Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

I'm working on a make-your-theater-greener ebook.

It's progressing!  I'd say it was "gathering steam," but how old-tech, coal-fired, big-carbon-footprint is that?  No.  It's gathering, um, "solar power."  That's it.

More news soon.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Get Yer Tickets!

I've got four (count 'em 4!) shows worth seeing right now or very soon:

At Kitchen Dog Theater, Gidion's Knot, which has been getting really good reviews, running just through the 26th.  (Get tickets fast.)  This script raises some fascinating questions.

At Fun House Theatre and Film, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, opening tonight!  With only a short run also through the 26th.  It's going to be terrific, I think.  The kids (who are 99% of the cast) are amazing!  An Escher-ish set that I'm proud of.  (Still digging gray paint out from under my fingernails.)

Escher arches - believed public domain image

Opening soon at WaterTower Theater, the Dallas restaging of Circle Theatre's steamy-good Venus in Fur.  Opens the 27th and runs through May 18th.

And opening May 1st at Circle Theatre, The Other Place, which runs through the 24th.  An intriguing how-much-is-in-her-head? kind of piece.

Tickets! Tickets!  Get yer Tickets!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Sorry for the arid desert between posts here... it's Tax Time.  'Nuf said.

There's something about going through last year's mileage records (really?  I drove to Fort Worth again that day?) and old pay stubs (really?  that little?) and badly folded receipts (really?!  that much!) that makes me feel all jaded and Wordsworthian:

"The world is too much with us; late and soon / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..."

I love my theater design job, but annual tax up-gathering sure can suck the juice out of it.  Like a bad review.  (Not much like W's "sleeping flowers," all these shekels.)   

Meanwhile, actual reviews have been good: Gidion's Knot at Kitchen Dog Theater is getting good press.  A tremendous clash of actress power in this show!  (The set's getting nice notice too - "meticulously executed."  I'll take it!)

Here's the full Wordsworth piece for Today's Poetical Pleasure:

THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

A moonlit sea by Carlsen - a public domain image from Vintage Printable

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Good Advice

I just stumbled across this post "11 Things to Know Before Starting Architecture School" - full of great advice!

My personal favorite is the admonition to actually get sleep.  Very important, sleep.  It made all the difference in my own college career - my grades rose amazingly as soon as I swore off pulling all-nighters.  One of my prof.s used to say, "A project designed at 2:00 a.m. should only be critiqued at 2:00 a.m."... and then he refused to show up at that hour.  Seriously, what looks like a good idea when you're all sleep-deprived is usually not a good idea.  The companion advice is: Don't Draw Drunk.

Friends Don't Let Friends Draw Drunk - and wouldn't that make a great bumper sticker?

The applications of this architectural wisdom to theater is pretty obvious.

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli (public domain pic).  What the painter MEANT to call this work, 
obviously, was The 2:00 a.m. Design Idea.  Equally obviously, the swooning character is the sleepy designer.

So get your sleep.

Yes, the deadline is unforgiving, but you'll be so much more efficient and make so many fewer bone-headed mistakes (especially with dangerous tools) that any hours "lost" to sleep will repay themselves many-fold.  I promise.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What to Wear to the Theater

This is not fashion advice for the theater audience.

They mostly know what to wear - something a bit dressy or artsy or chic, yet casual (this is a casual age) and, pragmatically, with some sort of wrap so that they can adjust to the venue's air conditioning or failure thereof.  No, the audience knows what to wear... except You!  There!  Dress up a little huh?  This ain't cleaning out the garage!  Dress for Art please.

No, this is fashion advice for theater designers.

I've learned: never wear anything to the theater at anytime that can't to get paint on it.

If I do wear good clothes - even for an instant, even for a non-painting day - I am inevitably doomed to paint.  Or to rip, tear, stain, or otherwise ruin whatever I'm wearing by some other means.  Most recently, on an I'm-just-carrying-stuff day, I ripped a favorite dressy shirt.  Every pair of my "painting shoes" started out as "good shoes."  Ditto my jeans.  I wait for the first paint on new jeans with the same fatalism that new car owners dread The First Scratch.


