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Kathleen O'Connell

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Everything posted by Kathleen O'Connell

  1. Much of the content on Marquee TV is also available on DVD or was previously available via theater livestreams / broadcast TV, although it appears to be acquiring some content from performing arts companies / venues that isn't streamable elsewhere, e.g., from the Washington Ballet, Glyndebourne (the concert series but not the operas, apparently), and Arlington's Signature Theater. Marquee TV also offers "ticketed," i.e., pay-per-view events. There's nothing wrong with a service that streams content also available to consumers on DVD (hello, Netflix!) but it's not (again, yet) a platform that relies on acquired original or exclusive content. By "original" I don't mean new dance works or operas, but rather performances that are only available via its service—e.g., a major ballet company's "digital season." From what I've been able to glean scanning its catalogue, its competitor Medici TV takes a similar "from DVD / broadcast / livestream to on demand" approach, with some exclusive streaming content, e.g., performances from Switzerland's Verbier Festival. So, I can imagine a service that commissions a digital season from a performing arts company for an attractive flat fee; or underwrites a major new production; or fosters collaborations between, say, a filmmaker or a visual artist with a dance company with the right to stream what it commissioned exclusively either in perpetuity or for some predefined period of time. The performing arts company might secure some ancillary rights—e.g., the right to make some of the content available to donors, to release it on DVD at some future date, or to make it available to schools or public libraries. Frankly, if I were a publicly-minded foundation or consortium of foundations and publicly-funded arts agencies, I'd be thinking of ways to support the performing arts' digital future that frees companies and venues of the financial and administrative burden of operating their own bespoke digital distribution platforms or from locking their content up behind a for-profit platform's paywall. Something closer to a shared platform is EU-sponsored OperaVision, which streams recent performances by smaller European opera houses for free over a three-to-six month period. There are exceptions, but most of its content isn't available elsewhere. Some of it does eventually end up on DVD or on another streaming platform. Another model is Seattle's own OntheBoards.TV, which has leveraged presentations from its own theater (plus similar venues in Portland, Austin, and New York) to get works from an array of contemporary artists up on a paid platform. On the Boards is non-profit, so it receives some funding from both foundations and government sources.
  2. I also hope that the broader universe of private foundations and government arts organizations take an active role in fostering the further exploration of digital arts programming. There will need to be funding for everything—negotiating with rights holders; buying equipment and hiring people to use it; securing and scaling a distribution platform; marketing and audience development; developing supplementary educational materials for classroom use; commissioning works for camera, etc etc etc.
  3. sandik points to one possible reason: it could be that the various rights holders and unions involved were willing to authorize making the videos available during the pandemic as a means of keeping the company and its repertory visible to the public and as a means of prompting donations, but weren't ready to negotiate a full-fledged paid digital subscription or pay-per-view offering. Or, the Board might have decided to pull out its collective checkbook and underwrite free digital programming as a public service during the pandemic. Or, the City of New York, which does provide substantial support to NYCB via the Department of Cultural Affairs' Cultural Institutions Group, might have encouraged free digital programming as a public service during the pandemic. NYCB did send out a survey probing its audience on its willingness to pay for digital performances, and it could be that the results didn't surface much of an appetite for paid digital offerings. It could be all or some or none of the above - just spitballing ...
  4. Not sure if these belong in a thread on free streaming during Covid-19, but they're something to watch until the theaters open back up. The English National Ballet has begun posting some #SlowTV videos to its YouTube Channel. The first is a 31 minute video on pointe shoe preparation: "Watch Amber Hunt, Artist of English National Ballet, go through the task and ritual of preparing her pointe shoes for rehearsals and performances." The second is a 40 minute video on making a tutu: "Watch Federica Romano, Costumier at English National Ballet, make a 10-layer pancake tutu base. Filmed over the course of 3 days, the 40-min Slow TV film shows all the intricate work that goes into making a tutu." ETA: I will confess to scrubbing through both videos, stopping here and there to focus in on particular points of interest.
  5. Not just generous, but no strings attached. She trusts the recipients to use the funds however they think best.
  6. If IG made money from search, it would give us Google's search tools and then some.
  7. Agreed! It's now possible to search Instagram using keywords (not just hashtags), but its keyword search functionality is extremely limited. It doesn't appear to be possible to limit your keyword search a specific account, for instance, or to apply any kind of meaningful filters. Plus, IG won't let you search on a just any old keyword: keyword searches are limited to "general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines." If you've got a niche keyword, you're likely out of luck. And, since it's IG, search coughs up photos and videos, not comments.
  8. Given that Instagram content is an absolute goldmine for influencers or anyone with something to sell or something to research, there's a healthy marketplace of third-party services that will scrape IG content from the account or accounts of your choosing and dump the results into a spreadsheet or json file for you, where they can be searched and filtered how you like. There are even Chrome extensions that will scrape publicly available IG data for you. (Some of these tools are pretty sketchy, so beware ...) If you know your way around python, javascript, or PHP, you can choose from among the dozens and dozens of open-source IG scraping tools posted to GitHub. In the wake of the EU's GDPR privacy law, Instagram now makes it possible to download everything you've posted to a zip file and either save it or transfer it to another service.
