful visual story and costume designer Jenny Eagan‘s work contributes no small part. Eagan was really excited to join the project when she received the invitation from the director to be a part of the team. She was deeply drawn to the script, which dealt with a subject matter that she had never worked with in any way, and she saw it as a chance of a lifetime. “It is always interesting to me when it is something that challenges you in a way you’ve never been challenged before, looking at something a little bit different,” Eagan said.

US concert promoters implement new security measures in wake of Paris terror attacks

Consequence of Sound: In the wake of this weekend’s terror attacks in Paris, music industry promoters are beginning to implement new security measures outside of concert venues, according to the New York Times.

Colleges Take On The 'Vagina Monologues' Of Abortion

Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign from Advocates for Youth on Vimeo.

ThinkProgress: A play based off of people’s real experiences with abortion has hit the road, heading to college campuses across the country — many of them in states where abortion isn’t exactly applauded. Last week, students at the University of Montana at Missoula performed the play, called Out of Silence, in an area where one of the few abortion clinics in the state is located. And on Wednesday, a school in the far southern Texas town of Brownsville, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), will host the first of the three performances at different colleges across Texas, the state with the most extreme restrictions on women’s access to abortion in the country.

Broadway Lacks Diversity, Parity Behind the Curtain

Variety: Just last week, “Allegiance,” a musical set during the Japanese-American internments of WWII, and starring a mostly Asian-American cast (including George Takei), opened hot on the heels of “On Your Feet!,” the biomusical of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, with a predominant-ly Latino cast. Already open is a production of chestnut “The Gin Game” starring Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones; and a new staging of “Spring Awakening” featuring deaf actors and, for the first time in Broadway history, an actor who uses a wheelchair.

The All-White THR Actress Roundtable Is a Perfect Example

Women and Hollywood: The Hollywood Reporter posted its annual actress roundtable, and not surprisingly -- but certainly disappointingly -- all of the eight performers on the cover were white. Steven Galloway, the article's writer and editor of the magazine, wrote a side note explaining why there's zero diversity onscreen this awards season, at least in the best actress category. To put it bluntly, if we thought that last year was #OscarsSoWhite, this year will be even worse.

Dynamic Attractions Opening Comprehensive Attraction Design Studio in Orlando

InPark Magazine: Dynamic Attractions, a leader in media-based attractions for major theme parks, is expanding with a new office in Orlando and an ‘industry first’ service called Unlimited Attractions. The announcement was made today at the International Attractions and Amusement Parks Association (IAAPA) annual convention in Orlando, Florida.

Dramatists Guild Blasts Directors Who Cast Characters "Outside His or Her Obvious Race, Gender"

Breaking Character: Recent controversy over casting non-white characters in stage productions has prompted the Dramatists Guild to issue a position paper opposing “casting a character outside his or her obvious race, gender or implicit characteristics. To do so without meaningful consultation with the writer is both a moral and a legal breach” of the DG contract.

The best portable 3D scanner is about to get way more precise

The Verge: Occipital, the maker of the Structure Sensor, has acquired a company called Lynx Laboratories, one that launched its own mobile 3D scanner on Kickstarter a few years ago. The Lynx staff will join Occipital at its headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. But more importantly, Occipital now has access to algorithms developed by Lynx that make 3D depth mapping far more accurate than ever before — algorithms that will make the Structure Sensor even better.

Oh Gender, Up Yours!

HowlRound: Sylvan: Before we start can we state our pronouns?
Deen: Sure. I go by he. So, use male pronouns.
Basil: I go by gender-neutral pronouns, I prefer they, them.
Sylvan: And I use he and him.

Why Stephen Sondheim is wrong.

The Producer's Perspective: Stephen Sondheim is a genius. And as I said in one of my first blogs, way back in 2007, he’s the Shakespeare of American Musical Theater. But that doesn’t mean he’s right all the time. And last week, he was just wrong. Not about anything artistic, mind you. I’m certainly not correcting a lyric of his, or a time signature. But in an interview he gave with Billboard (where he talks Radiohead, Disney and more), he took the interviewer’s bait and agreed that our industry was “too insular to age well.”

'The Big Short' Led Zeppelin song

Business Insider: Director Adam McKay — who is best known for helming many memorable Will Ferrell comedies like the “Anchorman” movies, “Talladega Nights,” and “Step Brothers” — is proving he also has skills to make an engaging drama. His latest movie, “The Big Short,” is building impressive notice from critics in its early screenings

Appropriating Laughter: What Do You Mean, I’m Funny?

