I am an MBA!

Theatre Business


It’s been two long years, but I am officially an MBA from George Mason University.  Thank you to the School of Management at GMU and to the wonderful Flyers cohort for four lovely semesters!  Also, thanks to the members of all the myriad cohorts who are game enough to play a fine round of Catan, or to discuss the finer points of engaging presentations, or even those who simply enjoy shooting the breeze after a leisurely three hour lecture.


Here’s to Mason, and to the wonderful businesspeople it creates.

10 Great Valentine’s Gifts that Don’t Require Jogging on Friday

art, Theatre Business, Theatrical Process
AAAAAAGGH! Balentine's Jay!

AAAAAAGGH! Balentine’s Jay!

“Oh god god it’s valentine’s day and I didn’t get myself or my significant other a gift!”



“Crap. It’s Valentine’s Day, and I don’t want to jog today off tomorrow. Because tomorrow is Friday.  That’s like, weekly Valentine’s day to myself.”

Life is like a box of these. Delicious, and CALORIC.Don't make your loved one/self do this.

Fear not!  Avalanche Theatre Company may have JUST the solution you need.  Like, 10 of them, for all budgets!

1) A Tweet about your loved one/ yourself.

Cost: $10.  Twitter Immortality: Check.

2) A glitzy letter full of sequins!

Cost: $20.  Sexy Letter to Self: Awesome.

3) A Handknit Scarf!

Cost: $50.  Take that, February.  However you pronounce yourself.  My scarf is handknit by the Liz Hansen.

4) An abstract painting.  

Cost: $50.   Nothing says ‘I love you and/or myself’  like abstract art by Liz Hansen.

5) A thirty second video      

Cost: $50.   Except making a monkey dance for all posterity.  Yours truly would be the monkey.

6) A digital image, done up by yours truly.

Cost: $50.   I’m a very good artist.

7) A Poem!

Cost: $50.  Don’t write yourself/ loved one a poem this year.  Let Jon Jon do it.

8) A Short Story!      

Cost: $50.  Genius!  You get to be the 1% inspiration while Jon Jon is the 99% perspiration!

9) Tickets for two!  

Cost: $100.  It’s a date!  To any of our shows.  Or heck, take yourself out to two of them.

10) VIP Passes        

Cost: $500.  You make it rain, Valentine style.  Impress that significant other of yours.  And/or yourself.

Plus, they all help support an awesome new theatre company.  And look at that, none of these require you to jog on Friday.  Treat Yourself Here.

Rumble Rumble.


Avalanche $1000 Challenge

art, Theatre Business, Theatrical Process

Avalanche Theatre Company has just reached 10 backers on Kickstarter!

Logo 1.2

This kickstarter project is an omnibus fundraiser raising money for three shows.  The first show is A Bid to Save the World by Erin Marie Bergman!

The budget for this project is $1000!  Help us reach that goal this week, and help this story come to life:


In a world where death has stopped, three stories intertwine.  

                         …Two scientists try to figure out how people used to die…  

…A girl goes to speak to death itself…  

                       …A librarian who catalogs death tries desperately to reconnect with the man she loved…


Also, due to the nature of kickstarter, you do earn great prizes when you help make great art. Just saying…

For more information, check out the Kickstarter page here!

Follow avalanche theatre company’s blog!

Follow avalanche on twitter @as_subtle_as!


Thanks for reading, everyone!  Help Avalanche reach $1000 this week! (we’re halfway there already!)


What is Living Without…

art, Theatre Business

Avalanche Theatre Company has just posted their upcoming season!  Check out the info on my theatre company!

What is Living Without….


As always, thanks for reading.


…And I’m Founding a Theatre Company.

Theatre Business, Theatrical Process

Are you ready to rumble?

as subtle as

an avalanche. serene. majestic. cataclysmic.

I am helping Liz Hansen and Jon Jon Johnson found Avalanche Theatre Company.

Who is Avalanche?

