Archive for the ‘art & design’ Category
Enjoy an updated and edited version of my previous post on San Francisco Opera’s “Notes from Valhalla: The RING Blog”:
Two years ago I began a journey into the fire…into San Francisco Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. That journey comes full circle (pun intended) this month.
It all started when I was invited to collaborate on the iconic brand image and identity for this Ring (with the fantastic design and marketing studio Mission-Minded). This alone was a dream come true. I had become an official Wagner-phile when I experienced SFO’s previous naturalistic production in 1999, with my dear operagoing friend Gil. (Watch the documentary Sing Faster for a great glimpse of that beloved production.)
The creative process began with a meeting with Director Francesca Zambello and General Director David Gockley, to discuss the particular approach of this new production (shared with ENO and WNO, but not yet performed in its entirety). The goal: to highlight the concept of destruction and rebirth, and portray a dose of the production’s modernity, including an accessible and familiar visual vernacular. (The production employs a trailer, projections of power lines and electrical towers, an office building board room, a stylish, contemporary bedroom…to mention just a few of these modern nods.)
The iconic image evolved in a direction that also took a tragic nod from 9/11, using the burning and fall of city skyscrapers to show the destruction of a civilization, parallel with that of nature (via a forest). Perched atop this, a reborn/renewed female visage…a triumphant Brünnhilde. The photo-illustration was made up of 15 or so separate images.
Dear Readers & Friends,
Please click on the image or link below (and kindly turn up your volume) to enjoy my holiday greeting to you:
Many blessings & best wishes to you and yours!
Enjoy the newest in my “Diva Website Series” (that’s tongue-in-cheek…well, perhaps it shouldn’t be?):
www.rhoslynjones.com just went LIVE!
Visit this new website to keep up and connect with San Francisco Opera Merola & Adler alumni, “The delicious diva,” soprano Rhoslyn Jones. Experience her amazing artistry, musings, repertoire, acclaim, and don’t miss out on her upcoming performances!
Your clicks will also help her site more swiftly climb to the top of the search engine results…so, thanks for clicking around!!!
(I designed and built it on the squarespace.com platform.)
I share here a recent solicited (and edited) opinion from a friend on my impending new phone purchase. The 7-year old Samsung Clamshell that came free with my Sprint plan finally kicked the bucket. His manifesto is chock-full of ruminations on the perks and disadvantages of both options. Perhaps it will also help inform you, as it did me with an upcoming purchase!
Do You ❤ iPhone?
I think iPhone users have to say they love their phone, but I’m ambivalent about mine. I like the smartphone concept but I’m not a real “power user” of anything it offers, except email when I’m on the train. I’m also not an iPod user, except SOMETIMES when I fly, and I don’t take tons of photos and want to upload them instantly to FB.
You, on the other hand, are more techy and much more connected via texting, phone, email, Facebook, etc. You can get the same via a nice phone from Sprint (HTC?) with an unlimited data and text plan, but it won’t have the Apple cachet.
I do think that one should not have to dial numbers or look them up. If you have someone in your contacts, you should just be able to tell the phone to dial. That was not on the first iPhone but was part of my previous Samsung phones’ package for at least 8 years.
AT&T vs. Sprint
iPhone and AT&T will be more expensive initially and monthly than Sprint. It’s hard to do an apples to apples comparison because the plans are different, but it is significant. Not a plane ticket to New York each year. But maybe two very nice dinners with wine a year.
You can log into the AT&T Coverage Viewer web page and input your zip code to see your coverage. Mine, for instance, does show as lower quality. I’m not sure about your neighborhood, but I do remember when I called you on the way to meet you at the DeYoung Museum last week, I tried to use the 3G service to get Google Maps and it was worthless. Typical. I get good service at home on my Wi-Fi where I don’t need a map, but when I’m lost and away from my home Wi-Fi connection, AT&T sometimes fails me. All networks will probably have problems somewhere.
I do have much slower connection times (from the time I dial to the time it starts ringing) with AT&T than I did with Sprint. More dropped calls. Has been totally awful? No. Do I like my phone? Yes. Could I live with another phone from another network? Yes.
Consumer Guide Weighs-In
Consumer Guide just came out with a pretty big statement that they cannot recommend the iPhone (4). But only because they feel that Apple is putting too much of a burden on consumers to ASK for a case to bypass the antenna problem that Consumer Guide says is a design flaw that Apple needs to fix. I agree that it’s bad that Apple initially spent tons ‘o money to send cases to current iPhone 4 users who bought the phone before it was a known issue. But now they seem to have the attitude, like…well, people should know about it by now, so why should we fix it?