HowlRound: Outrage is contagious. A week or so ago, Don Aucoin decried “inappropriate” laughter in the Boston Globe, which I read because several of my Facebook friends were outraged enough to preempt their regularly-scheduled outrage at white-male programming in theatre seasons to repost his article in an effort to outrage people like me.

International Emmys Spotlight British TV, But For How Long

Variety: Traditionally the International Emmys are a showcase for the rich pickings of British TV. In 2014, conspiracy thriller “Utopia” won best drama series while documentary “Educating Yorkshire,” a look at modern schooling, scooped the non-scripted entertainment prize. Both shows were commissioned and broadcast by U.K. network, Channel 4, whose mission includes programming for a culturally diverse society.

Why do people in old movies talk weird?

Boing Boing: How Stuff Works explains the "Transatlantic Accent," a cultivated accent that people in the United States affected in an attempt to trick others that they were in some way affiliated with the British upper crust.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rita Moran: ‘Under Fire’ is compelling look at combat veterans

www.vcstar.com: The common threads that weave the fabric of war and how soldiers experience it are the real-life sources of "Under Fire: Stories of Combat Veterans Across Generations."

The compelling production, written and directed by Michael J. Arndt, a professor in the theater arts department at California Lutheran University and founder of its Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, is on stage through Sunday at the school's Black Box Studio Theatre.

New York Times Agrees to Restore Production Credits in Theatre Reviews

Playbill.com: Following letters, emails and social media protests from Broadway's craft unions and their allies, The New York Times reportedly has agreed to restore the list of designers and production members to its printed and online reviews and listings.

The 10 Most Underrated Theatre Colleges : Mid West Part 3

OnStage: This past year, we released our rankings for the best BFA and BA programs in the country. In prepping for this, we did a ton of research on many schools throughout the country. We looked at everything from curriculum, facilities, productions, faculty, alumni, cost, etc.

While we all know the big names like Yale, Tisch and Carnegie Mellon, there so many other colleges in this country that provide an incredible educational experience in theater.

Anton Ego and Jesse Eisenberg: some notes on the presumed objectivity of critics

MZS | Roger Ebert: From the Tempest in a Teapot department: actor Jesse Eisenberg surprised and infuriated a lot of my colleagues with his New Yorker "Shouts and Murmurs" piece this week, "An Honest Film Review."

It's written in the voice of a film critic reviewing a nonexistent "Stephen Kern" movie titled "Paintings of Cole." As the piece goes along, we learn that the critic is not as detached as we might like.

IAAPA Legends Panel: How Disneyland Changed the Industry, and How the Industry Changed Disney

www.themeparkinsider.com: Disneyland opened 60 years ago this year, but how have Disney's theme parks continued to change the theme park industry? That was the question at the heart of this year's Legends panel at the 2015 IAPPA Attractions Expo.

Le Bataclan, Past And Future

Pollstar: Le Bataclan has, in its 151-year history, hosted ballet, theatre, traveling acts including “Buffalo Bill” Cody, movies and, in its most recent incarnation, artists of any and all genres. On Nov. 13, it became a slaughterhouse for terrorists who burst in, held hostages for five hours and murdered 89 people.

Silence is Golden: The Electric Properties of Subtext in Playwriting

Breaking Character: Most of us walk around spiritually starved and emotionally depleted. It’s no wonder we hold on to songs of love and heartache. They allow us to feel something. This is why silence in storytelling is so necessary. It compels us to contribute our own reality to the story, to fall in love, and to take the story home.

The secret history of the Haunted Mansion's hall of changing paintings

Boing Boing: Disneyland's Haunted Mansion sports a hall of changing paintings in which people and scenes are transformed into sinister versions of themselves. Though these have gained in technical sophistication over the years, transitioning from rear-projection slide-fades to crisp electroluminescent effects synched with the lightning in the opposite windows, the core graphic concepts have been largely invariant since the Mansion first opened its doors.

3 Things To Improve Your Photography: Color, Fog And Magic

Rosco Spectrum: One of the earliest users of these new kits was photographer Eva Creel. After seeing her fabulous work on Facebook and seeing the images she shared with us using the CalColor Flash Pack, we learned that Eva uses color in a very creative way – she creates her mood with it, and then she turns it into magic. Her photographs inspired us to shoot this video that showcases how she put the three new Flash Packs to work on a photo shoot.

