Jellyfish and e-Book-ery

art, Plans, Theatre Business

So, the fun thing about publicizing my own show and book is what happens when I look at making an e-book…   ebook image     And what I’ve found from several sources is that you can make really interesting productions out of these things!  Now, I’m used to an ‘e-book’ being a digital rendition of  a book, but I was definitely wrong! “More Movie Than Book” In her 2011 article, “Are e-Books Any Good?” Lisa Guernsey discusses the impact of e-books on children’s learning, and while I ignored the quagmire of benefit versus bane to education, I just kept getting increasingly fascinated by the descriptions of what e-books could do! “huge, easily readable words, brilliant graphics, and an engaging recorded-voice narrator.” Uh. Please and thank you. I was already planning on making DVDs of my show.  I was also planning on publishing hard copies of my play.  But if I could make a published DVD-audio-book of my play?  How cool would that be?! Snap Back to Reality Now, the world premiere of The Immortal Jellyfish opens in just 7 days, so I have a lot of work on my plate already.  We’ve got lights, projections, sound, a set, some props, costumes, and actors to work with in our upcoming tech week.  Holy hannah. All that said, as appealing as an e-book is, I don’t think I’ll have it ready for the run of the show.  But something tells me that after show, after the DVDs are made and the scripts are delivered to Kickstarter backers, there may well be an e-book in the works. The Immortal Jellyfish will premiere Nov. 1 at 607 New York Ave NW, Washington DC at Fort Fringe – The Shop as part of the fallFRINGE.

Voodoo Macbeth: Magic, Madness, and Murder

art, Plans, Theatrical Process

Coming up soon: I play Lennox in The Voodoo Macbeth with TACT!  We’re performing at Gunston Theatre 2 in Arlington, VA.

 

This show is pretty cool – it’s like the original Macbeth, only with Even More Magic.  Hekate’s a bigger character, and the witches appear more frequently, or rather… well… okay:

What I really enjoy about it is that, in our rendition, the combination of roles means that the witches are playing multiple characters.  This leads to the question: are the witches the base character (the root of the other onstage manifestations) or are they a character which imposes itself over another base ( maybe possession, maybe inner id, what have you, take your pick…)?

For our rendition, the witches are not their own base, but more a state of being (to see how we get there, you’ll have to see the show!).  What I love about this is that my base character is a priest.  This means that the witchery he undergoes deals a good deal with a crisis of faith, with the question of prayer versus magic, and from there, the question of madness.  What happens to him in the work, you’ll have to see to know…

I have had a fantastic building this character.  I invite you all to come see me perform, starting the 22nd of March.  Tickets are on sale here!

 

Thanks again for reading!

The Bear Trap, a pleasant DC comedie

Environmental Architecture, Plans

So today I helped out with a performance in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Now, Maryland is a curious state.  Of all the states, it has arguably the best credentials, as every city and town is a licensed MD.

Image

Annapolis, circa 1980

After doctoring up a post like that that, I must say that Maryland is, in fact, a very merry land: decent roads, decent theaters, decent food, flipping awesome houses.  Which is something.

The problem that I have with this magical, merry land of mirth and medical mastery is that lies smack dab on the opposite side of the bear trap.

I found myself realizing this tonight on my way to and from that magical land.  As I said, I was working on a show in Hyattsville, Maryland (which, being a show, none of us were really being paid and were doing because, truly, there is no thing in life greater than the stage), and I found myself wandering like Odysseus.

The trouble began when I picked up one of my actors at 5:15 from his work in Tysons’.  We intended to arrive in Hyattsville by 6, (or 15 after six), which didn’t seem like a bad approximation.

Until the bear trap sprung.

“The bear trap?”  you ask, “I’ve never heard of the bear trap.  Is it like the Mouse Trap for Americans?”

Sadly, I shake my head, “no.  It is not a thriller.  It is not even a mystery.”  It is fact, plain and obvious.

“The bear trap, ” I explain, ” Is the thing that encircles the DC metro area, and it is composed of the following parts, which will be interrupted by a picture before this post gets too text heavy.”