If you’re a DC fringe goer, you might recall a couple of shows; Sarah Kane’s Crave in the 2011 festival, and Despertar in the 2012 festival.  Having done two years of fringing, Avalanche’s creative team was ready to make the jump to a full fledged company, and brought me on.

Why Avalanche?

The company catchphrases is ‘as subtle as,’ which I find fits my personality.  I’ve always wanted to ‘one day’ have a theatre company, and so, when Jon Jon and Liz asked if I would be interested in co-directing their company, it struck me as an excellent opportunity.

An avalanche striking

How an avalanche strikes.

Why Run Your Own Company?

There are many reasons to run one’s own company, many good, many bad.  Many folks do it so they can select their seasons, which I think is one of the primary (and most legitimate) reasons for founding a theatre company.  It’s a chance for people like me to use all their skill sets at once, rather than work as a token skill set for another company.  For me, it’s a chance to create art in a dynamic, fresh environment with a supportive team.  It’s also a chance to continue developing my theatre admin skills while at the same time getting to flex my creative muscles.

We had our first official meeting as a board yesterday, and we’ve got a slew of exciting plans coming up.  I won’t say what they are just yet, but… you should be excited.  I know I am.

How Do I Find Out More?

A good question, faithful reader, and one that I am prepared to provide links for:

The company website is:


We’re also on facebook and twitter.  Check it out!

Getting Underway: The Art of Swift Feedback

Theatre Business, Theatrical Process

Producing a show is a pretty fun experience, but it makes one realize – for all the technology in the world, if you want quick, productive feedback, nothing beats face to face meetings. I can think of no place more productive in terms of time spent than in a face to face collaborative meeting.

Now, I know there are nay-sayers out there – I’ve read Dilbert, after all – but in a super-collaborative process like theatre, face to face is vital. Now, granted, it’s not AS productive as the time one spends by oneself getting a task done, but for hashing out details, straightening out confusion, and getting everyone on the same page, the meeting just does it.

Granted, I have comparisons that I can make – other modes of discussion, for example. I find that, if its in writing, people will take more time to respond to it. If a meeting is verbal, the response is much swifter, and allows for a quicker flow of ideas.

In terms of collaborative clarity, here’s my hierarchy (best to worst):

-In Person Meeting (if there can be food/drinks there, so much the better). Everyone can see full expression from everyone else in the group, and there’s a sense of general commitment that comes with physical presence and generates, so far, a positive feeling.

– Skype/ Phone conversation – This is radio communication, basically – remote discussion. Very useful, very clarifying, very immediate. Not as fun or as personable as the in person meeting, but still very useful.

– Email. This is kind of a crapshoot. The shorter the email, the less info. The longer the email, the less someone will read. The least investment makes for the easiest upkeep but also means that it will inevitably get lost in an inbox.

– Texting. This is pretty much a precursor for any other kind of collaborative process. Short, sweet, to the point, not as strong a medium as a phonecall, with even less commitment than an email. Also, a crapshoot. This and the email can take the most time to get a bounceback response.

Granted, all these aspects are useful for collaboration and planning. But seriously, I really enjoy the social aspect of the meeting. It’s a wonderful excuse for friendly business/ arts folks to get together and hang out, while still getting things done.

I think basically this is a giant rant about how much I enjoy working with my artistic staff and marketing team.

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?

Back to Base-ics

Environmental Architecture

NASA’s recent Sustainability Base project is an interesting step forward in the United States government’s involvement with the Green movement.

Their videolink for the project can be seen here.

What I find interesting is that the rhetoric for the project includes global ideas of climate change, which is a political hot-button.  Whereas I’m not opposed to efforts to stem climate change, I know several people who don’t believe in the theory (in addition to the various groups which oppose the idea).  There are arguments for and against this idea, but I think, personally, when an item gets too hot, its best not to touch it.  I prefer to look at the economic impact of the movement, and especially of NASA’s new Sustainability Building.