Miley Cyrus: Crazy Outfits From Dead Petz Tour Photos

collegecandy.com: If you thought Miley Cyrus‘ fashion couldn’t get weirder than when she hosted the VMAs this year, think again.

Miley Cyrus hit Chicago with The Flaming Lips to play the first gig on her new Dead Petz tour, and her outfits were all kinds of crazy. Her numerous outfit changes included her dressing as a stick of butter, a disco astronaut, and some things we can’t even put into words.

The Decision

Dimmer Beach: I’ve said it before: It’s all the little things that make touring hard.

Each little thing taken by itself is no big deal, but roll them all into one big ball and look out. This week I’ll dissect a struggle that every road dog has experienced. I’m going to look at this subject side by side with the same problem while at home.

A new, fearless generation makes this a revolutionary moment in American playwriting

LA Times: This fall season has provided Los Angeles theatergoers the opportunity to become better acquainted with the most exciting generation of playwrights to have burst onto the scene since I became a theater critic more than two decades ago.

Who Trains the Critic?

HowlRound: While working as a bookseller at the Harvard COOP last fall, I found myself the master of the writing section. I was given permission to order stock for any section that needed it. Happy to conduct this search on company time, I began looking up books on writing. My ulterior motive? Finding any books that could help me learn more about writing arts criticism.

We Are Our Public: Faint Glimmers of What It Means to Pledge Organizational Citizenship

HowlRound: I’m beginning this post at The Redwing Café in the Rainier Beach neighborhood in Seattle’s south end. Even in an at times over-broad conception of the “cultural sector,” cafés are rarely lassoed into the same corral with museums, operas, theatres. But where else do you go to find out what’s really going on?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wiring The Stage Efficiently & Safely

Pro Sound Web: Among many of the recent entrants into the sound profession, I’ve noticed a lack of knowledge when it comes to wiring a stage.

Perhaps it’s due to a lot of sound engineering schools being essentially studio-based courses. Or maybe it’s simply that it’s difficult to get a young mind to concentrate on something as mundane as running cable when there is a digital board with loads of lights and buttons sitting in the corner of the room!

Stage review: Pals' reunion takes an outrageous turn in barebones play

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: On its surface, “Small Engine Repair” is a vulgar, wickedly funny venting of male pride, or in this case, a pride of New England males, three childhood buddies reunited to share the graphic details of their gloomy lives.

Think of that surface as a bubble and get ready for the shock waves when it bursts.

Rosco Opens New Office in Middle East

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: Rosco Laboratories, a provider of lighting and color technologies for the film, television, entertainment, and architecture industries, announces the opening of its new Middle East office located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Nocturnal Wonderland

Live Design: In the 20 years since its fabled beginnings in a Los Angeles warehouse, Nocturnal Wonderland has grown from an underground phenomenon into an annual mainstream spectacle. To honor Nocturnal’s 20th anniversary, Insomniac, the festival organizer and promoter, extended the usual two-day event to three days. Steve Lieberman of SJ Lighting, longtime designer for Insomniac’s events, was the production designer for the Queen’s Grounds stage and Sunken Garden stage.

“Small Engine Repair” at barebones productions

The Pittsburgh Tatler: You know you’re in for a pretty testosterone-driven experience the minute you lay eyes on Patrick Jordan’s detail-perfect set for John Pollono’s superbly crafted and wickedly witty play Small Engine Repair. The grungy, cheaply paneled shop where Jordan’s character, Frank, fixes engines and motors of various sorts has pegboards hung with fan belts lining the walls, an ancient computer on a visibly dirty counter, a door smudged with greasy pawprints leading offstage to a bathroom, shelves crammed with tools, equipment, solvents, and rags, and a beat-up old fridge full of lite beer. It’s the kind of old-fashioned grease monkey spot that signals loud and clear that this is a guy’s space.

33rd Annual Hemsley Internship Program Announced

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: Applications for the 33nd annual Hemsley Internship Program will be accepted from January 1, 2016 through January 15, 2016. Interviews for finalists will be held in New York mid-March or early April, 2016.