Wear jeans and accept a few splashes and rips as a badge of artistic virtue.  (No need to pay extra for 'em at those fancy fashion stores.  In fact, be sure to sneer as you pass their show windows because your paint and rips are for real.)

Wear only designated "paint shoes" when painting.  (I go barefoot if I've forgotten them.)

Shirts?  I wear worn-out dress shirts gifted to me by family, but the very best solution if you want to spent a few bucks, are thrift store Hawaiian shirts.  Don't ruin vintage or gorgeous shirts obviously (those are dressy wear!), but you can ruin ugly ones with a clear conscience.  The wilder patterns will disguise enough paint splatters that you can even go out for lunch decently.  My all-time favorite was a bright red grocery store Aloha shirt with dragons on it!

Aloha shirts - public domain photo from Wikipedia, taken by Vera & Jean-Christophe

* Another nice photo of glorious Aloha shirts HERE.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Sale! Book Sale!

My printer hasn't been having as many sales lately as they used to, but today is a biggie -
Waffle Day Sale!

Waffle Day?  Really?

Alice 'n Waffles!
Shooped from public domain images

Find out more about my how-to-set-design book Alice Through the Proscenium HERE at Lulu.com.  When you order, be sure to quote the secret code:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I love working at the MAC!  

The McKinney Avenue Contemporary is the home theater(s) to Kitchen Dog Theater and also has several art galleries.  I was lucky enough to watch the installation of the newest shows and to get to chat with one of the artists, Masami Teraoka , whose show Inversion of the Sacred is a perfect counterpoint to our up-coming play Gidion's Knot.  Beautiful, disturbing work... huge triptychs of gold leaf, oil paint, and... well, see for yourself.  (But don't bring the kiddies.)  The artist himself was very friendly and we had an interesting discussion about the basis for his new work - the church sex scandals - and society's seeming retreat from the liberality of the '60s sexual revolution to present day repressions.  You can have great conversations with artists!

Then, by an odd happenstance, I got to have another good conversation with an artist just days later - this time with a young up-and-comer working at the Dallas Arboretum's Children's Garden.  (A cool museum-outdoors  filled with hands-on exhibits).  That conversation was on art museum shows - we both liked the Amon Carter's Romare Bearden Odyssey show (previous post HERE) and the Fort Worth Modern's Kara Walker show.  The artist?  Kevin Owens; you can see a little of his work at RAW Artists HERE.  A great chat!

But what are the odds of running into a Hunting Art Prize finalist randomly at the spring flower show?

Public domain image of tulips courtesy of  mypublicdomainpictures.com

My third conversation of note was with journalist Lauren Smart of the Dallas Observer... an interview.

Being interviewed is a strange thing... on the one hand you want it to be a relaxed, friendly chat so that the interview is actually, you know, interesting for readers, but, on the other hand, you don't want to say anything too stupid.  I think I may have managed that part.  Mostly.  Judge for yourself HERE.

So... what fascinating conversation will be next?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tell the White House What You Think

I've written about online privacy issues before*.

Today the White House is asking Your opinion.  Go give 'em an earful HERE

The right not to be spied on by our own cell phones and computers is an issue we should all be worried about.  You've heard about the frog in the pot of water?  Try to drop him in boiling water and he'll kick and leap away, but put him in cool water and slooooowly raise the temperature and he'll swim in the pot happily until he turns into frog soup.  You and I, my friends, are presently floating in warm water, using a carrot as a floatie.

Time to kick!

Illustration "shooped" from public domain images, including the cook pot at publicphoto.org

*Earlier posts on internet privacy, spying etc.: Woohoo! Hi NSA, Privacy, and The Fourth...

ADDENDUM: Still unconvinced that meta data poses a threat to privacy?  HERE's a study at WebPolicy.