Thursday, March 29, 2007


Midwest Independent Film Festival April 3rd

The Midwest Independent Film Festival takes place Tuesday, April 3rd at 6 p.m. at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark Street [Google Map].


Tuesday, March 27, 2007


School Disinvites Comedy Troupe

The Comic Thread performed at Highland Park High School's Focus on the Arts 2001, 2003, and 2005. In December they were invited to perform again this year. The Tribune's March 19th article in part says:
Highland Park High School officials who fear that a sketch comedy troupe's material is not appropriate for students have rescinded an invitation for the group to perform during a three-day arts festival in April.
Earlier this month, administrators of the same school district defended accusations that Deerfield High School was promoting a homosexual agenda by allowing gay students to speak about their experiences during mandatory freshman advisory classes. The Highland Park and Deerfield campuses comprise Township High School District 113, which was criticized by a group affiliated with the Illinois Family Institute in a one-page newspaper advertisement.
There's a heightened sensitivity that's infecting Focus on the Arts, which classically has always been a very open environment, said DeGrazia, 28, a 1997 Highland Park graduate [and director of The Comic Thread] who said he was disappointed that he could not participate in an event he had cherished while in school.
School officials said concerns about The Comic Thread were unrelated to the Deerfield controversy
(from Chicago Tribune).

Update April 9: There is now an online statement of protest about this censorship that you can sign (even sign anonymously if you choose).


Monday, March 19, 2007


Virtual and Live Actors on Stage Together

In a theatrical first, actors working in real time from remote locations recently were beamed onto a stage where they performed with live, in the flesh actors for an audience that experienced one seamless, three-dimensional show, according to the University of Central Florida.
The technology could mean future theatergoers might attend plays where one or more actors are working outside the venue, even in a different country or from their own homes.
We are not talking about holograms yet or the kind of imagery that requires funky glasses, UCF professor John Shafer, a member of the cast, told Discovery News. (But) what we have done for this production has indeed pushed the envelope significantly. The production is a small historical step forward on several levels.
This past weekend, Shafer was hooked to a receiving and transmitting broadband-connected computer that can pull as much as 130 megabytes of data in an instant. Although he performed in Florida, his body was "beamed" onto a stage at Bradley University in Illinois, where he performed "with" live actors there, as well as with actors beamed in from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Both 3-D and 2-D sets consisting of multiple screens and special effects lighting helped to give the impression that all of the actors, remote or not, existed in a single space. To further link the performances, the actual live actors were also sometimes featured on screens. At one point, a virtual actor even appeared to hand a live actor a cigarette
(from Discovery Channel News).

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Broadway Selling in China

Next week the Nederlanders, one of the big three Broadway theater owners, are planning to announce the details of a new company they have formed that, among other things, will present and market tours and live entertainment in China. But the entry of the Nederlanders into the Asian market is only the latest sign of how sizzling it has become
(from The New York Times).


Monday, March 12, 2007


St Petersburg Theatre Installs Cell Jammers

Though two and a half years ago, the French government approved the installation of cell phone jammers in theatres, [t]he Alexandrinsky theatre in St Petersburg [Russia] last month became the first theatre company in the world to instal jamming equipment, after previous attempts to get patrons to switch off their phones failed (from Guardian Unlimited). There have been other calls for cell phone jammers as well.

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