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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mourn the loss of live music in theater

An interesting discussion in the RJ on the loss of live music in community theater. The story argues that musicians may be at fault as, shudder, they want to be paid!

The story should read if you want top notch talent you will pay for it, union wages.

Still as a singer and performer of the pre-Karaoke age, I mourn the loss of live music that varied by singer and performance to click tracks of prerecorded music that force you to follow the beat and pace of some conductor who has long since moved on to other projects.

Live music has a rich fresh sound that no recording can match, regardless of how good technology may become. You can make a song your own, or an orchestral mood fit the specific artistic interpretation of the director and production crew.

Back to Mr. Del Valle's commentary. Artist put in large amounts of time and money working on their craft. Musicians have the additional expense of their instruments. You can have live music with the best of the non-union high school, college or community players, just as you do on your community theater stage, without paying. That is a choice. But if you want professionals, actors or musicians, you should pay and, if at all possible in your budget, pay for the best...union talent.

Anthony Del Valle's commentary can be found at this link: click here.

Conservative let go after critising Republicans

 Conservatives eating their young, or just intolerant of criticism form within?

From CBS News Politics on-line new site:

David Frum, who wrote a widely-circulated blog post Sunday suggesting passage of the health care bill amounted to "Waterloo" for the Republican Party, has apparently been forced out of his fellowship at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

In the Waterloo post, Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote that the GOP and conservatives "suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."

"A huge part of the blame for today's disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves," he wrote. "At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing."

On Tuesday, the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page hammered Frum for his "argument that if only Republicans had negotiated with Democrats, they could have somehow made the bill less awful than it is."

Frum, who has criticized Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, told the Washington Post that "there was no suggestion by AEI" that he was being forced out because of the Waterloo post, though he declined to discuss why he had been let go.

One suggestion made for ending Frum's fellowship job was budget cuts, which may be true but the timing of the cuts came unannounced and soon after the critical commentary posting.

The Waterloo Post can be found at:

Palin to star on Discovery for one million and episode

Sarah Palin to be paid one million dollars an episode for an 8 part series to be premiered on Discovery's TLC titled "Sarah Palin's Alaska." Hollywood on-line publication "The WRAP" reports  on the press release hype of the producers:

"TLC is grounded in great storytelling, strong characters, and passionate audiences drawn to extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. We are confident SARAH PALIN'S ALASKA will be another compelling television event," said Eileen O'Neill, president and general manager, TLC.


"With a dynamic personality that has captivated millions, I can't think of anyone more compelling than Sarah Palin to tell the story of Alaska," said Mark Burnett. "I'm thrilled to reunite with Discovery on this project, which brings together one of the most fascinating figures of our time with one of the most wondrous places on earth."

OSCARS on February 27, 2011

Mark your calendars: February 27, 2011 for the Academy Awards.

My classroom for Communications Concepts

This posting illustrates many of the issues in recent postings on this blog (Rudeness, Polarization, Politics).

I sit on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild. 

We meet in three divisions. The Hollywood Division is the largest. New York Division is second largest, and close behind is the Regional Branch Division (representing all branches and actors outside of Hollywood and New York). 

We meet in division meetings (he RBD is usually by telephone), bi-coastal video teleconference meetings (with branches traveling to the most cost effective boardroom location) and in full in person board plenaries. 

The lack of listening, unwillingness to compromise, constant campaigning, positioning and control mind games that occur it the halls of congress also occur in SAG board meetings, my own little laboratory where I combine my interests, represent Nevada's membership and apply my communication craft skills.

I do not sit on the Hollywood Board. The following is posted because of the parallels to our national government and how it relates to the increased polarization and false dichotomies that seem to dominate out discourse as a society. I do not sit in the Hollywood Boardroom when the Hollywood Division of the Screen Actors Guild meets, so I cannot comment on how accurate or inaccurate this portrayal form SAG WATCH may be...but it is interesting communication studies and I have seen my share of positioning, discussion, fights and factions over my 15 plus years in the boardroom.


When the Hollywood Board meets these days it’s always a three ring circus…well, at least a two ring circus, and, like many SAG members, we’re not quite sure what to make of it. But we do know this: no one is happy about it.

It reminds us all too much of the way the National Board functioned in the dark days when one faction held a one or two vote majority, just two years ago. Instead of dealing seriously with real issues, personality conflicts predominate.

It seems completely impossible for many on the board to disagree on an issue without letting big picture conflicts interfere. This reminds us, sadly, of the U.S. Congress, where any idea is automatically considered to be a bad one if it comes from someone on the opposite side of the political aisle. People who were for an idea and campaigned on it oppose the bill that contains the idea when it’s proposed by the other side. It just makes no sense.

In Hollywood the latest mini-flap is cumulative voting to put people on committees. While we think it’s a solution to a short term problem that comes back later to cause more trouble than it’s worth, we see how you could take either side on the issue.

Though Membership First has a majority on the Hollywood Board, Hollywood adopted the cumulative voting for committees idea two meetings ago, and the change was approved by the National Board. Then last night at the Hollywood Board Membership First tried to un-adopt it. That didn’t work.

OK, so people disagree. Some even say the whole thing is illegal. (Side question: why didn’t someone get a ruling from DCI *before* this? Or did they? And if they did, was he right?)
But the nastiness and petty name calling? Yikes. We’d have hoped for better. From all concerned.