Last night we opened Miracle on 34th Street at Wayside Theatre and it was a thrilling success, a great gift to the community, and generally just a lot of fun. Our cast is magnificent and really bring their 'A' game to the stage. In fact we have two complete casts because we do so many performances and both are excellent.
The laugher, the tears, and the thanks for such a wonderful show mean so much this time of year to all of us at the theatre. Here's a link to show photos by John Westervelt. Hope you get to see the show.
The big tech companies are going after each other tooth and nail. Apple is now working on its own maps app, obviously spurning Google, Microsoft is working with Rupert Murdoch to help make his bluff/threat to remove his media from Google search in favor of Bing, Apple has been working with Microsoft to bring Silverlight to the iPhone, continuing its spat with Adobe. It’s a dog eat dog world and at this point, no dog has an advantage. Steve Lyons says they all care less about creating new products than they do about hurting each other. That’s why “it’s just business” is such a pre-historic concept.
Sarah Palin and the Bard? Conservative Joseph Hatch compares those enraptured by Sarah Palin to the groundlings of Shakespeare’s day, and says that the groundlings are the ones who turn a play into a hit or not, and that the Republicans need to cater to those masses and forget the elite. It’s a theory that tries to focus on the populist appeal of the common versus the elite, but ignores the fact that in Shakespeare’s day, even the groundlings understood the real issues behind the stories being told, and that Shakespeare felt no need to dumb down the message to appeal to them.
MG Siegler compares Twitter to Walter Cronkite in today’s age of realtime. I like his points, but the prism is ever so slightly askew. We gathered around Uncle Walter, (and others) when news happened, no matter how messy the reporting was because we had no other real choice. In today’s world the choices are just as messy, quicker, and unfortunately able to be tied into knots by the sheer volume of reporting and re-reporting news as it surfaces. In my view, the trust factor (and the forgiveness for error factor) is diminishing to a point that no one has belief in any source.
While we were rehearsing yesterday we had some pretty strong winds which caused all the leaves in Middletown to gather in front of the theatre. It sure felt like Fall giving way to Winter during the long day and the clouds gave new meaning to Black Friday.
Today is Thanksgiving here in the US. I’m unplugging and heading off to spend time with family, as a brief respite between dress rehearsals for our annual Christmas show. Those rehearsals resume tomorrow, and we preview on Saturday and open on Sunday.
Here’s hoping that you get to spend some time with family and loved ones and that you find the time to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon you. Today is one of those days where you should take a deep breath, look around, and take none of those blessings for granted. May your day be filled with food, laughter, a nap, warmth, and love.
OK, I guess the worm is turning, or shriveling up, or something. Police asked a record label exec to Twitter a message to unruly waiting fans that a concert had been called off at the last minute. The guy didn't and the cops arrested him.
Police arrested a senior vice president from Bieber’s label, Island Def Jam Records, James A. Roppo, 44, of Hoboken, N.J., saying he hindered their crowd-control efforts by not cooperating. He was in custody Friday night, pending charges that could include criminal nuisance, endangering the welfare of a minor and obstructing government administration, Smith said. “We asked for his help in getting the crowd to go away by sending out a Twitter message,” Smith said. “By not cooperating with us we feel he put lives in danger and the public at risk.”
Twitter is starting to monetize by letting users get paid for advertising in their tweets. It is the beginning of the end. Oh, the end won’t come soon, and it won’t even look like an end. There will be an upswing. Twitter and people will make money and things will blossom. Then things will plateau. Then Twitter will become just like every other communications and entertainment medium. It will still exist, it may remain profitable, but it will lose its soul and everything it promised in the beginning will become a faded, jaded memory.
The above prophecy of Twitter isn’t hard to predict. It is the same path that every other entertainment medium has followed since the dawn of advertising. Yes, advertising is the way to make money, because apparently we’re all foolish enough to keep wanting to be manipulated. But like radio, broadcast TV, films, YouTube, DVD/Blueray discs, blogs, the Internet in general, newspapers, and your local church bulletin, everything that started out as a way to communicate and then looked at advertising as a way to monetize, the message gets lost in the money at some point.
