Overdue calendar reforms and conversational breakdowns

November 16, 2013

Calendar programs let you schedule meetings, and e-mail programs have long let you reply to messages and forward files. E-mail programs now let you follow conversations. But a more nuanced approach is needed for all of these. After years of calendar and e-mail programs, I can’t understand why the programmers haven’t gotten these very basic things right.

Continue reading Overdue calendar reforms and conversational breakdowns

Sex on Stage

October 4, 2013

I’ve made a post on my other blog, The Lark’s Nest, about sex on stage. Explicit content/NSFW.

A Bear for all Seasons….

June 24, 2013

How can I ignore a reference to *ahem* moi? Seriously, this is a cool project and a $36 Kickstarter pledge results in two young people being introduced to theatre, a good thing to do in this electronic age. Oh, and the Panda Kindergarten gets cuppycakes. What’s not to like?

The Panda Chronicles

Am I not a panda?  What is in a name? A panda by any other name would smell as…well, they would probably be just the tiniest bit whiffy, if you know what I mean….

Every once in a while, the pandas come to aid someone who has a project, be it on Kickstarter, or elsewhere,  because we think it is worth supporting, and so we mention it to you, (some would say obsessively, but hey! we like what we like!) in hopes that you will check it out and consider supporting it too.

With just slightly over two weeks to go, Island Shakespeare’s Kickstarterproject has reached just over 60% of the needed funding to fulfill their goal and get any of the money.

Why should I care?

Well, they are my friends and neighbors and what they are doing is very, very cool.  In a nutshell, they do…

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Monday, Monday, and time for another episode of This Olde Den!

May 20, 2013

OMG I read this two minutes ago and I’m still laughing. Hoping reblogging this will let me stop.

Hey, it worked!!!

Um, no it didn’t.

The Panda Chronicles

Greetings panda fans!  I hope you have recovered from the exciting conclusion of Mr. Wu’s most recent adventure, Bears in the Air! If you missed this exciting series, check in on Friday’s post for links to the entire series.

Today, we have a exciting, new episode of This Olde Den, the show that helps your inner panda embrace your outer homemaker. This cartoon also answers the question, “How do you do it ALL? How do you combine an exciting career as a painter, act as the director of The Institute of Contemporary Panda Satire, and still have time to do the dishes?”

I think this should clear up that question.

The sun is shining!  Go have fun.

Be the Bear!

Bob T. panda

 

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Having fucked up shit vs. saying fucked up shit

April 21, 2013

(Some of my plays include strong language. I don’t normally put it in my blog. I’m making an exception here.)

This is something I wrestle with in my plays. It would be very safe for me as a white male, albeit queer, playwright, to write only white male characters. On the other hand, if I write female characters and characters of color – which I want to do to ensure there are roles for such actors and because I want to comment on our world and not a tiny subset of it – I have to try to get it right.

The Ars Marginal post by RVCBard is an outstanding analysis of what it means to actually try. The distinction of whether the fucked-upped-ness is that of the writer or the world of the characters is critical.

Ars Marginal

One of the things that always seems to trip people up when it comes to analyzing marginalized identities in stories is the difference between a story that has fucked up shit in it versus a story that says fucked up shit.

This is a very important distinction that everybody analyzing narrative media needs to understand.

So I’m going to help a muthafucka out right quick.

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Drawings and plays

April 12, 2013

I want to share a guilty secret. All of my plays – my full-length plays, anyway – are about me. That’s probably not unusual; if my plays didn’t include part of me, they’d probably be pretty lifeless.

Continue reading Drawings and plays

OMG it’s Fabulous Furry Friday

April 12, 2013

With this kind of intro to my Shakesbear Festival, I can’t help but reblog it! Shameless!

The Panda Chronicles

Well, here it is, Friday at last and I completely forgot to have something ready to speed you to your weekend, with dreams of pandas dancing in your brain.  What was I thinking?  To be honest, the cold that wouldn’t die is still making my head a little fuzzier than usual, but fortunately, there are many pandas in reserve!

But I do like the Friday pandas to be relevant, so today I give you the prologue to the Shakesbear pandas, as I am getting ready (finally!) to start working on some of the Shakespeare for Pandas plays that my brother wrote last year as part of a 31 plays in 31 days project.

Shakespeare is currently on my mind, because Whidbey Island’s very own Island Shakespeare Company is getting ready to launch a very exciting project.  Stay tuned for news of this exciting development!

The panda kindergarten will, of course…

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Will the real ovation please stand up?