Image

 A Bear Trap

Now, above you is a bear trap.  This device, according to wikipedia (the professor you can always trust to be at his office hours), is

“made up of two jaws, one or two springs, and a trigger in the middle … When the animal steps on the trigger the trap closes around the foot, preventing the animal from escaping.”

 Now, as seen in the upsconded image above, a bear trap has a central section that runs from the trigger to the jaws.

The Bear Trap is composed of the following parts:  495, 395, and 66.  Those who know it might well agree, the shape is similar, the purpose proportionate, and just as dark.   The outer loop and inner loop are the dual jaws of the trap, and 66 is the spring container leading to the trigger.

The trigger itself is a deadly combination of construction and rush hour, so that no matter what time of day, the trap is active.

Wikipedia states that

Usually some kind of lure is used to position the animal, or the trap is set on an animal trail.  Traditionally, these traps had tightly closing jaws to make sure the animal stayed in place.

Thanks, Professor.

As we can see, the beltways and the 66 have the exact same intention: to make sure the animal stays in place.  They are all placed on vital trails with a very tempting lure – the honey-sweet city of washington DC.

In my case, it keeps being the lure of theatre in Maryland.

Whatever the lure, the trap is ready to spring, and spring it did.  The climax of my melville-esque whale-of-a-dictionary-containing-tale is this:

3 Hours

Spent in traffic.  Sitting.  Planning on removing my license plates, registration info, keys, and just leaving the darned car and walking.

see, the Bear Trap isn’t about killing the beast (or car).  No, it’s just about immobilizing it.  When you see the poor beast stuck as it is, you’ll probably do the rest.

Never forget the Bear Trap.

Transport Business Idea

Environmental Architecture, Plans

Having  just watched Chris Blaine’s “Who Killed the Electric Car?” on freedocumentaries.com,  I’ve got a fun idea.

Based on the theories put forth in the documentary, the socio-political-economic situation of America is too wrapped up in profit to make a commercially viable vehicle built by a major domestic company.  As the film lays out, either through poorly conducted marketing or public near-sightedness, electric cars are not viable as profitable products.   By viewing the influence of Big Oil, we see that financial push from the large incumbent of energy is too strong to defeat in a market scenario.  Then, when looking at the nature of the car company itself, a lack of constantly replaced parts reduces the financial incentive to produce such a vehicle.  When looking at the nature of both the local and national government, the desire of the people, both rich and poor, allows the first three issues to show that government influence on a profitable company will not help create a more efficient car, especially with a four to eight year turnover in government policy creating inconsistencies.  As a profit driven endeavor, the electric car won’t work for an American market.

The solution, then, for an American made electric car, is to create a not-for-profit company.  This company, through donations, links to educational institutions, constant exposure, and creative problem solving, would generate a commercially competitive electric vehicle that is made without regard to the company’s profit.  Thus, the company would be driven on the power of an idea rather than on the promise of increased profits over time.

The issue with only making a car leaves the question of fueling stations.  This initiative needs to be taken in cities where the environment is a priority.  Using these as starting cities, the company could make contracts with local businesses -not necessarily gas stations, but parking garages, lots, and restaurants – to expand the range of recharging facilities.  Working with various industries increases the odds of support that cannot easily be bought – or rather, stretches thin the influence of large companies opposing such business.  As certain cities expand in their influence with a short distance car, more cities can be brought in, longer distance battery models sold, and the idea of the electric car industry expanded.

The benefit, even to detractors of the electric car, would be a city by city case study where the efficiency both of the product and the business of the electric car could be critically studied.

This company would be most effected by state and federal policy as a not-for-profit, so lobbying from large corporations would threaten it the most.

However, if a desirable conversion for a business model was needed, one needs look no further than the computer industry.  These products operate on an electric system and have constant profit and advancement.  The industry makes large profits continuously and continues to grow and expand.  Why should an electric car industry be any different from the computer industry?

Tying into an earlier post, the potential of wireless charging makes the electric car that much more viable.  If the ability to charge the car becomes wireless as well, we’d have a car that charges as it travels, removing the fear of loss of fuel in suburban towns and cities.

