Had a weekend off from Shakespeare and took my camera along to see Joan Jett and The Blackhearts in Dundalk, MD. Stood next to a tree in my Athenian hat*, took some photos but mostly enjoyed the concert. Made for a nice break. Heard new music which I enjoyed, songs that amuse me ended up on the set list ("The French Song" and "A.C.D.C.") and I appreciate anyone who can work uncouth into a lyric. There was another word choice that I thought to mention but it has escaped out the door of 2 a.m. Thank you once again, Joan Jett, for an excellent night. Also affordable, which is appreciated. I'm due another shopping expedition to the Blackheart store whenever my scheduled freelance deposits actually start arriving with some regularity (apologies but I needed to vent about corporate inepitude just for half a minute somewhere.)
And so much for eloquence. Maybe I'll try a ramble. Thinking again about the characters I started with after last year's visit to a Joan Jett concert. Have been considering whether comics are the medium for me. Put Blink Kitty Love animations together to send as examples of Flip Boom to the Toon Boom social media guy and found myself impressed by their rawness + the edge I managed to get in occasionally. I like the flow of animation; I like not having to worry about what size paper to print on, how to afford the paper to print on and how to distribute. And I think I've always been influenced by Scooby Doo and Rocky and Bullwinkle. I find hints of them in my art sometimes. And thanks to a concentrated effort, first #10000robots3000guitars or something like that and recently, regularly posting digital art on the Blink Kitty Love Signs of the iApocalypso Tumblr, I know my art is improving.
But first, I have a stated goal to do the Midsummer Night's Dream of the century. I've split it into three parts, it's exhausting, confusing, the actors are going off book this week (never a good phase) and we open in less than a month. And that will cap more than 8 months of theatre. And allow me a pause to listen to all the winds and whispers from my inspirations and try to steer.
Click through to see the entire photo set:
Here's another; Jett had a lot of energy for a hot night:
And one of the weirder but fun Blink Kitty Loves:
*keeping three worlds of #3dreams straight with hat + clothing choices. helps me maintain the individual moods.
This blog is full of thoughts on leadership, art + directing so I'll give you excerpt from the origin pond on the upcoming Theatre Under The Trees preparation. And a sneak preview of the logo process in process.
From the origin pond:
Just found a new to me amazing, simple + sweet web comic: Extra Ordinary . Has made me both smile and feel a little grim about how much time theatrical commitments took out of everything from early December 'til now. Robin Hood lighting is done and done well, I believe, and the show opens this weekend. I have decided to be more judicious choosing my collaborators henceforth.
So now I have about a month until A Midsummer Night's Dream auditions. Which means I spent today discussing Theseus and Act 5 with my Apprentice Director (A.D.) via text. That seems to be the medium that suits us both. Midsummer aka #3dreams doesn't feel like it cuts into my creative time because Theatre Under The Trees is what the rest of my year is planned around. And I am happy to have an A.D. to collaborate with. He was an excellent Malvolio the first time I directed Twelfth Night, is a computer or web some sort of something by profession and I offered him the position unasked when he was telling me about getting turned down for a directing gig. I think it's an opportunity to strengthen my program by involving someone familiar with Theatre Under The Trees (four shows over the fifteen years) and yet still new to the how does a director get a show on stage process. We also talked scheduling today. Scheduling is a very important skill for any artist.
But #3dreams aside for a moment, I am finding myself wondering what (and if there actually exists) a project: writing, animating, moviemaking, cartooning, painting, something that will attract my full attention and effort. Plays have a closing date, a day to strike and move on to the next project. I've always avoided more open ended commitments. And not just out of fickleness or being easily distracted. Total focus is scary. Yeah, basic excuse making 101. The root of the problem. Excuse making 201 progresses to: I should be making ca$h instead of ___________. Which is why I end up writing freelance articles and chatting up people on Twitter about blogging or photography gigs. But these just interrupt EVERYTHING.
End quote from origin pond. Continue meditation. I find myself at the what to commit to intersection far too often and the scenery begins to turn from a vista to a fog that wraps itself around any vision of progress. Reading a book by Tim Harford (Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure). I find myself liking books written by practical economists who don't make their points academic. I enjoy the thorough review of data and possibility. Got dragged to a John Kenneth Galbraith speech in college by a stats major buddy, which is where I got my taste for the slant of the economist's perspective.
Harford's book is getting put into the inspiration mix* as I consider the casting mix for this year's Midsummer. I always err on the side of small children who want to do Shakespeare, but last year I padded the Watch numbers (Much Ado About Nothing) and there were too many crises of behavior. So I have vowed not to pad the fairy numbers and to split the younger actors among the three groups. This, of course, all depends on actual auditionees.
*And why is Harford's book in the mix, I ask as I edit. Because the influence of non theatre thinking is a good thing. And because I'm serious about how I can make my program better and/or continue to evolve it in its fifteenth year.
I am hoping (and that's why this year's hashtag is #3dreams) to bring out the humor in the friction between the three separate groups: Athenians, Fairies, Players. I'm trying to approach it as 3 different plays, which may also help with the too much rehearsal downtime for actors not onstage problem. The A.D. was planning to help alleviate downtime but now he's officially a Directing Intern since he accepted an assistant directing gig with the Artistic Director of DreamWrights. It's his best path to directing a "main stage" show at DreamWrights so I'm glad for his opportunity, although I am going to try to make it so he's missed out on a lot of fun.
