Ever wonder about those claims about billions of dollars lost to copyright infringement? Well, this video of Rob Reid's talk at the TED conference on Copyright Math will set you straight. It will also leave you laughing. Worth a watch.
Like everything else in my life in this insane year this post is a day late and a dollar short. The seventh anniversary of this blog was yesterday, December 3. But things in my life kept me from putting the finishing touches on the post and getting it published on the big day. On some level that's unacceptable. On others it is entirely in character this year. But then, maybe we'll see that change in the new year.
Seven years. (and a day) That's how long I've been presenting the Ink Blot Awards as my way of recognizing the anniversary of this blog. It's been a fun ride. It's been full of laughs. I'm hoping this year's awards will also provide a few chuckles to folks who stop by and give them a read. Although the history is mostly ancient and perhaps bordering on the irrelevant, I think it is important to provide some of it as context. So here goes:
I created The Life On The Wicked Stage Ink Blot Awards as a celebration. Yes, it's a celebration of the 1 year anniversary of this blog. But it is more than that. It is a celebration of a community that I have come to know and admire. The Tableteers that make up the Tablet PC Community are an amazing collection of individuals who know and work with the Tablet PC platform. They are fiercely protective of it, insatiably curious about advancing it, very intelligent, often wickedly funny, at one time very forgiving and patient, and in the same breath, scathingly critical when the need arises. They are also exceedingly willing to evangelize the platform to anyone who will listen, and in my humble opinion, have helped keep the spotlight on The Tablet PC in ways that may, in the long run, prove to be responsible for keeping the platform thriving.
So much has changed in the time I started blogging that first year. It's changed with me and also that community has certainly changed. Those around me have changed as well in an eerie parallel to how things with Tablets have changed. Tablets mean different things now-a-days, although some of those who make them seem to have less penchant for success than Microsoft did.
What hasn't changed and what's consistent about Tablets is that they are still the very personal devices that they started out to be. Microsoft never recognized that. Apple did. Others tried to emulate without acknowledging the core reasons for Apple's success. And by and large they failed.
What's also changed is my attitude about politics, cultural happenings, and other things that I observe on this blog. I've also changed how I observe and remark about them. The convenience of Twitter and Google+ take something away from this blog. Sometimes I worry about that. Sometimes I don't.
I've become increasingly disenchanted with quite a few things this year. To be honest, I don't know why. I used to find it all entertaining in a "Human Comedy" sort of way. I don't find it that entertaining anymore. The ins and outs of life begin with the foibles of humans. It used to be that somewhere along the line we acknowledged that, celebrated it, and moved on, bettering ourselves in the process. While I think we still acknowledge it, and we might celebrate it, the only benefit we're deriving by moving on is to repeat the same things over and over again with an increasing frequency. I think this year's Ink Blot Awards reflect that with the number of repeats. Or they reflect my warped sense of things.
This was a year that so many things resulted in a "FAIL" that I think we have to look for a new buzz word for failure. Politics and the circus around it started performing without a tent and nobody cared that the clowns weren't funny any more. It's not that the clowns weren't funny that is maddening. It's depressing that no one cared anymore. Major tech companies became exposed for what can only be described as abhorent stratagies. New gadgets now depend on the same fickle first weekend sales that movies do. Of course if we had better gadgets being released, we'd probably see better results. Social networking became a parody of itself and all of that sharing resulted in a few shares too many or not nearly enough, depending on your perspective. Big media continued to prove that it doesn't have a clue. Little media seems to inexplicably want to follow that path as well. Oh, and Mother Nature reached up and smacked the planet around trying to get our attention. But aside from watching the compelling video and pictures we continued to just be thankful it wasn't us feeling her wrath, and sympathetic to those who did. The 99% became the Tea Party without the tea but with lots of party, because in the end the complaints are the same. For its efforts it got criticized by the 1% for being unorganized, dirty, and partying too much by the 1% that defines itself by making money and not making anything else so it can party. I think the 1% are just jealous because they feel like they have to dress up and shower in order to play their game. There's an old saying in show biz that if you put real life on the stage no one would believe it. I think if you put this last year on the stage, not only wouldn't anyone believe it, but Groupon would have a hard time selling discount tickets to it.
Last year's many repeats were due primarily to me spending the year dealing with my mother's terminal illness and ultimate passing. This year's repeats, I think, deal more with the fact that nothing has really changed. Change used to be a constant. I don't think it is as constant presently. On some levels I find that depressing, on larger levels I find that extremely human. I also find that it focuses those who are looking at life with 20/20 vision into a clearer view that someday may pull us out of the rut we're in.
Any pretense at aspirations aside, the rules for inclusion on the list are the same. Award winners are subject to my own whims and fancies. Some are best in class, some are just frivilous, some deserve the small heaping of scorn these awards might cast their way. Human nature, no matter the field of endeavor, is ripe with that which needs celebrating and that which needs derision cast its way. Good friend, Tablet PC MVP and fellow GBM contributor, Mark “Sumocat” Sumimoto, christened these awards with the nickname of ‘The Blotties’ in year one, and that sorta stuck. So we'll let it keep sticking. And finally, if you don't like the list, go make your own.
So, as always, hit the jump, cue the dancing girls, beat out a tattoo on the drums, sound the trumpets (or the theremin) and get ready for the Seventh Annual Life on the Wicked Stage Ink Blot Awards .
The theatre biz is a kooky one at times. Tonight is the official opening of Southern Crossroads: The New Orleans Adventure at Wayside Theatre. But there have already been two audiences who have seen the show at yesterday's two preview performances. While the show might be a bit different after we make a few changes in today's show, tonight's opening night is the debut of record once all is said and done.
The good news is that after yesterday's previews we know this new show works wonderfully for audiences. Both shows received rousing standing ovations so we must be doing something right. Folks took to the Greene Family Singers right away, loved the amazing music, and enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot and the characters that the Greene Family meets in this adventure. As both a writer and a director I'm really pleased with what we've all created. The cast did extraordinary work yesterday through both previews. They continued to hone in their characters and find the playing zone for the music. The peals of laughter and audible reactions came both from the comedy of the script and also from recognition. Some of that recognition came from audience members who went on the first Greene Family adventure two years ago as they met the characters they loved again. Remember this is a prequel to that first piece. Some of it came from the audience recognizing the excellent musicianship and performances that these actors are putting on display. The surprises along the way in the script also produced great reactions, but then that's why the surprises are there to begin with.
Tonight's opening night performance should be a good one. We've tuned the show up really well, in my view, and will tune it a little more today. The expectations are high with this one from those attending and those doing the work, so that means all of our stomaches are in a bit of a knot today. But when we hit the boards at 6:30, I think the magic of what this team of amazing artists will take over if yesterday's previews are any indication.
Well, blow me down. It isn't goats and monkeys, but it is a man who has turned a goat into, well, goat bagpipes. The restraint it too me to keep from headlining this post Man Blows Goat is amazing so early in the morning.
Give this a watch, and you can get a taste of what Striking 12 at Wayside Theatre is all about. You really need to see this to fully "get it." We've got performances until September 25, so come on down for some rock and roll fun.
When reviewers say that Wayside Theatre "strikes gold with Striking 12" and "Phone now for reservations" you know you've got something special going on. Both our major local papers, the Northern Virginia Daily and the Winchester Star gave the show glowing reviews this morning. I'm linking to the NVD review, but can't do the Winchester Star review because it is behind a pay wall. I guess they don't want the traffic that will come from here, Facebook, and Twitter today as our small but voracious fans start linking out to the reviews.
But no matter. Here are a couple of quotes from the Winchester Star
"The audience's standing ovation and call for an encore on opening night is testimony."
"Wayside's production showcases the extraordinary musical talent that Crocker has assembled."
And from the Daily
""Striking 12" is definitely cool. A most unusual show, it's a small-scale musical, ably performed by a gifted trio, that both captivates and resonates on several levels."
"it's the music, innovative and varied, that transports "Striking 12" to fanciful heights"
I hate opening nights. The first guy who decided to invite theatre critics to opening night I hope spends an eternity in some really warm place. The pressure is on to display your work at your best and it comes, in most cases, after a week or two of intensely hard work that finds everyone running on adrenalin, too much caffeine, and well, just running crazy. No show is ever perfect on opening night because of all of that, yet, artists continue to pull reserves out of some place and do amazing things. But that's our job, that's our biz, that's live theatre, and that's what we do. Fortunately, I'm surrounded by professionals who know how to get the job done, and at last night's opening of Striking 12 at Wayside Theatre, our artists came out in grand style. Steve, Sara, Vaughn, Heather, Malia, Steve Yaussi, and Katherine Yacko are the small team that run this show, and along with designers Til, Tamara, and Wes they took a very skeptical audience on a journey last night that blew some minds and lifted them out of their seats.