Anyway, that’s my response to the documentary “Who Killed The Electric Car?”  I think the more important question is: how can it brought back to stay?

Images!

art, Plans

Hi world! Long time no post.  A while back, I promised images/daily webcomic.  I got meself a scanner! (woot).

Anyway, I have images.  they’re included in this post and up for review from you, the world (wide web).  These images are open content, just please cite me as the author.

Four figure studies in the comic hero tradition

Four figure studies counter clockwise: character with blades, spidey variant, lady martial artist, lady with blades

Suit in the Sun

An excerise in perspective, proportion, and figure.

To Freedom

A slave islander breaking free from his captors in the melodramatic adventure tale tradition, with a postcolonial twist

The figure group took about 5 minutes per figure (if that).

The suit took 10 minutes: circles, outlines, face, fingers, clothes, suitcase, heavier overlay lines.

The freedom image took about an hour, with the same process being used as the suit, but with more overlay and detailing.  I know this time more precisely because I spent a music ethnography class working on it.   Yeah… I don’t doodle when I doodle…

Questions/comments/ concerns? Let me know.

Commedia Dell’Awesome

Plans, Theatrical Process

So, we just did some commedia dell’ arte research in class today, and I’m on another inspiration trip.  As in, I think I can use some of this for Gondoliers. For those not in the know, I’m going to be directing Sinfonicron Light Opera‘s show this winter, and I’m really looking forward to finding exciting ways of connecting with my cast.  Commedia seems like an excellent model for a lot of character work.

Let’s look at the archetypes and the cast:

Archetypes:

  • Pantalone – an old man with money whose use of Arlecchino gets him into trouble. often fondles his bag of coins, and often beats his servants with a slapstick.
  • Dottore – the old man’s best friend/ rival who is known for long speeches with comical effect.
  • Capitano – a braggart with a huge upward tilting nose and a retracted pelvis, brags about wooing and winning fights, then runs from direct conflict.
  • Zanni – the chorus, a bird like group of servants, driven by baser needs
  • Arlecchino –  a monkey like servant known for his gluttony, given tasks by pantalone which he messes up, leading to the misadventures of commedia.
  • Colombina – arlecchino’s fellow servant who gets him out of tangles – the more sensible servant.
  • Brighella – something like the merchant dealer at the docks, a more dangerous character.
  • Tartaglia – a turtle like stuttering character.
  • Pulcinello – also a more dangerous character, this is the hunchback, who is either smart-playing-stupid or stupid-playing smart.
  • The Enamorati– lovers who are ridiculous for being so into true love (whereas all other characters are humorously driven by their baser needs).

The Gondoliers cast:

  • The Duke of Plaza-Toro
  • Luiz, his attendant
  • Don Alhambra Del Bolero, The Grand Inquisitor
  • The Duchess of Plaza-Toro
  • Casilda, daughter of the Duke & Duchess
  • Marco and Guiseppe
  • Tessa and Gianetta
  • Antonio, Francesco, Giorgio, Annibale
  • Fiametta, Vittoria, Giulia
  • Inez

How do these fit together?

  1. The Duke of Plaza-Toro => Capitano/pulcinello: he is a braggart in the first act, but when he returns, he is a clever conniving friend.
  2. Luiz, his attendant => enamorati/ servant, a lover but also a servant (royal by birth)  mostly he plays into the idea of the lover.
  3. Don Alhambra Del Bolero, The Grand Inquisitor =>Dottore: he has many grand speeches and uses much high faluting language which is often as innaccurate as it is ridiculous.
  4. The Duchess of Plaza-Toro => Brighella: Throughout, she is a conniving character capable of swindle and corruption, and that makes her funny.
  5. Casilda, daughter of the Duke & Duchess => enamorati: she is pretty much also a lover character.
  6. Marco and Guiseppe => zanni (arlecchino?)/enamorati: being lower class and more comic, this duo tries to run a kingdom by doing everyone’s servant duties for them… however, they do so with the best of intentions.
  7. Tessa and Gianetta=> zanni (colombina?)/enamorati: the wives and friends to Marco and Guiseppe, these rather take-charge ladies prove to be the sort of problem sovlers that colombina might embody.
  8. Antonio, Francesco, Giorgio, Annibale => zanni (can be given various characters by type): the gondolieri chorus is pretty much a batch of zanni.
  9. Fiametta, Vittoria, Giulia => zanni (also, characters by type): the contadine chorus likewise is a batch of zanni.
  10. Inez => colombina/ pantalone?  she really does unravel the riddle of the play, but it is also possible that alhambra is her arlecchino, and she in and of herself is pantalone – the foster mother of the king would probably be fairly well off.  probably much more colombina.

