Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sunday Post

 

Today's post will link up to The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelve, Reader Book Buzz  for weekly updates.



           LOOKING FORWARD TO NOVEMBER

  

I had a writer tell me about The Tip, a book by Seth Godin, and how every artists begins with a purpose and optimism then they go through something called The Tip which are every day obstacles. Now the experienced and successful artists, according is Godin is one who knows that to get over the obstacles is the successful artists.

I found myself looking into a lot of podcasts this week, including This American Life and 80,000 Hours Podcast.  The second one is a British organisation studying which careers can achieve the most positive impact on the world.

 I know I do a lot of stuff and dive into one task after another. That's why this week I gave some thought to my week and how I can break into chunks like: (9am-11am) (11am-1pm) etc.  This way I can put more effort and focus into my projects instead of spending my time erratically and distracting myself. I appreciate you readers making sense of my week. Some of you have been commenting on my posts for years and that makes me feel great😀😀 There's a lot of vulnerability in showing your work and its so important.


Virtual Shows I'm Excited about 



A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted by Orson Welles. Presented by
The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
December 11-13.
Tickets available now at https://bit.ly/3fBUDUk




Get Thee Behind Me, Santa:A Fundraiser for Strike Theater
Sat, Dec 19th 
 This show was recognized as the bestselling show in its venue at the 2018 Kansas City Fringe Festival and selected for a coveted Encore slot.
$5-10 recommended donation, though nobody is turned away from watching!



The Snow Queen, a Dance Film, presented by Ballet Co.Laboratory

Saturday, December 19 at 7:00 pm


Sunday, December 20 at 2:00 pm 


For more information on Ballet Co.Laboratory and their programs, visit balletcolaboratory.org

AND

From Disability Landscape 
(Here's a fun talk from the channel the writer of this blog is featured on).





CURRENTLY 

Reading:

I've been reading a lot of books that deal with growing older


Fantastic book, this is not one of V.E. Schwab's everyday books there is a romance story line.  It's just as good everyone says. Can't recommend it enough.





Listening


I took a gander at Jeannette winter's Novel and I think the author and I have a lot in common.  Both of us are writers. And I have had a traumatic childhood, having been torn out of my own  family at the age of two and put in foster care.  I think I'll have to tackle this autobiography on a day where I have my wits about me.



Monday, November 23, 2020

GALLIM:A NEW DANCE FILM



 GALLIM premiered a new dance film for Northrop based on Miller’s piece, BOAT on November 19, 2020. This film is directed by Andrea Miller and co-directed by Ben Stamper, co-founder of Helix Films.  It explores what it looks like, feels like, and means to be searching for home.

In the beginning, three dancers are wrapped around individual television sets while another dancer rushes the camera and kisses the film lens. Then, in the next scene dancers are intertwined as they circle a living room. The rhythm of the feet touching the floor matches the pace of the instrumental. The music is composed by Arvo Pärt and sung by the Twin Cities PopUp Choir, in collaboration with university organist, Dean Billmeyer.

There is a dark theme to the film that wrestles with both celebration and destruction.  It increasingly becomes more blurred as the dancers run from one another, often grasping at each other as they move about the space exploring every inch of it until a dancer lands on the ground. Now whether that dancer is on stage, or outdoors in the water is deeply telling. Miller explains how different it is to have a dancer laying on ground at the shoreline of a lifeless beach versus on stage and how the varied mediums affect the viewer.

In the second half of the film, viewers see three television sets on stage once again and then hear the sound of a radio as fans cheer, creating this new emotion. If technology and television existed around Beowulf’s time I'd like to think the TVs represent a method of communication used by Hrothgar (Beowulf) and his warriors to send a message to the village people that said, ‘We defeated the enemy- it’s time for celebration.’ But anyone who knows Beowulf’s tale understands that the celebration is premature. I won’t derail you with plot details but the film does an excellent job of showing the transition even if the film relies heavily on abstraction.

