Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The main computer system I use at work occasionally gets bogged down, the little chipmunks that make it run taking a lunch break or something, and when it does the system displays a message that says "Processing," and continues to flash that message over and over until Alvin and the gang get back to work.

I'm on a flight back from Los Angeles and I feel like that's what's happening in my head right now. I can't quite articulate anything about the experience of the last 10 days, the system is just processing...processing...processing...

While that's going on, I plan to read up on some of the stuff I've missed over the past week and a half and, if any of it still seems relevant I'll link to it here.

I wrote a fair amount of stuff while in L.A. But the piece I'm most proud of is this 'man on the street' video segment I did. I like it because I feel like you might get the same results if you approached people convening to see a big tour in Richmond and asked them about local shows. I also shot the video, edited it myself, and had it up on the site all within about 4 hours (with just a smidge of Engine28 tech help). So the world of video doesn't seem nearly as intimidating to me as it might have just a week or so ago.

The first bit of content I contributed to the site was this smallish rant in response to a panel the L.A. Times held to discuss "is L.A. a theater town?" featuring big names like Beth Henley and Tim Robbins. As you'll see if you read, I don't have much patience for that kind of navel-gazing.

The story that was the most fun to write - reflecting the enjoyment I had having the experience itself - was this story on seeing 4 shows in one night. It was a wacky night, only a fraction of which I could capture in the piece. Again, I like the aspect of universality in it; I expect many people could write a similar piece about any other kind of intense festival, whether it centered on music, film, theater, or dance.

The most interesting discussion / presentation I attended was the RADAR L.A. symposium that I reported on in this story, consisting of presentations by some of the most fervent, intelligent and articulate arts professionals I've heard speak. Associated with that story, I shot some other "man on the street" footage that became a little piece on people defining "devised theater." I can't find it on the site anymore, unfortunately. It was pretty funny, mostly because of the ingenious way the engine28 video gurus edited it.

I also did a story about L.A. actresses, prompted mostly by sitting next to an incredibly nice and chatty young woman at the L.A. Times panel who has done voice work in the "Land before Time" cartoons for years. It was eye-opening to hear stories from someone who has been on the inside of the movie and TV business for so long and yet didn't really have a clue about how the theater scene worked.

Finally, I did one straight review of a show called "Brewsie and Willie," a production that design-wise was pretty cool but content-wise didn't really deliver. The best part about doing this review was that I got to work one-on-one with Howard Shapiro, an incredibly learned and passionate critic who gave me some great insights into improving my critical writing. Also, I came up with the headline which I was proud of in that geeky self-satisfied way that writers can get when they think they've come up with something clever (that probably annoys the heck out of those around him, particularly spouses...)

So that's a taste of my fellowship experience, or as much as can be gleaned from the writing I did out there. More info and details may (or may not...) be forthcoming...

(UPDATE: Went through and corrected the more obvious grammer/spelling mistakes. Clearly, I've got some settling in to do before the blog flows as freely...and before.)

No comments: