One of today’s headlines, and miscellany

posted in: Creativity, Music, Serendipity, Writing | 2

I'm still tracking down inventory variances in the publishing software. That's boring. So we move to these digressions and diversions. . . .  Not because I "need" to put up a post (I'll never release a post unless I feel like writing it), but because I find these items interesting and my daughter said "yes, share them."

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Odd news

One of the headlines in today's local newspaper reads:

44 marijuana plants seized, 3 arrested in Broomfield

What I want to know is why, if they seized 44 plants, only 3 were arrested? Insufficient evidence of crimes committed by the other 41? (It's an AP story from Boulder, but a local headline; other news sources have the story with less ambiguous headers.)

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Political language use

Along similar lines, if you care about language and missed the Borowitz Report piece "Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy," you might enjoy it.

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The marketing of jewelry

I came across (through Twitter) a YouTube presentation by Sarah Haskins on advertising and women (specifically jewelry) that everyone who lives in this house found amusing.

Ellen Goodman's column today elaborates on the theme of jewelry and values. I don't know how long this link at the Boston Globe will be available; the column may be posted later on Goodman's website, although it isn't there now.

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A place to connect with creative ideas: Bas Bleu Theatre

Yesterday I went to a presentation at Bas Bleu Theatre on the collaborative process through which a new musical—or, more precisely, a play with original musical numbers—gets made. The topic was A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol, written and directed by Walton Jones, with original songs by David Wohl and Faye Greenberg. Jones, Wohl, and Greenberg all spoke, along with Wendy Ishii, founder of Bas Bleu and producer of the show. Even better than "spoke," actually. They had an informal discussion among themselves that opened up to include the other folks in the room, a rich mix of community members, actors, and other professional and amateur theater people.

Web-radioshow_2006

Walt Jones, the playwright and the director of this run, is local, because he's now the director of the Colorado State University Theatre program. He wrote the extremely successful The 1940s Radio Hour, and has been asked frequently for a sequel. That's the project through which A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol is coming into being.

The show's first incarnation was presented last year at Bas Bleu, despite the fact that Jones almost died as it went into rehearsal (he's well again). Through fall 2007, I saw the first reading, a tech rehearsal, and the show itself. It was superbly presented, although I noted in particular a few points of emotional trajectory that needed adjusting; it was a delight, carried by a good concept and exceptional collaborative skills from everyone involved. Because "the show must go on," it did—with great success. The show sold out and added extra performances. Denver Post theater critic John Moore wrote an excellent assessment of the 2007 iteration; some of his observations influenced the shifts in the play between 2007 and 2008. Moore is the sort of critic who can help a theater community grow and deepen.

This year I just saw a single scheduled performance: the play has changed a lot! Setting has shifted a few miles west, a handful of original songs have been added (I'm especially fond of "Newark"), characters have been added, subtracted, and adjusted. It hasn't undergone a mild tweaking but a complete re-visioning. It's far more emotionally balanced, with more depth to the characters (although I still miss Niccole Carner in her role last year as Judy Davenport). John Moore once again offers his perspective, now on the 2008 version of the play.

David Wohl, the composer, also lives in this area. He is the play's music director and one of its actors as well. He's received nine ASCAP Awards for music he's composed for TV, film, multimedia, and theater.

Faye Greenberg, the lyricist, lives in LA, so she and Walt and David worked long distance. She usually collaborates with her husband, David Lawrence, but takes on other projects when they appeal to her and her schedule permits. Among other things, she's written lyrics for High School Musical and High School Musical 2

Wendy Ishii is the founder and one of the prime moving forces in sustaining and growing our delightful Bas Bleu Theatre, which is big enough to be professional and small enough to be intimate.

As was yesterday's discussion. There aren't many places where I could choose to spent a Saturday afternoon in a conversation about the creative process with a collection of people of this caliber. One of the things they all mentioned was how safe a creative environment has been created in and around Bas Bleu: where the people who come together as collaborators, even including, in the periphery, the reviewers, are all focused not on political or personal agendas but on making the completed project as good as it can possibly be.

A number of years ago, when Bas Bleu was in its original 49-seat space (the current space seats 99), I had a less diverse but equally enjoyable view of Bas Bleu's nurturing of Molly Lyons' A Most Notorious Woman during its world premiere. I was so taken with the play that I saw it no less than four times. (Once is usually enough for me, whether book, play, or movie.)

I spend a lot of time working. I'm grateful to Bas Bleu for regularly getting me out of the basement and in touch with an amazing array of talented people since 1992. Yes, I have season tickets. No matter how lean the budget, I sign up at the end of each summer and know I'll be well rewarded for an entire year because of the minor investment. That doesn't cover everything Bas Bleu does, but it covers a whole lot. Averaged out, it runs me a little over $2 a week. Wow.

Local, top quality, and affordable: hitting all the notes in harmony.

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Now I return to my unscheduled but extremely necessary and tedious spreadsheets.

I get to knit more on the vest tonight while we watch a recorded movie version of Front of the Class with friends. An unusually high percentage of the viewers in the room will have personal experience with Tourette syndrome, so I expect the chat will be interesting.
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2 Responses

  1. “Front of the Class” has some Hallmark moments and music (it *is* a Hallmark movie), but overall it’s strong and appropriate, worth seeing.

  2. I love this post! I especially enjoyed the Obama and jewelry links. I’m sharing them with friends.

    Good luck with the spreadsheets.

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