Co-Director Stamper said in a talkback, “In film, we’re used to a horizontal plot line that is cause and effect and it’s what we’re used to when we sit to watch a film in a dark room. One of my biggest fears in life is to wake people up, it’s my least favorite thing to do for whatever reason, and when I was young, my father used to wake me up by slowly pulling the sheet off and he devised all sorts of techniques to wake me up. But that is my job as an artist to turn the lights on.”

In the film, a veil or sheet is raised and lowered above the artists and the rippling effect is similar to when the dancers are outside thrashing in the water. The chanting of the choir’s voices and the wave-like undulation brings momentum and strength to the film. At one point, a dancer in the water is raised by other dancers so that she is standing on their hands. The contrast of the indoor staged setting to the outdoors with the sun’s illumination creates an amazing quality. Stamper credits cinematographer, Andrew Ellis, for the imagery. The bravery and trust involved by the dancers and everyone involved in this film is unfathomable.

Trust is a big component in bringing this film to fruition.  Andrea Miller was grateful and had these parting words to say about how involved the dancers were in this project, “How inspiring they (the dancers) were from day one; from taking a home kit COVID test, to our ZOOM rehearsals, to rehearsing in masks, to walking in muddy water. Everything they took on with generosity and with tremendous depth, diving into the work- it reads very clearly in the film, how beautiful these people are."  This is Northrop's first dance production since March and Kinetic Light will premiere online Thursday, December 3rd.  Tickets at northrup.umn.edu

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy

 





           LOOKING FORWARD TO NoVember

The Mind can be trained to relive itself on paper--Billy Collins


This week I talked to writers about MasterClass on YouTube. Malcolm Gladwell's class was recommended. Every year on Good Friday, you get a buy one get one free MasterClass. 

And if you have a subscription listen to as many as you want.

  I joined some writers on ZOOM for SHUT UP and WRITE!  

A member told me about the weather in New York and how treacherous it was.  One of the improvisers said "I had hailstones and thought, is this Manhattan?"  Texts messages were sent to New Yorkers that said: ‘Head down to the lower levels.' And then it listed all the boroughs getting hit by the storm. There’s nothing like looking at an all capped text that says 'HEAD to SHELTER'.
I also broke down and bought a Keurig.  I have had this ongoing habit of buying coffee from the shops and I've tried everything but I think this time I'll give it the good 90 day try.  So far I'm on my second cup and it still doesn't have the strength of espresso even though they its made with espresso beans.  Darn! And I can't go out and buy an espresso machine-that would cost me a fortune!  
I had the most fabulous week full of camera work and more camera work.  I was videoing for my team's YouTube channel.  I was also online for improvathon for like 15 minutes for HUGE Theater's annual show.  This was thirty-six hours of improv from ZOOM streaming to YouTube and it was like Christmas day seeing a lot of familiar faces from the safety of my home.   My favorite was Jill Bernard doing improv in a mask from her car.   




Shows I'm Excited about 


And


online event https://youtu.be/htv3E9dRZvU




A (Virtual) Christmas Vacation with The Griswolds: An Evening with Chevy Chase & Beverly D’Angelo on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. (CT).  Tickets at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.


CURRENTLY 


I Feel Bad About my Neck by Nora Ephron

I had a reader suggest to me that I comment about some of the books I'm reading so I'll talk about this one because I adored it.  It doesn't read like a traditional memoir.  Its composed of several short chapters where Nora expounds on little things in her life.  Like there is a chapter called 'Me and JFK:Now it Can be Told.'  In this chapter she goes on about her work as an intern in the White House. She tells it all about how JFK was caught checking her out,but he made no moves on her.  She thinks that this has to do with the fact that he might have known she wasn't someone who wouldn't kiss and NOT tell. 

 It seems like there isn't a place where she hasn't worked. I liked this a lot because I'm a firm believer that one should keep plowing the work force until they find work that suits them.  The work is hilarious! And if you ever thought to dabble in journalism or editing-this book is for you! Nora also seems like a die hard feminist, and I had the confidence to comment on an article in the Medium that dealt with gender roles because of Nora Ephron's book. 



