Monday, 29 June 2009

I’ve rarely been busier or more in­ter­est­ed in what I’ve been do­ing late­ly. I was telling Debbie the oth­er day that it is nice to have so many var­ied things to do that in my free time all I want to do is read in­stead of play­ing video games or some­thing else.

BLACKHEART Cleveland has been eat­ing up most of my time; try­ing to sched­ule in­ter­views and rus­tle up good and ex­cit­ing in­for­ma­tion. We’re still at the heavy lift­ing stage, but I’ve got a good feel­ing about its di­rec­tion and longevi­ty. Now I just have to get out, con­duct some in­ter­views, ed­it them and get them on­line. It is nice to have a chance to do film/​video work again, even am­a­teur­ish­ly.

Through my gov­ern­ment de­sign blog The Design State, I’m work­ing on a week­ly video with GovLoop where I [and even­tu­al­ly a few oth­er folks with ar­eas of ex­per­tise] will an­swer ques­tions or present, briefly, on a cer­tain top­ic.

Abraham had his be­lat­ed birth­day par­ty and we’re head­ed out of town for the week­end. I’ve sched­uled my GRE ex­am, but haven’t had a chance to study yet. I’m not much wor­ried, though I hope I’m not be­ing too over­con­fi­dent.

I’ve been in an­oth­er video as The Face of Solid Waste:

Throughout all of this, Debbie has been a champ. I wor­ry that I’m ne­glect­ing her or my parental du­ties from time to time, but she said she’d let me know if I was slack­ing in that area. That’s cer­tain­ly the top pri­or­i­ty.

BLACKHEART Cleveland Launch

Monday, 22 June 2009

Pretty much right af­ter I shut down Tremonter, I was con­tact­ed by a lo­cal guy who was in­ter­est­ed in start­ing a new weblog for the Cleveland area. He brought me on board for sev­er­al rea­sons: my fa­mil­iar­i­ty with WordPress, my pas­sion for Cleveland, my knowl­edge of the lo­cal blog­ging com­mu­ni­ty and my writ­ing abil­i­ty. I’ve sort of been his point man for set­ting up this new site, scroung­ing up writ­ers and gen­er­al­ly mak­ing sure his vi­sion is well trans­lat­ed to cy­ber­space.

From the mi­ni-about us sec­tion:

BLACKHEART Cleveland brings the best and worst of Cleveland to light in or­der to show you what Cleveland was, is, and can be.

The BLACKHEART Manifesto is our first re­al post. Head on over, and take a look. I hope you en­joy it.

Liveblogging Opera Cleveland’s Falstaff Dress Rehearsal

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I was in­vit­ed, along with a bunch of oth­er blog­gers, to live­blog a dress re­hearsal of Opera Cleveland’s Falstaff. Debbie is here with me and will be post­ing some up­dates while I run around like a cer­tain opera chick­en with my head cut off tak­ing video and pic­tures. We’ve nev­er been to an opera pro­duc­tion be­fore, and I’m look­ing for­ward to the per­for­mance and the rare be­hind-the scenes ac­cess. Opera Cleveland is do­ing some great mar­ket­ing here.

Here are some re­sources for the pro­duc­tion:

The Production of Falstaff gets setup

6:31PM — True to Shakespearian tra­di­tion, the per­form­ers come to the stage from the au­di­ence, and don their cos­tumes in front of every­one. Non of the per­form­ers are miked, so it is im­por­tant that they have a pow­er­ful enough voice to fill the 3000 seat State the­ater.

7:16PM — Here’s the Falstaff li­bret­to. I can’t record any video be­cause Opera Cleveland has no agree­ment with the or­ches­tra to do so. I al­so just missed a great sil­hou­ette shot. Uploading more pics to Flickr as we speak.

7:24PM — Dude Falstaff is try­ing to get with two girls at once with­out them find­ing out. Nice try. Women aren’t that dumb.

7:30PM — Props back­stage have their own par­tic­u­lar spots:

That’s Valerie, the stage man­ag­er:

Dressing rooms for the soloists:

7:34PM — All my pho­tos are here. Here’s a shot where you can see the trans­lat­ed li­bret­to up top.

First Intermission.

7:40PM — Debbie did a sketch of some of the cos­tumes:

Falstaff Opera Cleveland Trivia — cir­ca 150 light­ing cues in the pro­duc­tion.

7:53PM —  Debbie here. Intermission’s over. I just asked the cos­tume guy how the women are able to breathe so loud in ap­par­ent­ly tight corsets. He tells me that their struc­ture ac­tu­al­ly sup­ports the lungs and di­aphragm from be­low, mak­ing it eas­i­er to sing loud.

7:55PM —  Alice has sent a mes­sen­ger to dude Falstaff telling him to meet her se­cret­ly. “But I have an­oth­er mes­sage for your wor­ship!” Meg’s hus­band is sel­dom home. 

8:10PM — Adam here. I just re­mem­bered that I saw a pro­duc­tion of Die Zauberflöte when I was in col­lege. So this isn’t my first opera. I re­al­ly like the spare set-de­sign, lots of plain wood. 

More Falstaff Cleveland Opera Trivia: The stage area and prosce­ni­um at the State Theater are the same size at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.

8:19PM — Scene change! I have a feel­ing this pig is about to make his ap­pear­ance:

8:26PM — I was wrong. The pig that ap­peared was Falstaff.

8:34PM — Everybody in this pro­duc­tion is ob­sessed with who is do­ing or try­ing to do whomev­er. The stage is full of peo­ple. And the plot just thick­ened! About damn time Verdi/​Shakespeare.

8:46PM — Second Intermission is al­most over. Finally got a good sil­hou­ette shot.

8:59PM — Looks like most of the ac­tion is on Twitter, but I found Kevin Cronin’s post about this at RealNEO.

9:05PM — I just re­al­ized that every tweet I send is al­so end­ing up as my Facebook sta­tus. Woops.

9:21PM — This pro­duc­tion has some nice deep notes to it. A ta­pes­try of a nymph be­ing chased by a satyr was very apro­pos, and hav­ing Falstaff wear horns at Herne’s Oak makes a dou­ble point about cuck­oldry and mas­culin­i­ty.

9:26PM — The ba­by-sit­ter alarm is about to go off, so I’m go­ing to wrap this up. This pro­duc­tion was great fun to watch, with just the right amount of or­na­ment, cos­tum­ing and set de­sign to make a non-opera afi­ciona­do en­joy them­selves. The plot is fair­ly light and comedic, the singing has been out­stand­ing as far as I can tell, and the end­ing ap­pears to be wrap­ping up quite nice­ly. The stuffed pig fi­nal­ly made its ap­pear­ance too. I had a great time. If you de­cide to come on down to watch it your­self, I’m sure you will to.

Plus. the cast gets fair­ly close to naked at the end of the pro­duc­tion.