Diablo Game Changer Innovation from STAFDA 2015

Pro Tool Reviews: For the past three years, Diablo has kicked off the STAFDA show (Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association) by introducing us to their latest innovations. Last year, we saw new carbide tipped reciprocating saw blades and a Pergo flooring blade along with their new Snap Lock Hole Saw system. We heard a lot of talk about looking at the cost per cut when comparing prices to similar accessories. That was certainly a valid argument for professionals, but there was a different twist that showed up during our 2015 STAFDA news coverage—competitive price points.

Triple E Tracks Help Revive Le Lido Paris

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: The curtains have reopened in style at Paris's legendary Le Lido cabaret venue carried by Triple E tracks and motors.

The famous Lido on the Champs-Élysées closed at the end of 2014 for renovation, which included remodeling the ceiling and installing new track systems. The venue now boasts a brand new show created by Dragone, the cultural creation company founded by Italian-Belgian theatre director Franco Dragone, who also directed the show.

Mainstreaming the Conversation About Discrimination Again

Women and Hollywood: The New York Times has written about Hollywood sexism before. Last year, we saw a three-part series from Manohla Dargis on the institutional discrimination against women directors in the industry. But Maureen Dowd's exposé on the issue late last week took it to a whole different level.

Projection Mapping Debuts At White House Trick Or Treat Event With WorldStage Support

Live Design Briefing Room press release archives: The White House celebrated Halloween with Trick or Treat festivities for close to 5,000 military families and area school children and the first projection mapping of the landmark residence. WorldStage was honored to participate in the event supporting the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in illuminating the South Portico of the White House.

A Closer Look at Eye Protection with Edge Eyewear

Pro Tool Reviews: No matter if you’re on an indoor or outdoor jobsite, eye protection is mandatory. I spent a summer working for a power company. There’s one thing I learned about eye protection there – it is required to be butt ugly.

But does it really have to be that way? We’ve teamed up with Edge Eyewear to look at a couple of new models of eyewear and see what eye protection needs to be and what it’s free to be.

Circuit Board Tattoos That Actually Work Will Bring Your Cyborg Fantasies To Life

gizmodo.com: There’s a common misconception that tattoos are only a way to express your individuality (just like everyone else does), or only serve as loving tributes to moms. But they have practical medical applications too, especially now that circuit board temporary tattoos exist.

Off the Road: California: The Tempest

HowlRound: I was wrestling the last of my suitcases out my front door. It had taken two trips to get them all down the stairs, and I was boldly hoping to take them all at once now that I was on level ground.

“Oh, excuse me!” I said, pulling my luggage out of someone's path as they tried to come in the door. It was my new neighbor with a friend.

“Where are you headed?” they asked me, taking in my baggage situation.

What's On Your Phone, Chris Powell?

AMT Lab @ CMU: Christopher Powell’s unique position as Director of Administration and Community Engagement at The Glimmerglass Festival allows him to work on many new initiatives for the festival. His leadership is required to address projects across various departments such as marketing, planning, artistic administration, public relations, and community engagement. The Glimmerglass Festival, located in Cooperstown, NY, is an internationally renowned summer opera festival, which produces four new productions a year. Before joining Glimmerglass, Powell served as Music Administrator at Pittsburgh Opera for fourteen seasons.

Monday, November 23, 2015

An airplane fuselage gets transformed into a stunning interstellar light show

sploid.gizmodo.com: Wow. PlayMID’s Porta Estel·lar is a trully stunning visual light show inside an old airplane fuselage. It mimics the concept of interstellar travel, “from departure and takeoff to the sighting of comets, planets, galaxies and alien worlds, until finally returning safe to earth.”

The Psychology of What Makes an Image "Horror"

The Creators Project: Emotional storytelling manifests in film, but when it comes to the horror genre, images can walk a fine line between fiction and reality. Whether viewing the latest torture porn, or tuning into the ten o’clock news, innate feelings of fear are regularly consumed through pictures.

The 'Oscar conversation' is only as white as The Hollywood Reporter wants it to be

The Verge: Every Oscar season, The Hollywood Reporter, one of the most powerful trade magazines in entertainment, runs a series of roundtables featuring the stars poised to win it all at the Academy Awards. And, with some notable exceptions, those roundtables are almost always exclusively white. It's a tradition as hallowed as the awards themselves, but it’s getting harder to get away with.

