Friday, April 16, 2010

Just drop in to see what condition your condition is in

How cool is this? TCG is hosting a series of national town hall meetings to take stock of theater and our place in it. Here’s your chance to kvetch with the best of them and contribute to the ongoing national debate about what to do with this glorious anachronism we call the American theater.

Alas, since you need to register the Thursday before each forum, it’s already too late to participate in the actors’ dialogue. But that leaves four more, and fortunately, you wear many, many hats in the theater anyway, right?

Ironically enough, I’ll be missing the dramaturgs’ klatch; I’ll be steeping myself in new playwriting at the Iowa New Plays Festival. Twelve plays in six days! I do love a good marathon.

Anyhow, here are the deets:


TCG Independent Artists' Forum

Moderated by Board Members of TCG

We want feedback from independent theater artists: How can we strengthen the relationship between individual artists and institutions? What would strengthen the artistic vitality of theatre?

TCG is hosting a series of five teleconferences for independent theatre artists. These focus groups aim to engage individual theatre artists in a far-ranging dialogue to discuss how individual artists are doing in the American theatre field today.

Five teleconferences are scheduled, each for a specific discipline in the theatre: actors, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights and designers. We recognize that many artists play multiple and varied roles within the theatre, and that for some artists, these categories do not fully capture what they do in the field. If you are a multi-disciplinary artist, or you do not see your discipline represented in the calls below, please self select one category that you feel is closest to your area of expertise.

The teleconferences will take place for one hour on the following days:

• April 19, 4pm EDT: Actors
• April 26, 4pm EDT: Directors
• May 3, 3pm EDT: Dramaturgs
• May 3, 4:30pm EDT: Playwrights
• May 10, 4pm EDT: Designers

Artists interested in participating must register below by 5pm EST on the Thursday prior to the teleconference. Our intent is to have as geographically and culturally diverse a group as possible represented on the call. As such, 30 participants will be selected from the registrant pool by lottery. Participants will be notified either way by the end of the day on the Friday prior to the call. For maximum efficiency, a series of questions will be circulated to participants prior to the call. Registrants who are not selected for the call will be given the opportunity to voice their points of view via electronic survey.

Follow the link above to register. And let me know what happens.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Malcolm McLaren's next gig: shaking up Valhalla

Saddened today to hear of the passing of Malcolm McLaren, a supernova of a music producer who helped changed music forever during the Punk and New Wave movements back in the day. His clients included The Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow, among others. The po-mo mash-ups we take for granted nowadays have their roots in some of his visionary efforts.

This oh-so-80s video may give you pause, but give yourself a treat and just close your eyes, allowing yourself to be enshrouded by Mr. McLaren’s lush re-envisioning of a classic staple. This is from his 1984 album, FANS:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Roomba cat, O roomba cat, where are you going to

That’s right, I’m breaking a 9-day silence to bring you funny videos from the Internets. But it’s in honor of an event of massive impact. Namely: last week the James came home with a Roomba! We welcomed it into the family immediately and life hasn’t been the same since.

While the Roomba may be a far cry from the Jetson’s beloved Rosie, it doesn’t sass you back when you push its CLEAN button. It sallies forth from its berth at once, with encouraging alacrity, looking for lint, grit, dust bunnies, what have you.

What makes its search oddly lifelike is that it doesn’t go in a straight line, but rather meanders all over the place. It halts in mid-stride and goes off in another direction; it circles around madly as if in doubt of where it’s needed most; it clambers over low barriers such as rugs in a way that’s reminiscent of the Robinson’s old Chariot. Whenever it bangs into insurmountable barriers, it just wheels around goes another way (as we say in casting, using whisker-like feelers that jut out from the undercarriage.

You can place small electronic posts around the house to ward the Roomba away from places you want it to avoid -- like your office, when you’re working in it -- and the thing somehow senses areas where the floor drops away, which saves it from falling down the stairs. Brilliant! You just turn it on and it industriously wanders around; its white noise because an unobtrusive soundtrack to your day.

Best of all, when the Roomba gets tired, it finds its way back to its berth; it backs in, settles down, and as it recharges, it’s “clean” button pulses like beating red heart. Scary!

Admittedly, I had hoped for a video-worthy response to the Roomba from Mac the Kerry Blue. I expected outrage from him at this manic interloper, or at least for his terrier instincts to kick in. But he just looked at the thing, shrugged, and went back to sleep. Hence I’m hoping you’ll be satisfied with this YouTube office fave instead.

Oh: I hope you recognized the important cultural referent in this post’s caption. I know Prince did. Here it is, for your convenience, just in case:

You're welcome!