  9. For the record, here's the original 1977 principal cast for Vienna Waltzes: Tale from the Vienna Woods - Karin von Aroldingen & Sean Lavery Voices of Spring - Patricia McBride & Helgi Tomasson Explosion Polka - Sara Leland & Bart Cook Gold and Silver Waltz - Kay Mazzo & Peter Martins Der Rosenkavalier - Suzanne Farrell & Jorge Donn (the role was created on Jean-Pierre Bonnefous, but he was injured for the premiere, so Donn substituted as a guest artist.) Karin von Aroldingen took over the Gold and Silver Waltz role after Kay Mazzo retired. Helene Alexopoulos, Maria Calegari, Rebecca Krohn, Lourdes Lopez, Lauren Lovette, Teresa Reichlen, and Jenifer Ringer have also been cast in the role. I can't discern a real thread connecting them except that they all looked grown up and glamorous in the costume. No one has ever looked as good in those red pants as Martins.
  10. Well, yes, there's that. The opening of the Léhar section (the main theme in particular) is ... undistinguished.
  11. Hmmm. Different strokes / Different folks. I actually breathed a sigh of relief regarding camera work! For Vienna Waltzes in particular, I appreciated being able to see most of the stage most of the time, with the occasional zoom when it mattered, and a bit of tracking for the entrances. (I think one or two of the latter might have been flubbed, but I'll have to check ...) There was plenty of air around the dancers, even on this ballet's very busy stage. As for the sound? Well, nothing sounds its best on my computer's speakers, but I might have noticed it more if I watched it on my TV. ETA: "Flubbed" refers to the camera tracking, not the dancers' entrances.
  12. This is why I would pony up for an all-arts streaming service with a deep, deep catalogue of performances that stay up for at least a six-month to one-year window. The roster of companies and performers needs to reach further than the usual suspects; the performances on offer need to be more than what's already available on DVD. Services like Medici and Marquee tend to feature (Euro-centric) material that's already available on physical media. What I'm talking about is a service that might offer, say, four San Francisco Ballet performances captured live during the current season. For "San Francisco Ballet" fill in any company or venue that you like: the Paul Taylor Dance Company on tour, The Joyce, The Park Avenue Armory, Seattle's On the Boards (which does have its own TV service), or some random little company you never heard of but are now a fan of because you stumbled across it while surfing the catalogue. I'm really not interested in paying $25 a pop for a digital presentation with a limited viewing window: video just can't match the visceral thrill of seeing something live in the theater (that's why people still show up at ballparks to sit in the bleachers even though they'd get a closer view of the action on TV) nor does ephemerality add to the experience of watching something on a small screen the way it does when you're watching something live and in person and you know its happening NOW and won't happen again. ETA: if it's a big enough consortium with some public / foundation support the licensing and union issues could be negotiated in a way that's fair to all concerned.
  13. It's surely been a challenging year for arts fundraising. There's the difficulty of cultivating and maintaining an audience when the theater is shuttered, compounded by the difficulty of maintaining a donor base when you can't hold public events like galas or can't offer opportunities to get close to the organization (and other donors) like open rehearsals or lecture / demos and the like. I wonder if companies will keep the digital perks once the pandemic is behind us?
  14. Huh. I really like Peck's Rotunda. The only work on the Fall 2021 schedule that I could live without is Western Symphony. For the first time in a long time there isn't a program on the schedule that I'd dismiss as a clunker to be avoided at all costs, and I'll try to see Namouna more than once. I'm going to guess that Monumentum / Movements may be my last chance to see Ask la Cour and that Opus 19 / The Dreamer may be my last chance to see Lauren Lovette on a regular program since both dancers are retiring during the Fall 2021 season. Since I like both of those ballets and both of those dancers in those ballets, I'll show up if they're cast and I can get a ticket.
  15. A neighbor and I were half-joking yesterday about how much we've enjoyed our cold and flu free year and how we might just keep on wearing masks and obsessively washing our hands long after Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted. 😉 And honestly, I have no objection to wearing a mask indoors (or in close quarters outdoors) until 1) it's been determined that the current vaccines provide protection against the new Covid-19 variants, or, more to the point, limit their spread and 2) most of us have been vaccinated.
  16. Speaking as someone who has had to present a Carte Jaune along with my passport at more than one international border, I expect that the international community will wrestle proof of Covid-19 vaccination to the ground at some point. Some countries (Nigeria is one) have already developed digital versions of the Yellow Card to circumvent forgeries and I expect more will follow.
  17. When I applied for my New York State Excelsior Vaccine Pass I had to provide the information that's on my CDC vaccination record (name, birthdate, vaccine type, the date of final the dose, and where I received it) plus my zip code. This information was the confirmed against the NYS vaccine database. Had I received my vaccine from an entity that doesn't fall under the regulatory authority of New York State—e.g. a federal agency, an entity from another U.S. state or jurisdiction, or a first nation—and that doesn't report into the NYS system I wouldn't have been able to get the NYS pass. My husband received his vaccine at his New Jersey workplace and thus can't get the NYS pass. NJ doesn't offer one yet, so he's out of luck. Note that you have to present a valid photo ID along with the Excelsior Pass QR code when you use it: you can't just wave a printout of the QR code at the door for admittance.