Twitter is going to do ads, and in some cases already is. Folks are making money from this. I’ll put up another post about my thoughts on this, but the sum is, end of an era. Robert Scoble chimes in here with a good post on the subject.
So, Sarah Palin’s book is out. The tour is on. Frank Rich has a good piece on the hullabaloo. Now, it appears that phenomenon has created another small controversy. The AP, you know the folks who don’t believe in Fair Use, got hold of her book, ripped it from its spine and scanned it so it could be searchable for its reporters. Hey, it’s fair use for us. Not for you.
Hands on winner for dumbest Apple Tablet rumor post of the year goes to PCWorld for this.
Speaking of Fair Use hypocrisy. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t believe in it either, especially when it comes to Google and the internet. That doesn’t stop his papers from ripping of entire blog posts and publishing them. Ask Edgar Wright. Hey, it’s fair use for us. Not for you.
These bits of outrage are always cloaked in righteousness over human rights and how terrible China's record is. That's old history, well known, and unfortunately shared by too many other places in the world with which we do business.
Here's an excerpt from Kristof's piece
Western corporations have often behaved embarrassingly in China, sacrificing any principles to ingratiate themselves with the Communist Party authorities. Yahoo was the worst, handing over information about several email account holders so that they could be arrested – and then dissembling and defending its monstrous conduct. Now Microsoft is sacrificing the integrity of Bing searches so as to cozy up to State Security in Beijing. In effect, it has chosen become part of the Communist Party’s propaganda apparatus.
Here's where the hypocrisy comes in. I'm guessing Kristof, just like anyone else using a computer these days, typed those words on a computer or terminal with parts made in some Chinese factory. I don't think he's even considered that. The bottom line is this. The world of business, unfortunately, stops for nothing, except a better business proposition. If we are going to take a high and mighty stand on human rights, or any other issue, and start screaming and banning, start screaming and banning all contact and all trade. The tech biz depends on China, and the myopic tend to forget that when these issues surface. Our economy would cease to exist if we stopped doing business with all the evil folk in the world. Just ask the Saudi's.
Look, I despise any attempts at squelching human rights or freedom. I'm not a Microsoft Bing fan either. But the reality and history favors the long view more than the quick peek of indignity at that which offends a sense of goodness. The fact that Microsoft, and other businesses are engaged there, even under restraints, will have a far better chance of furthering any advances in human rights than if they did not.
But then the long view is tough to sell when you're too busy typing on your Chinese made keyboard, and editing your text on your Chinese made monitor.
It seems like we were just here, but it has been a year. This weekend we go into heavy rehearsal mode for our annual Christmas Show at Wayside Theatre. This year it is a new musical adaptation of A Miracle on 34th Street. Rehearsals so far have gone really, really well, but Saturday and Sunday we put it all together before we head into tech week, which will also be a heavy work load.
The show features two casts, because we do so many performances. Cast members alternate performances. We also have many children in the show, which makes the work different on so many levels, but let me tell you, our children this year are rocking the house with their great work.
Sunday night we had a wonderful evening at Wayside Theatre. One of the many talented artists who we work with whenever we can, Robbie Limon suggested we throw a benefit performance featuring his band, The Robbie Limon Band. We took him up on it. Robbie did all the hard work and put together a lineup of amazing musicians and performers who all donated their time and talents to the cause. I have to tell you, the talent on that stage Sunday night was mind blowing. The house was jammed packed and a sell out.
Not only did The Robbie Limon Band perform its musical magic, but the Medicine Wind Duo (Kevin and Lucille Ball), the Rhonda Sager Trio, and some of our Wayside Theatre regulars got into the act. There were many highlights, but Robbie's on Forrest accompanying his dad by playing the drums was a real treat.
During the finale when all the artist took the stage, the power and the magic of live music were on full display for all to see.
Thanks to all these amazing artists for their efforts on behalf of Wayside Theatre. Your gifts are amazing and your sharing of them was a gift to all of us.