April 8, 2013

It’s not quite that bad in San Francisco yet, although there seem to be audiences where its a mix. What’s driving me crazy here is the audiences that applaud after every scene. But not every theatre here is this way. No wonder my last few plays have no scene breaks.

wax and wane

I’d like to take this time to ponder something that might offend some of you, while others will applaud from their seats. I’m stuck on what has developed into the inevitability of the standing ovation.

A standing “o” used to be special; reserved for the outstanding performance. This once emotional and passionate show of appreciation has somehow turned into a reflex ­‑ a quixotic gesture that now means about as much as a polite handshake. What happened?

I first noticed the phenomenon when I moved from Chicago to the Northwest. An avid theater and concert goer, I began to notice the tendency of folks to spring to their feet at a curtain call, even if the performance wasn’t worthy. By the time I moved to Whidbey Island and jumped back onstage into the theater game, and found myself attending double-digit numbers of performances each month for my work, I realized the ovation…

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Playwright, sheath thy checklist

March 12, 2013

When playwrights go to theatre, we presumably go to enjoy ourselves. We may be thrilled, bored, surprised, offended, delighted, so many possible reactions. When playwrights are called on to give feedback on other playwrights’ work, we suddenly become scientists, detectives, housekeepers. Scientist, detective, and housekeeper are honorable professions. Nevertheless, I believe the practice of bringing these outlooks into feedback sessions has become dysfunctional, even harmful in the age of contemporary theatre.

Spoiler alert: This post may briefly give away important plot points, surprises, and endings to 4000 Miles; The Ashes; Circle Mirror Transformation; Clybourne Park; Honey Brown Eyes; In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play; The Internationalist; The Lily’s Revenge; and Se Llama Cristina.

Continue reading Playwright, sheath thy checklist

Color-aware, -blind or none of the above?

January 8, 2013

In the January/February 2013 issue of Theatre Bay Area, Melissa Hillman, artistic director of the kick-ass Impact Theatre in Berkeley, writes about color-blind and/or non-traditional casting. This blog post is not so much a response to that article, “In the Land of the ‘Color Blind'”, as my continuation of the discussion. And continue it must.

Continue reading Color-aware, -blind or none of the above?

How do you recommend to an omnivore?

November 22, 2012

I love iTunes, and I love the variety of songs I can purchase from the iTunes store. But sometimes I wonder what their computers must “think” of my varied tastes. I even wonder whether I might be messing up their recommendation software. And a similar question applies to theatres who want to market to me.

Continue reading How do you recommend to an omnivore?

Not square with Square

November 21, 2012

Several years ago, I had an experience at an Apple store that made me feel out of step with today’s technology. Upon reflection, I realized it wasn’t my being out of step; it was my knowing too much about modern technology. Now that feeling is back with the iPad and Square.

Continue reading Not square with Square

September 30, 2012

And I find myself writing fewer and fewer characters with the hope that I will hit the sweet spot and get produced and then get my backlist having more characters produced. But one must write what one loves.

Endless Rewrites

Pretty much everyone in the theatrical community, barring perhaps those lucky tech people whose expertise lends itself to more consistent work, works under the shadow of improbability. If fifty actors show up to auditions for a play, and the play has one male character, each actor has a 1/50 chance of getting the role. This may be even more difficult if one of the other actors is Samuel L. Jackson. Playwrights face a similar challenge re: play contests,  made worse by the fact that you don’t know your odds at all, nor is it likely that you will recieve notice of your failure within the month. Obviously, the economic reality is grim, but if you wanted to make money you would not have gone into the theatre.

When I write a play, I am often beset by the fear that what I am writing will not be submittable or…

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Has your website been hacked?

September 23, 2012

One thing we webmasters have to worry about is the bad guys looking to install malware on our website. Fortunately, there are sometimes simple things we can do to find out whether we’ve been hacked.

We (the royal we) sometimes say “Google is your friend.” This is true here as well. Suppose your website domain is chasbelov.wordpress.com. Enter the following search:

prescription site:chasbelov.wordpress.com

If you’re lucky, Google will come back with no or one or two hits (unless you’re a pharmacy). But if you’ve been hacked by spammers, you might well come back with 2,000 or more such hits, as a major theatre I Googled yesterday did. No, I wasn’t (initially) looking to see if they were hacked; a drug-related result from their website came up as a result for a search I was doing for some special interest theatre. But once I got that result, I came up with the above search to test how bad their infestation was.

You can set up a notification at http://www.google.com/alerts

This is definitely not the only way hackers can mess with your site, and they can hide it from Google by telling Google not to index the page. But it’s an easy enough check so you might as well do it.

