Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Please Call Your Representatives (Again)

Well, they're trying to mess up the internet again.

The FCC plans to change the rules that keep the internet neutral, to let your internet provider or ISP:

1) Charge you more for faster service.  (Meaning poorer or thriftier people get crummier service.  

ADDENDUM: Oops! they do this already, when your service slows after you reach your phone's data cap.  I miss-typed.  But what may now happen is a sort of airline-ification of your internet service... Want streaming?  Extra.  Want access to the cloud?  Extra?  Want knees or oxygen with that?  You get the idea.  Oh, did you want You Tube with your internet?)

What's for sure is that ISPs will:

2)  Charge businesses, websites, and streaming services etc. more to reach you.  (Meaning poorer, newer, start-up, and niche guys can't compete with richer, more established, mainstream ones.  That favorite viral video not on Netflix?  That weird genre comic?  That unpopular opinion?  Sloooooow to loooooad.)

3)  "Fast" and "slow" lanes (AKA decent versus crummy service) add up to de facto censorship.  

Not political censorship necessarily, but, for instance, you might have a bad connection when ordering pizza from Dominos... and a strangely good connection to Pizza Hut.  So you'll start ordering more Pizza Hut.  If your internet provider just happens to get kickbacks from them...?  Pure coincidence!

That's the obviously profitable commercial censorship, that profit motives will determine what you can or cannot see online.  But with all these dark money PACs around it's only a matter of time (think seconds) before some ISP is paid to speed up one political party's ads or trash talk.  Heck, if a Koch Brother or a Soros own a big percent of an internet corp. they might even tilt that scale for free.  Your news and then your political and social views will be warped by what Big Internet Brother wants you to see.

Scary.

The internet is the conduit through which most of our lives now travel - do we want a filter to collect more money for our ISPs clogging it up?  

Polluting it?



So.

Call your representatives in Congress.  Explain this stupidity to them!  Because your protest is the only thing possibly stopping this.  You got less than two days.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dishonor

A short post.  It's been a while since I've blogged, mostly due to a glut of deadlines and turkey and, well, of pumpkin pie too.  

But today's news requires note:


Someone I know has been fired for sexual harassment.

At this post-Weinstein moment in America some men are now being held to account for long-time bad behavior.  This particular man is - or was - in the DFW theater world.  I've worked with him.  Never saw anything untoward... but then I'm not his target audience, being old enough to be his mother. But lots of stories are bubbling up.  Many young actresses were mistreated.  The accusations seem undeniable.

Why?!

Why do some men use power to harass women or other men or even children in this way?  Are any women creating comparable messes of power and sex?  Why hurt others in such a way?  Why risk career and reputation?  

But then, until now, it just hasn't been much of a risk has it?

For me the most sickening chicken coming home to roost is that, though I never saw or heard a hint of this behavior from this man, I could instantly - instantly! - see it as true.  

Part of me just sighed...   


Sure.  It fits. 

Because the guy had a preening self-regard that just radiated.  I didn't guess at that ego acting out in this way (in hindsight, duh), but I never trusted him to have my back professionally.  Or to act from abstract fairness or such...  He just didn't seem the type.  

But this type?  Well, I would have expected him to be smarter is all.  He is very clever and talented.  Plus big ego.  That I noticed.  If he also had virtue or nobility of character or kindness I never noticed...   

And isn't that a sad and dishonorable thing.  


New Year's Resolution: to live in such a way that, if evil things are ever reported of me, no one says, "Sure.  It fits."

And can that resolution start today please?  In a year when... (picking just the latest outrage), a major political party backs an accused child molester, maybe we all need to start behaving ourselves better.  Agreed?




ADDENDUM:  Is this post fair?  What about presumption of innocence?  The question troubles me.  I haven't met the witnesses or heard the evidence but one theater has and fired him because of it.  Several others have fired him from directing jobs.  Or suspended him from membership until this is investigated.  Am I just piling on?  Yes, I suppose I am.  I believe the women.  The reported facts just sound so likely.  And, knowing the man a little, I just can't put my own experience up in defense.  So...  I hope I'm not being unjust.

ADDENDUM #2:  Having read further into this matter, I am now sure I have been fair... indeed too kind.  

The accusations, while probably not criminal, are vile and involve very young women - college and perhaps even high school students - who were either under his authority as a director or a mentor or to some degree under his power as one who could recommend or hire actors.  Some he contacted out of the blue using confidential information from head shots!  (Betraying both the women and his employer, DTC...  And what about them, huh?  What did they know?)  Read more HERE at TheaterJones if you need details.

So how was I too kind?  By calling him "Him" not by name:


Lee Trull


Tell you what, disowning a theater company member for disgraceful conduct kinda puts a damper on the holiday party.




Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Report

Nutso busy around here!  (Explaining the lack of posts, sorry.)  