Mixed Reality Experiences Take On the Future of Nightlife

The Creators Project: Electronic music and live audiovisuals have been partners in good times for many, many years. Peering into a crystal ball to see what their future might look like is Marshmallow Laser Feast who teamed up with indie electronic record label R&S Records, Absolut, and Protein for a "mixed reality exploration into the future of nightlife" called Electrik London.

50 Years of Broadway Musical Source Material. A By The Numbers Infographic.

The Producer's Perspective: One of my favorite questions to ask my writer podcast guests is where they get their ideas for their musicals. Because whether we like it or not, the Broadway Musical is not an original business. Absolutely original ideas are rare, as you’ll see below, partly because they are so risky. What makes them so? Is it because audiences need some pre-existing brand to help them plunk down their credit card? Or is it because original ideas are harder to execute and therefore just don’t turn out as good?

These People Stuck Their Arm In A Hole To Get A Surprise Tattoo

fashionablygeek.com: Scott Campbell is a famous tattoo artist, and his work adorns celebrities ranging from Penélope Cruz to Marc Jacobs. Recently he embarked upon a tattooing project called Whole Glory that’s not for the faint of heart. He offered his tattooing services free of charge to absolute strangers. The catch? Participants would stick their arm into a hole and Campbell would tattoo whatever he wanted—and they wouldn’t be able to view the tattoo until it was done.

The Story Behind The Creation Of The Unisphere

90.5 WESA: It was the architectural centerpiece of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. It’s been seen in movies and television shows. It’s the iconic New York City landmark the Unisphere. Joining us with a detailed look at the creation of this structure is Robert Morris University professor Daniel Short author of the book Unisphere: Symbol of the 1964-1965 New York’s World Fair.

'Straight White Men's' Young Jean Lee is a fearless risk-taker

LA Times: Playwright Young Jean Lee wants to brutalize you. She wants to get in your face and make you, the audience, squirm, so that you leave the theater questioning not just what you've seen but your very existence.

"The agenda is to create a trap — for the audience and myself, so that we can't get out of whatever problem the play is wrestling with," says Lee, whose "Straight White Men" will have its West Coast premiere Sunday at the Centre Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. "I'm trying to make work people can't so easily dismiss."

What Does an "Air Sculptor" Do? A Handful of Theatre Jobs You Didn't Know Existed

Playbill.com: From stage managers and makeup artists, to costume designers and sound engineers, it takes a village to raise a show. Still, there are some job titles in the Who's Who that even we don't recognize. We unearth the truth behind these mystery careers.

Vice interview with Eagles of Death Metal paris attacks

Business Insider: Two members of the American rock band whose show was interrupted by gunfire during the attacks in Paris spoke to Vice about the experience.

"Several people hid in our dressing room and the killers were able to get in and killed every one of them, except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket," Jesse Hughes said.

Pittsburgh's Light Up Night shines throughout the city

Blogh | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper: The holiday season officially kicked off in Pittsburgh on Friday night as people filled the Downtown streets for the city's 55th Annual Light Up Night festivities.

Lamb of God on Canceled Tour: We Won't Play 'Terror Alert Hopscotch'

Rolling Stone: Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe wrote a lengthy statement defending his band's decision to cancel their European tour following terror threats on the continent. The outspoken singer explains in the post to his Randonesia Tumblr that the group had carried on with the tour even after learning of the deadly attack on Eagles of Death Metal's Paris show, playing dates in England and Germany, before news of "a specific occurrence" that Blythe does not explain in detail prompted the band head home. Although he did not specify the event, he later mentioned that guns could have gone off in his venue.

Que Onda? with Josefina López and CASA 0101 Theater

HowlRound: Chicana playwright Josefina López founded CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights in 2000 to nurture the future storytellers of Los Angeles and to provide a space for Latina/o art-making on Los Angeles’s Eastside. This year marks the company’s fifteenth year—its quinceañera—of producing community-engaged theatre and cultural arts production. Here, López reflects on the past, present, and future of CASA 0101 as well as on her own position as a playwright, mentor, and community leader.

Even With $100 Million Weekends, Women Can't Win in Showbiz

WIRED: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 just made $101 million at the box office. At the same time that Katniss Everdeen racked up those numbers—below projections, but still an astronomical figure—Jessica Jones became a critical darling on Netflix. It was a great weekend to be a female badass. Unless, of course, you were a female badass who happened to work in Hollywood.