Just Like Barbie & Ken
On a lighter note, if you do get an iPhone, before you know it, you’ll be playing with it in bed until the battery goes dead. And, then you’ll totally be accessorizing it like a Barbie or Ken doll. Everyone does, you know. :)
It Can Be Undone
Whatever you do, it can be undone. You simply have to pay some money to cancel a contract (which I believe depreciates over time) or you just hold on for 2 years. There will be more advances by then and you WILL NOT hold on to the same phone for 7 years like you did the last. It will be like wearing the same costume to Trannyshack 2 years in a row! Just telling you, because a new wave is coming and you’re going to ride it.
Play with phones in both places AFTER you know the price differences. Then, go with your informed gut. Remember that none of the marketing or bells and whistles they have on the phone is geared towards what we actually NEED. They will be pushing all your buttons to get you to focus on what you WANT — or, what the world makes you WANT.
What do you WANT? That is the only question you need to answer. Then just buy it — whatever it is.
— Guest Ghost Blogger
[jcm footnote: Just in case you're wondering, I DID purchase my first iPhone, a 3GS, and am just breaking it in! As a web designer, I couldn't pass up on the amazing and intuitive interface, despite these stated disadvantages. I can't believe I waited this long. I also opted for the warm grey, metallic Incase.]
I’m ecstatic to announce the launching of Heidi Melton’s Official NEW Website!
Click on the image or link below to visit her site. Once there, review her upcoming performances (book your flights!), sample her incredible artistry (via multimedia), read her blog musings, and more! She’s taking the opera world by storm. GO HEIDI!
I designed and built the site from start to finish (using the SquareSpace platform). It’s an honor be her friend, FANatic, AND web designer.
The Adventures of…
“Look! Up on the stage! It’s a samisan, it’s a parasol, it’s SUPER-KOKEN!
Slower than a drifting glacier, more stealthy than a leopard on the hunt.
Able to spin the turntable in a single hook.”
Further Feats: 40 minutes of standing in a demi-plié, 6 child’s poses, 30 minutes in a forward yoga lay, 16 turntable rotations, 1 death-defying silk drop catch, and more!
But, don’t all superheroes have baggage? Thus, I deliver my diagnosis of the Koken: In need of treatment for OCD and chronic inefficiency. These Kabuki-inspired characters in San Francisco Opera’s Madama Butterfly (of which I am 1 of 6) unfailingly offer up perfectly aligned prop placement and table settings, and impossibly measured, controlled movement. SICK!
From a serious perspective, I love exploring and learning different kinds of movement (and dance). Ours requires us to be very in sync, and move nearly as one, in an energized, yet internalized way (like the Tai Chi we trained in). It’s been the best workout I’ve gotten in ages (boy, those pliés are GREAT for the inner thighs!). I’m also savoring the meditative, spiritual practice I’m experiencing through the incredible presence this technique requires.
Given that our all-black costumes are very much like those of a ninja, our presence lends an air of intrigue and gravitas to the unfolding of the proceedings.
Demystifying Illusion & Stagecraft (WARNING: SPOILERS)
I’m amazed at how transforming the art of illusion and stagecraft are, when used so masterfully. Up-close and unlit, the set shows its almost 30 years, and doesn’t really “sing”…BUT, when lit, and from the house, it emerges full bloom into a seemingly living and breathing world. The fiber board panels with overlapping green carpet look like REAL stone and earth. The perforated metal panels that up-close look too thick and heavy-handed, appear exactly like paper screens. GENIUS!
The technological trick that enables the crew to rotate the turntable a calculated amount each time is a crafty system that includes UV painted numbers on the TT rim, that when black-lit from the side are visible only to the offstage crew. This ensures exact placements every time. WOW! Yes, the cat’s outta the bag, the Koken only pantomime the TT rotation, but it’s still a workout to make it look real, with right degree of physical tension.
All the recent Weir/Lysacek mud-slinging, via the media is so silly and meaningless to me, I won’t even detail the ongoing bitch brawl here (and you likely already read it elsewhere). Clearly, they’re milkin’ this opportunity to increase their media presence (ie: “No press is bad press”).
BUT, when I came across this photo, I felt it said it all. They are in a sense forever linked, in their “rivalry,” and burgeoning off-ice, celebrity careers. So, what better way to to forever immortalize them as yin-yang/brothers/lovers/
soulmates (take your pick) in a fabulously flashy, fey, artistic portrait, ala Kings of 80′s Cheese: Hall & Oates?!
I’m not sure if NoMad Blogger created it or not (it appears not, as she included the zimbio.com credit), but I take no credit for this masterpiece. If you know the source (perhaps Toller Cranston?), please provide it, and I’ll gladly update the credit.
I now give you…