Here is one of our latest promos for our YouTUBE channel.  Unfortunately I''m not in this one but You can get a great idea of the behind the scenes of what it's like to work in our studio.  I say 'our' studio lightly because we don't own it but it feels like home.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Nightmare Before Christmas Drinking Game-Minnesota



Vimeo (virtual show) Nightmare Before Christmas Drinking Game-Minnesota (above)

October left me indoors unable to trick-o-treat or join others in haunted fun. Luckily, Shadow Horse Theatre LLC brought me The Nightmare Before Christmas Drinking Game-Minnesota, executive produced by Matt Saxe.

I enjoyed the script reading by seven actors from the safety of my home on Friday, November 13th. It played on Vimeo, a video sharing website that has a smaller user base and is similar to YouTube. Themes center around Jack Skellington and his attempt to become the Spirit of Christmas in a town known for its Halloween. Jack is the pumpkin king who is Halloweentown's who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the "real world" and has come upon a door that leads the way to a town that practices Christmas. When he returns from this happy town, he strives to bring this holiday with him.  Try as he might, Jack Skellington failed to become the proper Santa, but I think we can all learn about failure through trial and error through the viewing of this production.

Throughout the show, the narrator rings a bell and whenever certain words or phrases are said by actors the audience takes a drink. To hear the theme song 'This is Halloween' and watch as actors balance drinks and attempt to synchronize is more than entertaining. With Sally Shock (Kelly Nelson) in the center of this tic-tac-toe box, her role couldn’t be more important as the sweet voice behind a film that blankets its charm by taking an opposite approach to the holidays. Everyone is in dark clothing, and many incorporate black backgrounds. Characters: Lock, Shock, and Barrel hold up masks periodically that may haunt you for days. One in particular looked strikingly similar to the horror mask from 80’s hit film Jason.

Actor Christian Jacobs was a standout. He played numerous characters, including Lock and the vampires, the clown with the Tearaway Face, a saxophone player-musicians, Spider Boy, and the Little Human Boy. In the beginning his hands are up like that of a conductor waving to keep the introductory tune. His all-black ZOOM window gets the desired effect with a dim spotlight cast down on him as he moves closer to the camera showering his audience with ghoulish grins and out-this-world facial expressions.

At the time I viewed Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993, I felt charmed by Jack Skellington and his long gangly legs and skeleton face. The fantastical setting had been something I never seen before in childhood movies. I might add that I felt more charmed by this Jack Skellington (Peyton Dixon) and his painted smile and non-stop energetic gestures. But I wonder, as an adult, if I would have enjoyed the 90’s film with the same elation. Hundreds of YouTubers have been able to create this film, each one more dynamic than the rest. But none of them have had to negotiate the task of pulling together a cast from several different settings on ZOOM. If anything one can admire the creativity behind Shadow Horse theatre, LLC. Actors did their best to give cues to one another but the varied backgrounds and actors' proximity to the camera were obstacles. This is going to be an ongoing challenge for many entertainers as they show their creativity online during a pandemic.

I often worry if Generation X will even remember a time when they sat down next to one another in a theater, nudging each other and hooting and hollering while sharing nonverbal cues. Surely drinking while watching anything entertaining is never going to cease but there is something to be said about the theatre and arriving there together on time. As it was, the only way I knew anyone else was engaged in this performance is by indicators on social media like invitations to the performance, that said check the box ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ if you are attending. At least 20 checked ‘yes’ and a large quantity checked ‘maybe.’ How easy is it to check ‘maybe’ and not be held accountable for the arts in this day and age?

As performers and audience members, we can all learn about the art of showing up and taking accountability even if we feel like we’re failing. The Drinking Game-Minnesota has shows monthly, and the December show will be Muppet Christmas Carol. Tickets are online and go online two weeks before the show. More info https://www.phoenixtheatermpls.org/project/the-minnesota-drinking-game/

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