City Theatrical Named Manufacturer of the Year

Stage Directions: City Theatrical was recognized by NJBIZ Magazine and the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program for its resilience in bouncing back from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, which poured 39” of water into its 40,000 sq. ft. Carlstadt manufacturing facility, damaging or destroying every piece of manufacturing equipment.

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

Here are the top five comment generating posts of the past week:

Why Most Internships Are Actually Illegal

Viral Viral Videos: Being an an unpaid intern while still in college might be exciting at first, but the novelty of making copies and getting people who don’t respect you coffee everyday wears off really quick. Actually, most people don’t realize that many internships aren’t just scams, but are actually illegal under the terms set by the department of labor.

Want to be a Theatre Major?

OnStage: Seniors in high school: Majoring in theatre is the ultimate dream for some- you’re training to do what you love, you’re learning new things to improve your performance, and most importantly you meet people that are just like you. It’s no secret that having a career in theatre is incredibly difficult to pursue. You’ll be hearing “no” all the time, and sometimes you won’t hear from anyone at all. So why are we so adamant to take on this career that cannot guarantee us a future? After an entire year of being a theatre major, here are some things I learned to keep me going.

Inside the 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' stormtrooper dressing room

www.wired.co.uk: When costume designer Michael Kaplan (Blade Runner, Star Trek) was looking for a way to update the stormtroopers for The Force Awakens, his inspiration came partly from the phone in his pocket. "With time, I think, simplification occurs," says Kaplan."Because the stormtroopers are hard and white and plasticky, my thoughts did go to Apple."

‘The Lion King’ Releases Virtual Reality Video of ‘Circle of Life’

Variety: Broadway’s “The Lion King” will release a virtual reality video of the show’s opening number, “Circle of Life,” on a handful of digital platforms tomorrow morning, aiming to capitalize on the growing momentum of VR to turn consumer heads toward the 18-year-old production.

The Hobbit movies were awful, and now we know why

The Verge: Like a lot of people, I loved Peter Jackson's original Lord of the Rings trilogy (although we can all admit Return of the King didn't quite know when to leave the party). So I was pretty surprised when Jackson took over from Guillermo del Toro to make the Hobbit trilogy, and the first film turned out to be such a boring mess. Even more so when The Desolation of Smaug rolled around, and the problems somehow seemed to get even worse. In what can only be described as the most honest promotional video of all time, we find out why: the movies were made completely on the fly, without a script or nearly any advanced planning.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Suspension Bridges of Disbelief

Hackaday: Suspension bridges are far and away the target of choice in America’s action blockbusters. In just the past three years, the Golden Gate Bridge has been destroyed by a Kaiju, Godzilla, a Skynet-initiated nuclear blast, and a tsunami. Americans don’t build real bridges anymore, or maintain the ones that we have, but we sure love to blow them up in movies.

Free Amazon scriptwriting app lets scribes pitch directly to Amazon Studios

Ars Technica: While a variety of free and low-priced scriptwriting apps are available across all major computing OSes and Web browsers, only one has launched with a built-in capability to send a finished script directly to a movie or television studio.

Carrie-Anne Moss on Jessica Jones’ Girl Power in Front of and Behind the Camera

The Mary Sue: If you consider yourself a feminist and a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, chances are you’re pretty damn psyched to see Jessica Jones, which begins streaming November 20 on Netflix. Surely a part of that excitement comes from the fact that this is a Marvel series with a female lead (Krysten Ritter) and showrunner (Melissa Rosenberg). But how girl-powered is the series actually, both in terms of plot and crew members?

IAAPA Announces 2015 Brass Ring Awardees

InPark Magazine: The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) presented the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards on November 18 during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The awards were presented to amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, family entertainment centers (FECs), and suppliers from around the world to honor excellence in food and beverage, games and retail, human resources, live entertainment, marketing, new products, and family entertainment centers.

Ticket Buying by Touch

Shubert Ticketing Blog: On a regular basis, we at Shubert do research into our customers. This research can be simple surveys on their experience buying tickets, finding ticket buyers at the box office and getting their input on a new website feature, or one-on-one user interviews about Broadway and ticket-buying in general.

Que Onda? with Virginia Grise

HowlRound: The first poem I ever read publicly was in the juvenile detention center in Austin, Texas. Over fifteen years later this has continued to have a lasting impact on my work: prisons, both literal and metaphorical, the boxes people try to put us in, and state violence are tropes that recur in my writing. Writing, in part, is my attempt to liberate myself from confinement, conventional rules, norms, and structures, an attempt to imagine freedom.