I was spending a lot of time trying to conscientiously develop a "help him learn how to direct strategy." Which is still in play because he's missing auditions + readthrough for the other show, so he asked if he could still help with mine. So I have a directing intern for a couple of weeks. Golly.
The logo design ties into the three worlds idea. I'm trying to get something from all three groups into the logo, which led to this first effort.
Then I started rereading Northrup Frye on Shakespeare, which is what I'm using as my base research/inspiration text for this show. Frye has a bracing, sane + simple take on reading, understanding and staging Shakespeare. He made a comment about characters existing only in the world of the play they are in and I began thinking about the three worlds of #3dreams, Fairies surrounding, overseeing + affecting everything, ruling Athenians circling the simpler Players. Which altered my thoughts on the logo.
Which gets us to here:
Which is about halfway.
And I am all the way to needing a vacation, a bit early, thanks partly to my winter of other people's theatre. Midsummer is an exciting prospect though. I have always loved the play** and enjoy revisiting it. It's a good touchstone for my development/current goals as an artist.
"Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling."
Perhaps Theseus speaks of art, as well as wooing. Good night!
**Midsummer Night's Dream is the first play I ever remember reading, and I think I might have been in the 10-12 year old range. Shakespeare*** has always been a writer I return to.
***and Edgar Allen Poe -- but that's another post.
Howdy. I'll give an asymetrical snow storm surviving November rose for starters.
And follow it with the latest from the origin pond since it has once again been too long since I've posted here:
Reading Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction To Its Own Past. Solid music references + author Simon Reynolds knows how to keep a discussion moving + interesting. Enjoying it. Considering who is innovating these days. Also, Joan Jett is trying out new music in concert. I've never had the anticipate a Joan Jett and The Blackhearts album thrill. I think I'd like to.
Finally picked up Malinda Lo's Huntress but wasn't impressed. Ok, girls kissing, but is that really the only reason people like it?!?!??! Very thin on plot and character. Too simplistic for me. Trying to figure a fictional way to get the taste out. Gayle suggested Bellwether. Read Bellwether if you haven't; it's a wonder.
Has anyone read the new Terry Pratchett, Snuff? I'm curious but fear that some plot points might be off putting. Pratchett can do that. But mostly what he does is turn out comic gems so if I see it at the library I'll give it a try.
Tower Heist was mediocre, although I enjoyed Téa Leoni, Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck's perfomances. Rest of movie uneven. Car out the window stuff entertaining.
Catching up on the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother, which we skipped last year in prime time. Solid stuff. Chuck just makes me sad this year. So much potential + comic talent wasted. And why is only Chris Fedak talking it up. Is the lack of Josh Schwartz influence part of the problem?
14% voter turnout on Tuesday. Appalling. Local write in city council candidate might have actually gotten enough votes so that's the excitement of democracy in action. Of course, then he might get booted for a 20 year old drug charge, which is unclear legal language at work. Ah, America.
Being impressed by hustle. And considering how to be a bit more proactive about my own projects. Jason Sadler's I Wear Your Shirt is selling next year's calendar now. They wear shirts 365 days a year promoting businesses through social media. It seems both an unusual + successful strategy. And that's a lot of energy + personality to put into a business. Lori Kirk of Cavata Clothing also impresses me with her get the brand out there + make something happen hustle. I want to do a Boston T-shirt/music safari sometime. Between Cavata, Declaration and Regan Smith Clarke, there's certainly some things to see. That's 20. What are you reading/watching/thinking about?
Joan Jett's on the nominee list for the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame so this is good time for some photos + a quick list of what I learned from the recent Joan Jett concert I attended.
I like this photo because Jett's so in the zone.
THINGS I LEARNED FROM THE JOAN JETT CONCERT:
Ok, that's a good quick list of of the top of my head bullet points. Concert didn't inspire me to immediately pick up my guitar but it did inspire me to pick up pencil and paper and start a project. Jett's an inspiration/example to so many people and she takes that responsibility seriously. And on stage in concert and interacting with the audience, Jett had the confidence and air of a person doing exactly what she wants to, exactly how she wants to. So while replaying the songs in my head, I tried to think what that would be for me. And I'm working patiently (and working on patience is part of the work) on something fun, satisyfing, challenging and more personal than usual. I think I prefer detachment (cue camera) but there are ways to make art/music/writing personal to your audience without getting the sense that people are invading your private life, which another equation Jett seems good at. And an equation I need to crack because I think it's preventing people from caring. (And how many times have I used the verb think...usual answer: more than the verb feel or any of its synonyms.)
Ok, some more pictures. I posted a set here, but you get three of my favorites that aren't in that.
A conversation w/ guitars, from the encore
Looks like fun, doesn't it
P.S. Interview w/ Joan Jett from the Morton Report ranges over many topics, including songwriting.
'Tis the season for...busy. Doing some blogging for Tilteed, a very cool hand silk screened t-shirt company, and getting into the swing of that has taken some time. Check out goofy things like myfavorite t-shirt at the Tilteed blog so you're prepared when I explain how that gig is an example of the crushing edge at work.
If you're in a reading mood, try Which List For The Mrs., Twitter fiction from last year where I put a dash of noir into the standard eggnog of holiday characters.
And finally, a festive Santa doodle.