Striking 12 was and is a big risk for us at Wayside Theatre. It's not your conventional piece of theatre. It is hard to describe in marketing terms, especially in our area. Words and pictures can't convey how magical this piece is or what it is about. It sounds like a cop out, but you've got to experience it to understand it. Once you do, that team will give you 85 minutes of your life that will transport you and transfix you in only the way live theatre can. Striking 12 is a transcendent piece of theatre that combines music, storytelling, live performance, and your imagination to lift you out of your seat and every day life by reaching into your soul. I'm biased of course, but our production is not only musically exceptional, but visually compelling and heart stopping. When the story reaches its most dramatic moment, there was an entire audience sitting in the theatre holding their collective breath. When a show does that at Wayside Theatre in our intimate theatre, you can reach out and touch the stillness. The mystery, magic, and majesty of live performance becomes palpable as the marriage of performer and spectator consummates in ways that all of us who make our life in the performing arts hope it does each time we take the stage or begin rehearsals for a new show.
Last night that rare event happened, and everyone who was in that house got to live it. Throughout the show there were audible reactions to the moments that unfolded on stage as the audience responded to each surprise that Striking 12 lays in their laps. And there are many. That's the genius of the writing and composition, and also the skill and artistry our team brought to this production.
You need to see this one. You need to experience this one. You need to live this one. As an old, cynical, and increasingly tired pro, I can tell you that you don't get this experience that often in live performance. We've got it right here at Wayside Theatre for a month. You miss this one and it is your loss. You see this one, and you'll have the best 85 minutes of entertainment you've had or are going to have in quite some time.
Now we wait and see what the reviewers have to say. But in the mean time, make your plans, come see this show, and tell your friends that you're going to live some magic and bring them along.
Call this a love letter, call it a valentine, call it what you will. But what I have to say here, I say often enough, but at the same time, never enough. The only difference here is that I'm trying to say it a bit louder. These pages (my Twitter account and my Facebook account) have been filled with pictures and posts lately about Striking 12, the new show we're debuting at Wayside Theatre tonight. It is a magical piece of musical story telling and well worth the journey if you like music, theatre, story telling or just want to sit back and have a good time. But that's the show. The creators of the piece, GrooveLily, have created something remarkable and I'm just thrilled we're finally putting it on after all these years since our musical director, Steve Przybylski brought it to my attention.
Yeah, here comes the valentine part.
Not only did Steve bring this to my attention, but he's been pushing for us to put it on. Once we pulled the trigger on that decision I knew we were in good hands, because Steve and his music truly is the heartbeat behind what we do at Wayside Theatre. We're both surrounded by some talented artists, but Steve ends up taking on more than any of us on any given show. Not only is he music directing Striking 12, he's performing in the show, and responsible for the entire sound design which allows it to be heard. At any given moment on that stage during the show, he's working on about 10 different levels, and yet, you would never know it. His performance (as are those of the other cast members) is transcendent.
Steve has been working with me and with Wayside for 10 seasons now. If this isn't his finest hour, it is only because his next one will probably exceed this one. We've written and adapted shows together, he's created musicians and singers out of those who aren't. He's taken those who are and made them better. And he does it with such style and grace under some very strenuous circumstances that it is astounding to stand along side him and watch it all come to life.
When you watch a show, you aren't supposed to know this stuff. You're just supposed to enjoy and watch it happen. But, as we get ready for opening night tonight, I think Steve deserves more than a pat on the back for his herculean efforts on Striking 12. I, Wayside Theatre, and its audiences have had the distinct privilege of watching this all grow and unfold over the last 10 seasons, and I know that many do pay attention to what Steve brings to our efforts. But many don't and while that's OK, I know I sure pay attention, as do all who get down and dirty with us when we work to bring a show to life. I'm just grateful that I've been able to partner with this amazing artist on the journey's we've taken ourselves and our audiences along these last 10 seasons.