ASC Announces Television Nominees

Below the Line: The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) announced the television nominees for its 30th annual outstanding achievement awards. Winners will be announced on Feb. 14, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

The nominees were picked by a blue ribbon jury of ASC active members that voted on submissions.

‘Mad Men’s’ Costume Designer Janie Bryant Reflects on Fashion

Variety: My love of fashion and TV/film started as early as I can remember. My mother got me hooked on movies. When I was young, she would take dresses for my dolls. I made my first dress when I was 8 … and haven’t stopped.

I didn’t immediately think about fashion as a career, but I finally got my degree in fashion design. After school, I moved to Paris to follow my dream of becoming a designer. That didn’t really work out at the time, so I ended up moving to New York after four months in Europe. There, I worked as an assistant designer in the fashion district. One night, I met a costume designer at a party, and knew exactly what turn I wanted my career to take.

I was on a mission: I wanted to be a costume designer.

'Miss Saigon' Returning to Broadway

The New York Times: “Miss Saigon” is helicoptering back to Broadway.

Cameron Mackintosh, the storied British producer best known for bringing the megahits “Cats,” “Les Misérables” and “The Phantom of the Opera” to New York, said on Thursday that he planned to present a revival of “Miss Saigon” on Broadway in the spring of 2017.

Back In The Director's Chair With Mark Clayton Southers

90.5 WESA: After a life threatening car crash last May award-winning theater director Mark Clayton Southers has returned to work. His production of August Wilson’s play “The Piano Lesson” runs through Saturday at the downtown center bearing the late Pittsburgh playwright’s name. Mark, along with his wife Neicy, joined Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to talk about how the accident and road to recovery have changed him.

SUNY white- and black-only signs may lead to new public art guidelines

Inside Higher Ed: Almost three months after a racially charged art project stirred controversy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, administrators, faculty members and students are still deliberating whether to adopt guidelines for public art on campus.

At the root of the debate is a series of signs reading “White Only” and “Black Only” that appeared mysteriously and suddenly around campus in September, eliciting fear and shock from students. After it became clear a graduate art student named Ashley Powell had posted the signs as part of a project for her Urban Spaces class, the whole episode took on a new dimension.

The Hobbit movies were awful, and now we know why

The Verge: Like a lot of people, I loved Peter Jackson's original Lord of the Rings trilogy (although we can all admit Return of the King didn't quite know when to leave the party). So I was pretty surprised when Jackson took over from Guillermo del Toro to make the Hobbit trilogy, and the first film turned out to be such a boring mess. Even more so when The Desolation of Smaug rolled around, and the problems somehow seemed to get even worse. In what can only be described as the most honest promotional video of all time, we find out why: the movies were made completely on the fly, without a script or nearly any advanced planning.

What If I'm Attacked at Work? A Crew Primer, Part 1

JOL: In Paris last Friday, 13 November 2015, a few jihadi cowards stormed into Le Bataclan and murdered scores of people with AK-47’s. At FOH, the house lighting tech, Nathalie Jardin, took rounds and died form her injuries. Merchandiser Nick Alexander died from his gunshots onsite. They were just at work, doing what they loved, making the almighty dollar, but mostly digging the journey that we call Entertainment.

Billy Porter Leaves the Land of Lola After 1,000 Performances in Broadway's Kinky Boots

Playbill.com: Billy Porter, who earned the Tony Award for his portrayal of unstoppable drag performer Lola in the Tony-winning hit musical Kinky Boots, ends his acclaimed run in the Broadway production Nov. 20 after more than 1,000 performances in the role.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good Kids at Pitt Stages

Pittsburgh City Paper: Playwright Naomi Iizuka tackles a difficult subject with grace, honesty and even a sense of poetry in Good Kids. The University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts does full justice to the 2014 one-act with a solid ensemble directed by Kimberly Griffin and Lisa Jackson-Shebetta in the intimate Henry Heymann Theatre.

Contemporary Choreographers largely hits home

Pittsburgh City Paper: Stylistic variety was on tap for Point Park University’s Contemporary Dance Company’s annual Contemporary Choreographers program. The Nov. 12 matinee kicked off with Israeli-born choreographer Ori Flomin’s new work “The Way Out.”