?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Sunday (5/27/18) 5:05pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  Based on a True Story, Zagreb Noir, Unlimited Memory
Movies:  <none>
TV:  The People Versus O. J. Simpson

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (5/6/18) 2:00pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  Moonwalking With Einstein
Movies:  Black Panther, Ex Machina, Paprika, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (4/15/18) 9:52pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  Learn Japanese the Manga Way
Movies:  The World's End
TV:  <none>
Other:  Gorogoa, The Talos Principle

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: , , ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (4/15/18) 12:18pm - ... wherein Peter studies languages.

A quick update about how language-studying is going.Collapse )

Sunday (4/1/18) 10:01pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  Think Like a Cat
Movies:  The Big Short, Get Out [spoilers], John Wick, Kedi
TV:  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend [season 2] [spoilers], The Expanse [season 1] [spoilers]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (4/1/18) 3:01pm - ... wherein there's a table of contents for "art I want to do in 2018".

Here are links to my posts about art I want to do in 2018:

Tags:
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: None

Saturday (3/31/18) 10:45am - ... wherein Peter wonders about improv-show licensing.

In yesterday's post, I alluded to "show licensing" as a concept that was rattling around in my head.  Here are some more thoughts about that:

Right now, nobody thinks of an improv show format as a piece of intellectual property that an owner could bind up in a license and then transfer or loan to other artists.  And that's bad.  There are awkward situations that a "show license" could prevent.

For instance: if you finish a show run, the cast usually wants to keep doing the show in some form.  But then nobody's sure who to secure permission from: the show's director? the theater's artistic director? the theater owners?  And even if you know the right person, how do you go about getting permission?  And if you *do* secure permission, what conditions apply?  Do you have to list the theater in the posters?  The programs?  The publicity?  And then nobody really wants to do the awful grunt work of hammering that out, and therefore nothing happens -- or it happens without sorting out all the permission issues, and people get irritated.  You could avoid this by saying, at the top of the run: the format for show <x> is covered by license <y>.  The artistic director (or whoever) owns license <y>.  They're willing to loan out the license under the following conditions... and so on.

You also get the situations where you strike an agreement for one group to do another group's format.  Seemingly all is well.  But then, when the show goes up, they do a complete hatchet job of the original.  Your tender, delicate rumination on loss has turned into a marathon of dick jokes, or vice versa, and you're not happy.  But you never secured anything in writing saying that, if you're claiming to do this show, you're *actually doing this show*.  And without a license, or the notion of leasing it out to another group, you don't even really have the *language* to express how you feel betrayed.  And on the other end, the dick-joke group doesn't even necessarily know what they did wrong, because you never told them what aspects of your format were non-negotiable.

And frankly, there's a scene-wide chilling effect against even opening up the conversation of "we'd like to do your format -- can we borrow it?"  It feels gauche, like "can I steal the jokes you're using in your stand-up set?"  Even if the show isn't being done any more.  Even if it hasn't been done for years.  Even if the people who did the original show have moved out of town.  And you also get the weirdness of the first show in a particular genre "clear-cutting" the genre for years.  Anybody who would like to do essentially the same show you did now has to patiently invent something recognizably different for no real reason.

Plus, it means that show formats don't often travel between cities.  And that's frustrating, because there are scenes where people are getting pretty good at narrative stage performance, but nobody has a lot of practice coming up with formats.  Those places would be ideal for "let's just license out this one" -- they get to do a solid improv show, and everybody gets to level up in understanding how formats are put together.

Again, all of these arrangements *can* be done currently, but (1) we have no language in place for talking about how we do it, and (2) since no one talks about doing it, it feels taboo and wrong, and not in a hot or sexy way.  Just the concept of a license and leasing terms could help dislodge both problems.

I imagine, too, there's a fear of "unweaving the rainbow" -- that is, if we can break an improv show down to its essentials -- something you can write up in a three-page document -- then that makes the whole thing feel less magical, especially if the format was generated organically over rehearsal.  So it won't work for everybody, but still, it could work for a lot of people.

Tags:
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Friday (3/30/18) 4:16pm - ... wherein Peter makes plans for art for 2018.

Okay.Collapse )

Tags:
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: None

Thursday (3/29/18) 2:43pm - ... wherein Peter thinks about his artistic goals for 2018.

Overall artistic goals for 2018Collapse )

Tags:
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: None

Wednesday (3/28/18) 12:08pm - ... wherein Peter thinks about how he'll do projects in 2018.