In an earlier article, I looked at the Solar Decathlon in DC, which has similar results to NASA’s new building.  What I liked about the two different projects was the use of renewable resources and the construction of buildings which would produce net zero energy (although I don’t see why NASA’s building shouldn’t attempt to mimic Team Germany’s structure and simply create an energy profit).  The reason I like these initiatives is the financial incentive.

In Conte and Langley’s Theatre Management Handbook, one of the operating expenses of any theatre house is building upkeep and maintenance.  These line items cost a good deal over time, and reduction in their cost allows for more expense for entertainment and, more importantly, education.  By creating and updating structures to help them reduce their upkeep costs and maybe even pay for themselves, managers can either generate more profit (always nice) or help assign income to other expenses and budgets.  Using more renewable resources allows for buildings to made and landscapes to expanded with a less destructive nature.

To clarify:

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so how is any building of a site destructive?  I think the proper definition for ‘destructive’ in this context should be ‘to be made inaccessible.’  In that case, creation simply means then, ‘to be made accessible.’  Which then means that finding alternative sources of energy and renewable resources are both creative acts, which by the same credit, refining current methods of energy production also achieves.


However, the danger in all these movements is balance.  It is hard to raise the funds necessary for a given project when diversity exists, and yet it is important, especially now, to have a diverse energy market which uses diverse sources and resources – otherwise, we exchange immediate surplus for an eventually drought.  Right now, it seems that we are facing a drought in the current supply of carbon fuels, and even with the various solutions available, the increased access to as-yet untapped resources proves to be another hot-button issue.  Therefore, I believe the more harmonious path is through diversity of energy resources as well as the development and refinement of more renewable energy.


Additive Architecture

Environmental Architecture

Considering the fields of Theatre, Economics, Environmental Sustainment, and Architecture, I’m beginning to feel that a more conservative approach to the Green movement is necessary.  There are plenty of locations where mega-mansions are being built, huge, new, Green houses that take a lot of money and time and labor, but will eventually pay for their own costs.  What I’d like to see more of is tweaking: taking existing spaces and making them more green without demolishing them.  In other words, using the resources that are in place and making them more efficient.  One could say I’m advocating ‘baby steps’ in Architectural Sustainability, but there are more factors to consider in the Green movement than ‘houses that pay for themselves.’

What I’ve seen so far that I’ve liked includes the Gable House, a structure built using ‘lamboo’ – laminated bamboo – and resources from condemned farms, to build a house.  What’s excellent about these two materials is that the first is rapidly renewable – bamboo is a grass and if improperly contained, becomes an invasive weed; and that the second is a reused resource – in essence, it’s good waste management.

Detractors say that liberal approaches to Green Architecture lead to a higher carbon footprint in that resources must be transported to a site to build, whereas more conservative approaches lead to less transport and building.  They also argue for conservation of culture – especially those interested in historical landmarks.  I don’t entirely disagree with them.  However, living in Colonial Williamburg, I will say that over- conservation eventually leads to marketed celebration and a biased viewpoint of history.  In other words, nostalgia, like all things, should be taken in moderation.

Now that I’ve poo-poo’d CW, I will laud it: several years ago, the Foundation switched over to less authentic electric candles.  Preservation is important, but only to a certain extent.  If the Colonies had had electricity, I’m sure they would have used it.  After all, history shows that eventually, they did.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that one need not build an entirely new building in order to produce a grand eco-site.  Especially those in theatre, who someitmes used condemned buildigns as playign spaces.  Theatre should act both as a conservative function of culture and a progressive one.  By using the old ways and the tried and true aspects of a culture, it can also act to fix problems within a given society.

Looking at that role, one can extrapolate the ideology to architecture.  Rather than destroying condemned sites to build new green spaces, one can modify a dilapidated space into a more useful and efficient site.  This allows for both progressive movements in architecture and culture as well as a preservation of history and a conservation and reuse of resources. Especially in the Theatre, this approach would allow organizations to make a sustainable home while still paying homage to their roots (or at least their patron houses).