Hope this helps. (And yes, I’ve notified that theatre.)

September 21, 2012

Self-referential reblog, with a big congratulations to my sis, Bob T Panda (long story)

The Panda Chronicles

Well, as you all probably know (and more probably are sick of hearing) here at the Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire,  we recently (like yesterday) raced to the finish line of our Kickstarter project which we initiated to fund our first book, The Panda Chronicles Book 1: Your Brain on Pandas.  If you were a supporter through Kickstarter, we shower thanks and blessings upon your sainted brows.  If you weren’t…well we’ve given the panda kindergarten your address.  ‘Nuff said!  Soon, we will be welcoming all our supporters to The Roll of Honor, with your very own special page, as well as thanking you all in the book.  In writing.  Is that cool or what?

Even if you forgot or couldn’t (or, heaven forbid, wouldn’t) support our project on Kickstarter, never fear!  We will certainly let you know when our book is available through Amazon and other…

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September 14, 2012

Counting down the days to the end of my sister’s Kickstarter project. Hopefully, a happy ending is in store.

The Panda Chronicles

I always like September, well, at least now that I don’t actually HAVE to go back to school, that is, but it still, oh these many years later, (don’t ask) gives me a burst of energy to get back into the studio and actually get something done. The panda kindergarten is no exception and they absolutely PROMISE to be much better behaved this year. (Although I think I saw some paws crossed behind their backs when they said that.)

Meanwhile, back at the Kickstarter ranch, we are at 86% with only 6 days to go!  For those of you not following or yet on board with the Kickstarter project (ahem) hope you will check it out, because we have big, pandy plans here at the Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire!  I’d like to unveil the third in the triumvirate of panda posters (starting with “30 days of Pandas

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The Perfect Title – A Cautionary Marketing Tale

September 9, 2012

We all want our work to have the perfect title. And we want to be able to market it. If I were to title a play Sibboleth, it might be the perfect title for the theme of the play, but if someone searches for it, Google will ask “Did you mean shibboleth?” although at least for now it does give the “sibboleth” results.

So when we give a blog post or Kickstarter page or some other page a title, it’s not surprising that, sometime after publication, we may find ourselves wanting to update it to make it snappier or catchier or more imaginative. And we may follow up that desire by re-titling the post or page.

Following that urge can have annoying consequences. Gory details follow.

Read more The Perfect Title – A Cautionary Marketing Tale (long post)

September 9, 2012

If you haven’t checked out my sister’s Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of panda cartoons, please do so.

The Panda Chronicles

In fact, we are chewing our claws down to their little nubbins!  It is an all panda alert for our Kickstarter project!  The panda kindergarten is in a neighborhood near you and no one is safe!  Don’t make us resort to whining and sniveling.

This could happen to you!

And have we mentioned the really cool things you get for supporting our project?  First and foremost, THE BOOK!: The Panda Chronicles Book 1: Your Brain on Pandas.  And then, there is the Bob T. Panda for President bumper sticker, which we hope to have ready for this fall, so you can pledge your allegiance to the BEAR!

And need we mention the 30 Days of Pandas Poster?

So if you haven’t signed on to the panda bus yet, there’s no time like the present!  If you already have, consider upping your pledge! An additional $5 added to…

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Next Post

August 30, 2012

And if I reblog a reblog, does this create the necessary infinite number of pandas?

Of course, as Murphy would have it, it got cut off just before her Your Brain on Pandas Kickstarter link, and the software is mysteriously not letting me add the link to this reblog, so you’re just going to have to, if you’re so inclined, follow the 10-more-words link yourself.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

The Panda Chronicles

For some reason, the share buttons did not show up on the last post (AND I forgot my daily Kickstarter link!)  so here is a repeat of the cartoon I included with the reblog from Exit, Pursued by a Lark)  sorry if you are getting this twice.

 

Be the bear and visit

http:/www.kickstarter.com/projects/arttraveler/your-brain-on-pandas-book-1-of-the-panda-chronicle

 Bob T. Panda!

 

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The world is now 31 plays, erm, richer?

August 28, 2012

Not sure whether I can really call it richer, although it was fun. I was actually shooting for “So bad it’s good.” Some of them are probably “So bad it’s bad,” but such is the life of first drafts.

Yes, I wrote 31 short plays!  28 riffs on Shakespeare as performed by pandas and other animals, all set in Edinburgh Zoo (home of pandas Sunshine and Sweetie) and the Wolong Nature Preserve (home of the panda kindergarten), plus three framing plays.

Continue reading The world is now 31 plays, erm, richer?