The basic logistics of taking on projects in 2018Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: None

Monday (3/12/18) 1:29am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  Food: A Culinary History [audiocourse], Turning Points of World History [audiocourse], Who Fears Death
Movies:  <none>
TV:  Atlanta [season 1]
Other:  Gone Home

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (2/12/18) 9:36pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  The Man Without a Face
Movies:  <none>
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (2/5/18) 1:01am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  <none>
Movies:  <none>
TV:  The Good Place [season 1]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: , , ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (1/22/18) 9:35pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  The Book of Exodus, Thor: God of Thunder (The God-Butcher)
Movies:  Doctor Strange, The Hateful Eight, Spotlight
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: , ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (1/1/18) 9:01pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  Cat vs. Cat, Star Wars: Lando
Movies:  The Last Jedi
TV:  Crunch Time [season 1], Jane the Virgin [season 1], Stranger Things [season 2]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (1/1/18) 8:02pm - ... wherein Peter lists his favorite purchases and media of 2018.

Stuff


The best things I bought this year were both educational purchases.  Wanikani has been a great system for learning the base set of 2,000 Japanese kanji.  (I'm currently nearing 1,500.)  But it's also been a great way to learn about memorization itself — how it's less about cramming, or reading things over and over, or even using the SRS flash-card system that wanikani is based on — and it's more the creative art of transforming boring information that your brain doesn't like to hold onto ("") into interesting stories that your brain likes ("twenty animals lurking in a rice field — they are cats!").

Meanwhile, "Home School Piano" was the online piano course I've been looking for for some time.  I went through their three-year program in about five months, as a way to get back up to speed on my dusty old piano knowledge, and to prepare for their sister site, "Piano With Willie", which has more advanced courses.  Their basic course did a great job of building from absolutely nothing to good, journeyman sight-reading and improvisation, including detours into basic blues, pop, and latin techniques.  For what I'm looking to do with piano — to accompany myself competently on pop songs and to be able to solo a bit — that's exactly what I need.

This was also a year of good purchases for the cats.  I bought some planters and used them to plant little crops of wheatgrass, which the cats adore.  They both really dig this "Da Bird" wand toy.  And finally, these window feeders have proved adequately squirrel-proof and gave the cats hours of entertainment.  (Now we just need the birds to rediscover them in the new house.)

Another year has brought another batch of kitchen purchases.  This giant magnetic fridge whiteboard is great for listing the current leftovers.  This faucet-mounted water filter was really handy (but, alas, incompatible with our fancy new kitchen).  We organized all our *extra* kitchen stuff in the garage via some plastic bins and cool re-usable chalk-marker labels.  I found some big spray bottles I like for various cleaning solutions.  And finally, I bought a decent toaster.  I should have done this a long time ago — I use my toaster all the time, and the one I'd had was old, clunky, and hard to use.

There were a few electronics purchases I was really happy with.  I spent $10 or so on bias lighting for my TV set — it looks very pretty, and works fine with my universal remote.  I bought a neat little stand for my work monitors, putting them comfortably at eye level.  I bought a new controller for my desk LEDs that lets me control them via Alexa ("Alexa, turn my desk red!")  And finally, I splurged on some (refurb) fancy noise-cancelling headphones that are just astonishingly good at blocking out the world.  Between that and my favorite white noise app I can find peace and quiet nearly anywhere.

Finally, there are a couple of bathroom purchases that are perfect examples of "buy the nice version of that cheap thing you use every day".  I splurged on some fancy Proraso aftershave, which was just $14 for a bottle that should last me a year or two, and it smells very very nice.  In the move, I lost the little one-minute sand timer I use for dental rinses.[1]  So instead of spending $5 on a cheap plastic one, I spent $15 on this stupidly fancy one, an "antique maritime replica" sand timer that's very pretty and quite satisfying to flip upside down.  Such are the silly things that make me happy.

Media


I didn't read or watch or play nearly enough this year, but I still have some clear favorites.

The best book I read this year was Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff's riveting genre novel that parallels Lovecraftian horror with the real-life nightmares of being African-American in the Jim Crow south.  I can't wait to see what Jordan Peele does with this in his TV adaptation.

The best comic I read was Star Wars: Lando, which uses that character to launch into a twisty heist narrative that had me in tears by the end.  A close second was the "God-Butcher" run of Thor: God of Thunder, which follows the Norse god through three different time periods to create an epic, cosmic-scale story of tragedy and redemption.  (Also there are space laser sharks.)  After those two, the rest of the field lags significantly behind.

Finally, the best audiocourse I listened to was English in America, which has plenty of fascinating info for even the most dedicated amateur linguist.

