Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Builder's Association: a process blog

File this under "Blog as open process/ community building": The Builder's Association, responsible for such great multi-media theatrical feats as Master Builder and Alladeen, have just developed a new work called SuperVision - and blogged about it.

Thanks to Eric, who pointed it out in a comment to a previous post.

Municipal wireless - why should you care?

What would you do with "affordable" wifi in your office? Or your home? Do you think your city should support the deployment of city-wide wireless access for all residents (and not just those in swanky neighborhoods?)?

CompuMentor thought about it (scroll down to "What's New"- PDF version of our response is here), and what we've come up with is, I think interesting. Because it's less about whether or not the city should invest in Wifi or not (it looks like wireless will become available in a lot of metropolitan areas whether it's provided by the city or by private enterprise) - but what is a city to do that's really going to help developing neighborhoods? Just provide wireless access? What about access to hardware? Wifi ain't nothing if you've got no laptop or desktop to connect it to (or wireless card....). What about tech support for communities at risk, so they can get a computer fixed at a subsidized rate? Sound like a good idea? Perhaps more effective than just providing low-cost or free wireless?

These are many of the questions being discussed right here in San Francisco, and around the nation as cities consider supporting municipal wireless. You can read the collected feedback on San Francisco's proposal here.

So why does it matter to you? You may or may not have a direct community development mission. Paying a monthly fee for DSL - whether it's $80 a month or $40 (or less?) may not make or break your organization.

All I can say is that I brought my laptop to my rehearsals a couple of times, and were it not for a random wireless access point (not provided by the theatre) I would not have been able to deliver a sample of the program to the folks who needed to reproduce it on time.... (And imagine if you could take photos of a set, put it up on Flickr, and get feedback from people without leaving the theatre....) Sure, these may be less "critical community needs" aspects of municipal wireless access, but Starbucks is not offering T-Mobile for under-served populations either. The idea is that municipal wireless can serve a broad range of needs. The question is - would you and your organization just want wireless access, or more? If more, what?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Confession: I'm leading a doubl-ogging life.

If you read the small print in the About Me, you'll note I'm also a performing artist, and as such I'm experimenting quite liberally with a lot of the things I talk about here... somewhere else.

I'll get into some more of the details laters, but my main confession is that after pitching the idea to some orgs, and actually seeing other performing arts orgs doing it, I started my own "performance/ rehearsal" blog.

Interestingly, most conventional wisdom seems to indicate that having a blog would encourage people to come see the show. While that may be true, it's unclear how much of an effect the blog has had on attendance (I haven't been asking nor handing out surveys...). What I do know is that people who have seen the show are reading the blog afterwards. Hmmm - I'll take it anyway. ;-)

The more lessons I glean from this process, the more I'll share....

Quickie: Current TV

Tying in digital storytelling with the Techno-DIY theme of yore, here's a great "so you wanna make video?" guide from Current TV. The home page confused the hell out of me at first, so you might wanna take a look at the about page and the FAQ. And also check out the process for getting your work onto the site (which is where the guide comes in).

Friday, November 11, 2005

Digital Storytelling in New Orleans

The I-10 Witness Project is, in their words, "community based story collective formed to document the myriad tales emerging from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."

It's a collaboration of a couple of NOLA arts groups (including the Mondo-Bizarro folks, who I ran in to at this year's NET Fest) and a couple of multi-media orgs, including the Bay Area's own Center for Digital Storytelling.

Supported by Alternate ROOTS, whose mission is "the creation and presentation of original art which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition or spirit." Sounds about right on.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Best practices: Dance Weblog, and their How-To

Big kudos to Joe at Butts in Seats for seeing this one.

I know, because of my personal background, I've been very focused on the "theatre" side of performing arts, and have neglected dance (and others as well?). Joe points to a great dance blog, as well as their detailed, 24-page white paper (in PDF) on how to produce a weblog, and how to think about your goals for the blog as well.

My only complaint is that although it's free for download, it's not under a Creative Commons license. :-(

Assorted: Honolulu and Berkeley Arts; Accidental Techie, and free conference calling

Since my last post was 100% link-free, I thought I'd do a little catch up.

One thing about my blog is sometimes I can't remember if I've actually posted something before. So excuse me if I've already pointed to the slick Honolulu Arts blog - somewaht close to my heart, since UH is my undergrad alma mater. There's also the Berkeley Arts Fest - which during the off season appears to be a (manually) aggregated listing of Berkeley, California arts shows - maybe they could use some help automating their postings? (Both of these can also be found if you click the Del.icio.us-aggregated links off to the right there.)

Also, on a purely tech level, CompassPoint has published a series of resources online aimed at the "accidental techie"..... Which is usually the level of techspertise available on-staff at most small performing arts orgs.

Finally, following up the discussion a while back on the Butts in Seats blog about tools that can be used to work remotely with a creative team, I came across this review of a free conference-call company called FreeConference.com. Now you can argue about the right shade of chartreuse for that backdrop without having to fly the designer in! (I'm joking, I have utmost respect for designers....) Also available in the UK and Germany!

That absentee voting thing

One comment about absentee voting that I think is appropriate in the context of a blog touching on the performing arts. Last year, there was a considerable push by local performing arts organizations to encourage performing artists to sign up for absentee ballot voting. Why? Because a) if you're unlucky, you're probably working a morning job then going ot rehearsals at night - and these both may be quite far away from your home, b0 if you're lukcy, you actually may be in residence for several weeks in some other local then your voting address.

Obviously, absentee voting can be- and is - for anyone who wants to sign up, but I thought I'd pass on some performing-arts specific reasons for it....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Nov 8th: Vote, then be social!

(For Californians, and particularly the Bay Area)

Yep, it's that simple. Vote. Or better, yet, vote before the election.

Then come be social. This is the first "meet-up" event for the Net-Squared conference.

All in the vein of my ongoing discussion about the next generation of tools that makes online participation easier.

Blogging is hard

Well, that's not true. Blogging gets easier every time you do it until it's almost like sending out an email. But the challenge is upkeep. In my slow weeks, I read 5-15 blogs across a variety of topics; and I keep up my own posts too. This is a symbiotic relationship, because a technology-centric blog (as opposed to a personal journal) requires regular online reading. Well, in my swamped weeks, my Bloglines account (which basically "stores" unread blog posts from the blogs I'm interested in) quickly overwhelms me if I don't read it everyday And then I have nothing to say because I'm trying to catch up popn my reading.

Which is why I've pointed you to some of my favorite online weblogs - so you can read them while I try to catch up.

In the meantime, I hope you had a Happy Halloween, a meaningful Day of the Dead, and Happy Eid!