Application Pending is about to open at Circle Theater in Fort Worth.  (Go see the amazing one-woman show... and the bee-youtiful faux painted mahogany paneling.)  Ironbound Techs at Kitchen Dog Theater this weekend (Lots of weeds and roadside trash to dress there tomorrow.) And the musical Sister Act  also loads in this weekend at Mainstage Irving - Las Colinas.

But, recently, years ago feels like, I did once get a chance to read for leasure...

Best two books?  

The novel: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  Really loved it.  It's what you might call a Basic Novel, not any particular genre, no explosions to lead to a sale for a blockbuster movie, just a guy and his life.  I found it funny, moving, true to life, annoying, charming... time well spent.

The non-fiction: Setting the Stage by David Hayes.  A sort of memoir / sort of guide book about set design as a profession, written by a designer on Broadway during the '50s and '60s who, later, taught.  also found this book funny, moving, true to life, annoying, charming... time well spent. 

I recommend both books!




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Good Ol' Days in Scenery

Just happened across this blog post praising the detailed sets of golden age Broadway  HERE.  


At the Ethyl Barrymore Theatre the 1942 set for Three Sisters

I think Broadway still does a kinda nice job though.

And - totally unrelated - the same blogger's earlier post on Houston's The Orange Show HERE.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Week in the Life

This week may not be exactly typical, but it's not uncommon either.  A set designer's schedule can go something like this:


Weekend - spend some time preparing for the coming week by finishing one set of construction drawings and starting the next.  Also pulling portfolio photos of work for an up-coming introduction/audition/meeting thingie.

Monday - up at 6:30 a.m.  Breakfast.  Scan and email one (small) set of construction drawings for one show.  (Application Pending at Circle Theater.)  Pull clothes (and even iron!) for the interview.  Have the interview.  Seems to go okay... maybe
I'll get the new show?  
While wondering that, finish construction drawings then make a bunch of copies of those other drawings and design sketches for the other show you know you do have.  (Ironbound at Kitchen Dog Theater.)  Grab something out of the refrigerator at random to gobble while doing email one handed, then rush to the first read of Ironbound.
  
A fascinating reading!   Great cast.   Also got to meet for the first time in a while several favorite people from other shows. Snacks and chit-chattery very pleasant.  Production meeting afterwards.  (Have to be shushed at one point.  Scenic talk is too engrossing!)  


Sketchbook doodle during the Ironbound first read-thru
My sketchbook is really a Day Book, where I record whatever I'm 
thinking, reading, or researching about, plus meeting notes and
my earliest design sketches... and occasional grocery lists.

Home at 11:00 p.m.  Eat a sandwich in the bath because that refrigerator grab and snack at the Read-Thru weren't quite enough.  Also a drink.  Nothing better than a hot bath and a cold drink.  And a book.

Tuesday - sleep a little late - 7:30.  Create a model for yet another show so that theater's board of directors can approve the design.  (Sister Act at Mainstage Irving - Las Colinas.)  This involves making yet many more copies of yet more design sketches.  I'm getting to know the owner of the local copy place!  Hopefully I'll also find time to scan and send a director copies of an old 1950s version of "The Story of the Little Red Hen."  (Which makes more sense than it sounds like it would.  Really.)  I have a head start on model building in that I had the forethought to get supplies like foamcore board last week.  

Dinner at home with family, woohoo!  Wonder what I'll cook?


Here's an example of early design sketches - these are trying to
figure out how to make a few wagons (3) multi-task as about
87 different locations in Sister Act.  It is SO HANDY to have a 
sketchbook always on hand.  I buy my purses sized to hold one.


Wednesday - will be, in the evening, the production meeting that goes with that model.  Earlier comes the all-important lunch seminar on the American Disabilities Act which I need as continuing education credit to keep my architectural license current.  Lotso note taking!  

(My sketchbook is interesting lately: notes and sketches on several shows; ditto from my jury duty... sad sketches; ditto on an imaginary planet I'm designing just for fun; plus nice serious architectural ADA notes to balance out the frivolities.)

Thursday - a coffee-klatch with a fellow designer to look forward to.  

Friday - By now I need to have answered all the questions generated by my flurry of drawings - which may mean MORE drawings! - and have every show sorta settled for the weekend.  

Will I make it?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

North Texas Giving Day

A chance to support the arts in North Texas... with a little extra ooomph!

Kind people have pledged extra money to multiply your own kindness.  Now, there are lots of worthy groups, but I'd like call to your especial attention to theater in general and Kitchen Dog Theater in particular.



Your help is gratefully appreciated!


Friday, September 8, 2017

I Love Theater People

Harvey sent 4 feet of water through Sara Hames' house, leaving her family to build a barricade by her curb made of wet debris and ruin... 

So her family called their musical theater friends and they put on Les Harveyables:


Even if your barn is flooded you can still put on the show!