Beyond Analysis

My plan with all this is to use these archetypes to help my actors work from the outside in, getting their physical conveyance out and accentuating the comedy of Gondoliers using a traditionally Italian method.  I want my actors to be able to embody their characters and play that comedy, even if it is on a much more subtle level than masked, traditional commedia.

So much for that plan

Plans

Well, when I said ‘daily posts,’  I had meant daily posts.

Anyway, I’ll be getting back on track this weekend.  Still have some lovely pages to write for some certain classes in which I may or may not have some overdue work.  Let the good times roll!

I’ll be working on getting ideas together for a daily superhero comic that I’ll start posting in a few months.  I’m kicking around ideas for some fun characters:

A metal suit powered hero with a sword that comes out of his helmet.

A superhero with ridiculously huge hands

The Uber Hero trapped in a block of concrete

Various Parody heroes, pun heroes, and spins on common super powers.

Now it’s back to music and theatrical studies!

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis

Plans

So,

Rocket Science and Theatre never really seemed to gel.  Until I got to thinking:

a) what is it that Engineers can’t do that theatre people can?

b) what is it that Theatre People can’t do that engineers can?

a) socialize.

b) tech.

by socialize, I mean, Theatre People (actors especially, also dancers and other performers) are taught to Improvise, get in touch with their Emotions and even be able to call them up or, if feeling them, Analyze the Feeling.  they are studied in the Manipulation of their Selves – both Feelings and Physicalities – which enable them, if they so choose, to Express themselves articulately and effectively.

by tech, I mean Engineers are trained to work with Mechanics, of whatever variety, and Understand how the World around them works.  They can Manipulate space and time (or use their advanced Understanding of the interaction between the two) to Change the World around them.

Theatre People don’t always know how to change the world around them, but they certainly can express themselves.

Engineers can do wonders with technology and comprehension, but don’t always know how to say the things they mean to say as they mean to say them.

Synthesis: An Acting Therapy Group designed to help engineers which also gets tech- savvy people interested in local theatre endeavors and gives engineers a Productive Hobby.  An eye for an eye helping the world see better, if you will.

The overall idea could be very cool.  I wonder if anyone is already doing something like this… research time!!!

Mission Statement

Plans

So after a few posts that have been generally infrequent and rather all-over- -the-place, I’ve decided that I need to figure out what my blog’s going to be about.

I don’t like blogging for its own sake, so I figure I’ll use this thing as a means of furthering my interests and myself.

I won’t be any Perez Hilton, but…

Let’s figure this out:

goals for the year:

– daily posting: shorter posts, link to twitter, link to facebook, yada yada

– ads!  I should get some of those…

– themes: what are my focus areas?  I think, as I mentioned, they’re my interests: theatre, art, architecture, design, the green movement, and space travel/exploration/colonization, philosophy.  Now, all of those tie in pretty well except… theatre. Yeah, I know.  Funny, it’s my major.

– get a scanner: upload comics!  yay webcomic!  I think I’ll do one on Superheroes…  I can upload commission-able art samples in watercolor, pastel, pencil, and pen.

– get a tablet PC: simply draw and edit images on da computah.

– figure out what my real job will be while I get this started up…

– network: have a whole mess of buddies who advertise me while I advertise them.

okay, I think that should do it for goals.  Of course, these will get more specific.  But for today, it’s a good laundry list (grocery list?)

for now, my basic q: this website will be about using art and philosophy to help further mankind, and to make the idea of space exploration and efficient living ‘hip.’