My favorite movies for the year were pretty bog-standard.  Yes, The Death of Stalin was hilarious, Black Panther made half the MCU look like amateur hour, and Lady Bird made you feel achingly sorry for teenage!you.  I just saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which is a must-see for its unique animation style alone.  The Last Jedi is battling it out with Empire and New Hope for best Star Wars film of all time, but we all know that already.  Among movies I finally caught up with, Paprika is an absolute must-see for any animé fan (and then go watch every other thing Satoshi Kon ever did), John Wick did a delightful job of knowing exactly what it was about and doing that, and Ex Machina was a thoughtful, sci-fi chamber piece.  They don't make them like that any more, and I guess they never made them like that in the first place.

I have to throw in a couple of recommendations for Kedi, a documentary about the stray cats of Istanbul (just from that description, you know if you need to see it or not), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which is every bit the light action-comedy it promises, but is great, silly delight to watch.

Television is a bit odd — I saw a lot of objectively good television, and season one of Legion impressed me mightily in a lot of ways, but far and away my favorites were the first two seasons of The Good Place, a comedy about moral philosophy that feels like the truest successor to LOST I've yet seen.

I saw tons of exceptional scripted theater this year — so much good work that picking favorites feels arbitrary.  But I have to recognize these: Little Bird, a gorgeous, lyrical meditation on the misogyny running under the surface in a Texas bayou town; We Are Proud to Present, a (scripted) improv riff on an African genocide that goes terrifyingly off the rails; and, among sketch work, UpStaged, an especially mind-bending comedy from the Back Pack Presents, who I always summarize as "it's like Michel Gondry decided to make live sketch comedy".  If you didn't realize that was something you needed in your life, go see their next show.

Finally, video games.  Gorogoa, Gone Home, and Life is Strange (Season 1) are among my favorite games I've played in years, with all of them eschewing combat and quick reflexes to tell slow, contemplative stories.  Gorogoa had mind-bending puzzles and evocative, abstract storytelling.  Gone Home is a master class in storytelling via environmental exploration, and both it and Life Is Strange evoke adolescent awkwardness and OMGEMOTIONS better than anything this side of Freaks and Geeks.  I got addicted to each of these, and loved every minute of gameplay.

_____
[1] My teeth are in awful shape — at this point, if I don't care for them perfectly, things are gonna get real ugly (and expensive) real fast.  Kids: FLOSS, FFS.

Tags: , ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative

Monday (12/18/17) 1:05am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  The Book of Genesis
Movies:  Coco [spoilers], Thor: Ragnarok [spoilers]
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (12/4/17) 9:01pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  The Art of Language Invention, The Vision
Movies:  Dealt
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (11/20/17) 6:35pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, The Guardians of the Galaxy [2008, volumes 1 and 2]
Movies: <none>
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (10/23/17) 5:52pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl [trade paperbacks, vols. 1 and 2,
Movies:  <none>
TV:  The Americans [season 1]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (10/16/17) 12:37am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:   The Complete Idiot's Guide to U.S. Government and Politics, The Signal and the Noise
Movies:  <none>
TV:  Deutschland 83
Broadway Theater: A Doll's House, Part 2, Hamilton, The Infinite Wrench, The Play That Goes Wrong

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (9/24/17) 9:28pm - ... wherein Peter lists the basics about his upcoming mainstage.

Here's the descriptive copy for the application for Local on the Eights, the student mainstage production I'm co-directing with JR Zambrano:

Detalis behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags:
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative

Monday (9/4/17) 12:35am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:   The Other Side of History, At Risk, Theatre of the Unimpressed
Movies:  Colossal [spoilers]
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (8/14/17) 12:10am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  <none>
Movies:  Baby Driver, The Big Sick
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (7/24/17) 12:28am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:   America's Founding Fathers [audiocourse], Ghost Light [audiobook]
Movies:  <none>
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (7/16/17) 11:44pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:   <none>
Movies:  <none>
TV:  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend [season 1]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Sunday (7/9/17) 10:40pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:   <none>
Movies:  <none>
TV:  BoJack Horseman [season 2], The Carmichael Show [season 1], O. J. Simpson: Made in America, TableTop  [season 3]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (6/19/17) 12:24am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:   <none>
Movies:  Wonder Woman
TV:  <none>

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (5/22/17) 3:30pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Books:  On the Origin of Species, The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction
Movies:  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Your Name.
TV:  Tabletop [seasons 1 & 2], Good Eats [season 11]

Details behind the cut.Collapse )

Tags: ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none

Monday (5/22/17) 3:29pm - ... wherein Peter reviews Your Name with heavy spoilers.

Okay, here's the spoiler-heavy review of Your Name.Collapse )

Tags: , ,
Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: None
Geo Visitors Map