  18. Pointing the camera right at that big wall of windows was ... a bold choice. I'm going to hazard a guess that the Liebeslieder excerpt was shot entirely with natural light. (I'm also curious about whether Coppola opted for film or digital, and, if the latter, if the post-production color grading was done to emulate a classic film stock. She loves film. But I digress.) You can thank Mark Stanley for the darking for the Peck piece.
  19. More on the Gala film: Kudos to the powers-that-be for allowing the men to demonstrate the expressive power of things like a beautiful line, or a supple port-de-bras, or finely-tune musicality, etc etc etc rather than using them as pyrotechnic applause machines. Yes, Anthony Huxley has a wonderful jump, but honestly, I couldn't make myself stop watching his gorgeous hands and I can't thank Coppola and Peck enough for showing them to me. Also I'm an Ashley Bouder fan, but I kept wanting to shove her out of the way because she was blocking my view of Russell Janzen getting all sassy with Duo Concertante's folk dance-inflected gestures.
  20. Normally, I'm also in the "No fancy camera angles please!" and "For the love of all that is holy, don't cut them off at the knees!" school of filmed dance performance. But I actually appreciated the way Coppola (and Peck) chose to approach this particular project. To me, it felt as much a film about dancers in a space—and poignantly, in this case, a space that they view as a home that they're returning to at last or, even more poignantly, a home that some of them must soon leave again, and for good this time—as it was about the excerpted choreographies, if not more so. I was happy to forgo a permanent "from the stage" record of the Boy in Brown's opening solo in Dances at a Gathering in order to see Gonzalo Garcia more or less embody what that solo is about in the place where he lives. I'm not too proud to admit that it made me cry. (Ditto Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour's exquisitely tender performance of the "Nachtigall" duet from Liebeslieder Walzer alone in the vastness of the Promenade.) I wouldn't want every dance filmed this way, but I loved these particular excerpts, danced by these particular dancers, in this particular space, at this particular time, filmed this way. An aside: it's just a personal preference, but I always try to get a seat somewhat off to the side whenever I attend a live dance performance because I don't really like the flatness of a head-on, dead center view. I also like being further back and higher up in the theater. So of course I didn't mind it much when the film used those points of view: it wasn't entirely dissimilar from the way I watch dance—ahem, including the occasional selective close up with my binoculars ...
  21. May she rest in peace, and my condolences to all who held her dear. I was lucky enough to meet Katherine for lunch during one of her visits to NYC, and she was as delightful in person as she was in her posts here. I'm so, so sad to hear this news.
  22. Queensland Ballet's decision to cancel its planned tour of Scarlett's Dangerous Liaisons is explained here and here and here. Queensland Ballet conducted its own investigation and "found no evidence of improper behaviour by Scarlett in Australia." Although the company had "been aware of the existence of allegations" against him in October 2020, it didn't make the decision to suspend its ties with Scarlett until April 2021, when they received more information regarding nature of the complaints: "Queensland Ballet's artistic director Li Cunxin says his company did not cut ties with world-renowned choreographer Liam Scarlett sooner because it was not aware the allegations against him were sexual in nature." I'm not surprised that performing arts companies that rely on public good will and the public purse to remain viable decided to suspend planned performances of work by an artist publicly and credibly accused of harassment and sexual predation, especially when minors or very young dancers are involved. (The subtext of the two Sydney Morning Herald articles seems to be "why didn't you cancel this tour sooner?") Should Scarlett's work be blackballed forever? I'm not sure I can answer that question honestly myself and I'm very glad that I don't have to make that decision.
  23. I think we should be cautious about making an explicit link between the RDB's decision to cancel Frankenstein—or any company's decision regarding engaging Scarlett or staging his ballets—and his suicide.
  24. As noted above, the Bayerische Staatsballett is presenting a week of live streams (Digitale Ballettfestwoche 2021). Here's the schedule for the remaining streams, which all begin at 7:30 PM Munich time (CEST) / 1:30 PM EST. NOTE: These are livestreams and won't be available for on-demand viewing after the initial stream. You can find each day's stream here: https://www.operlive.de Here are the remaining streams. (The link will take you to a page with more program information. It will not take you to the stream.) Monday, April 19, 2021: Portrait Wayne Mcgregor - Kairos / Sunyata / Borderlands Tuesday, April 20, 2021: Jewels Wednesday, April 21: Bayerisches Junior Ballett München (Choreography by Jörg Mannes, Maged Mohamed, Martina La Ragione) Thursday, April 22: Swan Lake (Ray Barra / Petipa / Ivanov) Saturday, April 24: Le Corsaire Sunday, April 25: 30 Jahre Bayerisches Staatsballett & Black Cake (Filmed documentary + Hans Van Manen's Black cake)
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